SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
October 24, 1977
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October 24, 1977


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The enmity between the football people at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City press, which erupted last year when the Oklahoma City Times correctly reported that the NCAA was conducting an investigation into charges of ticket scalping by players (SI, Dec. 13, 1976), has flared up again. This time Coach Barry Switzer has barred Walt Jayroe, a sportswriter for the Daily Oklahoman, from practices and from interviewing players. This bit of childishness came about after Jayroe refused to heed Switzer's request that writers suppress the fact that Defensive Tackle Phil Tabor missed the Thursday practice before the Texas game because of a knee injury.

"I asked all three papers who were here that day not to run the story," says Switzer. "The other guys didn't mention it. Walt said he felt he had to write it. It's gotten to be a one-way street with him."

Jayroe reported the news of Tabor's injury in the last paragraph of an eight-paragraph story and noted that Switzer planned to play Tabor against Texas. "I'm a reporter," Jayroe says. Dean Bailey, another writer barred by Switzer for one afternoon because he works for the Daily Oklahoman, says, "People here don't understand that reporters aren't supposed to be fans."


Bing Crosby, who died last week after a round of golf in Spain, was a sportsman. A fine golfer who had 13 holes in one during his life, he started a small tournament for his friends, and it grew into the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. For some years he maintained a racing stable. His favorite horse was Meadow Court, which won the Irish Derby in 1965, just a day after Bing bought a one-third interest. He bought and built up (and later sold) Del Mar racetrack. He thought up the track's slogan, "Where the Turf Meets the Surf," and occasionally did the track announcing. He was a part owner and a vice-president of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was a skilled fisherman in both fresh and salt water, and for 16 years he held the world record for a rainbow runner on 12-pound-test line. He was a hunter who shot for the table, not for the wall. An ardent conservationist, he generously lent his name and efforts to causes in which he believed.


One of the most remarkable strong men in the world is also dead. Joseph L. Greenstein died in Brooklyn at the patriarchal age of 84, and right up to last May he had been performing feats of strength.

Known as the Mighty Atom because of his diminutive size (5'4�", 145 pounds), Greenstein was born in Poland and was trained by a circus wrestler. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1911, became a roustabout in the Texas oil fields and eventually went on the vaudeville circuit. He could twist horseshoes with his bare hands and break chains with his chest, but he was best known for more bizarre feats of strength. By lifting weights with his hair, which he wore shoulder length, he built up a half-inch layer of muscle on the top of his skull. "Putting your hand on the top of his head was like touching a man's arm muscle," says Ed Spielman, the creator of TV's Kung Fu and author of a forthcoming biography of the Mighty Atom. With a chain attached to his hair, Greenstein pulled a loaded truck weighing 32 tons, a record, and on another occasion he used his hair to prevent an airplane from taking off.

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