Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Freakin' Weekend (1971)

Gentlemen, ...

Also in sports, ...


  1. In watching the first few moments of this ABC Wide World of Sports broadcast, it occurs to me that I don't think I realized the early parts of the show were produced after the fact. I think I always understood I was watching a tape-delay broadcast of the race, and I probably even had read about who won in The Paducah Sun (or maybe had purposefully avoided coverage of the race in the media). But when ABC flipped around among different shots of drivers getting into their cars and revving their engines and what-not, I think I thought that was just one or two cameramen taking pictures that were intermingled on the fly by Chet Forde or whomever.

  2. Jim McKay: "On the pole: Peter Revson, the well-to-do, 32-year-old bachelor from New York ... member of the Revlon Cosmetics family ... fastest qualifier in Indianapolis 500 history."

    That is, like, the most 1971 description of all time. Peter Revson is the embodiment of every cigarette ad, TV movie and Dick Schaap characterization of American manhood produced in 1971.

  3. By the way, Marjorie Wallace also was romantically linked with Tom Jones, Jimmy Connors, the son of the "Air Coryell" San Diego Chargers, Tina Sinatra's ex-husband and the developer of Florida swampland north of Miami into a suburb community where Jimmy Johnson eventually lived. She was an original co-host of Entertainment Tonight.

    And that is, like, the most 1996-episode-of-E! True Hollywood Story description of all time.

  4. "If Not For You" is an absolutely gorgeous Bob Dylan song that came out in 1970. I wonder if it was the original or the terrific 1971 Olivia Newton-John cover that spoke to Marjorie Wallace and Peter Revson. Both versions really are great in their own way. Rest in peace, Peter Revson (1939-1974).

  5. The pace car wrecks into a photographer's stand at the race's outset, and Jim McKay says, "People were falling out as if it was a corn crib."

  6. Everyone who was actually in the pace car is OK, Jim McKay reports, but several others have been taken away by ambulance.

  7. Peter Revson tells Jim McKay he is not "idly rich," as many people suppose. If he wasn't racing cars for a living, he says he would have to find another job.

  8. Seriously, I wonder what it must feel like to feel rich. As an adult, I've never felt exactly under water, rich or idly rich. I've definitely felt broke, and I've definitely felt not broke, and maybe I've felt "doing OK." The differences among those three feelings is huge in every way. Hard to imagine the incremental difference between feeling doing OK and feeling rich.

  9. Current race leaders:

    1. Bobby Unser
    2. Mark Donohoe
    3. Al Unser

  10. Argh! I just woke up on May 30, 2017, mistakenly dialed up the May 30, 1971, Chicago Tribune and saw the teaser across the top of A-1 to the sports front with news of the winner of the Indianapolis 500. Stupid 2017 me!

  11. Also in sports, after Sonny Siebert (9-0) had outdueled Vida Blue (10-2) for a 4-3 Boston victory Friday night, the A's (16 hits including four home runs) outclubbed the Red Sox (11, two) for a 12-8 Oakland win Saturday at Fenway Park. The American League division leaders decide their series this 1971 afternoon with Jim Hunter (8-2) scheduled to face Bill Lee (4-1).

  12. Current race standings:

    1. Al Unser
    2. Peter Revson
    3. A.J. Foyt

    The Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s first class, selected by the Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters, was announced shortly before the 1971 Indianapolis 500, and its members were Wilber Shaw, Jimmie Clark and A.J. Foyt.

  13. Now Jackie Stewart and Jim McKay recall the 1966 race, which Stewart led by more than a lap with eight laps to go. His vehicle’s engine gave out, however, and Graham Hill won.

    Stewart: “A great Scottish disaster,”

    McKay: “And the race went to an Englishman.”

    Stewart: “That made it even worse, Jim—had it gone to an American, it wouldn’t have been so bad."

  14. This light-hearted banter is relevant in the latter moments of the 1971 race because Al Unser ends up cruising to his second consecutive Indianapolis 500 victory in large part because Mark Donohue's car broke down after he had built a large lead through 66 laps. Happy birthday, 32-year-old "Big Al" of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who becomes the only driver to ever win the Indianapolis 500 on his birthday.

  15. Man, I really blew it, seeing that headline on who won the race before I finished the YouTube telecast, but, whatever, it was still fun to finish in the background.

  16. Meanwhile, the third game of that A's series in Boston was rained out. It's on to New York to face the Yankees, starting with a doubleheader at noon Eastern Monday, May 31, 1971. Scheduled starters for the good guys are 8-2 Jim "Catfish" Hunter and 0-1 John "Blue Moon" Odom, while the Yanks counter with 1-0 Mike Kekich and 4-1 Fritz Peterson. I wonder if Susanne Kekich and Marilyn Peterson and the families are planning to sit together in the Yankee Stadium stands, given that the kids are out of school for Memorial Day.

  17. As noted in "Eleventh Podcast," the Giants’ have sent George Foster to Cincinnati for another young shortstop. Like hot-shot, 20-year-old Chris Speier, 24-year-old Frank Duffy is a former high draft choice who hails from the Bay Area.

    Several other division contenders also tinkered with their rosters in the days leading up to Memorial Day:

    — The A’s sent pitcher Rob Gardner back to the Yankees (from whom they acquired him just a couple of months ago) for a veteran hitter, Curt Blefary, most known for his 1960s success with the Orioles.

    — On the same day he was released by the Expos, the Red Sox picked up a reliever, Gary Wagner, who had pitched solidly with Boston for a couple of seasons before moving on to Montreal.

    — The Orioles gave up on Jim Hardin, a 27-year-old who once appeared with Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally and Tom Phoebus on a 1969 Topps card under the heading “BIRD HILL ACES,” as he struggles to return from injury. They shipped Hardin to the Yankees for a 23-year-old right-hander, Bill Burbach, and picked up a former Minnesota 20-game winner, Dave Boswell, after he was released by Detroit.

  18. The logistics around this first ABA/NBA all-star game were interesting. In the game’s first 24-minute half, the NBA’s ball and 24-second shot clock were used. In the last 24, the ABA’s ball, 30-second clock and three-point rule for shots of 25 feet or more (which at least one reporter at the time called “home runs”) were employed. The leagues actually opposed this game—supported by the two leagues' players associations—and telegrammed warning to all 24 selected players to risk being fined if they, in fact, participated. The networks did not pick up the game; rather, some independent network sold the live telecast to stations reportedly in about 200 markets.

    Bill Russell’s NBA team ended up beating player/coach Larry Brown’s ABA-ers, 125-120, and Walt Frazier, who scored 26, said afterward that 10 other NBA guys couldv’e beaten the ABA team. Attendance in the Astrodome was a little over 16,000, and they were probably disappointed to not see professional basketball’s single-greatest star. Bob Logan of the Chicago Tribune Press Service:

    He is Abdul Jakar, alias Lew Alcindor, otherwise known as the world’s best center and keystone of the Milwaukee Bucks’ N.B.A. champions.

    Married at 4 a.m. today in Washington, D.C., to Janice Brown, the Big A failed to show here tonight, in deference to his Islamic religion.

    With Alcindor, the N.B.A. players stressed, this “super game” would have been a runaway … After some reflection, Russell agreed with Frazier’s notion that another 10-man N.B.A. squad could be picked to stop the same A.B.A. lineup. “Start with Alcindor and add names like Chet Walker and Bob Love [of the Bulls],” he said. “We expected Lew until right before gametime and our centers had to play longer than they wanted.”

  19. The Colts and Cowboys will reprise their Super Bowl V matchup in a Sept. 3 preseason game in Baltimore. It will be one of nine nationally televised NFL71 preseason games, starting with the Chicago Tribune Charines Inc. College All-Star game, July 30 at Soldier Field.

  20. A's split their twin bill in New York yesterday 1971, 3-5 and 6-3. Catfish had won eight in a row, but he gave up two triples and a John Ellis three-run homer in just five innings in the first game. It was great to see Blue Moon get his first win of the season in Game 2; he also went only five innings. Sometimes-starter Rollie Fingers was perfect over the game's last two and a third innings.

    A.L. West per the June 1, 1971, Chicago Tribune:

    Oakland 33-18
    Kansas City 23-22, 7 games back
    Minnesota 25-24, 7
    California 23-27, 9.5
    Milwaukee 19-25, 10.5
    Chicago 18-26, 11.5

    A.L. East:
    Boston 29-18
    Baltimore 27-19, 1.5
    Detroit 26-22, 3.5
    New York 21-26, 8
    Cleveland 20-26, 8.5
    Washington 18-29, 11

    N.L. East
    St. Louis 32-17
    Pittsburgh 29-19, 2.5
    New York 27-18, 3
    Chicago 21-27, 10.5
    Montreal 18-24, 10.5
    Philadelphia 17-29, 13.5

    N.L. West
    San Francisco 37-14
    Los Angeles 26-24, 10.5
    Houston 25-24, 11
    Atlanta 22-28, 14.5
    Cincinnati 20-29, 16
    San Diego 15-35, 21.5

  21. At the beginning of MLB71, William Leggett in Sports Illustrated pointed out that the N.L. East was so lackluster last season that the eventual-champion Pirates were able to leave on an 11-game road trip in August with a 2.5-game lead, lose eight times and still return to Pittsburgh with a half-game lead.

  22. Lou Brock lost his 26-game hitting streak on May 31, 1971, but the Cardinals won again. A 3-2 win over the visiting Atlanta Braves stretched St. Louis's winning streak to seven games.

    Left-fielder Brock is the National League's top hitter, at .372. First-baseman Joe Torre is tied for third at .360. Fellow regulars Ted Simmons (catcher) and Matty Alou (center field) are also all hitting well over .300, as were key reserves Bob Burda (outfield), Jerry McNertney (catcher) and Julian Javier (infield). As of May 27, the Cardinals were the league's top-hitting team by 19 points.

    The big changes on offense from MLB70 were trading Richie Allen and his 34 home runs to Los Angeles for young second-baseman/shortstop Ted Sizemore, picking up Alou from Pittsburgh to spray hits across the Busch Stadium AstroTurf and moving to Simmons (already in his fourth major-league season at age 21) as the full-time catcher. The catcher last season was Torre, but St. Louis elected to take the 30-year-old from behind the plate to take over at third from Mike Shannon, who is now working in the Cardinals' front office. Torre dieted away a bunch of weight; lighter and without the strain of catching, Torre is on his way to the best hitting season of his career, at age 30.

  23. Pitchingwise, the Cardinals' big dogs are Steve Carlton (8-2, 2.52 through May 27), Bob Gibson (4-5, 3.84) and Reggie Cleveland (4-2, 3.41), but Gibson just went on the 21-day disabled list because of a thigh injury suffered while batting a couple of games ago.

    Carlton was on the cover of The Sporting News last month, and it was so strange to read all of these quotes from him--about the joshing he got from the media about his local commercials for a hot-dog company, about his wife's Ukrainian cooking, about his golf game, etc. Carlton is still almost a year away from being traded to Philadelphia and having a gradual falling out with the media over the next several years.

  24. Vida Blue, by the way, was on the cover of the May 31, 1971, Sports Illustrated. He figured heavily in a Roy Blount Jr. story, "A Garden of Versatile Stories," where he compared MLB71's standout names to various plants: "And then there are all the exotic varieties. Vida Blue, going like a poppy gorged on Vita Gro—so brilliant that little attention has been paid to his Oakland teammate Catfish Hunter, unbeatable since the second week of the season." That sort of thing.

  25. "Two well-known shrubs that have never before blossomed as they were expected to—Rick Reichardt and Ed Kranepool, hitting, respectively, .328 for the White Sox and .329 for the Mets ... Baseball followers are fast learning to recognize such hitherto obscure flora as Harold (Gomer) Hodge of Cleveland, who has become a folk hero for his Gomer Pyle voice and his game-winning pinch hits; Francis X. Healy, whose pinch-hitting average with San Francisco is .500; bespectacled Chicago starter Tom Bradley, who has been so stingy with runs that the White Sox have trouble losing behind him ...," etc., etc.