December 14, 1960

With the season winding down over the next few days there wasn’t much news coming out of Raider headquarters. The team did say today that both Alan Goldstein and Charley Powell, who had been injured in the Titans game, would be able to suit up and play against the Broncos this Saturday.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 11, 1960

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”

December 10, 1960

Scotty Stirling reported in the Oakland Tribune that the team remained enthusiastic and motivated despite being eliminated from the playoffs. At the very least, players were playing for a spot on next year’s squad. With the Titans having an outside shot at catching Houston for the Eastern Division title, the Raiders could play spoiler in tomorrow’s game.

One thing the players were hoping for was that the team would make good on their promise to use a different substance to lay down the lines on the Candlestick Park field. In response to several players reporting burns after last week’s game, a team spokesperson assured players a chalk lime would be used.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

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 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”

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 22, 1960

While the team continued to prepare for the Chargers and the front office declared they were “delighted” with their first five picks in this year’s draft, a story telling of the misadventures of a new football team appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle by staff writer Bruce Lee.

Painting the Raiders administrative staff as painfully unprepared for the task and thoroughly disorganized, the story was told mostly in a series of anecdotes. Team owners, most of whom had made their fortunes in construction, tried to apply the lessons learned there to the football field with cost-cutting a primary goal. Assistant coaches who were told to work from 9 to 5 with no overtime quickly learned that their bosses had no idea how they did their jobs and took their positions on handshake deals rather than signed contracts.

Road trips were even more interesting. Chet Soda, the acting traveling secretary as well as general manager did not always travel with the team. On the team’s recent three-game eastern swing, the players and staff went to Boston after the Titans game while the coaching staff and some of the owners stayed in New York. As a result, there was no planning oversight and the team had to practice in a different facility each day. No locker rooms were available, so the players had to dress at the hotel before practice and shower there afterward. Jack Fadden, a Harvard University trainer involved with the process, said, “I’ve been thirty years in athletics, but I’ve never seen anything like this outfit.”

Earlier in the season, when in Houston for the Oilers game, the team stayed at a hotel far out of town and the coaching staff at one point had to hitchhike to town to attend a banquet. A number of additional stories were told that reinforced the overall sense of farce.

The players had learned to take a philosophical approach. “We grumbled at first,” said Tom Louderback. “Then Erdelatz told us, ‘Quit griping. Laugh at whatever happens. Laugh if you wind up on the floor of the YMCA in a sleeping bag. We’ll all get along better.” It was a measure of the team’s respect for their coach that they largely did just that.

Cue Don Manoukian: “If this club had a training table, we’d be served mashed potato sandwiches and marshmallows.”

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

November 17, 1960

Chet Soda announced that the Raiders would likely play their final three home games in Candlestick Park. Moving from Kezar Stadium would solve two problems. The first problem was a December 11 game against the Titans. The 49ers were scheduled to play on the 10th and if it rained, the field would be a mess without any time for the groundskeeping crew to perform repairs. Additionally, this would allow the team to move the season finale, currently scheduled for Friday night on the 16th, to a Saturday afternoon start on the 17th. The Raider had long wanted to make this move, believing that damp, foggy nights in San Francisco significantly depressed attendance. An agreement between Kezar and the 49ers prevented the Raiders from playing within 24 hours before a 49er game and the 49ers had a game scheduled for the 18th.

Walter Haas, president of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission said, “if the Raiders meet the conditions, we very likely would have no objections.” The conditions were as follows: the Raiders would pay the commission 10% of gate receipts with a minimum $2,500 payout per game. The team would be responsible for converting the field from baseball to football and back to baseball again after the season.

Several configurations were under consideration, with the preferred alignment being to run the field along the left field foul line. No consensus had been reached on which seats would be sold, but the Raiders suggested up to 28,000 seats would be available. Assistant general manager Bud Hastings said season ticket holders would be given priority seating and would not have to exchange tickets.

San Francisco Giants president Chub Feeney was amenable, suggesting the move would reduce his team’s financial obligation to the city. The commission was scheduled to meet on the 23rd to make a final decision on the plan.

The plan would be in place for 1960 only, but Soda said, “the possibility exists the Raiders will continue to play at Candlestick in 1961. However, at the end of the season, we will take a good, long look at any and every playing site possibility. Candlestick is not necessarily the answer for 1961.”

In league news, commissioner Joe Foss said the first six rounds of the college draft would take place by telephone on the weekend of November 19-20. Results would be announced on Monday, the 21st. The remaining 24 rounds would take place sometime in December. Team order would be based on current records, with the Raiders drafting in the fifth spot.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

November 9, 1960

The news that the Raiders would not be moving to San Leandro was something of a disappointment to Kezar Stadium administrators, who were struggling to keep the field in good shape with both the Raiders and 49ers playing on it. Said one unnamed department head, “If it rains before, during, or after the 49er/Green Bay game on December 10, the field will be ruined by the Raiders/Titans game December 11. We spent a lot of time and money to re-seed Kezar this spring and it could be wrecked in 27 hours.”

People were trying to come up with something, though. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council met long enough to agree to a more detailed meeting on the 22nd to discuss an Oakland stadium. Much of the discussion concerned making sure all affected parties would be represented in future confabs. To that end, a trio of county supervisors wanted to invite more non-Oakland interests. Robert Nahas, a recent president of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, pushed back against the argument, saying that, because of Oakland’s outsized tax base within the county, the relative cost burden between city and county wouldn’t be 50/50, but would be closer to 69/31. Nevertheless, the next meeting would include several Alameda County mayors, Chambers of Commerce members, and some state legislators, along with “representatives of the area’s educational institutions.”

In the meantime, the team was still trying to improve their home draw and announced they would be offering $2.50 general admission end zone seats for the Bills game, but only for tickets purchased on game day. This news came out at roughly the same time as a report in The Sporting News revealing actual paid attendance for three games that differed from the official reports: September 11 vs Houston, 8,873 paid, 12,703 reported; September 16 vs Dallas, 7,105 paid, 8,021 reported; October 16 vs Boston, 10,151 paid, 11,500 reported. The same piece reported that the Raiders’ share of the league’s television deal earned them $190,000 while their player payroll totaled $350,000 and their coaches payroll was $65,000.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle
The Sporting News

November 4, 1960

Final statistics

On a chilly, breezy Friday night the Patriots turned three Raider turnovers into 17 points and held on late to win 34-28. Playing at Alumni Field before a gathering of 8,446 on the University of Massachusetts campus, the Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first on two Butch Songin touchdown passes. The second one came following a Tom Flores interception and Eddie Erdelatz decided to go with Babe Parilli in his stead. Parilli put together a 13-play drive that resulted in a Tony Teresa touchdown early in the second. Gino Cappelletti’s two field goals late in the period made the score 20-7 at the half. Read more “November 4, 1960”