July 27, 1961

The Raider coaching staff held a surprise scrimmage today and afterward head coach Eddie Erdelatz offered only the very faintest of praise. “This wasn’t too bad a scrimmage for the first time,” he said, “but we’ve got an awful long way to go.”

He did single out a handful of players that performed well in his estimation. He had good words for the blocking of fullbacks Jetstream Smith and Alan Miller and said the team had “good, healthy competition” for the position. He was also happy with the effort shown by Jack Stone and Wayne Hawkins on the offensive line and by tight end Doug Asad’s much-improved work running pass patterns.

Prior to the scrimmage Scotty Stirling had filed a camp report in the Tribune the included bad news for the team involving running back Tony Teresa. In previously unreported news, Teresa had spent a week and a half in a hospital in June because of back pain and it was acting up on him again. According to Teresa it didn’t bother him during practice but got bad at night.

The hospital told him there was “swelling, causing pressure back there and the only thing that will clear it up is lots of running, and time.”

Despite the news, trainer George Anderson was pleased with the way things were going so far. “We had at least a half-dozen guys on the sidelines with muscle pulls after the first couple of days work last year,” he said. “So far this year we’ve had only one pull and that wasn’t serious. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Stirling also reported that linebacker Al Bansavage was continuing to impress his coaches. Secondary coach George Dickson said, “he has good size and speed and one other quality I greatly admire, ruggedness.”

Eddie Erdelatz said he was happy with the defense, overall: “They seem to be getting much better—greatly improved over last year at the same time. I liked the way our defensive line and linebackers were moving.”

Dickson added, “We’re not doing things too differently from a technique point of view, but (the players are) making a real effort to improve. They must set a high standard and achieve consistency. The secret of pass defense is aggressiveness, cohesion, and unity, and they’re working toward it.”

Other injury news

Guard Jim Green had his nose broken during the scrimmage, but wouldn’t miss any practice after getting a more protective facemask for his helmet

Lineup change

John Harris, who spent most of last year as a reserve in the secondary, was promoted to a starting corner position ahead of the reigning team leader in interceptions, Eddie Macon. Erdelatz said Harris had been the top defensive back in camp so far and deserved the spot.

Read more “July 27, 1961”

July 26, 1961

Jim Otto dropped a bombshell on the team today by announcing he would play out his option after the season and seek a spot in the NFL next year, according to George Ross of the Tribune. Unsurprisingly, money was at the heart of it. He and the Raiders were “several thousand dollars” apart from an agreement and Otto said he wasn’t “going to budge.” He also said he knew of three NFL teams that would pay him what he was asking for.

Otto, who made $8,000 last year, said he “was disappointed after winning the all-league honor last season. This usually brings a bonus from the club, $500 to $1,000 from some clubs. I got just one thing, a (newspaper) clipping somebody sent me. I want to be able to retire with something when I finish playing. It’s not just the salary, either. It’s a matter of off-season opportunities, too.

“We have a great bunch of guys on this club and this is the best coaching staff I’ve ever played under. But this is, after all, a profession. I had to prove I could make the team last year and after making it, I went out to prove I was the best. I think that’s worth a good raise.”

Bud Hastings, who was also trying to come to an agreement with Tom Louderback, said, “We’re still trying to work the thing out. We’ll talk to him (Otto) in a couple of days.”

Thinning the crew

Raider training camp was in full swing today and a new series of cuts were in. Five men, all of whom where free agent signings during the offseason were placed on waivers: running back Bo Bankston, defensive back Clive Bullian, linebacker Dick Carlsen, defensive back Grover Garvin, and defensive back Ed Whittle. Also, the team finally got in touch with defensive lineman Ramon Armstrong, who told them he was retiring from football to help run his father’s ranch back home in Texas.

Armstrong’s decision left the Raiders short on both lines. Eddie Erdelatz said, “We’ll have to figure on some position changes to strengthen both spots,” and suggested that some prayer wouldn’t hurt, either.

Camp news

Scotty Stirling’s camp report in the Tribune included news of a “near fight” between Al Bansavage and Bob Coolbaugh, and Tommy Kalmanir’s praise for the work of running backs Oneal Cuttery, Alan Miller, Jetstream Smith, and Tony Teresa. Joe Cannavino, Wayne Crow, and Bob Voight also looked good.

Stirling said Erdelatz was already installing his new defense and that he was pleased at how fast the veterans were catching on. “We are throwing the stuff at them fast,” he said, “and they seem to like the change.”

Linebacker Bob Dougherty concurred, “Coach Erdelatz is doing a lot more coaching with the defense than he did last year and I’m confident we’ll be a lot tougher.”

Read more “July 26, 1961”

July 14, 1961

The Tribune reported today that the Raiders had acquired 6’2”, 230-pound linebacker Al Bansavage from the Chargers in exchange for a “top choice” in the 1962 draft. The round was not identified in the story. Bansavage was at the center of a dispute last season between the two teams. He had been selected by Minneapolis in the first AFL draft, but was later signed by the Chargers without compensation, despite the AFL having awarded his signing rights to the Raiders. When Bansavage played in the first meeting between the two teams in November, Chet Soda petitioned the league to declare the game a Chargers forfeit. Commissioner Joe Foss conceded that the Raiders had a case but said any penalties would not include a forfeit. Eddie Erdelatz said he planned to try Bansavage on offense as a replacement for the departed Don Manoukian at guard.

December 8, 1960

Despite his team’s elimination from the championship hunt, Eddie Erdelatz still had personnel choices to make. After the release of Al Hoisington, Charlie Hardy was having to play virtually the entire game at receiver as the team had no designated backup at his position. As a remedy, Erdelatz planned to use John Harris on offense for the first time this year. Harris would still get his snaps in on defense but would spell Hardy periodically in the last two games of the season.

The Raider coach also said he was reducing practice time to an hour each day. “The players are in great physical shape and they know the plays backward and forward by this time, so I can’t see any reason for lengthy practices.”

In the front office, rumors of discord among the owners continued to brew. The latest topic was ticket prices for 1961. Chet Soda acknowledged that the team had discussed reducing prices for next year, though he said, “I personally do not think it’s necessary.” Addressing talk that there would be a change at general manager, he added, “It’s been mostly palaver up to now. There’s been a lot of talk and no changes yet, you’ll notice.” So far, the other owners had continued to refer all questions about the running of the team to Soda.

Soda also weighed in on Joe Foss’s decision yesterday regarding Al Bansavage. “It was a positive infraction,” he said, “What the penalty should be, I don’t know. But it should be a really stiff one to teach everyone in the league, ourselves included, that we can’t just go ahead and do as we please.”

Soda had good things to say about the team’s first experience at Candlestick Park. “The main thing we were concerned with was the wind factor,” he said, “but that doesn’t appear to be a problem this time of year. I think Candlestick is a very, very good place to play football. The visibility was outstanding. It certainly is a better spot than Kezar.” As far as continuing there next year, he said, “That decision has not definitely been made but we don’t have much choice.” The only negative that had appeared so far was a number of players complaining about burns they received from the lime used to mark the lines on the field.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

December 7, 1960

AFL commissioner Joe Foss issued his ruling today regarding the Raiders’ protest of the Chargers’ use of Al Bansavage last Sunday. Foss acknowledged that the Raiders had cause to protest, but that he would not rule the game a forfeit, saying he would “never get into the business of reversing football scores.”

I am resolving the point of dispute,” he added. “This is being done now. I will not go into the actions being taken because this is a league matter and will be dealt with privately.”

In less-weighty matters, former co-owner Harvey Binns had advertised a block of 500 tickets for Sunday’s game against the Titans for three dollars each, a one-third discount from the printed price of $4.50. Two of his associates were caught trying to sell them at the Charger game and were arrested and banned from future entry to Candlestick Park. Faced with the displeasure of the team’s current owners, Binns was unrepentant and suggested Chet Soda, in particular, was being an ass about the whole matter.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 5, 1960

Raider general manager Chet Soda reaffirmed his protest with the league regarding the Chargers’ use of Al Bansavage in yesterday’s game. Asserting that Bansavage was an ineligible player, Soda wanted Joe Foss to declare the game a forfeit, which would put the Raiders back in the playoff hunt. The AFL commissioner said he probably wouldn’t be able to give it any attention until after the draft.

Soda added that “Foss told me Saturday that he called Gillman and informed him about his decision in the Bansavage case. Then yesterday after the game I talked with Gillman and he said he’d talked with Foss. Gillman said he tried to reach me about the matter before the game, but that’s all he said.”

Speaking of the draft, the league conducted the final 24 rounds by phone. The Raiders’ picks follow:

  • 7th Ray Purdin HB Northwestern
  • 8th Tom Watkins HB Iowa State (from Denver)
  • 8th Richard Price G Mississippi
  • 9th Lowndes Shingler QB Clemson
  • 10th Ken Peterson T Utah
  • 11th Doug Mayberry FB Utah State
  • 12th Robert Schmitz G Montana State
  • 13th Gerald Burch E Georgia Tech
  • 14th Clark Miller T Utah State
  • 15th Bob Coolbaugh E Richmond
  • 16th Chuck Lamson HB Wyoming
  • 17th Joe Novsek T Tulsa
  • 18th Joe Krabowski HB Illinois
  • 19th Charles Fuller HB San Francisco State
  • 20th Preston Powell FB Grambling
  • 21st Mike Jones QB San Jose State
  • 22nd Blayne Jones G Idaho State
  • 23rd Roger Fisher C Utah State
  • 24th Jack Novak G Miami (FL)
  • 25th Paul Yanke E Northwestern
  • 26th Dean Hinshaw T Stanford
  • 27th Clair Appledoorn E San Jose State
  • 28th Dave Grosz QB Oregon
  • 29th Ed Morris T Indiana
  • 30th William Face FB Stanford

 

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

December 4, 1960

And just like that, the Raiders’ playoff hopes were gone. After three quarters, they were clinging to a three-point lead, but the Chargers exploded for 27 points in the final 15 minutes and clinched at least a tie for the AFL Western Division with a 41-17 win.

The rain that had fallen in the Bay Area for most of the last week had tapered off a couple of days before the game, but the field was still a little soft and uncertain. The largest home crowd since the season opener, 12,061, showed up for the first football game ever played at Candlestick Park.

A scoreless first period was followed by a quick exchange of scores early in the second. The Chargers broke the ice first when Jack Kemp threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Royce Womble. The Raiders returned the favor on Billy Lott’s two-yard run. Late in the period Tom Flores connected with Charlie Hardy for a 10-yard touchdown and Kemp threw to Don Norton for a 21-yarder. The teams were tied at 14 at the half. Read more “December 4, 1960”

December 3, 1960

Beating the Raiders 52-28 last weekend came at a high cost for the Chargers. A pair of linebackers, Paul Maguire and Ron Botchan, were injured and Maguire was out for the rest of the season. Botchan was expected to be able to play in tomorrow’s game, but his durability was in question. To restore depth at the position, Chargers head coach Sid Gillman signed Al Bansavage off the team’s taxi squad and Chet Soda immediately cried foul.

Bansavage had been drafted by Minneapolis in November of last year and the AFL awarded his signing rights to the Raiders along with his fellow draftees. He had signed with the NFL’s Colts, but had been released. The Cowboys picked him up, but he failed the physical. At some point, Soda had offered him a contract, but Bansavage had turned it down. While on the Chargers taxi squad and not having signed an official player contract, the Raiders hadn’t said anything, but when Gillman activated him to play against Oakland, Soda wasn’t having it and lodged a protest with the league office. The Raider general manager said he expected to hear something from commissioner Joe Foss at some point later in the day.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

March 22, 1960

As the first round of the AFL’s allocation draft got underway, Oakland general manager Chet Soda claimed that some teams were protecting more than eleven players, because some nominally draft-eligible players were unavailable due to no-trade clauses in their contracts. Soda was particularly interested in Houston quarterback George Blanda, but couldn’t talk the former Chicago Bear into signing with Oakland, even when offered more money than the Oilers had given him. Soda complained to Commissioner Joe Foss, but Foss, while sympathetic, refused to remedy the situation. The commissioner did agree that in subsequent rounds, teams would be required to include players with no-trade contracts among their eleven protectees.

In other news, head coach Eddie Erdelatz selected ex-Ram and -Colt halfback Tommy Kalmanir as his offensive backfield coach. An All-American at Nevada just after World War II, Kalmanir played three seasons with Los Angeles (1949-51) and spent 1953 with Baltimore before spending a final year as a player with Edmonton in the Canadian leagues in 1955. After his playing days were done, he put in time as a coach in the CFL before Oakland tabbed him.

The team also announced a player transaction. USC lineman Al Bansavage, a Minneapolis draftee whose signing rights had transferred to Oakland (a fact not previously reported), had signed with the Baltimore Colts.

Oakland Tribune