September 28, 1960

The Raiders continued to work on optimizing their roster today, signing John Dittrich, a 6’1”, 240-pound guard out of Wisconsin. Dittrich, a two-year letterman for the Badgers, played in the Senior Bowl and the College All-Star game following his university career and was drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round of the 1956 draft. A part-time starter with the Cards in his first season, he spent the next two years in the Air Force before returning to the NFL with the Packers in 1959. Green Bay dealt him to the Cowboys this past August. Dropped by the Cowboys earlier this month, the Raiders picked him up hoping to improve their offensive line.

To make room for Dittrich, the team released tackle Bill Striegel, a player who had been added just eight days ago and made his single appearance for the team against Houston.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Hayward Daily Review
Janesville Daily Gazette
Oakland Tribune
Pro Football Reference
San Mateo Times
Sterling Daily Gazette

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 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 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 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.

 

September 6, 1960

As the roster deadline approached the Raiders continued to move pieces, dropping four and adding one. The four players let go were end Dan Edgington, halfbacks John Harris and Brad Myers, and center Mac Starnes. Edgington was perhaps a bit of a surprise as he had been penciled in as a starter opposite Charlie Hardy as recently as the last week of August, but he hadn’t caught a pass in the preseason and with Alan Goldstein and Tony Teresa being considered for the spot, Edgington was apparently expendable. Harris was another who seemed to have a spot on the team, but he had been battling knee problems and the Raiders were comparatively deep in the defensive backfield. Myers was still another who held promise, but he couldn’t get past Teresa, Billy Lott, and Jack Larscheid. Starnes’ release was simple: Jim Otto was already on the roster.

The new player was 6’1″, 220-pound fullback JD “Jetstream” Smith1, out of Compton Junior College. Smith, claimed off waivers from the Chargers, had played against the Raiders on August 19, but hadn’t made the stat sheet. With his combination of speed and power, he could be expected to challenge Lott for the starting fullback spot.

These moves left the Raiders with the mandated 33 players in time for the September 6 deadline.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

1Smith has been identified in several different ways by the press and other sources. Most of the papers at the time referred to him at Jetstream or Jet. Others used the name Jim, while still others called him JD. To confuse matters further, Pro Football Reference lists a total of three JD Smith’s playing in the pros at this time. In addition to Jetstream, there was a HB-FB JD Smith who played in the NFL from 1956-66, mostly with the 49ers, but also with the Bears and Cowboys, and an offensive tackle JD Smith who played with the Eagles and Lions from 1959-66. With no definitive answer and no idea which name Smith himself prefers, the Logbook will refer to him as JD to maintain consistency with Pro Football Reference. If anyone knows different, please let me know.

September 3, 1960

The Raiders announced a couple of roster moves today. The team released tackle Larry Lancaster and traded linebacker Buddy Alliston to the Broncos in exchange for Denver’s eighth-round pick in the 1961 draft. Lancaster, picked off the Chargers’ roster in April during the allocation draft, had been well down the depth chart and his departure was no great surprise. Alliston hadn’t made a big splash either and now returned to the team that had him before he came to Oakland. That placed the current roster at 36 players.

Oakland Tribune

September 1, 1960

The uncertain tenure of halfback Severn “Iron Man” Hayes had come to an end. The Raiders had hoped to give the speedy back an extended tryout with the team, but the league informed them they couldn’t do that without adding him to the roster. Doing that would have meant cutting another player, something the team wasn’t willing to do.

Hayes, unsurprisingly, was disappointed. “I’m certain that all I need is the chance. I’d have run right through a wall to make their team.”

The Raider personnel men were now thinking about circumstances in a few days when all teams would have to cut to 33 players before going back up to 35 a couple of days afterward. The Raiders had first choice of those available and, according to Gene Perry, the team’s publicity man, they were hoping to find a couple of big linemen during that period.

Oakland Tribune

August 30, 1960

Continuing to regroup following the grueling road trip, the Raiders took stock of the health of their team. Counted amongst the wounded were backs Luther Carr, Wayne Crow, and Ron Drzewiecki, all with rib injuries, defensive lineman Charley Powell with a sprained knee, guard Wayne Hawkins with a sprained right ankle, and fullback Dean Philpott who continued to nurse a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said none of the injuries were serious and each of the players, plus quarterback Tom Flores and tight end Gene Prebola, would be available for the Houston game.

All, that is, except Drzewiecki and Philpott, who were placed on injured reserve, reducing the roster to 41 players. The league required all teams to get their count down to 38 and to comply, the team waived guard Jerry Epps, defensive end Jerry Flynn, and receiver Charles Moore, none of whom had made much of their opportunities in preseason work.[1]

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

[1] There was some disagreement among the sources whether Drzewiecki and Philpott were waived or put on IR. The Review and the Times said IR, the Tribune said they were waived.