SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
October 01, 1979
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October 01, 1979


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But then the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis. began keeping its own records, including in its listings a great many categories that Field & Stream didn't deem worthy of consideration. In the course of compiling its records, the Hall of Fame learned that the British National Anglers' Council never had recognized Muir's feat, having concluded that his big trout had been snagged, jigged by hand or caught by some other unacceptable means. The Hall of Fame reached the same conclusion and bestowed the record on Bob Bringhurst, who caught a 33-pound, 10-ounce brown trout in Utah's Flaming Gorge Reservoir in 1977. Field & Stream meanwhile conducted its own investigation. After uncovering one report that Muir's fish was a salmon, it, too, discredited Muir's record. But instead of Bringhurst, it recognized Eugenio Cavaglia, who purportedly caught a brown weighing 35 pounds, 15 ounces in Argentina in 1952.

The disagreement over the brown trout record is one of many that exist between the Hall of Fame and the Florida-based International Game Fish Association, which last year took over the task of maintaining Field & Stream's listings. Of the Cavaglia catch, an association spokesman says, "It's well documented. We have no doubts about it." But the Hall of Fame calls documentation it has seen inadequate and sticks with Bringhurst. In a dispute similar to the one between the WBA and WBC over the recognition of boxing champions, the longtime Babe Ruth of brown trout fishermen has, for now anyway, been replaced by two claimants to the title.

A study by the Manhattan ad agency Benton & Bowles finds that 48.6% of all tennis players, 44.3% of downhill skiers, 39.4% of backpackers and 36.2% of squash players are women. And a survey by the National Organization for Women reveals that 33% of high school athletes are girls, an increase of 15% since 1972. But NOW says that girls still make up only 15% of high school athletes in Alabama, where things have not gone so well for the women's movement. Holly Knox, director of NOW's Project on Equal Education Rights, notes that the University of Alabama offers partial ($150 a semester) athletic scholarships to women for the entertainment of male athletes the school wants to recruit. The University calls these coeds "hostesses," but Knox says, "Our dictionary has another name for them."


Pro athletes were talking a lot last week about their right to do just that—talk. Several New York Jet players complained when Coach Walt Michaels released Linebacker Bob Martin, who had been engaged in a contract dispute, after Martin openly criticized the team. Reggie Jackson leveled a blast or two at owner George Steinbrenner over a variety of grievances, whereupon Manager Billy Martin threatened to punish Jackson by keeping him on the bench next season. And Montreal Pitcher Bill Lee was joined by officials of the American Civil Liberties Union at a press conference called to protest a $250 fine that Commissioner Bowie Kuhn levied against him last spring for publicly admitting that he had used marijuana.

Michaels has every right to release a player, and the Yankee brass can threaten to bench anybody it chooses, but it should be noted that both actions produced more acrimony than they stopped. As for the Lee case, because possession of marijuana is a crime in all 50 states—and, yes, in Quebec—it is perhaps understandable that Kuhn might have deemed Lee's remarks detrimental to baseball. Yet, Kuhn, too, was only inviting trouble. At his press conference Lee, who believes that refined sugar and caffeine are more dangerous to one's health than Acapulco Gold, wondered why Steve Garvey had not been fined for appearing in Coca-Cola ads. (In fact, the soft drink Garvey plugs is Pepsi-Cola.) And when a reporter asked what would happen if Kuhn levied a $250 fine against every ballplayer who used marijuana, Lee mischievously replied, "He'd be a very rich man."

The motives of sports officials who try to silence athletes should always be questioned, especially when they are strangely selective in doing so. For example, it remains a mystery why Kuhn didn't fine Cardinal Shortstop Garry Templeton for declaring during a spring-training contract dispute that he wasn't going to try very hard this season. Templeton later said he didn't mean it, but that kind of remark is potentially far more damaging to baseball than Lee's admission that he sprinkled marijuana on his "buckwheat pancakes and other health foods."


Pitcher Bob Kammeyer, who had a 16-8 record and an earned run average of 3.93 this season with Columbus of the International League, was called up last week by the Yankees and appeared in relief two days later in Cleveland. Brought in with the Indians leading the Yankees 4-0 in the fourth inning, Kammeyer gave up seven hits and hit one batter as Cleveland scored eight times on its way to a 16-3 victory. When Manager Billy Martin finally removed him, Kammeyer still hadn't gotten anybody out, thus making it impossible to compute an earned run average for him. As a result, his ERA appeared in the statistics as INF—for infinity.

Other pitchers have briefly had ERAs of infinity—for example, after giving up one or two runs at the start of a season without retiring anybody—but no one can recall a pitcher yielding eight runs in a debut without getting an out. Kammeyer, who had a 5.73 ERA in seven appearances with the Yankees last year, was a math major for a while at Stanford, so he well understood what his shelling meant arithmetically. "It hurts to see that INF next to my name, but it may be worse when I finally get somebody out," he said. "It'll take a lot of pitching to get my earned run average down."

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