September 13, 1960

Two days out from the loss to the Oilers, the Raiders made a number of personnel moves. Four players were cut, including tackle Joe Barbee, halfback Luther Carr, tackle Don Churchwell, and quarterback Paul Larson.

The team had first installed Barbee, a June signing, on the defense, then moved him to offense, but he never could crack the starting lineup, and had run out of chances. Carr had shown some promise after joining the team in August, looking good against the Bills, but he hurt his ribs in the Boston game and wasn’t healing fast enough to justify the roster spot. Churchwell had been there since the allocation draft in the spring and was a starter early in camp, but eventually Ron Sabal took his spot and made him expendable. Larson, signed in mid-April, had been the highest-profile addition to the team upon his arrival and was a shoe-in to be Tom Flores’s backup until Babe Parilli’s signing, whereupon he became the forgotten man on the roster. And with only 35 spots available, carrying three quarterbacks was a luxury the team didn’t think it could afford.

Taking some of the open spots were ends Doug Asad and Al Hoisington, and halfback Nyle McFarlane. Asad was a 6’2″, 205-pound tight end from Northwestern. A three-year letterman with the Wildcats, he caught only a handful of passes each year, but was good enough to play in the 1959 Blue-Gray game. Picked up by the Oilers in July, he started at least one preseason game for Houston, but didn’t make the team’s final cut , giving the Raiders a chance to grab him.

Hoisington, at 6’3” and 200 pounds, was a speedster out of Pasadena City College who had spent time in camp with the Dallas Texans before being waived, which is where the Raiders got him.

McFarlane was a 6’2″, 205-pound halfback who was a solid ground-gainer during a couple of seasons at Brigham Young, but battled injuries and academic issues during that time. In the spring of 1960, he was still with the Cougars prepping for the fall campaign, but at some point after that he left the team. By August, he was in camp with the Dallas Cowboys, but they cut him before their regular season and the Raiders signed him to take Carr’s spot.

Two additional players, defensive lineman Glenn Holtzman and linebacker Riley Morris, had yet to report to the team after having been signed last week.

While Eddie Erdelatz shuffled players trying to improve his squad, the front office was focusing their concern on ticket sales. The reported attendance for the Oilers game was 12,703, but according to the Kezar Stadium management team, the actual paid figure was only 8,620. General manager Chet Soda said the team needed to average 20,000 per home date to break even. Consensus among the ownership group was that ticket prices were too high and their plan was to petition the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Commission to lower the price of west end zone seats from $4.50 to $2.50 matching the east end zone price.

And in other news, the team completed a change in their practice facility, moving from the Oakland Naval Air Reserve Station to the Alameda Naval Air Station, just a few miles north on Alameda Island. The team cited better field conditions and facilities as the reason for the change.

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September 11, 1960

The glad day had finally arrived. A crowd of 12,703 fans came to Kezar Stadium to watch the Raiders host the Houston Oilers, a team coached by old Cleveland Browns warhorse Lou Rymkus and led on the field by quarterback George Blanda, a veteran of ten campaigns with the Chicago Bears. The weather was fine, if windy, and after long months of preparation and sweat, the locals in black were ready to embark on their big adventure. Read more “September 11, 1960”

September 8, 1960

The Raiders made more personnel moves today. In a continuing effort to upgrade their lines, the team signed Glenn HoltzmanPaul Oglesby, and Riley Morris. Holtzman, a 6’3″, 250-pound defensive end out of North Texas State had been drafted by the Rams in 1954 in the 26th round and spent four years in Los Angeles, one of them as a starter. After the Rams traded him, along with six other players and a pair of draft picks, to the Cardinals in exchange for Ollie Matson, Holtzman refused to report to Chicago and pursued careers in acting and professional wrestling instead. Sid Gillman had tabbed him a few months ago to play for the Chargers, but cut him earlier this week, giving the Raiders a chance to pick him up.

Oglesby, a 6’4″, 235-pound tackle from UCLA had been drafted by both the Cardinals and the Oilers and went with Houston. He was plagued by minor ailments in camp, and the Oilers eventually gave up on him and let him go.

Morris, a 6’2″, 220-pound linebacker out of Florida A&M had been released by the Chargers the same day as Oglesby and picked up by Oakland at the same time. Oglesby was added to the active roster right away, but the team was waiting for Holtzman and Morris to report in person before adding them.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders released halfback Buddy Allen. Allen, who scored the first points in franchise history, had looked good early on, but found his playing time reduced as the preseason unfolded and he became a forgotten man as Jack Larscheid and Billy Lott got more attention. Unofficially, Allen ended the preseason with 81 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 32 yards. Allen’s departure left just Lott, Larscheid, JD Smith, and Tony Teresa, and Luther Carr in the offensive backfield.

While these moves were going on, Coach Erdelatz continued to prepare for Sunday’s game by naming team captains. On offense the captain would be Tom Flores. A member of the squad since early June, Flores had been the front-runner for the starting quarterback position almost from his arrival and was a clear choice. On defense the captain would be linebacker Bob Dougherty. Dougherty was one of the players chosen in the AFL’s allocation draft back in the spring and had stood out for his exemplary play in the preseason.

On the public relations front, today was the day for the big parade in Oakland. A 4:30pm departure from Jack London Square saw the players and other team officials convoy in convertibles on the half-hour long route to a park next to Lake Merritt with fanfare, autographs, and pictures to follow.

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August 30, 1960

Continuing to regroup following the grueling road trip, the Raiders took stock of the health of their team. Counted amongst the wounded were backs Luther Carr, Wayne Crow, and Ron Drzewiecki, all with rib injuries, defensive lineman Charley Powell with a sprained knee, guard Wayne Hawkins with a sprained right ankle, and fullback Dean Philpott who continued to nurse a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said none of the injuries were serious and each of the players, plus quarterback Tom Flores and tight end Gene Prebola, would be available for the Houston game.

All, that is, except Drzewiecki and Philpott, who were placed on injured reserve, reducing the roster to 41 players. The league required all teams to get their count down to 38 and to comply, the team waived guard Jerry Epps, defensive end Jerry Flynn, and receiver Charles Moore, none of whom had made much of their opportunities in preseason work.[1]

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[1] There was some disagreement among the sources whether Drzewiecki and Philpott were waived or put on IR. The Review and the Times said IR, the Tribune said they were waived.

August 16, 1960

The Raiders announced a big signing today with the addition of Babe Parilli, a 6’2″, 205-pound quarterback out of Kentucky. He had a storied college career with the Wildcats, making first-team All-America in 1950 and 1951 and leading his team to an upset win over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl and was named player of the game in the 1952 Cotton Bowl. His pro career was a little less successful. The Green Bay Packers chose him in the first round in 1952, but poor accuracy and a tendency to throw interceptions limited his opportunities during his time in the NFL. After the Packers let him go in 1958, he played a season in Canada for the Ottawa Rough Riders. His arrival in Oakland followed a long period of negotiation, but the Raiders finally hooked him.

After his first practice, head coach Eddie Erdelatz said he “liked what I saw.” Parilli’s signing increased the number of quarterbacks on the roster to five: Tom Flores, Paul Larson, Bobby Newman, Bob Webb, and Parilli.

Additionally, the team signed 5’10”, 185-pound halfback Luther “Hit and Run” Carr. A third-team All-Pacific Coast Conference performer at the University of Washington, Carr had been drafted in the 21st round of the 1959 draft by the 49ers, but was cut by them just before the start of the regular season. More recently, Carr had been in camp with the Chargers, but that team had let him go just a few days prior to his signing with the Raiders. Initially, he would be fourth on the depth chart at the position.

From the medical staff, the team received some bad news  when they learned that their starting right tackle, Chris Plain, was probably out for the year with torn cartilage in his knee and a broken ankle. Plain had left the Titans game in the first quarter, but at the time the team didn’t consider the injury serious. However, x-rays showed differently.  Either Joe Barbee or Don Churchwell would take his spot on the line.

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