One afternoon in 1965 when Roberts was playing for the Orioles and they were in New York for a series with the Yankees, Roberts got tired of hanging around the hotel lobby reading the papers and decided to go for a walk. His walk took him to Fifth Avenue and past the office of the Commissioner of Baseball, then Ford Frick. Roberts decided to drop in.
"When I got there," he told Steadman, "I asked where the players' pension fund was kept on record. I saw a little room off to the side and one of the commissioner's own assistants handling our entire operation.
"And when I asked questions and did not get satisfactory answers, I started wondering if this was the way something so important to the players should be administered."
Roberts' wonderings led him to Dr. George Taylor, a University of Pennsylvania economist, whom he asked to recommend a full-time director for the Baseball Players' Association. Taylor came up with the name of a man who was a labor negotiator and assistant to the president of the United Steelworkers—this is the Bill Stern part—and that man, sports fans, was none other than Marvin Miller.
Except in a Bill Stern story, somebody usually had polio, and there was music for dramatic effect and then came a Colgate Shave-Cream commercial.
Though few of the Oakland Raiders have ever taken advantage of the fact, one merit of their training camp in Santa Rosa, Calif. is its proximity to Jack London State Historic Park, a memorial to the dashing turn-of-the-century author of Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.
Recently, a newspaperman returning to camp after a visit to the park read to Raider Quarterback Ken Stabler a sample of London's prose as reproduced in a park brochure:
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dryrot.
"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."