October 29, 1960

While the players were taking a day off following the win over the Titans, a pair of controversies dominated Raider news today. The first concerned a report that Chet Soda had sold 50% of his share of the team to Frederick Sullivan, the president of a San Francisco travel agency. Sullivan, whose firm numbered the Raiders among its clients, was the source of the news and he also asserted that three other owners had sold part of their financial shares to other parties. These sales, according to Sullivan, did not include voting rights. Soda denied the story. However, the team’s PR director, Jack Gallagher, acknowledged there was a provision in the ownership agreement that allowed owners to sell a portion of their share as long as voting rights were not transferred with the sale. Sellers of partial shares did not have to reveal names of the buyers to the other owners.

The other controversy involved a dispute between Eddie Erdelatz and Titans owner Harry Wismer. What was being characterized in the press as a “feud”, began on the Wednesday before the game. Wismer had invited Erdelatz to a cocktail party thrown for the press. Erdelatz did not attend, citing previous obligations, but Wismer took it as a snub and called Erdelatz “uncooperative and a troublemaker.”

Erdelatz responded by saying, “Wismer himself is hardly the most popular man in (New York) and being on his ‘list’ doesn’t bother me a bit.”

Not letting matters stand there, Wismer, an old radio hand, said on the air that the Raiders had arrived late to the game and that Erdelatz missed the beginning altogether. Scotty Stirling, the Oakland Tribune’s beat writer verified that the Raider coach had accompanied the team to the game and that they had arrived on time.

Marty Feldman confirmed this, saying, “We were in the Polo Grounds at the normal time and Eddie was certainly with us.” Erdelatz was unavailable for comment.

In less incendiary news, Soda announced that the team was abandoning its pursuit of playing the last three home games of 1960 in the Pacific High School stadium in San Leandro.

Oakland Tribune

October 28, 1960

Final statistics

On a rainy Friday night in the Big Apple, the Raiders staged a ten-point comeback in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Titans, 28-27, before 10,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds. The Raiders entered the game coming off their worst loss ever, a 38-9 beating at the hands of the Bills. At 3-4, they had fallen back to the pack after challenging the Broncos for the Western Division lead just a week ago. They did come into the game mostly healthy, though. Larry Barnes, Tom Flores, and Charley Powell had all been suffering from various forms of mild illness in recent days but would be ready to go at game time. Read more “October 28, 1960”

October 27, 1960

Reports surfaced today that the Raiders had been investigating the possibility of playing their final three home games in San Leandro on the campus of Pacific High School. The idea was first broached by Raider co-owner and San Leandro resident Wayne Valley, who suggested that the location was ideal for the team as a temporary home pending the construction of a permanent stadium in the East Bay.

Bud Hastings, the team’s assistant general manager, made a pitch to the school board yesterday and said it would be followed up by a formal request soon.

“This is all in a highly preliminary stage,” he said. “We haven’t as yet completely analyzed all the financial factors.” Not least among those factors was the installation of seats. The current football field at the newly-built school had room for just 500 attendees and the team wanted a capacity of 20,000. The cost of building and installing the seats was estimated at $100,000 and would take upwards of a month to be completed. Parking was another issue that would require a significant amount of planning and effort.

However, Hastings believed that their current situation was untenable. “We’re an East Bay community ballclub and at Kezar in San Francisco we just aren’t at home. We’ve had a number of people tell us they would go to games if they were held in the East Bay.”

As far as anyone could tell, there was nothing in the school district charter that prevented such an arrangement as long as the team footed the bill. At least some of the school board members were thought to be receptive to the idea, while others seemed to need more information before reaching a conclusion on the matter.

One who was open to the notion was Chamber of Commerce member Frank King, who said, “Playing in San Leandro would give the Raiders a chance to test the market on this side of the bay, and it might provide the necessary stimulus to the building of a modern stadium. We don’t care whether it’s in San Leandro or Oakland, as long as it’s built.”

No changes could be made in time for the team’s next home game on November 13, against the Bills, but the team hoped to be able to leave Kezar for the last three games of the season, all at home, in December.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 26, 1960

Baseball’s American League announced their expansion plans for the 1961 season and there were modest repercussions in Raider land. Two of the team’s owners, Robert Osborne and Chet Soda, were part of a group trying to entice the league to put a team in the East Bay. The Junior Circuit chose Los Angeles and Washington instead, with the latter going in as a replacement for the Senators, who were moving to the Twin Cities.

Osborne and Soda were, at least in part, hoping to create more of an incentive for the city of Oakland to help fund a stadium for the Raiders, but it was not to be, not immediately, anyway. Osborne was still hopeful that the American League might choose to add two more cities down the road and that one of them could be Oakland, or perhaps an existing team could move to the area.

“In that time, we could have a stadium built,” he said. “A few commitments not yet finalized are all that is holding the Oakland group back. If Oakland doesn’t get off the ground on building a stadium, I personally would love to see it built in southern Alameda County.”

Hayward Daily Review

October 25, 1960

The Raiders returned to the practice field today to prepare for Friday night’s game against the Titans. There wasn’t much new to report, though Eddie Erdelatz took a little time to discuss the Bills game. He said that the wet weather contributed to some of his team’s mistakes, but also thought his team simply “didn’t play as a unit.” In personnel news, he said that newcomer Billy Reynolds would see more work against New York than he did against Buffalo, primarily at the flanker spot, but that he would likely play other positions as well.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 24, 1960

The team traveled the roughly three hundred miles from Buffalo to New York City where they would spend four days preparing for the Titans. The first day, though, aside from the travel time, would consist of rest and a chance to refocus following the thumping they took at the hands of the Bills. Despite the short turnaround, the coaching staff apparently thought the team needed the break more than the extra day of work, especially following the cross-country trip made overnight just a couple of days ago.

Oakland Tribune

October 23, 1960

Final statistics

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz called it “far and away our worst performance” and he wasn’t kidding. On a damp, blustery day in Buffalo, the Bills hit on big play after big play and thumped the Raiders 38-9. The lowering, gray skies and steady light rain kept attendance down to a paltry 8,876, but those who did show up saw their team at peak performance.

The Raiders, at 3-3, came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the AFL and a win, coupled with a Boston win over the Broncos, would move them to the top spot in the league’s Western Division. The Bills, at 1-4, entered the game with the league’s top defense, but with an offense that hadn’t found much success. They had made a change at quarterback just a week ago, picking up Johnny Green, a Steelers castoff, and started him in place of Tommy O’Connell, an old Browns hand. In that game the Bills lost a tight one to the Titans, but head coach Buster Ramsey was encouraged by his play and planned to keep him in there against Oakland. Read more “October 23, 1960”

October 22, 1960

The team arrived in Buffalo after a red-eye flight during which sleep was fugitive, at best, for most players. Upon arrival, the players were instructed to hit the hay and get some shut-eye. When they woke up they learned there was a new face in the ranks.

The Raiders announced the signing of 5’11”, 200-pound halfback Billy Reynolds. The former University of Pittsburgh Panther had broken in with the Browns in 1953 and his rushing, receiving, and special teams play earned him the NFL’s rookie of the year award. The following year he was an important member of Cleveland’s championship run, but he spent the next two years in the air force. When he returned for the 1957 campaign he began to suffer a series a nagging injuries that sapped his once-formidable speed and was traded to the Steelers the following summer. He played only sparingly in Pittsburgh and ended up in Canada for 1959. He spent the summer of 1960 in Chargers camp but they let him go just before the season started. The Raiders, looking for more backfield and special teams depth, decided to take a flyer on him.

To make room on the roster, they put Bob Keyes on waivers. The seldom-used Keyes had played just three games for Oakland, rushing once for seven yards, catching one pass for 19 yards, and returning one punt for five yards.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 21, 1960

With the Bills game just two days away, the Raiders had intended to fly out early today, but an unidentified snafu pushed departure time into the mid-evening, giving the coaching staff another day to run their team through a practice.

Eddie Erdelatz also made a handful of announcements, saying Tony Teresa would make his first start in three weeks, following a back injury, and that Billy Lott had recovered from his pulled hamstring sufficiently to join Teresa in the starting lineup. But the big story was the coach’s statement that Tom Flores would be his starting quarterback the rest of the year, with Babe Parilli to come in as needed.

“I don’t believe in alternating men by games,” he said. “I think it’s far better to have one as a regular starter — in this case, Flores — with the other ready to take over without hesitation.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 20, 1960

Billy Lott, victim of a pulled hamstring a couple of days ago, began to test it in practice today with some light jogging exercises. He was still considered doubtful for Sunday’s game. Joining him on the injured list was receiver Al Hoisington who caught a Babe Parilli pass right in the eye, giving him a shiner. Eddie Erdelatz’s response: “Nobody can say our quarterbacks aren’t hitting their targets.”

Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times