SI Vault
September 23, 1963
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September 23, 1963


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Some of the most vivid scenes in the book deal with the suspicions of honest teammates and sportswriters: Ray Schalk, the little catcher, furiously punching Pitcher Lefty Williams under the grandstand; Ring Lardner, disillusioned and drunk, reeling through the White Sox Pullman, singing, "I'm forever blowing ball games."


Before setting off from Parsons College in Iowa to make his fortune as a fullback in pro football, young Nat Craddock had seen little of the world. Now, a few months later, Craddock has covered as much mileage and evoked as much fuss as a bevy of itinerant AAU officials. Originally drafted by the New York Giants, Boston Patriots and Montreal Allouettes, Craddock chose the Giants and lasted until the final cut. Released, he then accepted an offer to join the Ottawa Rough Riders. Learning this, Montreal claimed him as its property. By this time, however, Craddock had decided against Canadian football anyway and informed Boston, his third original drafter, that he was available. The Patriots sent him plane fare.

Impressive enough in tryouts to hang on with Boston, Craddock was still there when the New York Jets came into town for the opener. Jet Coach Weeb Ewbank caught sight of Craddock. "Where have you been?" he yelped. "I've been looking for you for four days." The explanation, of course, is that AFL have-nots Oakland and New York get first refusal on rejects from NFL teams. Entitled to Craddock under this system, the Jets asked Commissioner Joe Foss to award them custody. Foss so ruled, despite the previous draft by Boston, and Craddock went to New York (team No. 5).

But he didn't stay. Instead, strictly on his own, he went to Baltimore and asked for a tryout with the Colts. Will he stay there? See next week, maybe.

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