SI Vault
March 29, 1965
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March 29, 1965


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Next to genuine elephant-hair bracelets from Africa ($2), the bargain of the month at Abercrombie & Fitch is Gunmaker Lawrence Salter, "the man from Purdey's." In the best circles shotguns by James Purdey & Sons, Ltd., London, are revered. "It is generally known," Mr. Salter is not ashamed to say, "that we make guns for the royal family."

Mr. Salter measures shooters for their custom Purdeys as expertly as a Savile Row tailor fits a blue-serge pinstripe. He uses a unique try gun with an adjustable stock; when triggered a beam of light is cast on the wall, indicating where an individual is shooting.

Last week Mr. Salter spent considerable time replacing batteries and bulbs as "customers" flocked in to get measured. Each was told to aim at the top of Mr. Salter's finger. "How much rib are you seeing?" he asked. "Well, we shall have to drop it at the face and cast it off a bit. Now come up on that exit sign like you were taking a line on a rising grouse, and pull the triggers. Ah. Fine. See where the light is? You're right on the bird, sir. Now we can build you a Purdey that will fit like a glove."

"Uh huh," the customer said. "Now the cheapest, I mean, the basic Purdey costs about $3,000, right?"

"That's right, sir."

"Well, I'll have to think about it. Say, would you mind letting me jot down my measurements in the meantime?"

Mr. Salter declined to reveal how few guns he had sold. "A prospective customer is, after all, a friend," he said kindly, staring at the back of the last prospect heading for the door with the free measurements clutched in his hand.

"They talk about the sophomore jinx," said Richie Allen. "What they really mean is the general manager's jinx. You can get worn down until you don't feel like doing anything. Me, I'd just as soon stay home and ride my horse." The Philadelphia third baseman and Rookie of the Year had just lost a four-month salary dispute with Phillies General Manager John Quinn in which he "succumbed" to Quinn's $20,000 offer, double his 1964 salary. " Quinn said I was getting bad advice," said Allen. "Listen, I haven't had bad advice in 23 years from my family. My mother agreed to terms, not me. If I have another good year I'm not going to take anybody's advice. Rich Allen will make up his own mind and stick with it."

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