Calgary Stampeders general manager Jim Finks was having none of it. Finks immediately rebuffed the Raiders’ request to enter negotiations for the Joe Kapp’s signing rights, saying, “We have exercised the option on Kapp’s contract, so if he plays football in 1961 it will have to be with us.”
Bud Hastings wasn’t ready to take no for an answer yet. “We’ll keep trying, of course,” he said. “I feel if Kapp is definite about quitting the Canadian League it would be prudent of Calgary to negotiate a deal with us.”
On the rink
The Raiders and 49ers met in roller derby for a third time this spring, with the 49ers winning, 14-13.
San Francisco Examiner
Moments after the creation of the Raiders franchise last January, rumors spread that former Cal quarterback Joe Kapp would find his way to the team somehow and today it seemed more possible than ever. Kapp had spent the last two seasons playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, but today announced that he was not going to sign a contract with them for 1961, meaning that after a year of sitting out or playing out his option, he could be a free agent. He was currently recovering from off-season knee surgery.
Raider general manager Bud Hastings was on it. “Since Joe has declared his intention to leave the Canadian League,” he said, “we plan to initiate immediate negotiations with Calgary, through our league office, to get Kapp’s services.” AFL rules required that all dealings with other league’s players go through the commissioner’s office.
Kapp was interested in coming back to the States but was vague about where my might end up. “I want to make my home in California and I think I should do something now about making a future for myself here. I have several opportunities in sight and if I don’t play in Calgary this season I’ll pursue some other interest for a year.”
In an informal meeting with the local press, Raiders general manager Bud Hastings held forth on stadium matters and the team’s financial health. “The Raiders are in a sound financial state,” he said. “We will continue in business and be ready to move in when Oakland’s stadium is completed.”
Talking further about an Oakland stadium, he said, “Even starting construction will help us with our season ticket sales because the stadium will be a large and concrete monument to the fact the Raiders are a permanent part of the community. Human nature being what it is, fans are reluctant to let themselves become interested in any team if there is a chance it might not be permanent.”
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz was at the confab, too. “Last year we had to go with what we had,” he said, “(we had to) make the methods used suit the men. Although Oakland had last choice in personnel because it was the last organized, we did discover that we owned several very fine ballplayers. Generally speaking, we had a very young club. We know that some of the youngsters who were just average last season will return heavier and more matured, with the confidence that comes with experience. By drafting and trading, we will be able to build around our key men.
“If things go as we hope we will be able to suit the men to the method most apt to bother the team which we are playing. They say the first year is always the hardest and we are certain that this was so with the Raiders. Everything was new and had to be learned. The result was a more orthodox and conservative game than I like to coach. This year, though, we know what we have. We can start teaching the refinements on the first day of practice which make pro football great.
“We will have improved coaching this year because we too have a year’s pro experience and know the tools available for the various jobs. We are going to have some surprises for the opponents when we play that first league game.”
Read more “May 21, 1961”
It was college alumni game season and two prospective Raiders suffered serious injuries in an effort to uphold the glory of their alma mater. Paul Yanke, the team’s 25th-round pick out of Northwestern had hurt his knee a few days ago and informed the team he would not be available for the 1961 season. He had injured the same knee previously during his varsity days as an end with the Wildcats.
Glenn Hakes, a free agent guard signed out of New Mexico, also hurt his knee and would have surgery within a few days. Hakes had been a 29th-round pick of the Bears in 1958. His prognosis was still unknown.
“It’s hard to tell about knee injuries,” said Bud Hastings, “but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.” It was suggested in the Daily Review that the team was considering changing its policy of allowing players under contract to play in alumni games.
Hayward Daily Review
The Raiders firmed up a second preseason date, August 27, against the newly-relocated Chargers in San Diego. Two slots remained to be determined. The preseason opener was to be played against the Oilers in Honolulu.
A short bit in the Sacramento Bee suggested that former Oregon Tech receiver Ardell Hamilton planned to try out with the Raiders in July. The 6’0”, 170-pound Hamilton had starred in several sports at both Sacramento City College and Oregon Tech, earning some all-league honors, but he had been injury prone and missed most of last season with the Owls as a result.
The Raiders and 49ers met in a roller derby rematch at the Oakland Auditorium with the Niners coming out on top, 21-15. This evened the series at one match apiece. The teams previously met April 28 with the Raiders winning 37-36. Hugh McElhenny led all scorers with seven points. Wayne Crow’s four points was tops among Oakland players.