Now the year draws in. Charlie Finley is fading in the west, Joe Namath in the east. The market for athletic talent, professional as well as amateur, is high, but if your son is wondering whether to be a backcourt man or a lawyer, talk to the kid. Straighten him out. The sound of litigation is heard in the land.
This is the time of the lawyer, the agent, the accountant, the politician. Success begins with a dollar sign. Failure is red ink. The Cincinnati Reds don't excite people, because the Reds do their thing on the field. Give us the Olympic Games. Football coaches. The NCAA. Jimmy Connors. The retiring Ali. Jumping basketball stars. Merry Christmas.
The news that the New England Patriots may get to "draft" two players from the San Francisco 49ers (SCORECARD, Dec. 6), to complete the April 1976 trade in which the 49ers obtained Jim Plunkett from New England, caused a bit of a stir around the Golden Gate. In case you don't remember the details, the Pats were supposed to have the 49ers' first two picks in the 1977 NFL draft, but if the draft is not held—a court has declared it illegal, a decision that is being appealed—then the New Englanders can reportedly select any two men they want from San Francisco, excepting only Plunkett and three other players the 49ers are entitled to protect.
San Francisco fans have been grumbling since they heard about that arrangement, mostly because Plunkett had an indifferent year. In fact, local cynics have suggested that the 49ers ought to complete the trade by sending Plunkett back to New England.
A second 49er who has been getting his critical lumps is Placekicker Steve Mike-Mayer, who played without a contract this season because he felt he was not being paid what he was worth. His argument looked strong a couple of months back when he kicked 10 field goals in a row. It sagged when he blew kicks that would have upset St. Louis and Washington and might have helped to beat Atlanta. Two Sundays ago he missed three field goals against San Diego, any one of which would have given San Francisco victory instead of an overtime defeat.
Now Mike-Mayer is uneasy. He still has not signed a contract, and the 49ers have not made him a new offer. "I don't know what to say," he declared last week. "I didn't even hear from my agent for months."
Florida State's junior varsity basketball team was scheduled to play a practice game at North Florida Junior College last week. But when the Florida State players became involved with semester exams, Dick Danford, the North Florida coach, agreed to let the Seminoles send a pickup team instead.