Freeport Journal-Standard from Freeport, Illinois on July 17, 1975 · Page 13
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Freeport Journal-Standard from Freeport, Illinois · Page 13

Freeport, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 17, 1975
Page 13
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Kuhn Re-Elected Baseball Commissioner Yankees Are Swing Vote In A Surprising Reversal By BILL MADDEN I/PI Sports Writer , MILWAUKEE (UPI) - m a startling and sudden reversal, Bowie Kuhn was re-elected baseball commissioner this morning at the major leagues joint meeting after he came within a whisker of losing his job only 12 hours before. 'When the owners adjourned after six hours of wrangling Wednesday night, Kuhn had all but lost his job. The American League had mustered the four necessary votes to dismiss him with Oakland, Baltimore, Texas arid the New York Yankees opposed to his re-election. During the night, however, there was a great deal of lobbying and "arm- twisting" and Kuhn survived when the Yankees were prevailed upon to change their minds. Kuhn opened the major leagues joint meeting as he customarily does, then was asked to leaye the room while the owners considered his fate. One hour and 20 minutes later he was summoned from his hotel room by John Galbreath of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ed Fitzgerald of the Milwaukee Brewers and told he had been re-elected. Along with the Yankees, the Rangers apparently also were, prevailed upon to swing over to Kuhn. His contract-was extended, for another seven years arid Kuhn, although he showed no emotion in talking about the extension, obviously was pleased over the complete turnabout in events. "With respect to the re-election of the commissioner," he told newsmen during a briefing session, "the joint meeting was one of the shortest on record and the vote to re-elect him was 22-2." Kuhn paused. Had he been given a raise? "I have not discussed that," said Kuhn, who is said to be earning $150,000 a year. Asked for how long the contract had been extended, he replied, in clipped tones: "seven years." Kuhn did not identify the two clubs which swung over to his side during the night. "I have not seen the vote," he said. Immediately following Kuhn's press conference, Oakland A's owner Charley Finley, one of the two dissenting votes against the commissioner, rose from his seat and asked to make a few FREEPORT JOURNAL-STANDARD SPOT? TS Freeport (III.) Journal-Standard, Thursday, July 17, 1975 Page 13 Sportscope By DAN MrGKATII Journal-Standard Sports Editor So, the National League has been found to be better at baseball than its American rival largely because of derring-do and sense of purpose. What else is new? Frank Robinson, only man in the history of baseball to be judged Most Valuable Player in both leagues, has said 'so for years. So have Vada Pinson, Jose Cardenal, Reggie Smith and Willie Davis, who, like Robinson, have experienced and succeeded at both varieties. As a native Chicagoan, I've had the dubious pleasure of sampling the products of both the National League Cubs and the American League White Sox over the last two decades. The Sox, until recently, always seemed to fare better on the field, if the standings were any barometer of succ'ess7wnichl noted with some satisfaction. The Cubs, meanwhile, we-' ren't very good, but there was something earnest about their efforts, futile as they were. Their opponents, however, possessed the same resolve, and most of them also happened to be more adept in terms of baseball skills. Thus the notion that National Leaguers were indeed more determined was born in me, and enhanced by a passage which caught my eye in "Ball Four," Jim Bouton's sacrilegious treatise on a year in the life of a big league ballplayer. Among the nascent Seattle' Pilots with whom Bouton was living in the spring of 1969 was Tommy Davis, who'd slugged his way to two batting championships, a run-batted-in title and a Most Valuable Player award in eight seasons in the NationalLeague. .A grotesquely broken leg had robbed Davis of his mobility, but he could still swing the bat. And he'd always been one to speak his mind. Ray Oyler, foisted upon Seattle after a few years of hitless obscurity t in , American League Detroit, was at short for the Pilots in one of their first competitive exercises-a spring training game against, of all people, the Chicago Cubs. Glenn Beckert, the Cubs' much respected second baseman of those days, was a base runner at first in the fourth inning or so of this particular game when a teammate (some would guess Ron Santo) rapped a hard double play bouncer to Pilot second baseman Gus Gil. Oyler took Gil's flip gliding across the second base bag, which had the effect of retiring Beckert, and fired the ball to Mike Hegan to complete the double play oh the runner (Santo?). ' . An instant after releasing his throw to Hegan, Oyler felt himself careening toward left field. Beckert, "breaking up" the double play, had instead come perilously close to breaking up Oyler, not an especially big chap, but a furious one. Beckert, who once earned a hearty "double pro" encomium from fiery Leo Durocher, picked himself up, dusted himself off and headed for the 1 dugout, ignoring the torrent of expletives unleashed in his direction by Oyler. In the dugout between innings Ray was still steaming, and Tommy Davis found it rather amusing that Ray had never been treated so rudely. "That's the way they play this game in the other league, Ray," Davis said in a manner that convinced Bouton he missed it. Bouton himself had an opportunity to experience the "hard ball" played in the National League in late summer of 1969. the Houston Astros, not much older than the Pilots, were somehow challenging for the western half of the National League championship, and in their eagerness to succeed, they began hiring extra help. Both Bouton and Davis were brought over from Seattle, and Bouton felt honored by a new opportunity to work in games that were meaningful. He had, after all, contributed substantially during the last days of the New York Yankee empire and was something of.a rarity in pinstripes; he'd spit on his hands and get his uniform dirty. ' His competitive flame fanned, Bouton began enjoying baseball again, and his performance reflected his new found enthusiasm. He was indeed an asset to the Astros, but alas, they were beaten in the end. Mysteriously, Bouton's writing also seemed to improve as his pitching did. He did a superb job of conveying the tension and excitement all the Astros felt as they faced a challenge which they coveted but at the same time feared. That particular section was one of the book's most enjoyable, it occurred to me then. And it did again Wednesday morning, after a steady stream of all-star game participants bore witness to National League tenacity. Watching the game, I drew the same conclusion, but as I said, the idea that the "senior circuit," as the Sporting News used to call it, plays the game harder has been sold to me. Interesting it would have been if Joe Garagiola, a former National Leaguer, and Tony Kubek, Bouton's old Yankee teammate, had considered the theory for the benefit of their television audience, but no way. Too controversial. It is much easier to sing the praises of "all-star" left fielders like Claudell Washington and Curt Gowdy's vision of The Perfect Man, Joe Morgan. Oh, well, at least the game the broadcast boys fawned all over was a good one, for the most part, especially for fans of "hard ball." Tough luck on that MVP award, Yaz, but losers never get it. And Madlock did deliver the winning hit. comments to the press. Kuhn said: ''You can say what you want Charley, but not in my roorrt." Finley retorted; "That's just great, Mr. Commissioner, another show of real class." • • . Finley then held his own conference in another room and aired his views. "I am not embarrassed at all to tell you gentlemen, that the Oakland A's were one of the two clubs to vote not to re-elect the commissioner," Finley said. "This is democratic America and BOWIE KUHN after the vote was taken and the commissioner was re-elected with only the A's and Baltimore dissenting, we all congratulated him. "It's what the commissioner said in reply that has angered me. After thanking all of those who voted for him, he then said 'I am not surprised at those who voted against me considering the quality of the opposition.' That's when I said 'what a joke.' "All the American League owners then expressed their resentment to the commissioner's remarks and our President Lee MacPhail, seeing this, has agreed to write a letter to him expressing our feelings that what he said was totally unnecessary." Finley did not give any reasons why he thought Texas and the New York Yankees may have changed their votes overnight. But he did add: "It's a cinch no one was assigned to work on me." Oddly, as recently as last Sunday, Kuhn's re-election at these mid-summer All-Star game meetings was considered a certainty. The great majority of owners, although some admittedly lukewarm in their support, expressed their intention of re-electing Kuhn. But as the faces of the owners grew more somber and concerned, the scene here resembled one seven years earlier at the winter San Francisco meetings when the owners abruptly voted to fire Kuhn's predecessor, Gen. William D. Eckert. Heavyweight Keeps Crown, Loses Belt DAVENPORT, Iowa (UPI) - World heavyweight wrestling champion Vern Gagne retained his title but lost his championshiip belt Wednesday night. Gagne told Davenport police that a championship silver ornamental wrestling belt studded with diamonds and rubies and valued at more than $10,000 was stolen during a wrestling match at John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport. Gagne said a man grabbed the belt from a wrestling official at the timers' table as Gagne was about to be awarded the belt after successfully defending his title by defeating Nick Bockwinkle. Police had no suspects in the theft. CHARLIE 0. FINLEY, owner of the Oakland A's (left); Calvin Griffith, owner of the Minnesota Twins (center); and Ewlng Kaufman, owner of the Kansas City Royals talked before a ncctlng of the American League owners. Oakland and Baltimore voted against retaining Commissioner Bowie Kuhn-UPI Photo. Fan Interest May Be Problem In Runaway Divisional Races By United Press International Whether it's Bowie Kuhn, or a successor, one of the big problems facing the commissioner and the various major league club owners* during the second half of this season will be sustaining fan interest in a lopsided product. The two-division concept, which was organized in 1969 to generate greater fan interest throughout the course of a long season, is not going so well this season and there is a definite possi- . bility that all four division races in the National and American Leagues could develop into runaways. With the season just beyond the midway point, the Cincinnati Reds in the NL West, the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL East and the Oakland A's in the AL West have taken commanding leads which will be difficult for their rivals to overcome in the final 10 weeks of the season. The Reds, who have won 61 of their first 90 games and are riding a 10-game winning streak, hold a tremendous 12^ game lead over the defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers and Amateur Could Win U.S. Women's Open NORTHFIELD, N.J. (UPI) - At least one young girl in the field was looking far ahead today as the U.S. Women's Open golf championship began. "I feel like I came around at the right time," said 18-year-old Nancy Lopez, a two-time girls' national junior champion and an amateur considered a real threat to win the Open. Miss Lopez, from Roswell, N.M., has her future so well planned that she figures whe'll spend no more than two years at Tulsa University, where she's enrolling on a golf scholarship in September, and then take hercrack at the LPGA tour. "Maybe by then they'll be playing for more money," she said. Unlike the men's U.S. Open, where an amateur hasn't won in more than 40 years and rarely has one threatened, amateurs often are a factor in the Women's Open. There were 42 amateurs in the starting field of 150. An amateur won this tournament as recently as 1967 when the title went to Catherine LaCoste of France. "This tournament has been on my mind ever since I finished it last year (and tied for 18th)," Miss Lopez said. "If I play like I know I can I think I can really be in there. "You have to be confident, and I am. I think I'm gonna play well." Nancy, learned the game from her dad, who runs an auto body shop in Roswell. He slipped from a scratch player to a 13 handicap while he ferried her around the country. • "He was working so hard to get me to tournaments that his own game suffered," Miss Lopez said. While Miss Lopez leads the amateur charge, the same, familiar faces among the pros are getting most of the attention here - 1965 winner Carol Mann, who won last week's LPGA tour event at Columbus, Ohio; 1971 champion JoAnne Garner, defender Sandra Haynie, LPGA champion Kathy Whitworth, Judy Rankin, a runner-up five times this year including three playoff losses, and leading money winner Sandra Palmer. would have to suffer an almost total collapse to lose it. Of course, there have been dramatic "chokes" in the history of the game- the Brooklyn Dodgers of 1951, the Los Angeles.Dodgers in 1962 and the Philadelphia Phillies of 19li4 to name a fcw- but they haven't occurred very often. The Pirates and A's also arc on the verge of breaking open-their division races. Pittsburgh currently leads the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East by 6% games and has been playing superbly of late, with 17 wins in its last 22 games. Oakland, which has won three straight world championships and four consecutive division crowns, has opened up an 8'/ 2 game lead over Kansas City and the A's also have been red-hot record since June 17. Only the AL East still resembles a pennant race, but the way the Boston Red Sox have been playing it might not be one for long. The Red Sox, after los- ing seven'of nine earlier this month, have put together a seven-game winning .streak and now lead the Now York Yankees by 4'/ 2 games. In the National League, Atlanta is at New York, Cincinnati at Montreal, Chicago at San Diego, Houston at Philadelphia, Pittsburgh at Los Angeles and St. Louis at San Francisco in night action. The American League has California at Milwaukee in an afternoon contest, Detroit at Chicago for a twi-night doublchoader and New York at Texas, Kansas City at Boston, Oakland at Cleveland and Minnesota at Baltimore in night games. Bumbry Is Top DH NEW YORK (UPI) - Al Bumbry of the Baltimore Orioles is the American League's leading designated hitter at the All-Star break with a .291 average, according to official figures released Wednesday. Three Golfers Differ In Lightning Reaction Two New ABA Sites Considered . SUTTON, Mass. (UPI) - Three weeks after being struck by lightning, Bobby Nichols, Lee Trevino and Jerry Heard are experiencing widely different after-effects. Nichols was to be in the Held today when the $200,000 Pleasant Valley Classic opened, but he called earlier in the week from an Akron, Ohio, hospital where he was undergoing tests. His ailment was not disclosed but was believed related to the freak accident that occurred June 27 at the Western Open in Oak Brook, 111. Trevino took a couple weeks off before rejoining the PGA tour. He still did not feel 100 per cent Wednesday after shooting a five-over-par 76 in the Pro-Am event at Pleasant Valley Country Club. Heard, however, has played well in the preliminary round, shooting a two- under-par 69. "I'm not back yet physically, although I'm almost there," said Trevino, who normally would be considered a favorite in the tournament avoided by many big name players. "Let's say if I shoot a 77 now I don't get upset as much as I used to. "Right now I'm just not as strong or as accurate with the irons." While Heard was stronger than Trevino, his shot-making was'no match for low pro scorer Charles Goody. The former Masters winners shot a course record 64, seven strokes under par. Gibby Gilbert and Bob Mennc each recorded 66s. Winner of the 72-hole tournament, which finishes Sunday, will receive a $40,000 top prize. Defending champion Vic Regalado and four other former winners of the tournament are in the field. Baseball Standings Bv UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UPI) - The American Basketball Association is considering Baltimore and Hartford, Conn., as two possible sites for the ABA franchise the league says it will move from here, Memphis Sounds president Mike Storen says. • Storen's statement came after ABA Commissioner Dave DeBusschere an- IT WAS A WARM summer day for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers who reported to training camp Wednesday. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw works out. - UPI Photo. nounced Wednesday in New York that, after five uncertain years, there would "definitely not be an ABA franchise operating in Memphis next season." League officials "are negotiating with Baltimore and Hartford" on the future of the team, said Storen, who resigned as ABA Commissioner in 1974 to take over the struggling Memphis franchise. "The status ofthe team is still up in the air," DeBusschere said. "We have several options available and hopefully we will-have an announcement by the end of the week." Wednesday's statement came as no surprise, as the team has never had a winning year either on the court or at the box office. In the 1974-75 season, the Sounds finished 27-57 and drew an average attendance of about 3,000 to games. The team, which moved to Memphis from New Orleans in 1970, had also been unable to meet two conditions to keeping the team in Memphis set down by former ABA Commissioner Ted Munchak in April - sale of at least 4,000 season tickets and development of local ownership. . ' • Midway through its first season in Memphis, the team then known as the Memphis Pros almost folded. But a public corporation was formed to operate it the rest of that season and the second season. The franchise was again almost at the point of collapse in 1972, but sports magnate Charles 0. Finley, owner of baseball's Oakland A's, stepped forward at the last minute. * •r National League East Pittsburgh Philadelphia New. York St. Louis Chicago Montreal West Cincinnati Los Angeles San Francisco San Diego » Atlanta Houston w. 55 49 43 42 42 35 w. 61 49 41 41 39 33 I. 33 40 42 44 48 48 1. 29 42 47 49 49 59 pet. .625 .551 .506 .488 .467 .422 pet. .678 .538 .466 :456 .443 .359 g.b. 8% 101/2 12 14 17% g.b. 12% 19 20 21 28i/ 2 Wednesday's Games No Games Scheduled American League East Boston Milwaukee New York Baltimore Cleveland Detroit West Oakland Kansas City Chicago Texas Minnesota California w. 50 46 45 41 40 39 w. 55 47 40 41 39 40 1. 37 42 41 44 46 47 1. 32 41 45 49 48 51 pet. .575 .523 .523 .482 .465 .453 pet. .632 .534 .471 .456 -.448 .440 g.b. 4% 4% 8 9% 10% g.b. 8% 14 15% 16 17 Wednesday's Games No Games Scheduled Thursday's Probable Pitchers Atlanta (Niekro 8-7) at New York (Koosman 8-7) N Cincinnati (Billingham 10-3) at Montreal (Rogers 5-7) N Chicago (Burris 8-6) at San Diego (Jones 11-6) N Houston (Konieczny 4-10) at Philadelphia (Carlton 8-7) N Pittsburgh (Kison 8-4) at Los Angeles (Hooton 6-9) N St.' Louis (Gibson 2-8) at San Francisco (Halicki 3-6) N Friday's Games Cincinnati at Montreal, N Atlanta at New York, N Houston at Philadelphia N Pittsburgh at Los Angeles N Chicago at San Diego N St. Louis at San Francisco N Thursday's Probable Pitchers California (Figueroa 7-5) at Milwaukee (Colborn 4-7) Detroit (Lolich 10-6 and LaGrow 6-8) at Chicago (Osteen 5-6 and Jefferson 15) Twi-Night New York (May 7-6 ) at Texas (Perry 7-14) N Kansas City (Pattin 7-5) at Boston (Lee 10-6) N Oakland (Bosnian 6-3) at Cleveland (Bibby 3-9) N Minnesota (Goltz 7-6) at Baltimore (Cuellar 7-6) N Friday's Games New York at Texas N Detroit at Chicago N California at Milwaukee N Oakland at Cleveland N Minnesota at Baltimore N Kansas City at Boston N 'V-

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