September 25, 1960

Final statistics

  

The result was in doubt until the second-to-last play, but the Raiders got their first regular season win in franchise history by beating the Oilers 14-13. The day started when forecasted rain showers never arrived, but protesters outside the stadium did. Picketers stood outside Houston’s Jeppesen Stadium gates protesting racially-segregated seating arrangements. The actions may have had some effect as only 16,421 people took their seats, far less than the 25,000 expected or hoped for by the teams and the league.

Read more “September 25, 1960”

September 22, 1960

The Raiders were heading to Houston tomorrow and Eddie Erdelatz had something to get off his chest before they did. “It’s unfortunate a team in our position was scheduled against the two best teams in four of the first five games,” meaning Dallas and Houston.

“Because of our late start, we are still trying to place our personnel while almost every other team in the league has been set for weeks. Sometimes you have to experiment quite a lot before you find the right man for the right spot, and it is even more difficult with us because we are still trying to help ourselves with cuts from other teams.

“We’ve had quite a turnover in personnel and it isn’t finished yet, so you can see that we have problems in addition to the routine work involved in preparing for a football game each week. Take Dallas and Houston, for instance. They were two of the first teams in the league and they have top personnel. They knew pretty well what their players could do before training opened, and they have gone pretty much with the same units since early in the exhibition season.

“Most of our players were complete strangers, so it was a matter of slowly grading them to find out just who could do what. Now, it is almost like going back into training camp when we pick up new players. We have to first find out if they can play football then teach them to play our way. It puts an added burden on the coaches and the squad because you can’t concentrate on simply preparing for next week’s opponent.”

The roster experimentation continued today with another move. The team signed 5’10”, 185-pound halfback Bob Keyes. Keyes, who played his college ball for Antelope Junior College and the University of San Diego, had previously been in camp with the 49ers, but had been cut by them a little over a week ago. To make room for Keyes, the Raiders released defensive back LC Joyner. On the team since April, Joyner had looked pretty good in the preseason and had started the opener against Houston, but became expendable in the interim.

There was also a report in the Hayward Daily Review that Babe Parilli would start at quarterback in place of Tom Flores, but the piece didn’t identify a team source for the information and no mention of the switch was found in the other area papers.

While last minute preparations for travel were underway, the team was hit hard by the sobering news that offensive line coach Ernie Jorge had suffered a heart attack sometime during the evening. Erdelatz reported that his long-time assistant was expected to make a full recovery but would likely be bedridden for more than a month in the meantime.

Billings Gazette
Farmington Daily Times
Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

September 21, 1960

After Eddie Erdelatz tinkered with the offensive lineup yesterday, some observers thought there might be further changes to come. Quarterback Babe Parilli and fullback JD Smith had performed well against Dallas and seemed poised to start against Houston, but the Raider head coach said no, Tom Flores and Billy Lott would still be in there to open the game. Explaining his decision, he acknowledged that Smith had looked good running the ball, but that Lott was the better blocker.

There would be a change on the offensive line, though. With the injury to tackle Dalton Truax, recent acquisition Paul Oglesby would take his place on the line against the Oilers, with the newest Raider, Bill Striegel, getting some action on offense as well.

Oakland Tribune

September 20, 1960

Still looking for the formula that would put them on the winning track, the Raiders made more roster moves today, adding linebacker Riley Morris and defensive tackle Bill Striegel. Morris, according to some reports had been signed off waivers from the Chargers as early as September 8, but had only now put in an appearance at team headquarters and was officially added to the roster.

Striegel, at 6’2″ and 235 pounds, had been a teammate of Tom Flores at the College of the Pacific and was drafted by the Eagles in 1958 in the eighth round. He missed his entire rookie season because of an injury suffered in the College All-Star Game, but appeared in all 12 games for the Eagles in 1959. Taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL expansion draft, he was cut by the team near the end of the preseason and subsequently picked up by the Raiders.

To make room for the two new additions, the team cut linebacker Billy Ray Locklin and defensive lineman Glenn Holtzman, who never showed up after being acquired from the Chargers two weeks ago. Locklin, signed in June, had appeared in each of the first two games, garnering three tackles and a sack to show for his efforts.

While the front office tinkered with the roster, Coach Erdelatz made some changes in the depth chart. Alan Goldstein, who had a productive day as a substitute against Dallas, was installed in the starting role at flanker, moving Tony Teresa to halfback. Teresa’s move to behind the quarterback displaced Jack Larscheid from the starting lineup.

And though the team escaped the Texans game without injury, they didn’t fare so well in today’s workout. Both defensive end Ron Warzeka and tackle Dalton Truax came up limping, Warzeka with a right ankle problem, and Truax with a pulled muscle in his right leg. Neither injury was thought to be serious and both players were expected to see action against the Oilers.

Hayward Daily Review
Monroe Morning World
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

September 16, 1960

Final statistics

The Raiders hosted the Dallas Texans on a cool, breezy Friday night at Kezar Stadium. The Texans were coached by Hank Stram, last seen as an assistant at the University of Miami, and were led on the field by quarterback Cotton Davidson, who had taken the field briefly with the Baltimore Colts in the mid 1950s. The Texans had gone through the preseason with a perfect 6-0 record, but lost to the Chargers in their season opener, 21-20. Read more “September 16, 1960”

September 13, 1960

Two days out from the loss to the Oilers, the Raiders made a number of personnel moves. Four players were cut, including tackle Joe Barbee, halfback Luther Carr, tackle Don Churchwell, and quarterback Paul Larson. Read more “September 13, 1960”

September 11, 1960

The glad day had finally arrived. A crowd of 12,703 fans came to Kezar Stadium to watch the Raiders host the Houston Oilers, a team coached by old Cleveland Browns warhorse Lou Rymkus and led on the field by quarterback George Blanda, a veteran of ten campaigns with the Chicago Bears. The weather was fine, if windy, and after long months of preparation and sweat, the locals in black were ready to embark on their big adventure. Read more “September 11, 1960”

September 9, 1960

Eddie Erdelatz named his starting offense today. As mentioned a couple of days ago, Tom Flores would start at quarterback. Joining him in the backfield would be Jack Larscheid, Billy Lott, and Tony Teresa, who would man the flanker spot. On the ends would be Charlie Hardy and Gene Prebola. Ron Sabal and Dalton Truax were to start at the tackles, with Don Manoukian and Wayne Hawkins at guard, and Jim Otto in the middle.

On the practice field, the team ran through their last workout before the game and the next time they put on pads they would be facing the Houston Oilers to get the whole shooting match underway.

Hayward Daily Review
San Mateo Times

September 8, 1960

The Raiders made more personnel moves today. In a continuing effort to upgrade their lines, the team signed Glenn HoltzmanPaul Oglesby, and Riley Morris. Holtzman, a 6’3″, 250-pound defensive end out of North Texas State had been drafted by the Rams in 1954 in the 26th round and spent four years in Los Angeles, one of them as a starter. After the Rams traded him, along with six other players and a pair of draft picks, to the Cardinals in exchange for Ollie Matson, Holtzman refused to report to Chicago and pursued careers in acting and professional wrestling instead. Sid Gillman had tabbed him a few months ago to play for the Chargers, but cut him earlier this week, giving the Raiders a chance to pick him up.

Oglesby, a 6’4″, 235-pound tackle from UCLA had been drafted by both the Cardinals and the Oilers and went with Houston. He was plagued by minor ailments in camp, and the Oilers eventually gave up on him and let him go.

Morris, a 6’2″, 220-pound linebacker out of Florida A&M had been released by the Chargers the same day as Oglesby and picked up by Oakland at the same time. Oglesby was added to the active roster right away, but the team was waiting for Holtzman and Morris to report in person before adding them.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders released halfback Buddy Allen. Allen, who scored the first points in franchise history, had looked good early on, but found his playing time reduced as the preseason unfolded and he became a forgotten man as Jack Larscheid and Billy Lott got more attention. Unofficially, Allen ended the preseason with 81 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 32 yards. Allen’s departure left just Lott, Larscheid, JD Smith, and Tony Teresa, and Luther Carr in the offensive backfield.

While these moves were going on, Coach Erdelatz continued to prepare for Sunday’s game by naming team captains. On offense the captain would be Tom Flores. A member of the squad since early June, Flores had been the front-runner for the starting quarterback position almost from his arrival and was a clear choice. On defense the captain would be linebacker Bob Dougherty. Dougherty was one of the players chosen in the AFL’s allocation draft back in the spring and had stood out for his exemplary play in the preseason.

On the public relations front, today was the day for the big parade in Oakland. A 4:30pm departure from Jack London Square saw the players and other team officials convoy in convertibles on the half-hour long route to a park next to Lake Merritt with fanfare, autographs, and pictures to follow.

Hayward Daily Review
North Texas University football media guide
Oakland Tribune
Pro Football Reference
San Mateo Times
UCLA football media guide

September 7, 1960

The team announced today that Tom Flores would start at quarterback against the Oilers on Sunday. Flores had sat out the final two exhibition games because of an injury he suffered against the Chargers, but the Raider training staff pronounced him fit for duty again, pushing Babe Parilli back to reserve duty.

Flores and the rest of the squad would be joined on the field by a new recruit. The Raiders signed 6’4″, 260-pound defensive tackle Ron Warzeka. A three-time All-Rocky Mountain Conference performer at Montana State, Warzeka was named to the second-team Little All-America team while with the Bobcats in 1955 and was drafted in the 14th round by the 49ers in 1957. The Niners cut him just before the start of the regular season and Warzeka spent the next two years in the military, playing at least one year for the Fort Meade club in Maryland. San Francisco re-signed him late in 1959, but had cut him again shortly before the Raiders picked him up.

Eddie Erdelatz was happy to get another big body on the defensive line. “Warzeka has the real good attitude,” he said, “and with his size he should help us once he becomes familiar with our system.”

With the regular season just four days away, the Tribune published a special section of the paper devoted to the Raiders and the AFL and included an unattributed story titled “The Raider Spirit.”1 The piece discussed, at length, Erdelatz’s coaching philosophy and how it influenced the players.

Erdelatz had been thought of as a topnotch motivator while coaching at the Naval Academy and he had brought the same skills to bear here in Oakland. Players and coaches alike were expected to give full effort at all times and show a hustling spirit. The staff put together practices that were meticulously organized and players could count on Erdelatz sticking to his word, once given. The Raider coach was serious about preparation, but he was no stoic. “It has to be fun for the players, for my assistants, and for myself,” he said, then elaborated, “We want to win every game, exhibition or league, because then the game becomes more fun. Thinking of football in a fun sense doesn’t mean you don’t put out or don’t care about the outcome. It means playing hard and playing to win, because that, after all, is what makes a great game.”

And so far, players like Joe Cannavino were buying in. “I’ve played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, Weeb Ewbank of the Baltimore Colts, and Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns,” he said, “and none can put ball players at ease like Coach Erdelatz. He tells us the game will be fun, so we go into it expecting to have a good time, and we do.”

Montana State University football media guide
Oakland Tribune

1. The author was probably Scotty Stirling, but no byline was included.