The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on June 25, 1975 · Page 152
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 152

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 25, 1975
Page 152
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1 : - i. t .ft .ass? :jr 'What Jimmy did in Las Vegas was free the game of its medieval shackles. . . ' game by taking attention away from the bread-and-butter tournament events. And, perhaps out of jealousy, they suggest that Ri-ordan has used Connors as a pawn in his power struggle. Riordan defends the challenge matches: "What Jimmy did in Las Vegas was free the game of its medieval shackles. He gave the game back to the people." Although Riordan is already a wealthy man, some critics say he is only out t.i make a buck. In the past he took no cut from Connor's income, but now he admits to a percentage, and for the New-combe-Connors match his share was S300,000. The Connors-Riordan relationship has been marked by controversy since initiation, its mysteries the subject of much gossip and now speculation about a possible split. Lately, Connors has made vaguely critical comments about his mentor that indicate at least some friction. "It's coming to the point where I have to look out for myself," Connors told Time magazine recently. "Bill's been great with me in the past, but I've produced for him too." A few weeks ago Connors had a meeting with Kramer, an interesting event considering they are suing each other. Connors and Riordan have a multi-million dollar antitrust suit against Kramer, lawyer-agent Donald Dell and Commercial Union Assurance Corp. It says that Kramer and Dell persuaded the French Federation to ban from the French Open players, including Connors, who had - participated in World Team Tennis. Commercial Union was named because it sanctioned the decision, which ruined Connors' chance to be the third player in history to win a grand slam. Kramer recently filed a S3 million suit, saying Riordan and Connors had made defamatory statements about him. But after their meeting. Kramer spoke of Connors as a victim of Riordan's plotting. Please Turn to Page 8, Col. I KICKING IT AROUND Larvell Blanks of the Atlanta Braves (left) and Derrel Thomas of the San Francisco Giants (right) strike a similar The kid can do the most preposterous things! I never know what he'll do next' Tennis Maverick Irishman Bill Riordan Handles the Sport's Hottest Item Jimmy Connors BY CHERYL BENTSEN Wherever Jimmy Connors is mouthing off, one will find close by his agent and manager Bill Riordan, a feisty Irishman with bushy white sideburns and a bulldog face. Riordan will be there "dodging the bullets," as he says, massaging whatever important egos Connors has bruised with the frequently tasteless remarks and gestures that seem to come so naturally to him. "It's really hard work." Riordan says, the color rushing to his face. The blood always rushes to his" face when he talks about Connors. "The kid can do the most preposterous things! I never know what he'll do next." For that matter, no one knows what Riordan will do next. Describing himself as a "maverick," he has taken on the entire power structure of the tennis establishment, which he calls "monopolistic, medieval, monolithic and stifling." and proved 'tteM 'WNV:-1 jp to be the best showman in the V W game- His chief weapon has been Jimmy Connors, who signed with him three years ago when he turned pro. snubbing millionaire Lamar Hunt's financially troubled World Tf immamMmaur-. -nampionsnip Tennis (wlt) tour fVKw and Jack Kramer's Assn. of Tennis I "Wt X Professionals (ATP). I I Both Irish and both hot-headed. I I Riordan and Connors seem to thrive tmmmmmmm on pressure and adversity. In the Bill Riordan last 'ear' Connors swept the Aus tralian Open. Forest Hills and Wimbledon, making him. in part due to Riordan. the best known if not worst-behaved player in the world. Now they're at Wimbledon again, where brash young Jimmy is seeded No. 1. In the last half year Riordan has staged two spectacular challenge matches for Connors in Las Vegas that all but upstaged the traditional tournament events. The idea for this new concept in tennis, which Riordan says he borrowed from boxing, came to him last summer in New York. The television people quickly saw its potential and Riordan successfully negotiated the S100.000 winner-take-all "heavyweight championship of tennis" in which Connors beat Rod Laver last February 6-4, 6-2. 3-6. 7-5. He followed that two months later with a deal worth more than SI million, televised in 10 nations from Caesar's Palace, in which Connors again proved his superiority against former world champion John Newcombe 6-3. 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. By then Connors was generally disliked by his fellow players, and the Las Vegas matches were among the few times in tennis history that American players rooted for the Australians. Criticism of Riordan's lavishly publicized challenge matches has been harsh. The tennis establishment contends he is hurting the pose and for a very good reason: they've both just been hit by o pitched ball. Blanks is decked by Jack Billingham of the Cincinnati Reds while Thomas goes down in a vain effort to avoid a pitch from the Braves' Phil Niekro. Both pictures were shot in Atlanta. AP Wi,ephotos TLos 9ntjtlcs Cimcs n sports BUSINESS & FINANCE CCR PART III tt WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 1975 K.C. Barely Gets a Passing Grade, 5-3, Over Angels BY ROSS NEWHAN Times Stall writer The special guest of Angels owner Gene Autry Tuesday night was Jackie Jensen, the former American League star who is now the baseball coach at the University of California. The coach's presence seemed apropos, for both the Angels and Kansas City Royals displayed a need for schooling in the art of hitting a baseball with men on base. In what was hardly a textbook example of the grand old game, the Kansas City Royals scored an 11-inning, 5-3, victory over the Angels before a crowd of 8,808 at Anaheim Stadium. The Royals stranded 12 runners and the Angels nine. The Royals were retired in order only twice while the Angels went in order just once. The Royals got 13 hits and the Angels 10. Only one of five pitchers performed flawlessly and when he went out it may have been a more costly loss for the Angels than the eventual defeat Don Kirkwood retired five straight batters in 1 23 innings as the successor to starter Dick Lange and then left the game with a stiff shoulder at the start of the 10th. The extent of Kirkwood's injury was not known, but it was obvious that Mickey Scott, who took his place, was soon suffering from damaged pride. With one out m the 11th, Jim Wohl-ford singled to left. George Brett then smashed a single off Scott's left shin. The pitcher took a few warmups, indicated he could go on and promptly yielded a tie-breaking single to Hal McRae. That hit moved Brett to third and he then scored the fifth run on John Mayberry's fly to center. The win went to Doug Bird, who survived two hits and two walks over the final four innings. Please Turn lo Page . Col. 1 BOXING BOARD SUSPENDS, FINES BOBBY CHACON SACRAMENTO (A Former featherweight champion Bobby Chacon has been suspended indefinitely and fined S2.500 for not being in condition when he unsuccessfully tried to defend his title against Ruben Oli-vares last Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood. the California State Athletic Commission announced Tuesday. "We're not implying he didn't put forth his best effort during the fight." said Bob Turley. commission executive officer. "But his best effort wasn't what it should have been if he'd been in proper condition." Chacon, weak after struggling to make the 126-pound featherweight limit, was stopped by Olivares in the Please Turn to Page 2. Col. :t Dodgers Grouse, Rejoice in 8-3 Rout of Astros BY JEFF PRUGH Timei Stall Writer HOUSTON It should have been a happier Dodger clubhouse than it actually was Tuesday night. After all, not in every game lately have the Dodgers given their pitcher in this case, Doug Rau the luxury of a four-run first inning and enough firepower for an 8-3 win, this time over the Houston Astros. "It's nice to get eight runs," said Rau (7-6), who also batted 3-for-3, including a two-run single. "I can give up two home runs, the way I did tonight (by Houston's Doug Rader), and not feel bad. Before. I'd give up one home run and be in the doghouse." But not all the faces were smiling after the National League champs made it seven wins in nine games by scoring more runs than they had in almost a month. Bill Buckner sat alone at a clubhouse table and sulked. He'd been thrown out of the game after striking out in the fourth inning. His manager. Walter Alston, said he'd been ejected for calling third base umpire Art Williams an uncomplimentary name. Davey Lopes had stolen four bases one shy of his career one-game record set last year but he, too, didn't feel like talking. "I ain't worth nothin'." he said, presumably irritated that he'd gone hit-less for the third game in a row. Lopes stalked away, slapping at a plastic shampoo bottle and knocking it onto the floor. It was, however, a game that gave the Dodgers more reason to rejoice Please Turn to Page 7. Col. 2 SOUTH AFRICAN 50-1 SHOT DEFEATS SMITH Bertram Upsets Former Wimbledon Champion in Straight Sets; Evert and King Advance From Times Wire Services WIMBLEDON Byron Bertram of South Africa, who recently returned to tennis after a long layoff with an injury, played the best match of his career Tuesday and eliminated former champion Stan Smith in the first round of the Wimbledon championships. Bertram, 24, upset' the No. 7 seed, 6-1.6-2. 6-1. Bertram underwent arm surgery and was out of action for eight months until he returned in May. Last year, he didn't even get through the Wimbledon qualifying tournament. The smashing upset of Smith, the HUNTER WINS 11TH AS YANKS MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE From Times Wire Services Catfish Hunter allowed two hits to open the game, held the Orioles hit-less until the ninth and handed the Yankees a brawling 3-1 win in Baltimore Tuesday. The win. coupled with Boston's loss lo Cleveland, moved the Yankees into first place in the American League East by one-half game. A fight started in the eighth after Thurmon Munson. who was hit by Baltimore pitcher Mike Torrez in the second, was decked again in the sixth. After grounding out to Brooks Robinson at third. Munson charged Torrez and was prevented from Please Turn lo Page C. Col. 1 1972 Wimbledon champion, came late in a day when many of the 30.-000 fans had begun to drift home from the All-England Club after a day in the blazing sun. Other leading American contenders Arthur Ashe, Marty Riessen and Roscoe Tanner moved safely through the first round. There were no upsets among the women's first-round mathes. with top seed Chris Evert demolishing Chris O'Neil of Australia. 6-2, 6-0. in just 40 minutes on center court, while Billie Jean King, the No. 3 seed, found no trouble with her South African opponent, Elizabeth Vlotman, in a 6-1. 6-4 decision The bookies, who opened a betting shop at Wimbledon for the first time, had made Smith a 6-1 shot for the title. The unsung Bertram was rated at 50-1. Smith's big service made him one of the most feared contenders for the S23.000 first prize. Yet in one incredible hour. Bertram ripped Smith's power game to shreds. Bertram, son of a former South African Davis Cup player, said afterwards that he had never played so well. But he added: "Smith was not playing well." The American's service was less accurate than the Wimbledon fans remembered from past days. He still slammed the ball hard, but Bertram returned winners in all directions. Smith's serve and volley game disappeared. Instead. Bertram was returning service, racing to the net like a deer and hitting winning volleys himself. Please Turn to Page !). Col. 2 AN EVENING WITH THE STARS BY DWIGHT CHAPIN Times Stall Writer "Los Angeles' newest 'star' will be unveiled with an evening of food, fun and games . . . and history," read the invitation. "Please join us as our guests in celebrating the debut of the sexiest sport in town, when our new professional volleyball team, the LOS ANGELES STARS, plays its opening game. "Sexy? That's right! Men and women will be playing together on the same team, in this action-packed game. 6-5 men slamming a ball 100 miles an hour at 5-5 girls, and the girls return it! "Cocktails and buffet will be served between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Wolper house on the Santa Monica beach." It was signed Gloria and David Wolper. Laraine and David Gerber. the Stars' owners. On arrival, you expected a roll of drums and a blare of trumpets, maybe a dancing girl or two turning somersaults to show you the way. Instead The showpiece of the new league is a 30-year-old Polish player there was David Wolper. Oscar-winning film maker, entrepreneur, standing stoop-shouldered in the doorway in a Stars' T-shirt and shyly shaking hands. "Nice house." you said. "It isn't really mine." he said. "I rented it for the summer from J. Paul Getty." Out back the world's best volleyball player The Great Gosciniak was undergoing culture shock. The day before, he'd visited Charlton Heston at his Coldwater Canyon mansion. Now he was surrounded by geraniums and hibiscus, snapdragons and bougainvillea. fanned by a sea breeze. "If I had my wife with me." he said, "we'd fall in love all over again." Stanislaw Gosciniak is from Poland. A veteran of two Olympic Games, he was voted the world's top L.A. Volleyball Team Gets 'Hollywood' Sendoff player at the world championships in Mexico last year. Now he is the star of the Santa Barbara Spikcrs and the showpiece of the new International Volleyball League. One of the things Gosciniak is not great at is English, so Lili Nelson (wife of league director Chuck Nelson), interpreted his Polish. His face, long and sharp-featured, is remarkably expressive. You sometimes know his answers before the Polish is turned into English. Since women are playing with and against men in the IVA. he was asked if he was afraid he mipht hurt them with a spike. "I'm in a lucky spot." he said. "I'm primarily a setter, so 1 rarely need to attack and hurt anybody." "But what if you did?" he was asked. He scratched his head. "Well." he said finally, "sport has no mercy." The male IVA players still not quite used to the mixing of the sexes have decided that if a guy smashes a girl in the face with the volleyball he's scored a "six pack." In other words, he's awarded a six pack of beer. Gosciniak was asked if he were aware of that. His eyes grew wide. "No." he said. "I like good beer. Maybe that will make a difference in how I play from now on." Some IVA people saw him compete in the world tournament in Mexico, and were amazed by his skill. Lili Nelson wrote the letter inviting him to compete in America. Since he'd been a "top sportsman" for years in Poland and was 30 years old he was rewarded by the government, which said he could leave the country to play. He chose the U.S. over European offers. Much about the Western world is still mysterious Please Turn lo Page (i. Col. 1 I

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