THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Friday, October 9, 1970
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7:30 P.M.-Michigan League
SIMPSON DEFIES ABA
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By AL SHACKELFORD
"I've never seen the hardship
clause in writing so I wouldn't
know who would qualify," says
Michigan assistant basketball
coach Fred Snowden.
"Actually there is no specific
hardship clause in the Ameri-
can Basketball Association by-
laws," says Bert Schultz, public
relations director for the Amer-
ican Basketball Association.
Yet this hardship clause, my-
thical as it appears, has resulted
in the signing of Spencer Hay-
wood and Ralph Simpson by the
ABA's Denver Rockets and has
important and perhaps ominous
implications for the future of
Haywood signed with t h e
Rockets following a brilliant
sophomore year at the Univer-
sity of Detroit; he won the
ABA rookie-of-the-year award
last year in his first pro sea-
son and established himself as
that young league's stellar at-
THE AMBITIOUS Rockets
picked off Simpson this summer
under the same hardship clause;
the former Michigan State ace
is expected to be the guard the
Rockets need to take the ABA
title this season. In addition,
the fact that Haywood a n d
Simpson were high school play-
mates at Detroit Pershing
should cause fans of the Mile
High City to rush lemming-like
to Rocket games. "Ralph a n d
Spencer: together again;" what
could be a more obvious money-
But the ABA fought Simpson's
signing tooth and nail: only
Wednesday was Ralph assured
of playing with the Rockets,
when the ABA board of trustees
followed the lead of a south-,
ern Michigan federal judge in
declaring that Simpson's con-
tract is valid.
ABA Commissioner Jack Dolph
got in his licks at Denver, how-
ever, by fining them $10,000 and
voiding their number one draft
pick next year. In regard to pro
raids, Dolph vowed that "we'll
do everything in our power to
keep this from occurring again."
JUST WHAT is the "hard-
ship clause?" "Under special
circumstances the usual re-
quirements of graduation may
be waived in a player's sign-
ing," says ABA public re-
lations man Schultz.
Those "special circumstances"
in Simpson's case are eight
younger brothers and sisters liv-
ing in a broken home, according
to Rocket president Don Rings-
by. Simpson's mother and t h e
children are existing on welfare;
cage -future -
these "special circumstances" personal integrity of the pro
obviously constitute a hardship owners. "I don't think the pros
case. When the Rockets waved would allow wholesale raiding,"
the long green (to the tune of he says, and cites Detroit Piston
a reported $1 million) at Simp- owner Fred Zollner in partic-
son, how could he turn it down? ular , as one owner who would
realize the shortsightedness of
REGARDLESS of whether the raids.
Rockets were justified in sign- If raids did occur, the follow-
ing Simpson, it appears that an ing avenues would be open to
accommodation will have to be colleges, according to. Snowden:
worked out between pro basket- "It might be feasible for coaches
ball and colleges which are rob- not to recruit those high school
bed of their stars. Dolph in- c
dicte AA oliy n isvow players who might qualify under
to fghtagaist ro aidson ol- a hardship clause." In fact, says
Snowden, "if pros raid, colleges
leges; the courts, however, may might disband basketball pro-
not back him up, as indicated grams.'
in the Simpson case.
How are college coachs re- IF THIS occurred, Snowden
sponding to the encroachment continues, "it would be best for
of pro raids? pro teams to either sign players
"Something has to be done," out of high school or wait until
says Michigan coach Snowden after their graduation from col-
of the raiding. "This situation lege."
is very bad for college athletics." The elusive hardship clause
Snowden sympathizes with has already brought Simpson
the grabby Rockets, saying that and Haywood into the pro ranks
Denver saw the chance to ac- and threatens to damage col-
quire two players from the same lege programs around the coun-
background and took it. "Had try; the pro hierarchy deplores
Ralph gone to another high signing players out of college
school, "says Snowden, "there but the courts so far have de-
wouldn't have been so much fended it. If the signings con-
pressure on him to sign." tinue, says Snowden, pro and
A roadblock to wholesale pro college basketball "are going to
raids, comments Snowden, is the destroy each other."
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The Fizz Kids
HE WORLD SERIES begins tomorrow, and for the 54th
time in 55 years, the Philadelphia Phillies will not be in
The Phillies, who are closer to losing 600 games in this
century than any other major league team, have won the
National League pennant only once in a little over half a
century, and that was something of a fluke.
The year was 1950, and the team they billed The Whiz
Kids won it in the tenth inning of the last game of the
season on a wrongfield homer by Dick Sisler after watch-
ing a comfortable mid-September bulge dwindle to one
game by the begining of October. They wouldn't have
won it then, either, if it hadn't been for a marginal Dodger
named Cal Abrams who tried to score from second on a
single to center in the bottom of the ninth with one out and
never made it.
The Whiz Kids wasted little time establishing their fluki-
ness losing the Series to the Yankees in four straight in one
of the more feeble efforts in baseball history.
But even if the Phillies had put up more of a fight, it
would hardly have blemished their reputation as the losing-
ist team in modern baseball history. In the 20th century, the
Phillies have lost 100 games or more 14 separate seasons. Over
in the "other" league the Senators, the team that inspired the
pundits to run into the ground the old adage that Washington
was first in war, first in peace, and last in the American
League, could manage the feat only nine times.
In 1941, the Phillies set a league record for the number
of games lost with a 43-111 mark, and the record lasted 21
years, or until the Mets came along and went 40-120. (The
American League record of 117 is held by the old Philadel-
phia Athletics, who did it in 1916, and if the Phillies hadn't
won the pennant the year before, one would have a right to
wonder if losing was contagious.)
One losing record even the -Mets couldn't erase was the
Phillies' mark of finishing last four straight times from 1958-
61. The Mets merely tied the record with four consecutive tenth
place finishes before moving up to ninth their fifth year.
The Phillies have always had a knack for doing things
wrong. In 1930, they had a team batting average of .315, but
someone forgot to tell the management that pitching was a part
of the game, too. So the Phils gave up 7.7 runs per game and
finished last with a 52-102 mark.
In 1961, they improved to where they only allowed 5.1
runs, but someone forgot to bring the hitters along and they
finished last again, setting a modern record with 23 straight
They didn't finish last this year - only fifth in a six
team league. But they were only one-half game out of the
cellar, and it may be significant that they played one game
less than last place Montreal.
Their on the field bungling is surpassed only by what they
do in the front office. Last year, they decided they couldn't
get along with Richie Allen, and traded him to the Cardinals
for Curt Flood. Instead of helping them to the first division, the
move put them in court, along with the rest of baseball.
. The Phils once had the title to Ferguson Jenkins,
but they sent him to the Cubs in 1966 for.Bob Buhl and
Larry Jackson. They also had the original title to Alex
Johnson, who just won the American League batting crown,
but traded him away. \
That all might seem like so many bad trades or so much
water under the bridge, but things really haven't changed
much in the City of Brotherly Love. This summer, the Phils
offered Henry McGraw, who played for their Pacific Coast
League farm club, because his hair was too long.
They said something about long hair hurting the image
of their "system", which is bad enough in itself, but the real
rub of it all is that McGraw hit .302 the year before for
Reading, the third best mark in the Eastern League: He may
not have been a second Willie Mays or a Mickie Mantle, but
one suspects that a .302 hitter, even in Class A ball, could
have helped a team like Philadelphia.
The attitude of the Phils towards McGraw, and the
attitude towards Allen and Johnson, who they said were too
hard tohandle, is indicative of a sickness among baseball
management. They seem, for the most part, unable to toler-.
ate any display of individualism, on the body or in the
It's an attitude you find in the army, where they
shave your head and beat your brains in. It's bad enough
there, but the army was never meant to be fun. Baseball was,
even when you're losing.
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