"My ball wouldn't belly out there like it did when the lanes weren't so slick," Hardwick explained recently. "I used to start in the center of the lane, roll the ball out four or five boards from the center and it would hook right into the pocket. But with the new varnishes the shot wouldn't work. It was embarrassing. Then I started to get tight in every tournament and began to pull the ball so much it was unbelievable. Finally four months ago I decided to change my shot or quit. I walked into the locker room one day and yelled, 'Anybody have a ball I can use?' Bill Lillard gave me one of his, and I liked it right away."
Hardwick now uses his middle and ring fingers, in the orthodox way, though his ring finger has no joint and is nearly stiff. He bowls from the outside and throws straight for the pocket "like a once-a-week bowler in the church league." A fortnight ago in Kokomo, Ind. he won his first tournament in two and a half years.
THE SHIFTING SCENE
As of early last week major league baseball came up with yet another new team—the Chiwaukee White Sox. In an interesting but certainly not dumfounding development, the Chicago White Sox announced that they would play nine regular-season American League games in Milwaukee's County Stadium in 1968. The games will be played during the week, one against each league opponent so that the Sox do not lose any lucrative home weekend dates.
Three things contributed to the shifting of the games. In July of this year the Sox played an exhibition in Milwaukee against the Minnesota Twins and drew a crowd of 51,144 at major league prices. No other team in the majors drew a larger crowd without giving away bats, balls or caps. This showed that Milwaukee, abandoned by the Braves in 1966, is obviously still very interested in baseball. The Sox are also trying to develop the Milwaukee television market 85 miles from Chicago. And, finally, although Arthur Allyn, the owner of the White Sox, cannot publicly criticize the location of Chicago's Comiskey Park, it is bad and this season the Sox drew a nine-year attendance low of 966,000 despite the fact that the team led the league much of the time.
Whatever one may think about the transfer of the games, two large questions remain unanswered. Isn't Allyn trying to prod the city of Chicago into building a new stadium? Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field and Chicago Stadium are all antiquated, in poor neighborhoods and the newest of them was built nearly 50 years ago. That is a building problem for Chicago. Baseball's problem is a moral one. Must Milwaukee prove again that it is a major league town and do so by supporting a nonresident team? Supposing Milwaukee does support the Sox in 1968. What happens in 1970? Does it get its own team for a few years or somebody else's for 10 games? Do we hear 11?
The former Mrs. Thad Spencer is so sure that her ex-husband will win the heavyweight elimination tournament that she is gambling alimony money on her pick. Mrs. Brenda Spencer, 26, went into Alameda County Superior Court in California last week and said she would accept a lump sum of $5,000 to be paid when Spencer fights Jerry Quarry and another $5,000 if he wins and goes on to fight for the title. If Spencer loses to Quarry she taps out on the second five grand. When she got her divorce, Mrs. Spencer claimed that not only did Thad often stay away from home, he argued a lot. She has confidence in his fighting ability.
Several years ago Baltimore Colt Alex Hawkins was caught scaling the wall of a West Coast hotel three nights before his team was to play the Rams for the conference title. He was fined for the curfew violation and lectured in front of the whole team by Weeb Ewbank, who was then coaching the Colts. Hawkins, wearying of the harangue, finally interrupted Ewbank. "Weeb," he said, "when you dance, you gotta pay the fiddler."
Hawkins is one of sport's night people, like baseball's Don Larsen or tough old Bobby Layne, and if any Colt was going to end up in jail the week of the Baltimore-Green Bay game, you would have to figure it would be Alex. Last week there he was, picked up along with eight others—including a member of the Baltimore City Jail Board and former Colt Business Manager Bert Bell Jr.—in an early-morning raid on a poker game in a barber shop. After being booked, mugged and posting $55 bond, Hawkins had a cup of coffee with Bell and went straight to practice.
Hawkins, once captain of Baltimore special teams but more recently a starting split end for the injury-plagued Colts, is viewed with amused tolerance by his teammates. His latest fly-by-night escapade could hardly have amused Colt Coach Don Shula, however, not so much because of the incident as because of Alex's choice of company. Since leaving the Colts, Bert Bell has been writing a once-a-week football column for the Baltimore News American, and he has been savagely critical of Shula. But Shula said nothing last week. A club spokesman announced that disciplinary action would be taken against Hawkins because of the time of the raid—4:45 a.m. "Curfew is not strict when the team is at home," the front-office man explained, "but 4:45 is a little past bedtime."