FOUL, FAIR OR FAKE?
Several million people watching TV last Saturday night saw Welterweight Champion Emile Griffith knock down Jorge Fernandez with what seemed to be a low blow—a foul—and were startled a few minutes later when Griffith's hand was raised in victory after Fernandez said he was unable to continue. Referee Harry Krause told the TV audience that he had given the fight to Griffith because Emile was ahead on points, but this was an error, as Krause himself admitted later. The fight went to Griffith because Nevada's boxing rules (the fight was held in Las Vegas) state that "no contestant may be awarded a contest on a claim of a low foul blow." When Fernandez refused—or was unable—to go on, Krause had no choice but to award the fight to Griffith.
The "no foul" rule is a good one, if imperfect. It came into being three decades ago because too many fights were ending with one man dramatically clutching himself and claiming victory because he had been fouled. Too often, invalid claims were allowed. With the introduction of the protective cup came the "no foul" rule; in the majority of states if a boxer refuses to continue, it is a technical knockout.
It is ironic that Griffith, a decent kid who gained almost intolerable attention last winter after his fatal knockout of Benny Paret, should again win a fight under lamentable circumstances. But there should be no question that the punch, if it was, in fact, low, was accidental, unintentional and, possibly, not disabling. It is, indeed, a curious coincidence that Fernandez claimed a similar foul in a bout with Isaac Logart.
J.G. TAYLOR SPINK
In the issue of The Sporting News that was on the newsstands there was a two-column headline which read: SCRIBES SALUTE "BIBLE" PUBLISHER. Within the memory of its oldest reader, no issue of the famous baseball weekly had failed to carry some similar tribute to J. G. Taylor Spink, its owner, who died at his home in Clayton, Mo. last week at the age of 74.
He seemed to people who knew him only through his paper to be an inordinately vain man. But he seemed to be many things that he was not. He seemed to be harsh and cruel, but he was secretly softhearted and kind and thoughtful of people in trouble. He seemed to be niggardly, but he was generous when generosity was sorely needed.
His apparent vanity was hardest to explain. The President of the United States could not fully satisfy him with a personal letter, nor could any plaque or scroll and standing ovation at a testimonial dinner. And yet, met face to face, he was a humble man. Perhaps what he really feared was that if people did not appreciate Taylor Spink, they would not fully appreciate The Sporting News. And if people did not appreciate baseball's own bible, how could they fully appreciate the game it covered from the major leagues down to the lowliest of the minors?
The Baseball Writers' Association of America has petitioned the officers of the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., for a place to put a plaque on which the names of the great baseball journalists would be listed. Hopefully, it would hang within a pepper-game toss of the plaques honoring immortals like Ruth and Cobb. Nothing is definite about the project as yet. But there has been one unanimous decision: in the listing of the names, that of John George Taylor Spink will lead all the rest—a final tribute and perhaps one this man was seeking through the years for a paper and a game he loved and served so well.
THE KENNEDY GAME