March 21, 1961

The season ticket publicity campaign continued today in Prescott Sullivan’s column in the Examiner. He detailed the challenges the players faced in their door-to-door campaign as they sold a whopping 66 tickets in their first day of work in Oakland. The team planned to shift their efforts to San Francisco soon and general manager Bud Hastings suggested that Eddie Erdelatz could soon be dragooned into efforts to collect payments from those who chose the layaway plan.

“Coach Erdelatz has a persuasive way about him,” said Hastings. “In my opinion, he would make a crackerjack bill collector.”

San Francisco Examiner

March 19, 1961

The Raiders began a publicity blitz for their 1961 season ticket drive that would start tomorrow. Four players—Wayne Crow, Jack Larscheid, Tom Louderback, and Ron Sabal—would be the public face of the effort led by Bud Hastings and new ticket manager Al Salisbury. The team hoped to sell 15,000 tickets priced at $28.00 each and hastened to point out they were one of the few teams in pro football that didn’t require purchasers to buy preseason tickets as part of the package. For those without immediate ready cash, they were also offering an installment plan with $8.00 down and $5.00 each month until the first of August.

Another AFL stat dump

Today, the AFL released their official pass receiving numbers. Denver’s Lionel Taylor topped the list with 92 catches. The yardage title went to Bill Groman on Houston with 1,473. Art Powell of the Titans led in touchdowns with 14. The top Raider was fullback Billy Lott, whose 49 catches tied him for sixth place with Boston’s Jim Colclough.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

March 4, 1961

A Game in Hawaii

Raider general manager Bud Hastings announced that the team would open their 1961 preseason slate against the Houston Oilers in Honolulu. According to Scotty Stirling of the Tribune, the game was actually a gift to the Oilers players from the team’s management for winning the AFL championship and the Raiders were just lucky beneficiaries. The Oilers would open training camp in Hawaii three weeks prior to the game.

According to an Oilers official, the plan came from owner Bud Adams. “It will be a change from the hot, humid camp we had in Texas last year,” said the unnamed official, “and the trip certainly should be enjoyable to the squad.”

The Raiders had yet to schedule their other three preseason games, but said one would likely be played in Candlestick Park, another would take place in Sacramento or Stockton, and the last would probably be against the Chargers in their new San Diego home. The team was still deciding between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa for their own training camp, with Eddie Erdelatz plumping for Santa Cruz.

Contract News

Wayne Crow, who reportedly had been at odds with management over his contract for 1961, said he thought his situation, which had involved confusion or disagreement over whether offseason payments were part of his 1960 contract, said he thought things had been “straightened out.”

John Dittrich, for his part, said he was “very happy” with his new deal. Stirling reported that Marty Feldman called Dittrich the team’s best guard.

Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

February 15, 1961

Today, the Raiders removed the word “acting” from Bud Hastings’s title and made him the team’s full-time general manager. Hired as the assistant GM last June, he had filled the top spot on an interim basis since Chet Soda’s resignation on January 2.

The 43-year-old Hastings said the restructuring of the ownership group had resulted in “a definite clarification of management policies.”

“The owners will determine policy and leave the management of the club in my hands,” he said. “The experience gained during our first year of operation makes us feel we’re geared now to do a much better job.”

The team filled another open spot by hiring former Chicago Cardinals guard Bob Maddock to coach the offensive line, replacing the recently departed Ernie Jorge. Maddock, 40, had played nine games for the Cardinals over two seasons before moving on to coaching stints in the college ranks, the All-America Football Conference, and the Canadian Football League. For the last three seasons he had been employed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
Pro Football Reference
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner

February 7, 1961

Eddie Erdelatz had two spots open on his coaching staff and was hard at work trying to fill them.

“We’ve had applicants, of course,” he said, “and we are checking them out, but at this point we haven’t made a decision and the jobs are still open.”

The work of the staff continued, though, and the three men were busy watching the game film from 1960, evaluating strategy and players.

Up in the front office, acting general manager Bud Hastings was working on a preseason schedule for 1961. Adding a potential twist to his plans was news that the 49ers were planning to play just one of their five games at home in Kezar Stadium, going on the road for the other four.

Though that would give the Raiders more solo exhibition dates at home, Hastings said his team would probably play only one game at home, too, though he wasn’t committing to that plan yet.

“The primary point about playing preseason games away is the financial consideration,” he said. “If you can schedule these contests in cities or locations where there are no professional teams, generally you can count on very good interest in the one game. We’ve found that where you play seven league games at home, there’s not as much interest locally in the exhibition as there is in the league contests.”

While the 49ers plan would free up Kezar, Hastings said the team was committed to playing in Candlestick Park.

“We prefer Candlestick,” he said. “The response from a spectator’s standpoint has been very good. The fans told us the seating was much better, that the seats were much more comfortable with arm and back rests. As a matter of fact, in several recent letters from fans, quite a point was made of the comforts of Candlestick Park.”

Hastings was still waiting to hear if would get the general manager’s position on a permanent basis. The owners hadn’t made a decision yet, but signs were pointing in that direction.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Examiner

February 4, 1961

The AFL’s hot stove league was in full swing. Yesterday, it was Hugh McElhenny, today it was Joe Kapp. The ex-Cal standout was a big hit in his second season as quarterback for Calgary in the Canadian leagues but was quoted as wanting to return to the States where his exploits would be seen by a wider audience. Like McElhenny, Kapp was considering playing out his option in 1961 to get free agent status the following season. Naturally, the Raiders came up as a possible destination and one that Kapp seemed amenable to. The Raiders response was necessarily noncommittal.

“We could only negotiate a contract with Kapp if he were a free agent,” said acting general manager Bud Hastings.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Examiner

February 3, 1961

The word made the rounds today that ex-49er halfback Hugh McElhenny could be in a Raider uniform for the 1962 season. One of the NFL’s top breakaway threats during his nine-year tenure in San Francisco, he had slowed down the last couple of years and was traded to the expansion Minnesota Vikings last week. Now, with the change, he was taking stock of his football future, considering whether it was time to play out his option this season or quit altogether. If he played out his option, he would be free to sign with anyone in 1962 and that’s where the Raiders came in.

When asked about the possibility, he said it “would really be a great idea if it could be worked out, but the chances seem remote.”

Raider officials were quick to point out they had nothing to do with the rumors.

“We haven’t talked to him,” said acting general manager Bud Hastings. “We can’t under league rules against tampering with players in the other two leagues. It carries a $5,000 fine. We can only negotiate with free agents.”

Player personnel director Wes Fry echoed his boss’s thoughts. “It’s against the AFL constitution,” he said, “and we simply don’t tamper. Of course, if McElhenny did play out his option and then came around, we wouldn’t drive him from the door.”

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 23, 1961

The Raider coaching staff found itself down a member when secondary coach Ed Cody announced his resignation to take a post under Jim Sutherland at Washington State University. In addition to his coaching duties he would be in charge of recruiting in Southern California for the Cougars. “I’ve been anxious to return to college football for some time now and I consider this an unusually fine opportunity,” he said. “It is with regret that I leave the Raiders and head coach Eddie Erdelatz.”

Hired on May 4, Cody had been the last addition to Erdelatz’s staff and took charge of a unit that lacked speed and occasionally found itself burned by strings of big plays, but also had a keen nose for the ball as exemplified by Eddie Macon’s nine interceptions. Erdelatz couldn’t be reached for comment, but acting general manager Bud Hastings said, “Cody has been a most valuable member of our organization and we accepted his resignation with regret. We wish him well.”

Erdelatz was now tasked with finding two new assistants, one to replace Cody and one to replace line coach Ernie Jorge, who had suffered a heart attack in September and hadn’t coached since. Jorge had recovered and was recently seen speaking at a banquet, but there was no word about his returning to the sideline.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

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 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