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The striped bass now lurking off the coast of Cape Cod are getting ready for their annual dash back to Chesapeake Bay. Football coaches, as avid as parted lovers, are reading over letters of intent from promising high school athletes who, if there is no slip-up, will be reporting in a matter of days now. The Yankees and Braves (the man at the end of the bar was saying) are in like Flynn. Waitresses at the summer resorts are going back to college and so is Roy Harris of Cut and Shoot, Texas, who spent a profitable, if not entirely pleasant, vacation in California. August vacationers are home, looking insufferably rested by comparison with the wan and wilted people who spent the month in the hot, humid city. Persons born under the sign of Virgo (like Umpire Ed Rommel) can expect action after the 10th of the month, the horoscopes say. There will be days now when the first hint of fall will be in the air. In East Lansing, Michigan, the man who puts on hay rides and pulls the hay wagons with a tractor instead of horses will be available for parties. The young folks, most of them students at Michigan State University, will sing the old songs as they ride along, drinking beer out of tin cans. They will sing, among others, the old favorite, Shine on, Harvest Moon. It will be a good theme song for this particular September when man is shooting off things that may, inadvertently, knock that old moon right out of there.
A Rube in Bangor
Carlton Willey is a tangle of raw bones, freckles, gapped teeth and bashfulness who lives in Cherryfield, Maine. Even in Bangor they would call him a rube. They would except for this: Carlton Willey, a 27-year-old rookie with the Milwaukee Braves, has pitched three shutouts this year, won eight games and lost only four. And he is the only State of Maine man in the major leagues. He is, in his way, Cherryfield's answer to Cut and Shoot, Texas.
The son of a hunting guide and blueberry packer, Willey left Cherryfield (pop. 1,000) to join the old Boston Braves in 1950 for a mere $700. He went up to Milwaukee last June after winning 21 games for Wichita the season before. His father, with indigenous thriftiness, suggests Carlton "could've held out for more money at first, but I wanted him to get out and pitch." Certainly, that was what Willey was accustomed to doing. Whatever Cherryfield had not been (it does not even have a good blueberry crop this year), it had been a good baseball town while Carlton was growing up and, with the help of his father, a onetime semipro who played every position except pitcher, he learned the delivery motion he still uses. "Nobody else taught Cardy anything until he attended the Braves' clinics," Phil Willey boasts. "He had nine homers in 10 games at one stage. Used to be quite a hitter around here, but of course they don't teach him anything about it now." (Willey is currently hitting .111.) In fact, the younger Willey was so much a part of Cherryfield baseball, the town team folded up when he went off with the Braves. "No pitchin'," says Father Willey with a shrug.
Not that anybody minds that nowadays. People for miles around, even in Bangor, stay up late into the night whenever Cardy pitches, just to catch the score. Shorty Nelson, a Cherryfield car dealer, is even trying to raise money for a banner over the main stem advertising the home town hero. "Of course, Cardy just hates publicity," says Mrs. Harold Nickerson, mother of his wife Nancy, "out the town sure would love to get some. Or something to improve conditions. Lord knows, we need it."
On Old Broadway
After 90 years of unswerving dedication to old people and old ideas, Saratoga, that staid and sylvan racing retreat in upstate New York, gave pause last week to some young people with a young idea of their own. Nine young ladies and nine old animals slightly resembling horses (two legs on each side) were allowed to walk in the same elmed, quiescent paddock that has served down the years as a walking ring for such common critters as Man o' War, Gallant Fox, Equipoise and Native Dancer.
With the inspiration of blonde Mrs. Faith Iglehart, the daughter of Concessionaire Frank Stevens, Saratoga ran its first Powder Puff Derby. The Powder Puff Derby as an art form originated at Pimlico some 19 years ago, and it involves, of all things, lady jockeys.
Saratoga's lady jockeys included Socialite Nancy Marr; Eddie Arcaro's 16-year-old daughter Carolyn; Barbara Cole, the wife of Jockey Sidney Cole; and Audrey Walsh, the daughter of Steeplechase Trainer Mickey Walsh. But the real attention fell on the 24-year-old exercise girl and Manhattanville College graduate, Betty Haight of New Bedford, N.Y.