August 12, 1960

With Bob Webb’s return to the land of the infirm, the Raiders went out and signed former El Cerrito High and Washington State star quarterback Bobby Newman to a contract. The 6’2″ Newman had led the country in total offense as a junior with the Cougars in 1957 and were drafted by the 49ers the next year in the second round. However, he had subsequently washed out of three different NFL camps before being picked up by the Raiders.

Newman was happy to be in Oakland. “It’s great to be with a local team again,” he said, “and from all I hear it will be a pleasure to play for (head coach) Eddie Erdelatz.” Still, with just one day in camp he wouldn’t be ready to take the field against the Titans.

The New York squad was coming into the game with an 0-1 record, having lost their exhibition opener to the Chargers 27-7. Erdelatz wasn’t taking them lightly, though. In his estimation, the Titans had a number of high caliber players including their quarterbacks, Al Dorow and Dick Jamieson. Like many of his teammates, Dorow had significant NFL experience, spending three seasons with the Redskins and another with the Eagles. Jamieson was still a rookie, but had done some camp time with the Colts. Others with an NFL pedigree were fullback Fran Rogel, an eight-year veteran with the Steelers, several of them on the starting platoon, and rangy flanker, Don Maynard, a former Giants receiver and rated by Erdelatz as “one of the best ends I’ve seen”. On defense, former 49ers, Eagles, and Browns defensive end Sid Youngelman was showing well. But maybe the best defender on the team was a rookie linebacker out of Mississippi, Larry Grantham. Fortunately for the Raiders, he had broken his ankle against the Chargers and would be out for several weeks.

Holding the team together, aches, pains and all, was head coach Sammy Baugh. Eight years removed from a long career with the Washington Redskins in which he redefined the quarterbacking position for generations to come, Baugh was back in pro football after a stint coaching at Hardin-Simmons where he took the Cowboys to the 1958 Sun Bowl. Under his tutelage, the Titans were expected to run a “pass and trap” offense similar to that of the Cleveland Browns in their All-America Conference heyday.

Baugh was unperturbed by the loss in the preseason opener. “We made the usual first game errors,” he said, “and were not quite as far along as the Chargers. We will be a good club before this year is over because we have some potentially fine pros.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times
Pro Football Reference

August 11, 1960

After a couple of days at full health, two players turned up with injuries in practice today. Quarterback Bob Webb, just days back from a twisted knee at the beginning of camp, reinjured the joint and will be out for the Titans game, at least. Shortly thereafter, end Carl Isaacs also went down with a knee injury during a receiving drill. Occurring just 40 minutes into a scheduled 90 minute practice, Eddie Erdelatz had seen enough and scrapped the rest of the workout, fearing even more damage just two days before the team’s next game.

Oakland Tribune

August 10, 1960

It was apparent that Tom Flores was emerging as the Raiders’ starting quarterback for the 1960 campaign.

“if this kid can get through without any injuries, he’s going to have a great season,” was Eddie Erdelatz’ opinion. He called Flores “a great natural athlete who learns fast and well. He throws the ball extremely well, has great football sense, and a marvelous attitude. He’s a real good one.”

That left Paul Larson and Bob Webb to compete for the second string role as the team planned to carry only two quarterbacks. Webb missed a lot of time with a knee injury before returning to practice and Larson had been fighting off the rust of two years inaction.

Meanwhile, Erdelatz’ general enthusiasm was earning the praise of his players. Tom Louderback said, “It’s great being in a camp like this. This team has more spirit than any college club I’ve seen. I’ll tell you this — we may lose some games, but you’ll never see this team quit.”

Oakland Tribune

August 8, 1960

The players had a day off today, but that gave head coach Eddie Erdelatz more time to talk with the press. His first order of business was to complain about a ruling from the league office. Back in mid-July, the AFL made an arrangement whereby each team would have the exclusive negotiating rights to rookies cut from particular NFL teams. In the Raiders’ case, they had the rights to all cuts from the San Francisco 49ers and half the cuts from the Washington Redskins. However, Erdelatz had just learned that this excluded players who had been drafted by AFL teams. Those teams still had negotiating rights to their draftees, regardless of which NFL team had let them go.

The Raider coach was deeply unhappy about the news. “It is one of the biggest blows we’ve had,” he said, “And means that we’ll have to go along pretty much with what we have.” The team was now limited to pursuing a reported eight unnamed ex-49ers.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
Sam Mateo Times

August 6, 1960

Raider quarterback hopeful Tom Flores continued to make a strong push for the starting job in a morning scrimmage today. The former Pacific Tiger dispelled doubts about his once-injured throwing shoulder by hitting on a couple of long touchdowns, one each to Eddie Macon, who was trying his hand on offense, and to Tony Teresa, who made a tough catch in traffic.

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz was impressed. “The team gets better with each workout and is still on the upgrade,” he said. “Flores is calling the plays well and knows what to do in most situations.”

Aside from the scrimmage, the team put an emphasis on the kicking game. Linebacker Larry Barnes continued to improve as a placekicker, connecting on an extra point and a 32 yard field goal.

After practice, Erdelatz and his staff hopped aboard a plane bound for Los Angeles, where they would scout the Chargers in advance of their preseason contest next weekend in Sacramento.

Oakland Tribune

August 4, 1960

The Raider coaching staff continued to add to the offensive playbook in preparation for the Chargers game in Sacramento. As of today, the team had 65 plays installed: 20 running and 45 passing.

There was another new face at the day’s workout, the last of the two-a-day sessions. Defensive end Charley Powell, who had injured his Achilles tendon on the first day of training camp, was finally back on the field working out with his teammates. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz commented that Powell was looking “a lot better” and was “beginning to catch on to what we are doing.”

Meanwhile, ABC television, the broadcast network of the AFL, announced that four of the Raiders’ road games would be carried on their local affiliate, KGO: September 25 in Houston, October 2 in Denver, October 9 in Dallas, and November 27 in Los Angeles.

And for those fans who were planning to see home games in person, Greyhound Bus Lines announced plans to sell game tickets in their northern California depots and offer special charter buses for transportation to and from games.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

August 3, 1960

The Raiders returned to two-a-day practices on Wednesday with coach Erdelatz adding to both the offensive and defensive playbooks to expand the team’s repertoire. However, three players would practice with the team no more.

Among the cuts were guard Lou Byrd, tackle Fred Fehn who had missed most of camp with an injury, and one of yesterday’s pickups, fullback Jim Varnado, who was badly out of shape and apparently not likely to get into shape anytime soon. Also leaving camp was heretofore unmentioned guard Gil Ane, Hawaii native, and brother of former Detroit Lions Pro Bowl guard Charlie Ane, who was currently in camp with the expansion Cowboys in the NFL. Ane’s departure from camp was expected to be temporary as he was heading home to Oregon to care for a sick daughter.

Off the field, television dates were announced. The Raiders would appear on the local ABC affiliate, KGO, channel 7, four times throughout the year: September 25 at Houston, October 2 at Denver, October 9 at Dallas, and November 27 at Los Angeles.

Oakland Tribune

August 2, 1960

The team had a day off following the game, but head coach Eddie Erdelatz took that time to review the films, and based on what he saw, cut five players the following morning: halfbacks Alex Gardner and Ray Peterson, tackle Willie Boykin, guard Bob Harrison, and defensive back Bob Fails. He then added one back in the person of 6’1″, 185-pound halfback John Harris, formerly of Santa Monica Junior College. Harris combined speed and strength as a runner for the Corsairs and made first team All-Metro Conference in 1957 and later spent a season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Most recently, he had been in Chargers camp, but had been waived, giving the Raiders a chance to pick him up. Also returning to the team was tackle Fred Fehn, who had spent the past couple of weeks nursing a leg injury. This put the head count at 48, five over the limit of the first mandatory cut on August 22.

Erdelatz said he found no surprises in the movies. “We’ll try and correct the mistakes made in that game before going on to the new stuff,” he said. “They performed well considering everything and we’re expecting considerable improvement by the time we play New York.” To that end, he held a surprise 90-minute scrimmage that focused on improving both the running and the passing game.

Afterward, even more changes were made. Guard Charlie Kaaihue, a potential first-teamer who had been temporarily sidelined because of injury, was cut for what was reported as “disciplinary reasons.” The team also announced the signing of yet two more players, fullback Jim Varnado, and end Charles Moore. Additionally, Erdelatz made an offensive line adjustment, moving Ron Sabal from right guard to right tackle, in place of Don Churchwell. Don Manoukian moved in to take Sabal’s spot at guard. And, finally, Varnado’s signing meant a move for Brad Myers from fullback to halfback.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

July 31, 1960

Seven months, almost to the day, following the awarding of a franchise to Oakland, the Raiders assembled to play their first game, against the Dallas Texans at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.

The day dawned chilly and windy, with a drizzling rain that fell all morning. As game time approached, the rain stopped and the temperature climbed into the mid-60s, but the weather was still raw for the Bay Area in July, and as the stands filled, it was clear the team was not going to reach their attendance goals. By the 1:30pm kickoff, just 12,000 or so showed up to watch (later corrected to 10,882).

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July 29, 1960

Raider players engaged in a light workout as oddsmakers judged the Dallas Texans as at least two-touchdown favorites over them in the opener. “Considering their advantage in having a week’s more practice, I think the odds are just about right,” groused head coach Eddie Erdelatz, “I’d gladly pay (the $1,000 fine imposed by AFL commissioner Joe Foss) for an extra week’s work.”

Oakland Tribune