July 29, 1961

The team held another scrimmage today and Eddie Erdelatz said the results were “not bad.” He pointed out that many of the players were still out of shape and that, as expected, the defense was looking better than the offense, partly because the coaching staff had placed much of their emphasis on that side of the ball following last year’s poor showing.

The defense finished seventh in yards allowed last year, ahead of only the Broncos, and Erdelatz said, “I was embarrassed, even humiliated, because defense has always been an important part of my coaching. I had been away from pro ball for ten years, didn’t realize how much had changed, and depended too much on other people’s opinions and coaching theories. I discovered that the style of covering on forward passes was new to me. I didn’t do much actual coaching with the defense, figuring I’d get my bearings, see what was going on, and then try to figure our best moves.”

This year, he was making a number of changes, but said they “will be new to pro football, so I don’t think I want to elaborate,” except to say they were designed to improve the pass rush.

“I don’t care how great a defensive halfback is,” he continued, “he can’t handle a good receiver by himself if the passer has enough time to let the receiver make a lot of fakes. Pass defense is the toughest part of this game and we’re trying to give those guys back there all the help we can.”

Regarding today’s scrimmage, he said, “The defense figures to be a bit ahead at this state of the going. Then, too, our offense was handicapped because they didn’t have blocking assignments for some of the new defenses. We’ll be able to tell much more from the movies. Today, I devoted most of my attention to the defense because we’re installing new stuff. The movies will give me a chance to look at the offense more thoroughly.”

He did add that the offense was largely in the hands of assistants Marty Feldman and Tommy Kalmanir, saying, “We had a fine attack last year and Kalmanir and Feldman can handle their end without trouble.”

There was some special teams work getting done too, with incumbent Wayne Crow working on his punting, along with possible competitors Nick Papac, Herm Urenda, and Larry Barnes. Barnes, who had a rough 1960 kicking field goals was working on that side of his game as well, with Dave Williams as another placekicking possibility.

At this early stage, the staff was focusing on the positives and nearly every participant received some good words from their coaches.

 

That professional attitude

When asked he if wished he were back in college ball coaching Navy, Erdelatz said, “No. The players have the same attitude which I found in college, an attitude as good as any team I’ve been associated with.”

 

Camp injuries

Guard Wayne Hawkins suffered a mild knee injury during the scrimmage while rookie linemate Jim Green dislocated a shoulder, though apparently this was a recurring problem for him, and he was expected to be back on the field in a couple of days.

 

At the table

The “World of Women” page of today’s Tribune included a primer from Raider trainer George Anderson on how the team’s wives can help keep their husbands’ weight under control. According to Anderson, those players who put on a few (or a bunch of) extra pounds over the winter would benefit from the following guidelines: “plenty of protein, light on the starches, no sweets, and no in-between meal ‘soul soothers.’ Trim all fat from meat, (serve) lots of plain vegetables, and (replace) the sugar bowl with artificial sweetener.”

At the team’s so-called “Fat Man’s Table” in training camp, the following meals were offered:

Breakfast
7 ounces orange juice
2 eggs, not fried
1 piece of dry whole wheat toast
Coffee, black

Lunch
Cup of soup
Cold plate with scoop of cottage cheese
Slice of roast beef, ham, or turkey
Slice of cheese
Iced tea or coffee
Canned fruit

Dinner
¼ cantaloupe
12-ounce broiled beef steak
String beans
Iced tea or coffee
1 scoop sherbet

On game day, the team would offer to all players a meal of an eight-ounce steak with either scrambled eggs and toast or vegetables and potatoes with orange juice. The meal would be offered four hours before the game, with no eating after that until after the game. According to Anderson, players play better “when they’re a little hungry.”

July 9, 1961

Scotty Stirling reported that Raider guard and Pacific Northwest tag-team wrestling champion Don Manoukian was quitting football to pursue his wrestling career full time. Manoukian, one of the most well-liked players on the team, said the decision was a difficult one that took several months to make.

“I loved playing with the Raiders,” he said, “and will miss such great competitors as Jim Otto and Tony Teresa, but in thinking of my future I realize I’ve got to take advantage of my wrestling opportunities right now. I can only take the bumps for another three or four years and wrestling, I feel, is the answer. (The Raiders are) a great outfit and Bud Hastings was real understanding when I finally called him and told him I was quitting. It was hard for me because I somehow felt I was letting the team down. Besides, there are a few guys in the AFL that I would like to clobber again, like the corner linebackers at Boston.”

Hastings and Eddie Erdelatz were very disappointed at the news. “The loss of Manoukian is hard to take,” said Hastings. “He was the heart of our fine offensive line last year.”

TV News

Hastings also announced that the team had resolved matters with ABC television and that a fourth away game was returned to the TV schedule: October 15 at Denver.

Oakland Tribune

June 1, 1961

The team finalized their preseason schedule at four games:

August 11 vs Oilers in Honolulu
August 19 vs Broncos in Spokane
August 27 vs Chargers in San Diego
September 4 vs Broncos at Kezar Stadium

The game at Kezar would be a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the East Bay.

The team also announced they would open training camp on July 22 in Santa Cruz, last year’s site. “There is no place I’d rather train than Santa Cruz,” said Eddie Erdelatz. “The weather is ideal and we felt we had one of the finest training sites in which to work when we were there last year.”

Oakland Tribune
Salinas Californian
Santa Cruz Sentinel

 

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

March 26, 1961

Tribune writer Scotty Stirling followed Tom Louderback around for a day as the Raider linebacker hawked season tickets in and around downtown Oakland. Louderback, along with Jack Larscheid, Wayne Crow, and Ron Sabal made up the “Four Men in Motion” campaign put in place by ticket manager Al Salisbury to help the team reach its goal of selling 15,000 season tickets for the 1961 campaign. Louderback was said to be the leading seller of the four and sold 200 on the day Stirling accompanied him.

Louderback said, “Several people refused to buy because they don’t want to drive to Candlestick Park, but the real fans seem to realize the club will have to be a success in San Francisco if it is to survive until our coliseum is built in Oakland.

“I’ve only run into a few people who weren’t interested in the Raiders. You just have to see the enthusiasm and then you realize most people in the Eastbay want to back the club. They like the personalized sales service, too.”

AFL Passing Numbers

The AFL released its individual passing totals today, and by a method not spelled out in the story, Jack Kemp of the Chargers was deemed to hold the number one spot. The Raiders’ Tom Flores came in at sixth place, while Babe Parilli finished tenth. Denver’s Frank Tripucka topped the list in attempts with 478, completions with 245, yards with 3,039, and interceptions with 34. Al Dorow of the Titans led the league with 26 touchdowns and Kemp led in yards per attempt at 7.43.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

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

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

December 17, 1960

The Raiders saved their best for last, turning in a dominating performance, including 31 fourth quarter points, to beat the Broncos 48-10.

The morning’s discovery of damage to Candlestick Park’s goal posts led to some frantic activity, but repairs were completed by game time. The Broncos came to town with a 4-8-1 record and had gone seven games without a win. The Raiders at 5-8, with a three-game losing streak of their own, needed a win here to avoid the Western Division basement. With these modest stakes on the line a crowd of just 5,159 showed up to see the locals end the season in style.

After the Oakland defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, Tom Flores and the offense moved to the Denver 11 in 12 plays where Larry Barnes opened the scoring with an 18-yard field goal. Later in the period, the Broncos evened the score with a 37-yarder from Gene Mingo. Babe Parilli replaced Flores after that but couldn’t get his team in the end zone. Eddie Erdelatz sent Flores back in with about five minutes to go in the second and the team promptly responded going five plays to score, with Flores getting the last few inches on a sneak. Read more “December 17, 1960”

December 16, 1960

Tearing down the goalposts is a time-honored tradition at great moments in football, but those moments don’t usually include the night before the game. Still, at some point after dark, one or more people snaked into Candlestick Park and tore down the goalposts less than 24 hours before the Raiders were to close out the season against the Broncos.

San Francisco Chronicle