A story appeared in the Boston American under the byline of Huck Finnegan that Eddie Erdelatz would be the coach of the New York Giants for the 1961 season. Without corroboration from any of the principals in the story, Finnegan stated, “This is fact. It will be denied by Erdelatz, the Giants, and the rest, but it will become reality at the close of the season.”
He based the conclusion on Erdelatz spending time with the Mara family, owners of the Giants, at last Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and said the deal had been brokered by Toots Shor, the well-connected New York restaurateur. Finnegan also said the Raider coach was dissatisfied with the poor fan support the team had received at Kezar Stadium and that this figured into the decision to leave.
As predicted, Erdelatz denied the story. “Honestly, this is the first I’ve heard about it,” he said. “It just is not true that I’m contemplating a change of jobs.”
Anthony Mara of the Giants also refuted the report, though it was commonly understood that the current New York coach, Jim Lee Howell, was set to retire at the end of the season.
In other, less earth-shattering news, team co-owner Wayne Valley talked about the team’s possible relocation to San Leandro. “Attendance from San Francisco at Kezar is fifty percent below our expectations,” he said. “We didn’t go into this venture expecting to make money, but we didn’t expect to lose so much so soon. This is a metropolitan Oakland team, as the name of the company indicates, and there doesn’t seem to be much justification for playing our games in San Francisco. By playing in San Leandro, we can at least find out if the East Bay wants and will support pro football. Perhaps we can engender enough enthusiasm to put over a general purpose stadium. It’s up to the board of directors to decide, but personally, I would be willing to toss in another $50,000 to find out if pro football will go on this side of the bay.”
With the San Leandro Board of Education’s approval of the plan last night, it was now up to Raider leadership. The team’s board was scheduled to meet on Monday, the 7th, to take up the matter.
In a related story, Chet Soda said that if the team couldn’t get a stadium in the East Bay, “we will have to start thinking in the direction of moving the franchise.” Seattle was mentioned as one possibility. In the meantime, he said, “I will contact Oakland city fathers about finalizing plans for a stadium in the East Bay. Our chances of playing in Kezar next year are very slight.”
The Raider general manager and co-owner said he had contacted the University of California to request permission to play the season finale against Denver in Memorial Stadium on the school’s campus. The team had also reached out to Stanford and San Jose State will similar proposals. Candlestick Park in San Francisco was also a possibility. The Raiders had tried to get permission to play at Memorial Stadium way back in February, but the school had turned them down.
In another matter, Soda provided further details about a report a few days ago that he had sold part of his share of the team to travel agent Frederick Sullivan. He had denied it at the time, but today he said, “I accepted $1,000 from Mr. Sullivan as a deposit for stock on the condition that the other Raider owners agree to the transfer. It is an offer on Sullivan’s part that may or may not be accepted.”
San Rafael Independent-Journal