SI Vault
December 24, 1973
The ultimate put-on: Frenchy Fuqua, Pittsburgh Steeler running back and the flashiest dresser in football (if not the whole world). To underline his lavender jumpsuits, floor-length capes and Cavalier hats, he has ordered a pair of glass-heeled shoes, each heel to be filled with water and contain a live tropical fish selected from his aquarium to match the color of the day's outfit.
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December 24, 1973


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Best recovery: UCLA's Bill Walton, who survived a bee sting in August and a Wolfpack bite in December.

Longest wait: Henry Aaron's 186 days between tries for homer No. 715.

Coldest hot air: The ballyhooed Atlantic crossing of Balloonist Bob Sparks. He missed by a continent, landing off the coast of Newfoundland.

Surest needle: Former Giant and Ram Defensive Tackle Rosey Grier. He published a book on needlepoint.

Least appreciated: Olga Korbut, the little Russian gymnast. First the International Gymnastic Federation became exercised about her "dangerous show-business" acrobatics and threatened to ban her backward somersaults. Her Soviet bosses did a parallel flip over the cult of personality that had grown around her. Nyet, they said, and nyet again when, injured in practice, she failed to win in the European championships.

Biggest draw: James Gronen, the 14-year-old whose soapbox racer was dragged along to a quicker start and the national championship by a hidden magnetic device rigged by his uncle, Robert Lange Sr. The All-American Soap Box Derby sponsors disqualified the winner, saying no soap. The race wouldn't wash.

Most unbearable: Michael Gilbert of Albion, Maine. Having lost 1,300 chickens to wild foxes, 500 eggs to human thieves and a calf to rustlers, he dug into some bear, a gift of a sympathetic friend. Result: trichinosis.

Worst diagnostician: Charlie Finley, Oakland A's owner who confused Mike Andrews' fumbleitis in the second World Series game with a chronically aching shoulder. Finley's doctored report failed to pass a board of his peers.

Most implausible rookie: Fairleigh Dickinson University Hockey Center John Pierce. He scored four goals and five assists in his team's first five games, not bad considering that Pierce is a) a freshman, b) 41 years old, and c) assistant pastor at St. Anne's Church in Fair Lawn, N.J.

Biggest mismatches: Bobby Riggs versus Margaret Court; Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs.

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