July 20, 1960

American Football League commissioner Joe Foss was in town today to visit the Raiders’ training camp in Santa Cruz. Upon inspection, he said the facilities were on par with what he had seen during his visits to other teams. He was also satisfied with the team’s season ticket sales, saying the reported sale of 8,500 was in line with other teams: well behind the Chargers at 18,000, but far ahead of the tail-enders like the Texans.

In player news, further examination of third-string quarterback Bob Webb’s knee revealed that the injury was not as severe as originally thought. Initial reports suggested he had torn cartilage and would need surgery, but now the team thought he could be back at practice in a week.

Meanwhile, head coach Eddie Erdelatz was still moving pieces around on the depth chart. With Marv Lasater gone, Erdelatz moved LC Joyner up to take his place. Newly-signed Tom Louderback  was shifted into the starting middle linebacker spot formerly occupied by Larry Barnes. Barnes would now put in his work at left defensive end. On offense, Erdelatz moved second-teamer Brad Myers from halfback to fullback.

Oakland Tribune

March 24, 1960

AFL commissioner Joe Foss announced that Oakland had selected Ben Donnell, center, from the Chargers in the first round of the allocation draft. Expected to play defense in the pro game, Donnell, a seventh round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1959, had left training camp voluntarily that summer, but was giving it another go in the AFL. The remaining six selections in the first round remained unnamed.

Milwaukee Journal
Oakland Tribune

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 3, 1960

Early on the first morning of the league meeting in Oakland, commissioner Joe Foss and Oakland general manager Chet Soda made an announcement that 14 players had been assigned to the team:

George Blanch, a 6’0″, 195-pound halfback from Texas. A solid performer for the Longhorns in 1957 and 1958, he made UPI 2nd team All-Southwest Conference his junior year, but in his senior season, 1959, his performance faded on offense and he spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball.

Read more “March 3, 1960”

January 30, 1960

In another stunning reversal, the AFL awarded the eighth and final franchise to the city of Oakland. Much of the credit for the change went to Chargers owner Barron Hilton. Hilton, who had been out of town for previous votes, made a strong plea upon his return for choosing Oakland. And on the league’s fifth ballot, the California city was chosen unanimously. Commissioner Joe Foss gave three reasons for the decision: the creation of a west coast rival for Los Angeles, the Oakland community’s strong show of interest, and better geographic balance than would have been provided by a team in Atlanta. Foss also credited a strong presentation by Chet Soda, Wayne Valley, and in particular, Robert Osborne.

Read more “January 30, 1960”

November 30, 1959

The AFL announced the hiring of former South Dakota governor Joe Foss as league commissioner. Foss, the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service during World War II as a United States Marine fighter pilot, had chosen not to run for a second term as governor to make a bid for the US House of Representatives in the 1958 elections. He was defeated in the race by the incumbent, George McGovern.