SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
May 24, 1976
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May 24, 1976


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After four years Kauffman decided to end the experiment, and in 1974 the academy as such was closed. In one sense, Kauffman's theory was proved to be correct. Second Baseman Frank White was developed into a major-leaguer, and is now in his fourth season with Kansas City. But the academy cost the Royals more than $2 million, and White is the only one of its graduates to make it to the big leagues. For all his skills, he is hardly a Two Million Dollar Man. Nine other players are still in the Royals' farm system; all the others are gone.


As nearly as can be ascertained, there are only two platform tennis courts in all the vast area between Western Europe and the Pacific Ocean, one at the American Embassy compound in Warsaw, the other behind the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Moscow. The second annual Eastern Hemisphere Platform Tennis Championship, held a week or so ago in Moscow, was thus a decidedly special event. Ambassador Richard Davies led a 39-member traveling squad from the Warsaw embassy, while the Moscow team was spearheaded by Ambassador Walter J. Stoessel Jr. Stoessel and his wife became platform tennis devotees 10 years ago at Washington's Chevy Chase Country Club and have been playing several times a week ever since. Partly because there are few other forms of recreation for Westerners in either Warsaw or Moscow, the caliber of play by both squads was surprisingly good.

A crowd numbering in the dozens braved 35� weather and persistent rain and huddled on bleachers decorated in red, white and blue to watch the action, which was climaxed by a doubles match starring Ambassador Stoessel on one side of the net, Ambassador Davies on the other. Because of reports that the American Embassy in Moscow had been bombarded for years by mysterious microwaves, allegedly from Soviet sources trying to foul sensitive U.S. transmitting equipment, there was concern (and a big diplomatic flap) that the health of Embassy personnel might have been affected. If so, it did not show on the paddle tennis court. Stoessel's doubles team won its match 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, and the Moscows beat the Warsaws in team competition for the second year in a row, eight matches to five.


One of those spectacular bridge hands popped into the news recently in Baltimore, where a man named Alan Behrend, playing with his wife and some friends, was dealt 13 hearts. Bidding was spirited, as you can imagine. Behrend, sitting South, threw in a fake cue-bid in diamonds—so that when he reached seven hearts, West doubled. Behrend promptly redoubled. He then laid down his hand for a memorable Grand Slam.

Those mildly interested in bridge marvel at Behrend's luck, since the odds against holding all 13 cards of one suit are supposedly more than 158 billion to 1. Those intensely interested in bridge ignore the odds and—what else?—criticize the bidding. The double was a bad call, they say, but the redouble was worse, and the subsequent pass as bad as either. After the redouble, West should have realized he had been hoodwinked and sacrificed at seven no trump. He undoubtedly would have gone down, the experts say, but he would have saved a lot of points for his side.

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