"Aw," says George, "I can't take this."
Ted Williams, who won the triple crown in the American League in 1947 with 32 homers, 114 runs batted in and a .343 average, has celebrated his 60th birthday by achieving a triple-crown goal he set for himself in 1965—catching 1,000 bonefish, 1,000 tarpon and 1,000 Atlantic salmon on the fly rod. With the bonefish and tarpon goals in hand (for years, Williams has spent his winters in the Florida Keys), he was 27 salmon short of 1,000 when he recently left his camp on the Miramichi and went to fish the Whale River in Quebec. He took care of that with 35 fish in six days. Williams would love to say that salmon No. 1,000 was a great fish, but with customary candor he reports, "It was a dinky little damn fish, 'bout as much oomph as Billy Goodman [a singles hitter] used to get on the bat when we played together in Boston."
O TEMPORA! O MORES!
While the Portland Trail Blazers are reporting to training camp this week, Bill Walton—his left foot still in a cast—will be in Egypt, camped at the base of the pyramids for three nights of concerts by the Grateful Dead. This development should raise scarcely an eyebrow after the bizarre series of events that followed Walton's demands to be traded to a team of his choice because of the Trail Blazers' policy on administering pain-killing drugs (SI, Aug. 21).
The story began taking its latest twist two weeks ago when Walton and the Golden State Warriors, his "chosen" team, reached an impasse in their contract talks. At about the same time, the Warriors and the Trail Blazers—who have maintained that any trade for Walton must make them "whole"—failed to come to terms. The snag in both cases is that there is little chance Walton will be sound enough to play much this season, if at all. "We cannot make acquiring Bill our top priority right now," says Warrior executive Scotty Stirling. "He's not ready to play basketball and we're not going to ruin our team for this season to get a player who can't play."
Golden State can afford to stand pat, but Portland can't. If the Blazers refuse to accept, say, a mediocre center like Robert Parrish or a forward like Sonny Parker from the Warriors, they will have to pay Walton $450,000 in salary, only to lose him to free-agent status at the end of the season when his contract expires. Then Walton can take the first plane to the Bay Area, or anywhere else.
Last week Walton met with Blazer President Larry Weinberg. "I decided one more time to see if there was any way I could continue to play for the Trail Blazers," said Walton. "There wasn't. At the beginning of the meeting I told Larry that I had serious difficulties with most of the people in the Trail Blazer management." Indeed, Walton told Weinberg he wanted him to fire General Manager Harry Glickman, team physician Bob Cook, trainer Ron Culp, public relations director John White and business manager George Rickles. "I would have compromised on Jack Ramsay," Walton said, "because he's a great coach." Weinberg's reply was that policies could be changed, but personnel would not be.
And Walton's difficulties didn't end there. A series of what he termed "extreme personality differences" with his friend and agent Jack Scott had mucked up negotiations with Golden State and San Diego, another team that had expressed an interest in Walton, so last week Walton and Scott parted ways. Said Walton gracefully, "I understand and acknowledge all of the personal harassment Jack has unfairly received in the process of helping me." Said Scott, Walton is "spoiled." O tempora! O mores!
Representative John T. Myers (R., Ind.) is furious at the Postal Service for issuing the new auto racing stamp in Ontario, Calif., instead of in Indianapolis. He fired off a letter to Postmaster General William F. Bolger in which he noted that the stamp features an " Indianapolis-type car" and added, " Indianapolis is the auto racing capital. Ask any racing fan."