SI Vault
Edited by Bruce Newman
November 20, 1978
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November 20, 1978


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Live animals performing as college mascots are an old and venerated football tradition, and though the amount of livestock on the sidelines has declined in recent times, it's still a good idea to walk gingerly among the yard-markers. At certain service academies, kid-napping has a special meaning all its own.

Just before the Oct. 14 game between the Air Force Academy and Colorado State, for instance, a bunch of cadets grabbed the Colorado State mascot—a ram—and put it in a stable. The ram kicked down the door, so they moved the beast to a different stable. This time he kicked down a wall. The cadets finally realized they were no match for the creature and asked the ram to scram. Said Air Force Athletic Director John Clune, "I was glad to see him leave before he tore down the academy."

West Point cadet Garon Reeves thought it would be nice to get Navy's goat, so he did. He took Billy XXI and hid the Navy mascot on an upstate New York dairy farm owned by Tony Schleiser. Schleiser spent 23 years in the Army and is a sergeant in the reserve; he is also the father of Reeves' girl friend Lucy.

To Reeves' surprise and consternation, the Naval Academy belittled the significance of the theft and practically ignored Billy's absence as the football team put together a seven-game winning streak. "Whoever stole that goat got more than he bargained for," said 2nd Lieut. Tom Rehrig of Navy's sports information office. "That goat stinks. All goats stink."

Reeves, who violated an agreement between the two service academies that bars the traditional prank of stealing each other's mascot, made the mistake of bragging about his abduction of Billy XXI and now faces restriction to quarters, walking tours and demerits. Schleiser, meanwhile, took exception to Rehrig's indictment of Billy. "He was a very, very well-behaved and mild-smelling goat," the farmer said. "They should be happy and proud to have him back."


When the New York Yankees won this year's World Series, they thought they had earned the right to call themselves the "world champions." Not so, says John Lee Hilton, convict No. 182446 in the Hillsborough county ( Fla.) slammer. Hilton is suing TV station WFLA, NBC's Tampa affiliate, for advertising this sham as a World Series. According to Hilton's $3 million in forma pauperis suit, "They only play teams in the United States."

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, who lives in Tampa and usually has the mot juste for just about any situation, said his team did, too, win the world championship. "I don't know what else we could have done," said Steinbrenner. "We beat everybody that showed up."


During the first 10 weeks of the season, 170 NFL players suffered sufficiently severe injuries to be placed on the league's injured-reserve list. Counting the four exhibition games, that comes to an average of more than 12 players going down each week, or a projected 240 injured players by the end of the season. Surprisingly, none of those players—even the ones who are now healthy again—is likely to play another minute of football this season.

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