"Baseball players," says Philadelphia Phillie Outfielder Jay Johnstone, "are probably in the worst condition of any professional athletes." Part of the problem is they don't want to lift weights and get bulky. Rather, they want to be flexible. So some teams have flexibility coaches.
At Philadelphia he is Gus Hoefling, who used to perform the same task with the football Eagles. But the path to flexibility is strenuous. Says Hoefling in an interview in The Philadelphia Inquirer, "We take every muscle to momentary failure." While doing this, he suddenly probes around an athlete's throat. "Some guys say they can't stand any more. But maybe they can. So when I feel the trachea collapse, I know they've really finally reached their limit."
Gus' own limits are well known. He lies on the floor and lets people stand on his neck. Which attracts a certain amount of attention at parties.
Triple Crowns for horses are rare (only 10 in history); so are Tulane football victories over LSU. Perhaps it is fitting, therefore, that the events seem to be linked. Tulane has had only two wins over the bullies from Baton Rouge since 1943—in 1948 when Citation won the Triple Crown, and in 1973 when Secretariat won.
Now with Seattle Slew's Triple this year, Tulane Coach Larry Smith is buoyed: "I've always been superstitious. I believe in good signs and bad signs."
At LSU, where the Tigers hold a huge 48-19-7 alltime advantage over Tulane, Coach Charley McClendon counters, "A horse race will not determine the outcome of our game with Tulane."
Tune in when the teams go to the post Nov. 19.
Since the 1930s there have been at least four major attempts to establish a professional rodeo league. None came close to making the whistle.