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

December 1, 1960

Heavy rain caused the cancellation of practice today and Eddie Erdelatz took time to offer a comment about last Sunday’s game. “We’re not that bad,” he said. “We must redeem ourselves the only way we know how.” He said only Tom Flores, Tony Teresa, Don Manoukian, and Jim Otto played well in the loss to the Chargers.

The team would seek redemption with a slightly different lineup. Alan Goldstein’s ankle injury was expected to keep him out of the next game. He would be joined on the sideline by George Fields who was expected to miss the game because of an unidentified ailment. Nyle McFarlane would take Goldstein’s flanker spot, while Don Deskins would replace Fields on the end of the defensive line. Erdelatz made two other changes for performance issues, moving John Dittrich in for Wayne Hawkins at right guard, and installing Doug Asad at the starting tight end spot in place of Gene Prebola.

Despite the rain, the crew at Candlestick Park continued their work and the field was almost ready. Goal posts were in place, the pitcher’s mound had been removed, and the yard lines had been laid out. A big concern was the presence of the infield dirt over much of the football playing area and a problem with an uneven playing surface due to drainage patterns put in place for the baseball layout.

When asked about the prospect of a muddy field on Sunday, Erdelatz said, “It’s bad on both sides of the field, so what’s the difference?”

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

November 29, 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.

Oakland Tribune

November 27, 1960

The Raiders had a chance to put themselves in a position for the stretch run and crashed hard. In front of 15,075 fans in the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Chargers thumped the Raiders 52-28. Quarterback Jack Kemp connected for long touchdowns to Don Norton and Paul Lowe in the first quarter and the Chargers scored twice on the ground – runs by Kemp and Howie Ferguson — and kicked a field goal in the second. The Raiders scored just once on a Jetstream Smith one-yard run in the first and the teams went into the locker room at halftime with the Chargers up, 31-7. Read more “November 27, 1960”

November 26, 1960

Grim news appeared the morning before the Raiders were to play the Chargers in Los Angeles. Starting end Ralph Anderson was found dead at his girlfriend’s apartment following an evening spent at the movies with teammate Ron Botchan and their dates. The cause of death was not immediately known, but Anderson was a diabetic and his position coach, Al Davis, said he had had a diabetic attack in the recent past.

The Chargers team was in shock. They tried to have a pregame practice but had to stop after 15 minutes. “We couldn’t go through with it,” said head coach Sid Gillman. “I don’t know how we’ll be able to get these boys in any kind of mental shape at all for Sunday’s game against Oakland. Ralph’s death has put 34 other players and five coaches in a state of shock that will take days to overcome.”

This would be the second time this season the Raiders were to face an opponent following the death of one of their team members. In October, the Raiders played the Titans after guard Howard Glenn died following a neck injury suffered against the Oilers.

Despite the news, the game would go on and the teams had much to play for. “If we win, we’re tied with LA and then we meet them at home,” said Eddie Erdelatz. “If we lose, we’re two games out and in this tight race that could be too much to make up with just three games left after tomorrow. I’m real proud of this team. They’ve been bouncing back all year and have fought hard in every game. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to and win, lose, or draw against LA, I think we have a great outfit.”

Talking of the Chargers, who were coming off a 32-3 loss to the Bills, Erdelatz said, “Buffalo was really up for the game. We had thumped them pretty good the week before and they went into the Charger game with blood in their eyes. I don’t think LA was prepared for such a tough contest. This week, it is the Chargers who are near the boiling point, which means they’ll be tougher than usual for us.”

Three Raider players — Jetstream Smith, Riley Morris, and Billy Reynolds — were looking forward to taking on the team that had rejected them in the preseason. Reynolds had particularly aggrieved tale to tell. “It’s not so much that they cut me,” said Reynolds, “but the day before they put me on waivers, I checked with coach Sid Gillman on my status. I wanted to know if it would be wise for me to bring my family out West. Sid told me, ‘Sure, Bill, bring ‘em out,’ and then the next day, I’m on waivers.”

Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram
Oakland Tribune
United Press International

November 25, 1960

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
Oakland Tribune
United Press International

November 24, 1960

Confirming what had been considered a foregone conclusion, the San Francisco Park and Recreation Commission formally, but conditionally, granted the Raiders permission to play their last three home games in Candlestick Park. As had been announced previously, the team would be responsible for stadium cleaning as well as converting the field and scoreboard to a football configuration and back to baseball after the season.

While the team continued to prepare for the critical matchup with the Chargers on Sunday, the Tribune’s Scotty Stirling ran a feature on center Jim Otto, saying he was considered by many observers to be the best at his position in the league. At under 230 pounds, the coaching staff thought he would be too small, but as his coach Eddie Erdelatz said, “This is a guy that puts out one hundred percent all the time. He’s my kind of ballplayer, combining desire with real ability. You can’t beat that combination. We’ve played all the clubs in this league and have looked at miles of films of each and we haven’t seen a center that comes close to Jim.”

He was also a fine special teams player with Tom Louderback saying Otto was the fastest person he’d ever seen in pro football on punt coverage. The story also said he had played through injuries, including a “chronic” chest problem he had suffered since a skiing accident in his youth and a bad knee and ankle. According to Stirling, despite Otto’s physical woes, he had missed less than a half-dozen plays all year.

Oakland Tribune