SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
August 21, 1972
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August 21, 1972


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The continued predominance of stand-pattism in major league baseball manifested itself once more during the summer meetings in Kansas City last week.

The most radical proposal that came under consideration was the realignment of teams, either in four six-team leagues or three leagues of eight teams each. By the meeting's end, such proposals seem to have been buried all but permanently. Few club owners were enthusiastic for realignment. Even so progressive a newcomer into the ranks as Ewing Kauffman of the Kansas City Royals opposed it. suggesting instead that for the time being ailing franchises (his own has lost several millions in its four years) be encouraged to try for "better merchandising" of games. Kauffman, nevertheless, was one of a minority of owners willing to let his team play three games in New Orleans' domed stadium, as part of a plan by which 10 teams would play three games each there during a given season.

As usual, there was more support for realignment among American owners and club officials than among those in the more flourishing National League. Such owners and officials as Calvin Griffith of Minnesota, Dick O'Connell of Boston and Jerold Hoffberger of Baltimore all advocated realignment. The only National man in strong agreement was William Bartholomay, president of the Atlanta Braves, though he feared the reaction of Atlanta fans if their team ended up in a league or division with "northern" in its name. Instead of realignment, Spec Richardson of the Houston Astros urged everyone to "roll up their sleeves and go to work" to promote baseball. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati representatives also spoke out against the proposal.

But the real deathblow probably came from Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who said his study of baseball law indicated that realignment probably could be accomplished only by unanimous vote, since it would involve disbanding present leagues and establishing new ones. And, as Joe McGuff, Kansas City Star sports editor, put it, about the only unanimous vote to be expected from major league owners these days would be to deport Marvin Miller.


In the past 10 years there have been some 50 deaths from heatstroke in American football. All could have been prevented, according to an angry Dr. Robert Murphy, team physician for Ohio State University and a leading figure in an American Medical Association research group that has been addressing itself to such problems. Last week there was another heatstroke death. Mark Valentine, a 17-year-old Kenton ( Ohio) high school football player, died in Columbus University Hospital.

"The coach had the football candidates run a two-mile course," Dr. Murphy reported, "and the boy collapsed after running it in something under 12 minutes. This is the most ridiculous thing you can do in preparing heavy interior linemen for football. To run a distance race to prepare for football doesn't make any sense at all. For the thin trackman, perhaps this is O.K., but for the heavy interior linemen it's disgusting. And virtually every one of our heat death victims have been linemen—the guards, centers and tackles, boys carrying too much weight."

Dr. Murphy's prescription: "Bring back the old-fashioned water buckets and throw away those salt tablets.

"Sweat is basically water," he explained. "Some salt, but mostly water. It compounds the problems if you take salt tablets and don't take water, but it's hard to get this point across to kids or coaches.

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