One of the most surprising selections in last week's baseball expansion draft was the Kansas City Royals' choice of Baltimore's Roger Nelson. Nelson, though still pretty much a nonentity to the average fan, is regarded by baseball men as one of the most gifted young (24) pitchers around. In September he struck out 13 Red Sox in six innings and then beat Detroit's Denny McLain 2-1.
As much as the Orioles prized Nelson, there simply was not room for him on their list of 15 protected players. Still, they felt they had a way to cover him in the first round, after which they could "freeze" three more men. The Orioles, certain the new clubs would take any decent catcher made available in the first round, dangled Larry Haney as bait, hoping he would be taken so they could then protect Nelson. The very first player chosen was Nelson.
"When we made the announcement," said Lou Gorman, farm director of the Royals, "I looked at the Baltimore table. I looked at [Manager Earl] Weaver and saw his face drop to his knees. Harry Dalton [Oriole director of player personnel] had a look of disbelief." And why had the Royals taken Nelson rather than Haney? "I used to work for the Orioles and I knew all about Nelson," Gorman explained.
RED POWER VS. RED TAPE
"The Great Spirit provided game for food for the Indians. The oppressors have no right to require Indians to have permits." So spoke John (Rolling Thunder) Pope, legal adviser for the Western Shoshone Nation, after a fellow tribesman had been fined for killing a deer off reservation grounds one day before the Nevada deer season opened.
The offending Shoshone, Stanley Smart, told the Winnemucca, Nev. justice of the peace he needed the meat to feed his five children. Smart's attorney argued that Indians were protected by treaty and hereditary rights, and said there might be an appeal. Rolling Thunder Pope was more to the point: "I predict the doom of the white man. The last time I did this, a great storm came up and caused great death and destruction. Only a few good whites will survive this time." And even as he spoke, according to observers, the approach of winter in the Winnemucca area was heralded by black clouds rolling across the mountains and strong winds whipping the desert sands.
And that wasn't all. The next week on the Ruby Valley Indian Reservation near Elko, a group of Caucasian deer hunters had set up camp and were relaxing with some firewater when suddenly the hills were alive with whooping Shoshones, complete with war paint, feathers and rifles.
The rifles turned out to be unloaded, but the raiding party gave the hunters 15 minutes to get off the reservation, and the hunters, although some of them were loaded, complied.
The Shoshones had complained to the authorities about trespassers, explained a spokesman, and had been given the runaround. So the Shoshones taught them a thing or two about running around.