January 14, 1961

A report appeared in Chicago newspapers that White Sox owner Bill Veeck had purchased the Raiders for $175,000 and planned to move them to Comiskey Park. All parties hastened to refute the story.

Veeck said the tale was “absolutely not true. I have not talked with officials of the Oakland team or any other professional football club and I don’t contemplate doing so. We would like to have a tenant for Comiskey Park in the offseason, but I wouldn’t go so far as buying Oakland to get one.”

Wayne Valley said, “We don’t know anything about that. It’s the first I’ve heard of it and it’s completely untrue. It’s a shot in the dark. If there were anything to it, I would be the first one to know.”

Chet Soda said the report was a “complete surprise to him,” though co-owner Roger Lapham said that Soda had responded positively to the rumor when he first heard it and Lapham added for himself, “You can quote me: the Raiders are for sale at the proper price.”

All this served to highlight news of continued dissension amongst the owners. Lapham said, “We’ll either resolve our problems among ourselves or sell the club before the end of the month.”

Newly installed team president Ed McGah acknowledged there were disagreements but thought they “should see it through at least the second year, as we agreed.” He admitted some of the owners wanted to sell out and that other owners had offered to buy them out, but in any event the team would stay in Oakland. “Bob Osborne, for one, is too civic-minded to let (a move) happen and our pre-incorporation articles state that no one can sell any part of his stock without the unanimous approval of the other owners.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 12, 1961

San Francisco Chronicle scribe Darrell Wilson wrote about the Raiders’ poor luck signing draft choices. Except for a couple of late round picks, the team had announced no other agreements. Of the first six choices, five had signed elsewhere: Joe Rutgens with the Redskins, Myron Pottios with the Steelers, Elbert Kimbrough with the Rams, Dick Norman with the Bears, and Bobby Crespino to the Browns. Only their second-round pick, George Fleming, had yet to sign and the Raiders were still hoping to nab him.

Player personnel director Wes Fry hastened to say the team had “signed about seven players. We’ll make the announcement soon. I think we’ll do a lot better from here on in. Things are looking up. As a whole, the AFL is doing a pretty good job. Of the league’s first 100 draft choices, we definitely have signed 29 and have lost 24 to the NFL and 3 to Canada. Of the first 50, we’ve signed 15 and have lost 15 to the NFL.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz, upon hearing that his team had signed seven players, asked, “Have we? Are they drafted players?” He said he wasn’t complaining, but said, “Any coach would be unhappy to lose five of the first six draft choices. We’ll be very happy to sign anybody. However, it’s really not my place to talk about these things. Ask the club officials.”

San Francisco Chronicle

January 6, 1961

The Raiders got more disappointing news when they learned that Iowa State fullback Tom Watkins had turned down their contract offer and said he was likely to sign with the Browns after the end of the school year. The team had picked Watkins with the eighth-round choice they received from the Broncos in exchange for Buddy Alliston, but the Browns had picked him in the 15th and he wanted to go with the more established league.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

January 5, 1961

The Raiders lost two more draft choices to the NFL today, both from the University of Mississippi and both to the Cleveland Browns. One of them, end Johnny Brewer, had been a Minneapolis redshirt pick last year whose signing rights traveled to the Raiders. He had been picked by the Browns, too, in the fourth round. The other, end Bobby Crespino, was the Raiders’ sixth-round choice, but had been chosen in the first round by the Browns with the tenth overall pick.

Oakland Tribune

January 4, 1961

According to Scotty Stirling in the Oakland Tribune, the anticipated shakeup among the Oakland Raider ownership had begun, with Ed McGah, Robert Osborne, and Wayne Valley assuming more dominant roles. As an interim measure, McGah was named president with Bud Hastings taking the post of acting general manager.

Valley said, “We met for three hours and named McGah president and appointed Bud acting general manager. That was the heart of the meeting. We haven’t had time to think about filling the general manager’s job on a permanent basis because right now we are more concerned with signing some of our top draftees.” The team hadn’t ruled out removing the “acting” from Hastings’ job title at some point.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 3, 1961

Freed from the constraints of the team presidency, Chet Soda waxed at some length on what he thought the team needed going forward. The Raiders need a “one hundred percent austerity program for the next two years,” he said. “They need a tight, money-conscious operation to survive. People keep comparing our club to rich, well-established National League clubs that have the reputation of going first class, but this isn’t an organization that has been operating in the black for years, so the situation is different. Some NFL clubs spend as much as $150,000 on scouting future prospects, but they are spending tax money so they aren’t hurting. With the Raiders, everything is an expenditure because new clubs just don’t make money right off the bat. If you cut a corner here, another there, it adds up, and when it starts adding up, it cuts down on red ink.”

Referring to the next general manager, he said, “What is needed is a real sharp businessman, first and foremost. If you can get such a man who also has had some experience in pro football, so much the better. However, there aren’t too many guys available with the right qualifications.”

While the team continued the search for a new GM, they learned that their first-round draft pick, tackle Joe Rutgens of Illinois, had signed with the Redskins.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

January 2, 1961

In news that was not unexpected, Chet Soda stepped down as president and general manager of the Raiders today. “I have contemplated this move for some time,” he said. “I expect to stay with the organization and have no immediate plans to sell my holdings in the Raiders.” He said he had twice tried to resign earlier, but the board of directors had talked him out of it each time. There was no comment from the other owners and both Robert Osborne and Wayne Valley said they hadn’t heard of his decision until reporters tried to reach them for comment. “I haven’t been to my office in three days,” said Osborne. “The letter of resignation could be in the mail on my desk.”

No successor was named, but Eddie Erdelatz quickly removed himself from the running. “I am not old enough to quit coaching,” he said. “I don’t think any man could handle both the coaching and the business end of the Raiders. It is too much for one man in a new organization. I want it known that I’m still working for the Raiders and intend to continue as coach.” With no word from the owners and Erdelatz’s lack of interest, assistant general manager Bud Hastings was thought to have the inside track for the position.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 1, 1961

The Raiders signed two draft choices today, their first two of the offseason. Putting pen to paper were ends Paul Yanke of Northwestern and Clair Appledoorn of San Jose State, the team’s 25th and 27th round choices, respectively.

The team hoped to sign others soon, including their 19th round pick, San Francisco State halfback Charley Fuller. A report appeared saying Fuller had signed with the 49ers, but he denied having done so.

They also held out hope they could ink Northwestern halfback Ray Purdin. Picked in the 7th round by both the Raiders and 49ers, Purdin said he didn’t “feel strong enough to play in the NFL this year. I’ve been bothered by injuries all year and I don’t want to take any chances, but I would like to try with the 49ers next year if I get a little stronger.” He thought he might hook up with another team this year to keep his football skills fresh.

One player they weren’t going to get was halfback Pervis Atkins. A big, fast star out of New Mexico State, the Raiders acquired his signing rights from the Minneapolis franchise that selected him as a redshirt last year, but the Rams had selected him, too, and Atkins decided to go with the NFL.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

December 30, 1960

A couple of interesting rumors popped up today. The first and wildest was a story involving a Honolulu boxing promoter named Bill Pacheco. Pacheco, known for being an attention hound, had been quoted in his hometown newspaper as saying he would “give a million dollars” for an AFL franchise if he could get control of Honolulu Stadium. From there the story went that he had contacted Chet Soda to see if the Raiders were for sale.

Soda said he’d “never been contacted by this man, but if he is offering a million dollars for a franchise, give him my name and phone number, will you?” The Raider general manager did admit the owners had talked about moving the team to Hawaii at one point, but “we never gave it a serious thought. We are busy right now trying to get ready for the next two years in Oakland. If we ever get a stadium on this side of the bay we’ll be okay right here.”

He also offered a comment about reports that the NFL was offering larger than usual contracts to some of their draftees. “I think they are making a mistake offering big money to rookies who haven’t even made the team,” he said. “I wonder what some of the veterans will think when they find the rookies are making more money than they are.” The Raiders had yet to announce the signing of any of their draft choices.

The other rumor involved former 49ers and Eagles head coach Buck Shaw. After coaching the Eagles to an NFL championship over the Packers four days ago he had announced his retirement from coaching and had returned home to the Bay Area. Eager tongues began to suggest he might take up a position with the Raiders, but he quickly put those stories to rest. “I’m going to devote my time to other business,” he said. “I would not be interested in a post as advisory coach to the Oakland Raiders or a job as general manager. It requires too much time.”

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 29, 1960

Eddie Erdelatz finished second in the balloting for AFL coach of the year conducted by the United Press International. Voting was performed by 24 league writers with Houston’s Lou Rymkus getting nine votes to win. Erdelatz received six votes. The Chargers’ Sid Gillman finished in third with five votes and New York’s Sammy Baugh got two votes for fourth.

United Press International