Dawn, Aug. 3. Only 2,000 more feet, or 24,000 inches, lay above them in an ice-covered cliff. In a final push they mounted it at the rate of six feet a minute, topping the crest of Grand Pilastre at 10 a.m. Eight hours of routine climbing lay ahead, and at 6 a.m. they reached the top of Mont Blanc.
They had accomplished one of the greatest feats in Alpine history, surmounting the most forbidding, most dangerous and most spectacular flank of the highest mountain in the Alps, and finding the first new route to its summit in 87 years.
RULE OF THUMB
The recent furor over National League umpiring has given rise to a new baseball statistic. Just before he was fired as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bobby Bragan protested bitterly against the Frank Dascoli umpiring team (umpires work in four-man teams; each team is named for its senior member). Bragan claimed the Dascolis were unjustifiably short-tempered and had tossed out 30 of the 40 men bounced out of National League games this season.
Warren Giles, president of the National League, rejected Bragan's protest and denied his figures, but obstinately refused to issue any official recounting of thumbings by his four umpiring teams.
Giles should have known better. The baseball fan likes nothing so much as a new pile of rich, ripe statistics to play with. Herewith, then, as a public service, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED presents Bounce Standings, an accurate account of this season's umpiring activity to last week. The figures do not include six American League and nine National League players who were expelled automatically from games for fighting, but only those who personally roused the ire of the ump and saw his thumb.
Maybe the Paparellas and the Dascolis could meet in a Bouncing World Series, with a suitable trophy, perhaps a gold-plated thumb, for the winners. It would be called the Bobby Bragan Trophy, naturally.
The city of San Francisco, a gay old girl with a good deal of money, seemed to be having last-minute qualms about marriage with that fortune hunter from the East, the New York Giants baseball club. As her first flattered excitement at love letters from the Polo Grounds began to subside, a good many of her citizens began to wonder 1) if the Giants were really anything much but Willie Mays, 2) if an American League team mightn't prove much more compatible—San Francisco has produced scads of American League stars, 3) if they really wanted to put civic funds into a baseball park, 4) if they really wanted to pay to watch baseball on Skiatron and 5) if they wouldn't be sorry when that grand old minor league baseball name—the San Francisco Seals—vanished forever.
But despite the skittishness of the bride-to-be—a natural enough reaction in a wealthy older girl contemplating a second adventure in matrimony—the wedding finally began to seem certain. The marriage broker, Mayor George Christopher, remained firm. He sent a letter of definite intent to the Polo Grounds: the city (which badly needs a new stadium) proposed to build a 45,000-seat baseball park and rent it to the Giants for 7% of box-office revenue; the city would operate its parking lots and let the Giants profit from in-the-park concessions. The ambitious uncle of the groom, Horace Stoneham, sighed with satisfaction, prepared to lay the proposal before his stockholders and planned to come to San Francisco to mediate further soon. An autumn wedding is anticipated.