Last week in Los Angeles, Chicken Little took up a new cry—The Olympics are leaving! The Olympics are leaving!—and the International Olympic Committee sat up and took notice.
When the IOC rejected L.A.'s proposal that the 1984 Summer Games be run—and financed—by a group of prominent local businessmen, so that the city would be protected from the sort of financial catastrophe that befell Montreal in 1976, Mayor Tom Bradley had heard enough. He sent a letter to his city council requesting it withdraw its bid to host the Olympics. The council rejected that proposal, but Bradley's action gave hope to would-be Olympic hosts from Munich to Mexico City. Montreal said it would stand pat until it had paid off its $900 million debt, but Detroit, Toronto and Spivey's Corner, N.C. stepped forward. Even New York, which lost out to L.A. in the original bidding, responded to Chicken Little's cry, but when Mets owner M. Donald Grant heard of the plans to redesign Shea Stadium so that it could accommodate track and field events, he threatened to move the Mets to another city.
All this ado notwithstanding, the Olympics will be held in Los Angeles. The IOC is intent on proving that the Games can be run without incurring bankruptcy, and L.A., with its existing facilities and Proposition 13-minded organizers, is the ideal spot to demonstrate such proof. The stumbling block is the IOC's now-infamous Rule 4, which states that the host city must assume financial responsibility for the Games. Los Angeles has refused to subject itself to that risk, and shows no signs of backing off.
So in an elephantine effort both to save face and to keep L.A. as host, the IOC has found a way to get around Rule 4—sort of. "The IOC contract must be with the city," says IOC director Monique Berlioux. "It should assume all responsibilities as far as we are concerned. But if it wants to farm things out to a group of prominent businessmen, we have no objection, if the city authorities are satisfied they are dealing with responsible people. We insist that we deal with the city first, and then we may have a meeting with the citizens group afterward."
At week's end the IOC, USOC and Los Angeles were working together to meet the new contract deadline of Aug. 21. As Mme. Berlioux sweetly put it, "We just want to be nice with Los Angeles."
Cam Cottrell is at it again. After researching baseball's Enshrined Nines (SCORECARD, July 24), he has looked into the truth behind a statement that Giant Pitcher John Montefusco made after the team acquired Vida Blue: "There probably hasn't been a staff in history with three no-hit pitchers on it." Montefusco was, er, Counting himself ('76, San Francisco), Blue ('70, Oakland) and Ed Halicki ('75, San Francisco).
Cottrell went to work and discovered 29 staffs that had three or more no-hit pitchers on them. The Giants led with nine, including the 1912 staff that had four pitchers who had thrown no-hitters: Christy Mathewson, Hooks Wiltse, Red Ames and Jeff Tesreau. The 1972 Oakland A's were the only other team with four no-hit pitchers: Blue, Catfish Hunter ('68, Oakland), Ken Holtzman ('69 and '71, Cubs) and Joe Horlen ('67, White Sox). The staff with the most no-hitters—six—however, was that of the 1951 Cleveland Indians: Bob Feller ('40, '46, '51, Cleveland), Bob Lemon ('48, Cleveland) and Johnny Vander Meer, whose back-to-back no-hit games for Cincinnati in 1938 were a major league first and only.
While this year's Giant staff is certainly an exception, the presence of pitchers who have thrown no-hit games does not necessarily mean a brilliant set of arms. Last year's Yankee staff was the first in their history to qualify for Cottrell's elite list, but Holtzman's, Hunter's and Dock Ellis' ('70, Pittsburgh) combined record of 12-13 can hardly be credited with impelling the Yanks to the world championship. In that respect, however, it is difficult to match the 1965 Red Sox, whose no-hit pitchers—Earl Wilson ('62, Boston), Bill Monbouquette ('62, Boston) and Dave Morehead ('65, Boston)—combined for 50 losses, winning but 33.