Sievers was Rookie of the Year with the Browns in 1949 when he batted .306. A broken collarbone and a chronic separation of the shoulder almost ended his career in 1951. He was, in fact, given up as a bad risk by Baltimore when they inherited the Brownie stock, and they traded him to Washington in 1954 for Gil Coan. Playing now with a surgically rebuilt shoulder, Sievers, who had to throw underhand at first, has since recovered to the point where runners think twice before taking the extra base.
Success has not spoiled Roy Sievers. "I dunno," he says, "I'm just swinging and things are happening." They certainly are. The fans in Washington know that Roy is the Most Valuable Player, eighth place or not, and the Senator management has been enjoying home-game ticket sales comfortably in advance of last year's. Just about all of the increase can be attributed to Roy and his long ball.
Last week the fans turned out for a Roy Sievers Night at which he received a Mercury station wagon, among other gifts. Along with his contribution to Roy's night, Vice-President Nixon wrote the fund-raising committee: "No man in baseball deserves more recognition than Roy.... I think the highest compliment that I've heard paid to him was expressed by my 11-year-old daughter Tricia. After she had seen him hit his 37th and 38th home runs against Kansas City on television, She exclaimed that ' Washington shouldn't trade Roy Sievers for Mickey Mantle.' "
Mantle gets $50,000 or so a year, Sievers about $18,000. If Sievers decides to brace his club for a raise (thus striking hard at Veeck's Law), all Washington, including Tricia Nixon, will be on his side.
Duffy Daugherty, the Michigan State football coach, calls himself "a Civil War golfer—out in 61, back in 65." Actually, he shoots in the low 80s and loves the game to which, surprisingly, he was able to devote a great deal of time last summer.
In previous summers Duffy has not had much of an opportunity to play golf; he was too busy rounding up beef to stock his team. But the Big Ten's new purity code has about ended the unseemly summer scramble for players. Now a coach simply submits an offer of financial aid to a promising player and then hopefully awaits a letter from the high schooler signifying his intent to attend the coach's college. Once that letter is received no one else in the conference can touch the boy. This system, Duffy prophesied last year, would put quite a crimp in his recruiting style.
"At first I viewed the plan with apprehension and a little trepidation," he admitted recently, "but so far it looks like there are more benefits than I anticipated. I played more golf last summer than I have in 10 years."
So, instead of beating the bushes, looking for players, Duffy now devotes August to beating the tall grass looking for lost golf balls. This, he feels, is quite an improvement. "Besides, I gained peace of mind knowing I had good kids lined up and coming to school." He reflected on that for a few minutes, then smiled happily. "I think my golf game will improve in summers to come," he said.
DON'T RUN, WALK