Both Lee Elder and Frank Robinson were born in Texas, attended high school in California and journeyed East, where each won renown by hitting the daylights out of a small white ball. Elder is 40, Robinson 39. Both are glad that last week, when they respectively became the first blacks to play in the Masters golf tournament and manage a big-league baseball team, is finally history. Their relief is widely shared.
A STATISTICAL SNAFU
So the Washington Bullets' Wes Unseld grabs 30 rebounds in his final regular-season game to edge Boston's Dave Cowens for the NBA rebounding title. So teammate Kevin Porter has back-to-back games of 21 and 22 assists to run away with that title. So Golden State's Rick Barry is the NBA champion in steals. Boston General Manager Red Auerbach remains singularly unimpressed.
"It's ridiculous," says Auerbach. "Every time a guy touches the ball they can give him a rebound. Assists? They don't mean the same thing in any two cities in the league. And what the hell's a steal? A guy gets three steals, his man goes by him seven times and he's a champion. That's asinine."
As Cowens' boss, Auerbach is understandably suspicious about Unseld's season-ending, 30-rebound performance. After all, official scorers and statisticians are hired by home teams, and Unseld's finale occured on Washington's home court. In fact, in the four subjective categories of rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots, every individual and team "high game" was set at home this season. A Washington statistician once briefly credited Porter with two assists in 41 seconds only to discover to his embarrassment that the Bullets did not score a point during that time span.
This situation distresses Seymour Siwoff, whose Elias Sports Bureau compiles official NBA statistics. "I see box scores that look funny, but there's no sure way to check (heir accuracy," Siwoff complains. "We set standards and hope they're followed. Sometimes mistakes are made and there's nothing we can do short of watching films of the games. And that's not feasible."
FOREMAN VS. FIVE MEN
George Foreman's exhibition against five opponents next Saturday in Toronto may be promising TV fare (page 68), but the stunt is unlikely to dispel any of the doubts about Foreman raised by the Battle of Za�re. In 1958 Lamar Clark, an undefeated, much-ballyhooed heavyweight, kayoed six foes in the same evening in Bingham, Utah. Clark proved to be a dud and retired in 1961 after being flattened in the second round by a 19-year-old newcomer named Cassius Clay.
SONIC BOON I
The once-rich salmon fisheries around Alaska's Bristol Bay have been badly depleted by hungry beluga whales, which feast on sockeyes that move through the bay to and from spawning rivers like the Naknek, King Salmon and Kvichak. The Alaska Fish and Game Department is about to fight back with something called the Beluga Spooker, an underwater hi-fi system designed to send the belugas scattering from the river mouths in terror.
The Spooker will transmit amplified tape recordings of random conversation of the killer whale, an enemy of the beluga. Fish and Game is currently installing 10 of the battery-powered systems, at a cost of $3,500 apiece, in time for early runs of sockeyes next month. The Spookers are equipped with automatic timers, and these will turn on the recordings at high tide, which is when the belugas go looking for dinner.