Now that the subject of a black manager for major league baseball has been disposed of for yet another season and Bowie Kuhn has made assurances that his efforts in that direction are "constant and ongoing," and now that it has been explained that Ernie Banks and Frank Robinson and the Aaron brothers were passed over by the Cubs, the Angels and the Braves because they lacked interest or experience or were otherwise occupied, we are free to turn our attention elsewhere.
To pro football, for instance.
"I have never been offered a position in the pros," says Eddie Robinson, who for 33 years has been head football coach at tiny Grambling College and whose school has sent as many players into pro ball as any college in the country over the past 10 years. "I really love what I'm doing at Grambling, but I would at least like to have had the opportunity to turn down a job. Every white coach in the country with my tenure has had that opportunity."
Even the creation of a whole new league has not altered the situation. "Do you know," says Robinson, "I read that the Jacksonville team in the WFL has a coach who worked in high school last year? Wasn't there a black man anywhere that had his qualifications?"
For the record, Eddie Robinson's record is 225 wins, 80 losses and 11 ties, and 32 of his former players are currently on NFL rosters.
THERE'S NO CATCH TO IT
Sitting around the bar of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles telling tales one evening last week during the Reds-Dodgers series (page 22) were a group of major league scouts and onetime players, among them former National League Pitcher Bill Werle, now a scout for Baltimore. When Werle's turn came up he recalled how once in 1949, when he was on the mound for Pittsburgh against the Phillies, Bill (Swish) Nicholson came to bat and hit an extraordinarily high pop fly.
Werle, as was expected of him as the pitcher, called out the name of the in-fielder who would take the catch. "Eddie, get it! Eddie!" hollered Werle.
The ball fell to the ground, untouched, as Catcher Eddie Fitz Gerald, First Baseman Eddie Stevens and Third Baseman Eddie Bockman looked on.