October 24, 1960

The team traveled the roughly three hundred miles from Buffalo to New York City where they would spend four days preparing for the Titans. The first day, though, aside from the travel time, would consist of rest and a chance to refocus following the thumping they took at the hands of the Bills. Despite the short turnaround, the coaching staff apparently thought the team needed the break more than the extra day of work, especially following the cross-country trip made overnight just a couple of days ago.

Oakland Tribune

October 23, 1960

Final statistics

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz called it “far and away our worst performance” and he wasn’t kidding. On a damp, blustery day in Buffalo, the Bills hit on big play after big play and thumped the Raiders 38-9. The lowering, gray skies and steady light rain kept attendance down to a paltry 8,876, but those who did show up saw their team at peak performance.

The Raiders, at 3-3, came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the AFL and a win, coupled with a Boston win over the Broncos, would move them to the top spot in the league’s Western Division. The Bills, at 1-4, entered the game with the league’s top defense, but with an offense that hadn’t found much success. They had made a change at quarterback just a week ago, picking up Johnny Green, a Steelers castoff, and started him in place of Tommy O’Connell, an old Browns hand. In that game the Bills lost a tight one to the Titans, but head coach Buster Ramsey was encouraged by his play and planned to keep him in there against Oakland. Read more “October 23, 1960”

October 22, 1960

The team arrived in Buffalo after a red-eye flight during which sleep was fugitive, at best, for most players. Upon arrival, the players were instructed to hit the hay and get some shut-eye. When they woke up they learned there was a new face in the ranks.

The Raiders announced the signing of 5’11”, 200-pound halfback Billy Reynolds. The former University of Pittsburgh Panther had broken in with the Browns in 1953 and his rushing, receiving, and special teams play earned him the NFL’s rookie of the year award. The following year he was an important member of Cleveland’s championship run, but he spent the next two years in the air force. When he returned for the 1957 campaign he began to suffer a series a nagging injuries that sapped his once-formidable speed and was traded to the Steelers the following summer. He played only sparingly in Pittsburgh and ended up in Canada for 1959. He spent the summer of 1960 in Chargers camp but they let him go just before the season started. The Raiders, looking for more backfield and special teams depth, decided to take a flyer on him.

To make room on the roster, they put Bob Keyes on waivers. The seldom-used Keyes had played just three games for Oakland, rushing once for seven yards, catching one pass for 19 yards, and returning one punt for five yards.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 21, 1960

With the Bills game just two days away, the Raiders had intended to fly out early today, but an unidentified snafu pushed departure time into the mid-evening, giving the coaching staff another day to run their team through a practice.

Eddie Erdelatz also made a handful of announcements, saying Tony Teresa would make his first start in three weeks, following a back injury, and that Billy Lott had recovered from his pulled hamstring sufficiently to join Teresa in the starting lineup. But the big story was the coach’s statement that Tom Flores would be his starting quarterback the rest of the year, with Babe Parilli to come in as needed.

“I don’t believe in alternating men by games,” he said. “I think it’s far better to have one as a regular starter — in this case, Flores — with the other ready to take over without hesitation.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 20, 1960

Billy Lott, victim of a pulled hamstring a couple of days ago, began to test it in practice today with some light jogging exercises. He was still considered doubtful for Sunday’s game. Joining him on the injured list was receiver Al Hoisington who caught a Babe Parilli pass right in the eye, giving him a shiner. Eddie Erdelatz’s response: “Nobody can say our quarterbacks aren’t hitting their targets.”

Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 19, 1960

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz had been receiving plaudits from around the league and in the press for the team’s recent success, but he may have been paying a high price. The team announced today that he was suffering from a stomach ulcer. He had suspected something was wrong and a recent x-ray confirmed the diagnosis. He was prescribed medication to address the problem and would be with the team when they flew to Buffalo later in the week.

Oakand Tribune

October 18, 1960

The team got some bad news today when fullback Billy Lott, one of the heroes in the Patriots game, pulled a hamstring in practice. The severity was unknown, but the team said he was doubtful to play this Sunday against the Bills.

Despite the setback, Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously enthusiastic about his team. While refusing to get caught up in talk of a title run this year, he said the potential was there down the road.

Citing the youth of his team, he said, “With two years experience and added weight, they could lick ’em all. Lack of experience has hurt us this year and maybe the lack of weight, but just figure a guy like Oglesby, for instance. Right now he is 23, stands 6’4″, and weighs almost 230. In two years, he’ll be close to 260, with two full years experience behind him. And it is the same with almost all our young kids. Crow, Prebola, Goldstein, Cannavino, Fields. Right down the line we have young, first-year men in key spots. They are bound to make mistakes, but they are an intelligent bunch, so we don’t have too many men making the same mistakes twice.”

Oakland Tribune

October 17, 1960

A day after the team’s biggest win, the owners continued to be concerned by anemic attendance figures. Yesterday’s game drew 11,500, consistent with the numbers for previous home games, but still disappointing. Some members of the ownership group thought the $4.50 top price was simply too high.

“It’s too late to do anything about it this season,” said Don Blessing, “but next year I think we’ll quite definitely have to drop our prices. It’s obvious that people aren’t ready to pay the same price as for the 49ers,” and thought $3.00 to be about right.

Fellow owner Ed McGah wanted to go even lower. “I’d like to see the price cut in half to $2.25,” he said. “We expected to lose this year and maybe next year, but not this much.”

Chet Soda cautioned his colleagues not to be so hasty. “The team is starting to roll and that is our primary concern right now,” he said. “We have two deals now for fans to buy tickets at a reduced price and Sunday only 71 people took advantage of them. I think the attendance will pick up as the team catches on with people. We have an owner’s meeting scheduled tomorrow and I’m sure we’ll discuss the matter further, along with other subjects.” He also said he and his fellow owners were “real proud of the team and starting to smell roses.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 16, 1960

Final statistics

 

The Patriots hadn’t lost a game on the road and the Raiders hadn’t won at home, but that was all out the window at the end. It was probably the Raiders’ best game to date, but they were also lucky to get away with a 27-14 win over the Patriots on an unseasonably warm afternoon at Kezar Stadium.

Almost immediately, things began to go Oakland’s way. On the second play from scrimmage at the Raider 13, Jack Larscheid, starting in place of Tony Teresa, took a pitch from Tom Flores and took it 87 yards for a score. And if that weren’t a rousing enough start, Ron Burton fumbled on Boston’s first offensive play and Carmen Cavalli recovered for Oakland at the Patriot 31. Flores couldn’t move his team much closer and the score stayed 7-0 when Larry Barnes’s 40-yard field goal attempt came up short.

Most of the rest of the quarter was a punting duel. The Patriots did get close enough to give Gino Cappelletti a chance to kick one from 47 yards out, but his attempt was short, too. Frustrated with Flores’s inability to move his team after the first drive, Eddie Erdelatz put in Babe Parilli late in the quarter, but on his second play Bob Soltis picked him off and returned it back to the Raider 9. Three plays later, Alan Miller took it in to score from the 2, but Riley Morris, in the game despite numerous reports saying he wouldn’t play, blocked Cappelletti’s extra point attempt and the Raiders kept the lead. Read more “October 16, 1960”

October 15, 1960

Eddie Erdelatz decided to give his players the day off before tomorrow’s game against the Patriots. “Our Saturday work is limited to 20 minutes and experience has taught us the drill isn’t necessary,” he said. “When a team comes off the road, say, on a Friday before the game, then a Saturday workout is in order. But we have been home all week and I think we’re better off without the Saturday practice.”

The Raiders coach confirmed that linebacker Riley Morris would miss the game. “Riley was kneed in the back when he ran with a kickoff return against Dallas,” Erdelatz explained, “and he will have to sit this one out.” Tom Louderback would slide over to Morris’ right linebacker spot and Larry Barnes would get the start at Louderback’s middle linebacker position. On offense, halfback Tony Teresa would see only spot action because of his back woes and Jack Larscheid would start the game in his stead.

Having seen poor attendance at Kezar Stadium since their first game in July, the Raider front office was anticipating improved numbers starting tomorrow. “We hope for a crowd of 15,000,” said general manger and co-owner Chet Soda, “but a lot depends on the weather.” Their best attendance total to date was the 12,703 figure for their regular season opener against Houston.

In public relations news, the team announced that Erdelatz and his staff would provide a pair of football clinics for local area kids in November. They would happen on the 19th and the 25st and were to take place at Triangle Field, adjacent to Kezar. The sessions were part of a project sponsored by former major league baseball players Mike Sabena and Lefty O’Doul in conjunction with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Board.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times