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
The Raiders announced four free agent signings today: Bo Bankston, John Freim, Charley Moore, and Fred Tunnicliffe.
Bankston, at 5’10”, 200 pounds out of New Mexico, was signed to play defensive back. All All-Skyline Conference player for two years running with the Lobos, he tried out with the Steelers last year at linebacker, but was deemed too light to play at the position and was released prior to the season.
Freim, 23, was a 6’3”, 225-pound tackle from Adams State in Colorado. He earned Little All-America honorable mention for the Grizzlies last year.
This was Moore’s second go-round with the Raiders. The 6’4”, 220-pound tight end out of Northeastern State in Oklahoma had signed on August 2 last year, but was waived at the end of the month.
The speedy Tunnicliffe played end for UC-Santa Barbara setting NAIA records for receptions and receiving yards in a season in 1959. His head coach with the Gauchos that year was former Raider assistant Ed Cody. The 21-year-old stood 5’9” and weighed 175 pounds.
More AFL stats
The league released another batch of stats today, this time covering punt returns. Among teams, the Texans led the league with 15.0 yards per return. The Raiders were dead last at 5.8. Abner Haynes of Dallas led individuals with his 15.4 average. Jack Larscheid finished third bringing back 12 punts for 106 yards and an 8.8 average.
Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
The Raiders and 49ers announced plans to meet again on the basketball court on March 15 at the Oakland Auditorium as part of a benefit for the Easter Seals Society. The teams met previously on February 21 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, with the 49ers winning, 65-48.
The Raiders squad, coached by Tom Louderback, would consist of the following players:
The 49ers were coached by Gordy Soltau and would feature these players:
Bob St Clair
Hayward Daily Review
Scotty Stirling, in the Oakland Tribune, reported that there was unhappiness among some of the players over their 1961 contract offers. Wayne Crow, Charlie Hardy, Jack Larscheid, Tom Louderback, and Tony Teresa all voiced some degree of disappointment according to Stirling. Crow and Louderback said they received pay cuts, while Hardy, Larscheid, and Teresa said their raises were too small or non-existent. Tom Flores, on the other hand, said he was “reasonably happy” with his deal and Stirling said the general consensus was that he had received a hefty increase over last year. No specific dollar figures were mentioned anywhere in the story.
Crow, explaining that part of his 1960 deal included the withholding of part of his salary to be paid to him during the offseason while he completed his degree at Cal: “The withheld money was not a bonus, but part of my basic salary and it isn’t included in my new contract. That represents a big cut in pay. The withholding setup did not work too well, and I don’t want a similar contract, but that money was a part of my salary so I feel there may be a mistake somewhere. At any rate, I’m not signing until I’ve thrashed the thing out with club officials.”
Hardy: “My contract had a bump in it, all right, but I’m not satisfied with it.”
Larscheid: “I sent (my contract) back, and I’ve since received a letter requesting I drop into the office to discuss the matter. I know, too, that Wayne Hawkins isn’t pleased with the terms in his contract, and he was a starter all of last year.”
Louderback who, like Larscheid, returned his contract unsigned: “They included a big cut in the salary and I’m not signing. When I first got the contract in the mail I thought it was a misprint. I feel I had a good year for the club. I was a starter all season and didn’t get any complaints about my play from the coaches.”
Teresa: “I just gave (my offer) a quick look when I saw the small raise and I threw it in a drawer. I’m thinking it over and I may send it back unsigned.”
With the basketball game against the 49ers just two days away, Raiders coach Tom Louderback announced the team’s lineup: 6’3” George Fields at center, Wayne Crow and Tom Flores, both 6’1”, at forward, and 6’0” Charlie Hardy and 5’9” Tony Teresa at guard. On the bench would be John Harris, Jack Larscheid, Jetstream Smith, and Ron Warzeka.
The 5-7 Raiders came back from ten points down to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on as the 6-6 Titans scored late and won 31-28 at Candlestick Park. The weather was mild but with the team out of the running a disappointing crowd of only 9,037 showed up to watch an exciting game.
The Titans came roaring out of the tunnel and dominated the first quarter. On the second play from scrimmage Art Powell went long, caught Al Dorow’s pass at the Oakland 40, and dodged various members of the Raider secondary for a 73-yard touchdown. While the Raider offense stumbled repeatedly, the Titans entered Oakland territory twice more and only Bill Shockley’s errant kicking foot kept his team from expanding their lead further.
It wasn’t until just before the end of the quarter that the Raider found their sea legs and embarked a ten-play drive resulting in Nyle McFarlane’s nifty 14-yard touchdown catch of a Tom Flores pass to even the score. The Titans responded to that bit of spirit by driving 89 yards in return, scoring on Dorow’s 12-yard keeper up the middle. Neither team accomplished much more before the half, though the Titans did get Shockley another chance on the last play. John Harris blocked his 31-yard field goal attempt and the Raiders were down just 14-7 at the interval despite a subpar effort. Read more “December 11, 1960”
The team returned to the practice field today to prepare for Sunday’s rematch against the Chargers and one player had quite an adventure getting there. Jack Larscheid was on an on-ramp entering a highway in Antioch when his brakes failed. His car left the road and hurtled over an embankment, but it landed safely and he was unhurt. And unruffled, apparently, because he simply borrowed another car and continued on his way. No word as to whose car he borrowed.
Just two days from now the Raiders would play the biggest game of their short history, the first of a home-and-home series with the Chargers. A win on Sunday would put the team in a tie for first place in the Western Division with just three games to go and the players were ready. “We know this is the big one,” said Tom Louderback, “and to a man we know we can beat LA. We had to beat Buffalo to stay in the race and we did, and I think that game jelled us. There are four more left and if we win them all we should get at least a share of the title.”
Eddie Erdelatz said his squad could beat any team in the league and made a lineup change in advance of the game, moving Tony Teresa in at halfback ahead of Jack Larscheid. There were no significant injuries reported and everyone on the roster would be ready to go.
Meanwhile, the press continued to pile on Raider leadership. A story by Hal Wood of United Press International appeared in several papers reporting that the owners would lose around $400,000 dollars this season. The team had come into the year believing that if they could sell 20,000 tickets per game, that coupled with the television money from ABC would allow them to break even. Attendance had been nowhere near that figure.
“We figured to lose money for three years on this venture,” said one unidentified owner. “We didn’t know how much, but we had hopes that it would be no more than $25,000 each. However, we aren’t complaining. If we can get set up in the proper place, I’m sure we’ll catch on.”
The story also repeated the rumors that Chet Soda would resign as general manager, saying he was too old for the job, with Erdelatz taking the spot. Wood also said he expected some movement among the owners with some selling out and others buying in.
Hayward Daily Review
United Press International
The Raiders returned to the practice field today to begin preparing for the Buffalo game. The team was hopeful they could field a full complement of players on game day, reporting that Wayne Hawkins and Charley Powell were on the mend from their injuries and that Ramon Armstrong was recovering from his bout with the flu.
In the Oakland Tribune there was a Scotty Stirling article discussing the recent rumor that Eddie Erdelatz would be coaching the Giants next season. Stirling said the story was a fabrication made up by a pair of reporters, one in San Francisco and one in Boston, and that the Raider players were deeply loyal to Erdelatz.
Per Jack Larscheid: “We’d be nothing without Eddie. I don’t think we would have won one game, let alone four, if it hadn’t been for Erdelatz. I can tell you right now that I’d go through bricks for that guy and every ballplayer on the team feels the same way.”
United Press International
By the time the team arrived home on the overnight flight from Boston, most of their anger and frustration at losing to the Patriots had turned to renewed confidence and optimism. With five games left to play, Jack Larscheid reflected the mood of his team saying, “We’ll just have to win those five games if we want to be in contention.”
Eddie Erdelatz, who was a man of few words last night, had bounced back as well. “They made mistakes which were very costly,” he said, “but I had to feel proud the way they fought back right down to the gun.”
Ramon Armstrong, who became ill after the game, continued to be treated for the flu and was expected to be at full strength by next weekend. The news was less certain about Charley Powell. Trainer George Anderson diagnosed the injury as bruised ribs, and if so, Powell would play against Buffalo, too, but until the x-rays came back, nothing was known for sure.
While the players began a three-day vacation from work granted by the coaching staff, the conflict among the ownership group continued to reverberate. Following the rift that had appeared between those who thought it might be necessary to move the team and those who believed in Oakland for the long haul, an Associated Press story reported that the ownership group’s losses might reach $400,000 for the season, or an average of $50,000 per owner.
San Rafael Independent-Journal