When the Seattle SuperSonics' 6'9" Forward John Hummer came out of a cast after an operation last winter, he felt tired and sluggish. He weighed 237 pounds, his heaviest ever, and could barely cope with the rigors of pro basketball. So Hummer put himself on what he now calls a "capricious" diet, including an occasional cream pie, and tried to run himself back into shape. Results were dismal until he consulted Dr. Nathan Smith, a nutrition expert at the University of Washington. Smith, using calipers to measure various parts of Hummer's body, startled the player by informing him that he was carrying more than 40 pounds of fat—fully 18% of his body weight.
Smith told Hummer to eliminate most dairy products and all animal fat from his diet, but he could have as much fish, lean poultry, fruit, salad, vegetables and spaghetti as he wanted. Spaghetti? Sure, said Dr. Smith, since it provides carbohydrates that an athlete can use up rapidly. In one month Hummer's weight dropped to 210. Now, by exercising strenuously, he is building muscle to bring himself back up to 225. "Not much less than before," he says, "but the difference is I'll only be 8% fat." Which means, despite a net loss of 12 pounds, 22 pounds of John Hummer fat are looking for another job.
THE PRICE OF FISH
Jim Murray, the Los Angeles Times columnist, unearthed the findings of Wayne Reynolds, an economics major entering the Wharton School, who wrote a thesis suggesting that Catfish Hunter was a liability at the box office for Oakland last year. Games Catfish pitched drew an average of 1,300 fewer fans than those pitched by others on the A's staff. Reynolds figured this fall-off cost Charlie Finley a mess of gate receipts, perhaps $80,000. (On the road, where the A's drew twice as well as they did at home, Hunter averaged 2,000 more spectators per game than the other staffers.)
On the chance that, for some reason, star pitchers do not draw well, Reynolds checked Sandy Koufax' record in 1966, his last year with the Dodgers. Koufax drew sensationally that season, increasing home-game revenues by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sandy obviously was a bargain at $130,000 a year, then the highest salary in the majors, but is the $3.75-million Catfish earning his keep with the Yankees? Reynolds' figures, based on the first weeks of the season, said Hunter was still a drag on the attendance market, but by midsummer the Catfish was dragging them in, pulling an extra 8,000 fans to his games.
Still, the A's don't seem to miss him, either on the field or at the gate, where their attendance is some 150,000 ahead of last year.