SI Vault
Edited by Robert Creamer
February 23, 1970
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February 23, 1970


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The unhappy revelation that Pitcher Denny McLain was a partner in a bookie operation dominated by mobsters (page 16) is not a story we take pleasure in printing. Professional sport lives on the confidence of its audience, and exposing ugly facts may momentarily shake that confidence; but trying to hide them would destroy it.

A professional athlete can be a swinger, let his hair grow in profusion, wear wild clothes, do his own thing, flout staid and established conventions. But through it all, if he is to maintain his authority as an athlete, he can never forget his responsibility to his job—to his club, to his teammates, to his game. To some this may seem naive, old fashioned and square. Too bad. That's the way it is.


Chicago's high school athletic association is in danger of dissolving in a welter of brawls, disturbances and postgame riots. The 55-member league has had trouble finding a place to hold its basketball playoffs. DePaul University and Northwestern won't allow their gyms to be used because of disturbances in recent years, and Illinois Tech and the University of Chicago balked, too. The International Amphitheater doesn't have available dates, and the Chicago Stadium rental of $5,000 per day is too costly. School officials finally settled for the old Navy Pier gym, where the games will be played under police guard before a screened crowd.

One bright spot in the gloomy picture came when Farragut met Crane Tech in a critical game. Just before the opening whistle Guido Marchetti, the Farragut football coach and athletic director, walked to center court and blew a whistle for silence. The kids yelled and hooted and grumbled before they slowly quieted down. When he finally had their attention Marchetti said, "You know what's been going on in this league. If it continues, we may not have any sports in this league in the future. If you don't behave like ladies and gentlemen today we will not allow spectators in this gym for any game the rest of the season. It's entirely up to you."

He marched off. The kids cheered and applauded. And there were no incidents during or after the game.


One interscholastic sport you may not be following closely is meat judging, which is promoted by the National Livestock and Meat Board in Chicago. The board annually sponsors four meat-judging contests for collegians, with the big one held at the end of the year. Contestants are usually animal-science majors (including girls) who plan to become meat buyers, research specialists with meat-packing plants or teachers. Winners usually do very well in industry after graduation.

The judges, who are animal-science professors, meat packers and specialists from the Department of Agriculture, secretly grade carcasses and wholesale cuts of beef, pork and lamb according to Department of Agriculture standards: prime, choice, good, etc. They also rate them for "cutability," the yield of lean meat that might be expected from each carcass. The contestants are then let loose on the meat, and those whose classifications come closest to those of the judges carry home the bacon.

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