NEW PITCH FOR NEWK
Don Newcombe, the old Dodger pitcher who received the Cy Young Award after winning 27 games in 1956, is working in California, primarily in the field of finding and developing jobs and businesses in ghetto areas. One of Newcombe's fringe duties is giving away money that is supplied by an unidentified rich man.
"He is a big oilman," says Newcombe, "he is white and he lives in Bel Air. He asked me never to use his name. In two years he has given me $150,000 to distribute in places like Watts. For instance, he gave $30,000 to a Catholic school in Watts for scholarships, so that more kids could get in the school. He had lights put in the Oakwood Recreation Center in Venice so that black and Mexican-American kids could play baseball and other games at night. That cost about $8,000."
Newcombe met his rich man while working for the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Watts. Don was selling tickets to a $100-a-plate benefit dinner, and the man took $5,000 worth. Later, Newcombe says, "I was in his office one day and he said to me, 'Here I am, up in my building, out of contact with what's going on out there. I want you to tell me what is needed, and I'll give you the money to get it done.'
"When I go out in the streets and hear kids talking about how you have to hate the white man, I try to explain to them what this white man has done. Some of them say, 'Yeah, but that's just one white man,' but I tell them I'm just one man, too. Maybe there are others who want to help, like my man, and I just don't know about them."
Ed Macauley, sports director of KTVI in St. Louis, was an All-America basketball player with St. Louis University when it won the National Invitation Tournament in 1948 and later a pro star with the Boston Celtics and the St. Louis Hawks. For the past 15 years he has been running basketball clinics for privileged children, charging $100 for a series of lessons in the art of basketball. One of his former students is Bill Bradley, the Princeton star who is now a key member of the New York Knicks.
Three years ago Macauley decided that what he could charge middle-class white kids $100 for he could contribute free to poor black kids. His first such clinic was at the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project in St. Louis. Macauley announced that it would start at 9 a.m. on a certain day and rounded up Bradley, Len Wilkens, Zelmo Beaty and a few others to help run it. They all got to the housing project early, swept up broken glass and bits of junk from an outdoor court and waited for their students. By 9 only two kids had appeared.
"That millionaire," says Macauley, "sits in his tower and tells Don Newcombe, 'You know what's going on out there—I don't.' Well, very few of us know what's going on out there. That day of the first clinic, when 9 o'clock came and there were only two kids, I was really disappointed. I had gotten the players to come out and all, and I was disappointed. I asked a neighborhood priest who was there, 'Where are they?' He said, 'They'll be here.' I said, 'What do you mean? It's 9 o'clock. Where are they?' The priest said, 'You forget that 90% of the kids in this neighborhood don't have clocks in their homes. They go to sleep when they're tired, and they get out of bed when they wake up, and they eat when they're hungry—if they have something to eat. Don't worry. They'll be here.'
"Sure enough, by 9:30 there were about 10 kids, and by 10 o'clock there were 30. We got things going, and I went over to the priest. I said, 'Now I know.' He said, 'Now you know part of it. The other part is they don't trust you.'