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 18, 1961

New Raiders Dick Christy and Alan Miller continued their media blitz with Mel Bowen of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Christy and Miller were the first two arrivals in Santa Cruz for training camp that was scheduled to start in a few days. Neither Bud Hastings nor Eddie Erdelatz had yet put in an appearance so the two former Patriots were reduced to working out on the beach for several hours each day.

Christy was trying to get down to his playing weight and, by his account, still had eight pounds to go. Miller, for his part, was battling a sinus infection, and Christy said, “that’s what he gets” for laying “five hours on the beach.”

Miller said neither he nor Christy had met Erdelatz, but that he had played against his Navy teams while attending Boston College and said Erdelatz “always had the wagons then.”

July 13, 1961

John Simmonds of the Tribune reported that new Raiders Alan Miller and Dick Christy were in town ahead of the opening of training camp later this month and the pair had some nice things to say about their new teammates.

Miller: “With Jim Otto at center and John Dittrich and (the now retired) Don Manoukian at guards, the Raiders had the best offensive interior line in the league. The line can be the difference between a big gain or a loss, so you can understand why Dick and I are concerned over Don’s decision to quit the game.

And: “(Tom Flores) is well thought of all over the league. Just give him a little more experience and watch out.”

Christy: “Dittrich and Manoukian are particularly good on downfield blocking. They know just when to break upfield.”

Some other notes from Simmonds:

Miller plans to study law after his football career and is an accomplished pass catcher out of the backfield.

Christy is a speedy back who is adept at getting outside and turning the corner and will be an asset in the return game.

Miller on the comparative talent between the NFL and AFL: “There’s a couple of teams in the NFL that would lose to some of our top clubs right now. The real difference now is that there are more experienced players in the NFL but as they retire and new players take their places the quality of the two leagues will grow closer and things will even out. It’s just a matter of the AFL hanging in there for a few years. If the people will give us a hand this league will go places.”

Rumors

The Tacoma News Tribune printed a bit suggesting that former Washington State quarterback Bobby Newman “may hook on” with the Raiders. Newman was in camp with the Raiders for a few days last August before getting released.

April 4, 1961

Confirming rumors of a week ago, the Raiders made what was called “the biggest trade in their short history” today. The team sent quarterback Babe Parilli and fullback Billy Lott to the Boston Patriots in exchange for halfback Dick Christy, fullback Alan Miller, and defensive tackle Hal Smith. By season’s end last year, Parilli had been firmly relegated to backup status, but Lott was a key member of the offense, finishing second in rushing with 520 yards and leading the team with 49 catches.

The 25-year-old Christy, at 5’10” and 190 pounds finished second on the Patriots in rushing, was useful in catching passes out of the backfield, and was their primary kick return man. However, he was also capable of playing in the defensive backfield and the Raiders hinted he would be tried there.

The 6’0”, 220-pound Miller, 23, led his team in rushing with 416 yards and caught 29 passes. Both he and Christy showed a propensity to fumble the ball, a problem the plagued the Raiders last year, though Lott had not been part of the problem, having coughed the ball up just twice.

At 6’5” and 250 pounds, the 25-year-old Smith added much-needed bulk to the Raider defensive line. He played in 13 games last year, starting the season with three games for the Broncos before moving to the Pats.

Eddie Erdelatz was happy with the deal. “We’re extremely sorry to lose Lott and Parilli, but by the same token, we feel we have strengthened ourselves immeasurably by getting these three fine ballplayers,” he said.

Boston coach Lou Saban echoed his Raider counterpart. “We hated to part with Miller and Christy,” he said, “but to get what we wanted we had to give up good men. We needed a veteran quarterback to go along with Butch Songin.”

Raider general manager Bud Hastings said the team was continuing to look for other good deals.

Boston Globe
Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner

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”