SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
October 10, 1977
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October 10, 1977


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Bob Swift, a columnist for the Miami Herald, has found a use for those sticky tar balls that wash ashore on Atlantic beaches when ships flush their tanks at sea.

Swift and his family like to go to the beach, where they construct sand castles, and recently they labored for hours building an elaborate one. They left for a couple of hours, and when they returned to admire their handiwork anew, they discovered it had been stomped flat. The Swifts had a suspect. Tennis-shoe prints indicated the vandal was a 12-year-old boy Swift describes as "a no-neck brat."

Swift's daughters, Ashley and Peggy, decided on revenge. They constructed an octopus with a seaweed smile and seashell eyes. The tentacles were of sand, but the head, the size of a basketball, was a solid mass of tar balls covered by the barest layer of sand. Upon leaving the beach, the Swifts made a big show of folding their chairs and umbrellas. Once behind the cover of a clump of sea grapes, they waited.

Sure enough, the suspect came along. First he smashed each tentacle. Finally he moved back a few steps and, Swift reports, "dashed forward and leaped high into the air and....

"I still smile inwardly," Swift concludes, "thinking of what happened when he returned home with 10 pounds of tar clinging to his shoes, socks, ankles and legs."


Some old scores were settled and a few eyebrows raised last week when the trustees of the estate of the late Tom Yawkey announced they had agreed to sell the Boston Red Sox to a group headed by Haywood Sullivan, the team's vice-president for player personnel, and Buddy LeRoux, the Red Sox trainer from 1966 to 1974. The trustees, one of whom is Jean Yawkey, Tom's widow, chose the Sullivan-LeRoux bid of $15 million even though that was less than offers submitted by Marty Stone (SI, Aug. 22), the tycoon who pitches batting practice, Jack Satter, owner of Colonial Provisions Corp., and A-T-O Corporation, the parent firm of Rawlings Sporting Goods, which had the high bid of $17 million. But then Sullivan-LeRoux had the invaluable support of Mrs. Yawkey, who has a deep regard for Sullivan. She joined the Sullivan-LeRoux group as a limited partner after their bid had been submitted. There is speculation that without her money Sullivan-LeRoux could not have come up with $15 million, in fact, without her money their original offer had been rebuffed in early September.

At a press conference, Sullivan made it clear that he and LeRoux would run the club. For years Sullivan had operated in the shadow of General Manager Dick O'Connell, who took over as Red Sox president in 1965, and who will surely depart after the 1977 season. During his administration the Red Sox have finished in the top half of their division every year and attendance has never fallen below one million. Had Stone's or Satter's bids been accepted, O'Connell would have been retained, but Mrs. Yawkey dislikes him. Indeed, in the last two years they have communicated only by note.


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