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THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL
Not since the days of the Indians and the Conestoga wagons had the California Trail been so beset by perils and confusion. Los Angeles seemed just a tiny sand-hill town again, out on the edge of nowhere, its destiny uncertain, its citizens beset with doubts about their future. In Brooklyn, eyes that had acquired the westward look-were lowered again to the realities of Flat-bush and Ebbets Field. For all the Dodgers knew, carrier pigeons might be on the wing to California with the final news of where the team was going; in the meantime, modern communications appeared to have entirely broken down.
In the total absence of hard facts, strange discussions flourished. A Los Angeles County official revealed in tones of deepest shock that it would take $8 million to build a stadium where the Dodgers seemed to want it, in Chavez Ravine. This, he went on, would make it impossible to build the $6,500,000 zoo which some Angelenos preferred to National League baseball. Councilman Charles Navarro raised another question: what about mineral rights on the site of the proposed ball park? There seemed to be a largish pool of oil there; would this be Dodger property if the club moved in?
Even Mayor Norris Poulson seemed to be strangely in the dark. The best that he could tell his worried citizenry was that some team would eventually come. In San Francisco his colleague, Mayor George Christopher, was a bit more confident—after all, he had the Giants safely in the fold—but even so said querulously that it would certainly be better if California had two teams.
No doubt it would—and California was willing. Already the Giants had $2 million in their pockets for pay TV in the San Francisco area, another $350,000 for radio rights and more than $50,000 worth of advance ticket orders. Warming to their new-found heroes, San Francisco merchants were launching a "Say Hey! Cocktail," Giants shirts and caps and candy bars, and a Giants welcoming ball.
Brooklyn's Walter O'Malley seemed to hear neither the happy clink of coin around Nob Hill nor the worried noises of the Angelenos. He went hunting in Wyoming, and it took the cream of the Pony Express to find out where he was—which turned out, appropriately enough, to be up along the Continental Divide, at Rawlins.
Mayor Poulson promptly sent his ace negotiator, Harold C. McClellan, with a briefcase full of trading trinkets to try, once and for all, to close a deal. Obviously, the suspense couldn't last much longer. O'Malley's deadline for a decision—set by the National League—is October 1.
MOST HAPPY FELLA
As he lounged on a bed in Manhattan's fashionable St. Regis Hotel last week, wearing his thick, warm coat of muscles and a pair of red-figured white shorts, Pete Rademacher seemed as dreamily pleased with the world as a bottle baby with a tank car of warm milk. The lumps, bruises and contusions which were his only reward for fighting Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson were gone. So, it became immediately apparent, was any psychic trauma he may have incurred. Despite the fact that Patterson knocked him down seven separate and distinct times in Seattle last month, he has decided, in retrospect, that the champion is his pigeon; furthermore, he strongly suspects that he will be able to lure that luckless athlete into the ring again to separate him from his title.
In saying this, of course, he was saying that he has decided—"under the proper conditions," and with the sanction of that curious commercial enterprise, Youth Unlimited—to go on fighting professionally. It is extremely doubtful that his proper conditions exist at present. He conferred with IBC officials while he was in New York but nothing seemed to come of it. There was at least one good reason: when Jim Norris offered him $20,000 to fight any one of four leading heavyweights, Rademacher assumed the promoter really meant $50,000 and said so. But if the custodians of Madison Square Garden were critical of his sense of values, he remained placidly delighted with the whole disordered universe, including the IBC, and confident that things would go Rademacher's way in the end.