June 19, 1960

Chet Soda announced that the Raiders had hired noted swing bandleader and Oakland native Del Courtney to be the team’s musical director. Courtney was “thrilled” to be hired by the Raiders and said he was “looking forward to providing the Raiders and their fans with one of the most colorful and exciting football bands in the country.”

Oakland Tribune

May 26, 1960

In a conversation with Oakland Tribune columnist, Ray Haywood, Chet Soda discussed expenses. Soda said the team would spend an estimated $925,000 for the 1960 season, including $285,000 for player salaries, $45,000 for equipment, $31,600 for training camp expenses, $13,000 for transportation to get players to camp, $60,000 for air travel during the season; $10,000 for telephone calls, $35,000 for scouting, and $140,000 for administration and admin salaries. Soda estimated the Raiders would need home attendance to average between 30,000 and 32,000 per game to break even.

May 16, 1960

Raiders owner and general manager Chet Soda announced the team would play its 1960 regular season home games in Kezar Stadium. The team came to the decision by a vote of ownership and was currently negotiating with the San Francisco Park and Recreation Commission to set terms. While the regular season was now set, the team was looking into regional sites for their preseason contests. Though the exhibition opener was to be in Kezar, the team thought they might schedule a game in Sacramento or another city in the area.

Oakland Tribune

April 27, 1960

The team announced that co-owner and restaurateur Harvey Binns was getting out of the football business by selling his interest in the Raiders back to the remaining seven owners. Binns said he was not happy with the way Chet Soda was dominating football operations. “When we named Soda general manager it was to be a temporary thing until we hired a man with professional football experience,” he explained, “but now he doesn’t want to step down. The club needs someone with a pro background in that spot.”

Soda’s response: “The owners are sincerely regretful that personal reasons require Mr. Binns to sever his interest in the football club. His enthusiasm and support was a great help to the new venture.”

High-level squabbling aside, the Raiders continued to build a roster, announcing the signing of University of California halfback Wayne Crow, whose stellar play helped the Bears get to the 1959 Rose Bowl against Iowa. Crow, who had just completed his junior year at Berkeley decided to go pro to support his wife and young child and had been chosen by the Cardinals in the eighth round of the NFL draft. Soda said the Crow signing was an unusual situation and that the team had no plans to sign other underclassmen. Part of Crow’s contract included money to be set aside for tuition for his senior year. New California head coach Marv Levy praised the Raiders for their handling of the situation, pointing out that Soda had tried to discourage Crow from leaving school. A two-way player for the Bears, he had led the team in both passing and interceptions in 1959.

And, for the first time, the Oakland Tribune printed a complete roster of Raider signees. A total of 54 players were listed (see link below), with 24 names not mentioned in previous reports:

Bill Atkins, a 6’1″, 220-pound guard from San Jose State. A 25th-round draft pick of the Rams in 1958, he did not make the regular season roster.

Charles Bates, a 6’4, 245-pound tackle from Alabama A&M. He spent training camp time with both Chicago teams: the Cardinals in 1956 and the Bears in 1959.

Lou Byrd, a 6’1″, 220-pound guard/linebacker from USC. A two-year letterman for the Trojans, he was awarded the 1958 Marv Goux Award by the school for his outstanding performance against UCLA his senior year. He was not drafted by an NFL team.

Roch Conklin, a 6’1″, 215-pound center from Stanford. After missing the 1957 season because of injury, he returned to have a fine senior season for the Indians, tying for the team lead in interceptions and making an appearance in the East-West Shrine Game. He had no pro experience.

Don Deskins, a 6’2″, 240-pound tackle from Michigan. A former Marine, Deskins was in his mid-20s when he started his college football career with the Wolverines. He was picked by Minneapolis in the AFL draft, with his signing rights eventually falling to the Raiders.

Al Feola, a 6’0″, 185-pound halfback from Pepperdine. A three-year letterman for the Waves, he had not played in either the NFL or the Canadian leagues following his senior year of 1956.

George Fields, a 6’3″, 245-pound lineman/linebacker from Bakersfield College. Fields started out as a fullback for the Renegades, but following knee surgery in 1955, moved to end, playing both ways as a pass catcher and pass rusher. He later put in time with the Bakersfield Spoilers of the Pacific Football Conference.

Wes Fry, a 6’1″, 215-pound center from UC Davis. He was named to the Far Western All-Conference team for his play with the Aggies in 1959.

Alex Gardner, a 5’9″, 185-pound halfback from South Carolina State. He was named NAIA All-America Honorable Mention in 1957.

Carl Gordon, a 5’9″, 173-pound quarterback/halfback from Bakersfield College. An all-around talent for the Renegades, he was named a Junior College All-American in 1954. He, like his teammate Fields, played for a time with the Spoilers.

James Hall, a 5’10”, 180-pound halfback from Mississippi. Part of a very deep Rebels backfield from 1957-1959, he was a significant receiving threat as the team enjoyed three consecutive bowl wins during his tenure.

Vin Hogan, a 6’0″, 190-pound back from Boston College. A nimble halfback and a three-year letterman for the Eagles, he won the Edward O’Melia Award in 1959 for outstanding player in the annual Boston College-Holy Cross game.

Clark Holden, a 5’11”, 210-pound fullback from USC. Originally drafted by Dallas, he tied a Trojans record in 1959 with four rushing touchdowns against Stanford.

Brad Hustad, a 5’9″, 190-pound halfback from Luther. A three-year All-Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performer with the Norse, Hustad led the nation in rushing his sophomore season with 1,401 yards, and by the end of his college career in 1959, held the national career record with 3,943 yards on the ground.

Stan Jones, a 6’0″, 210-pound fullback from Maryland State. Not to be confused with the University of Maryland and Chicago Bear lineman of the same name, Jones scored twice to lead the Hawks to victory over North Carolina A&T in the 1954 Fish Bowl.

LC Joyner, a 6’0″, 180-pound back from Diablo Valley College. A three-sport star with the Vikings, he set a conference scoring record in 1952. He was drafted by the 49ers in the 21st round of the 1956 draft, but had not played in a regular season game in the NFL.

Charlie Kaaihue, a 5’11”, 235-pound guard from San Jose State. He was signed as a free agent in 1958 by the Eagles, but had no regular season appearances.

Joe Kominski, a 6’5″, 223-pound tackle from Central Washington State. An excellent rebounder for the Wildcats basketball squad, he was a standout on the gridiron as well, making the All-Evergreen Conference team as an end in both 1956 and 1957.

Jack Larscheid, a 5’6″, 162-pound back from Pacific. Invariably referred to as the “little sparkplug” or the like, he mostly played second fiddle to teammate Dick Bass, but closed his college career in spectacular fashion, gaining 119 yards rushing on 14 carries, and nabbing two interceptions in the Tigers’ 52-6 win over Fresno State in the final game of the 1959 season.

Rich Max, a 6’1″, 235-pound center from Cal Poly. He was named to the Little All-America team while with the Mustangs.

Ron Newhouse, a 6’1″, 195-pound quarterback/halfback from St Norbert. A fine runner and passer with the Green Knights, he was named Little All-America Honorable Mention in 1958.

Andrew Pierce, a 6’1″, 210-pound fullback from Southern

Louis Plain, a 6’3″, 265-pound tackle from Stanford

Willis Towne, a 6’4″, 220-pound end from Wichita State (see note)

Boston College football media guide
California State Polytechnic College El Mustang
Diablo Valley College Hall of Fame Yearbook
Jet
Luther College Athletics
National Junior College Athletic Association football media guide
Oakland Tribune
San Jose State football media guide
Santa Monica City College Corsair
South Carolina State football media guide
Stanford University football media guide
University of Michigan football media guide
University of California-Davis football media guide
University of Southern California football media guide

Note: The Tribune identified Towne as having played his college ball at UC Davis, and there was a Willis Towne at that school, but that Towne played for them in the early 1930s. However, there was also a Willis Towne who played in the 1950s for the Shockers and was drafted in 1956 by the Chicago Cardinals. The age listed in the paper is about right for that timeline and the most reasonable explanation is that someone with the Raiders or with the Tribune simply made an error in fact-checking.

April 14, 1960

The nine days wonder that was the Oakland Señors was no more. Faced with increasingly noisy objection to the team’s nickname from Easy Bay residents and potential fans, the Oakland leadership decided to go with Raiders instead. A duplicate set of prizes was awarded with the winning entry going to Kendrick Martin of Hayward. He chose Raiders “because our team and its supporters must be fired and inspired by a fighting name. ‘Raiders’ implies early, sustained offense, carrying the fight to the opponents.”

General manager Chet Soda approved. “(Raiders) was all we and the people of the Bay Area could wish for,” he said, “We certainly appreciate our fans’ interest in our club. Public sentiment disapproved of ‘Señors’. We hope everyone will like ‘Raiders’ as much as we do.”

Oakland Tribune

April 7, 1960

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz reported that the team had signed 40 players, but he still wouldn’t provide a list until the league approved it. Meanwhile, the nickname controversy continued. An Oakland Tribune editorial suggested there was a groundswell of local support for a name change, citing various reasons, such as “Señors” wasn’t fierce enough for a football team, to suggestions that the name would be a source of merriment around the country. And there were hints of a racist component to the rumblings, that the name wasn’t sufficiently American. There was also a rumor, squelched by general manager Chet Soda, that Dallas owner Lamar Hunt had sent a one-word telegram in response to the nickname: “Ridiculous.”

Oakland Tribune

April 5, 1960

While head coach Eddie Erdelatz and his crew were off scouting players for the second round of allocation picks, the nickname contest had wound down to its conclusion and the team announced the choice. Henceforth, the team would be known as the Oakland Señors. The winning entry belonged to Helen Davis, an employee of the Oakland police department. Her entry was among seven that chose Señors, and her explanation for the choice earned her the prize of a trip to Acapulco. Her winning entry: “Señors symbolizes the history, strength, and solidarity of Old World California. The name personifies the original fighting spirit characteristic of the first settlers of California.” Davis described herself as flabbergasted at winning the contest saying she wasn’t much a of a football fan, really, “but you can bet your life I will be from now on.”

Read more “April 5, 1960”

March 22, 1960

As the first round of the AFL’s allocation draft got underway, Oakland general manager Chet Soda claimed that some teams were protecting more than eleven players, because some nominally draft-eligible players were unavailable due to no-trade clauses in their contracts. Soda was particularly interested in Houston quarterback George Blanda, but couldn’t talk the former Chicago Bear into signing with Oakland, even when offered more money than the Oilers had given him. Soda complained to Commissioner Joe Foss, but Foss, while sympathetic, refused to remedy the situation. The commissioner did agree that in subsequent rounds, teams would be required to include players with no-trade contracts among their eleven protectees.

In other news, head coach Eddie Erdelatz selected ex-Ram and -Colt halfback Tommy Kalmanir as his offensive backfield coach. An All-American at Nevada just after World War II, Kalmanir played three seasons with Los Angeles (1949-51) and spent 1953 with Baltimore before spending a final year as a player with Edmonton in the Canadian leagues in 1955. After his playing days were done, he put in time as a coach in the CFL before Oakland tabbed him.

The team also announced a player transaction. USC lineman Al Bansavage, a Minneapolis draftee whose signing rights had transferred to Oakland (a fact not previously reported), had signed with the Baltimore Colts.

Oakland Tribune

March 20, 1960

The team announced a contest to decide their nickname. Sponsored by the Oakland Junior Chamber of Commerce, with a five-person panel of judges consisting of local business leaders and politicians, plus Chet Soda, each contestant was to offer their suggestion with a 25-words-or-fewer essay explaining the reason for their choice. The deadline for entries was April 2. First prize was a one-week trip for two to Acapulco plus a pair of tickets to the home opener. Second prize was a trip to Los Angeles to see the Charger game, plus tickets for the home opener. Third prize was a pair of season tickets, with 25 runners-up to receive tickets to the opener.

Oakland Tribune