With the restricted free-agent draft coming, the Philadelphia Phillies went around the country in 1964 signing hot young prospects in a beat-the-draft talent hunt. They picked up guys named Joe Middledorf, Jerry Gimapetruzzi, Doug Eiken, and Larry Vogt. They did not sign a youngster who played football and baseball for Cheltenham High School, less than six miles from Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium, though a number of scouts had been sent to investigate his abilities. Their reports were less than enthusiastic:
"Did not impress me as big league prospect.... Average speed, average bat."
"All he lacks is size."
"This boy does everything well with exception of hitting. Not impressed with his bat."
The youngster was Reggie Jackson, as you may have guessed, and when the old scouting reports were brought to the attention of Bob Carpenter, Phillie owner, he sighed.
"Scouts," he said. "The guy who saw Dave Sime told me, 'Good hitter, average speed.' "
As a hitter, Sime couldn't connect with a major league curve. As a runner, he broke world sprint records.
TROUBLE FOR FEATHER MERCHANTS
Since April it has been illegal to import jungle-cock feathers into the U.S., because the bird involved is found exclusively in India and conservationists there believe its survival is endangered. This has been a blow to flytiers, an exacting breed, by whom the jungle cock has been considered essential in forming the "eyes" of such streamer flies as the Mickey Finn, the Grey Ghost and the Green King. Of the 10 most popular streamers, according to a 1949 poll of veteran anglers, only the Lady Ghost lacked jungle-cock eyes. The Lady Ghost has pheasant-feather cheeks instead.
When streamer flies started to win popularity a flytier could get his pick of several necks for $10. Then it became the custom to sell individual feathers rather than the whole neck. Before the ban on imports a good neck could have commanded $50. Now they are all but impossible to come by. Priceless.