SI Vault
December 02, 1957
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December 02, 1957

Events & Discoveries

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One certainty is that D'Amato must soon play his hand. Although the play might entail present sacrifice in his dogged campaign against the IBC, a peek at his hole card can only reassure him that the ace, in itself, is strong enough to beat any opposition. That, after all, is the main concern.


Pneumatic boxing gloves were invented not long ago by a Finnish doctor named Lyderik L�fgren. This means that compressed air (instead of the usual compressed hair, or felt) serves as padding The gloves are said to be 2� times less damaging than conventional boxing gloves, which constitutes a safety factor so large that it would make the work of some fighters not just harmless but beneficial, like massage.

Dr. L�fgren says that the gloves have been tried out in competition and "were a success." Whether this means that nobody got hurt, or that nobody was able to tell that a fight was taking place, Dr. L�fgren doesn't say. He does say that a factory in Finland is now making his pneumatic boxing gloves and that the Russians want to buy its entire output. They will not be allowed to, however. Dr. L�fgren says his gloves are "for the whole world."

Well, if the whole world adopts them, the old sport of boxing may take on some strange new accessories, and perhaps new rules. Will there be an air compressor at ringside? Will the judges give a man credit if he manages a blowout, but fails to achieve a knockout? Will welterweights be inflated to the same pressure as heavyweights? The future grows more uncertain, and more alarming, every day.


Everyone was sure Frank Lane would stir up the American League pot as soon as he took over as general manager of the Cleveland Indians. It came therefore as something of a surprise when the first boiling bubble of the winter trading season erupted not in Cleveland but in Detroit.

Young John McHale (so called because at 36 he is the youngest general manager in the major leagues, though he'd be labeled an "aging veteran" if he were still an active ballplayer), who stepped into Spike Briggs's job with the Detroit Tigers when Spike was eased out the door last spring, beat Frank Lane at his own game. John had been dickering with the Kansas City Athletics over Billy Martin for some time. Billy is loud, brash, fearless; one who naturally assumes that he is as good as, or better than, any other ballplayer. John's Tigers, a talented but meek lot, have a tendency to step back and let other ball clubs through the door first. John, wanting Billy Martin, had been patiently trying to work out a deal with Kansas City. Now came Frank Lane, the trader. Obviously, with the terrible fielding infield Lane found at Cleveland, a player like Martin was Lane's prime target.

John McHale stirred uneasily. He was scheduled to fly down to the Caribbean for a look at players in the winter leagues. Frank Lane was supposed to fly to St. Louis (which, of course, is not very far from Kansas City). Bad weather canceled Lane's flight to St. Louis, so Frank altered direction some 60� to the left and flew instead to Havana to confer with his new Cleveland manager, Bobby Bragan. McHale, reacting with an alertness not particularly noticeable in the Detroit front office in recent years, altered his flight plan some 60� to the right and hopped over to Chicago where he met with Kansas City officials, closed a trade and walked out with the prize, Martin, figuratively under his arm.

Lane was irate, in a genial way. Like most men who hate losing, he admires winners and accepts defeat gracefully. Bobby Bragan was disappointed. Detroiters were, generally, pleased.

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