Baseball records, to all but those very ardent fans who memorize them, have always been suspect because field dimensions are not standardized and the ball itself can vary from season to season. Now a new edition of the Encyclopedia of Baseball is under way and some of the oldtime hitting records are coming under very close scrutiny. One example: the records of Adrian (Cap) Anson.
In 1879 Anson was credited with batting .407. Now it is said that he really batted .331 and that a friendly official scorer in the National League office helped him hike his average. His alltime personal high was recorded eight years later as .421. But in those days a base on balls was listed as a hit.
On the other hand, Cap will pick up an undetermined number of hits for eight National League seasons (1876-1883), when the statistics for tie games were not officially included in the records.
Oldtimers may take comfort in the consideration that whether Anson batted .407 or .331 he was still a good deal better than most 1968 hitters.
BUCKING THE BRITISH TIGER
Some of the world's richest men try to get even richer at the no-limit gaming tables of The Clermont Club in London's Berkeley Square, whose 950 members, 250 of them Americans, pay 80 guineas a year in membership dues. The club is run by John Aspinall, who also has a 50-animal private zoo adjoining his 18th century home, Howletts, in Kent.
A couple of years ago two Arab sheiks, soaked in oil, no doubt, gained admittance to the club, gambled for a few nights, and one lost about �120,000, the other about �70,000. Their checks made a slow passage to their Middle Eastern banks and returned swiftly because of insufficient funds.
Word got around and there were rumors that the club was insolvent, and even recently a report of impending bankruptcy appeared in a New York society column. But the Clermont is sturdier than that. Aspinall, a voluble, bouncy, tall blond man of about 40 who wears eye-catching, bushy Edwardian sideburns, covered the losses, and the dice rolled as usual. He is, in fact, planning a rather special gala fall reopening after the usual August vacation. His favorite tiger, Zemo, will be there—caged.
HOME RUNS ITALIAN STYLE
When the Washington Senators' huge Frank Howard was at Ohio State one of his best friends was Steve Molaro, with whom he played baseball. After graduation Steve turned to high school teaching and coaching in Chicago, but during summer vacation he became the jockey of a garbage truck. Howard stayed with the Molaro family when in Chicago and often rode to the ball park in Steve's truck. When he had a bad day his teammates would accuse him of riding in the back; when he had a good day they would say riding in the garbage truck made him stronger.