July 26, 1961

Jim Otto dropped a bombshell on the team today by announcing he would play out his option after the season and seek a spot in the NFL next year, according to George Ross of the Tribune. Unsurprisingly, money was at the heart of it. He and the Raiders were “several thousand dollars” apart from an agreement and Otto said he wasn’t “going to budge.” He also said he knew of three NFL teams that would pay him what he was asking for.

Otto, who made $8,000 last year, said he “was disappointed after winning the all-league honor last season. This usually brings a bonus from the club, $500 to $1,000 from some clubs. I got just one thing, a (newspaper) clipping somebody sent me. I want to be able to retire with something when I finish playing. It’s not just the salary, either. It’s a matter of off-season opportunities, too.

“We have a great bunch of guys on this club and this is the best coaching staff I’ve ever played under. But this is, after all, a profession. I had to prove I could make the team last year and after making it, I went out to prove I was the best. I think that’s worth a good raise.”

Bud Hastings, who was also trying to come to an agreement with Tom Louderback, said, “We’re still trying to work the thing out. We’ll talk to him (Otto) in a couple of days.”

Thinning the crew

Raider training camp was in full swing today and a new series of cuts were in. Five men, all of whom where free agent signings during the offseason were placed on waivers: running back Bo Bankston, defensive back Clive Bullian, linebacker Dick Carlsen, defensive back Grover Garvin, and defensive back Ed Whittle. Also, the team finally got in touch with defensive lineman Ramon Armstrong, who told them he was retiring from football to help run his father’s ranch back home in Texas.

Armstrong’s decision left the Raiders short on both lines. Eddie Erdelatz said, “We’ll have to figure on some position changes to strengthen both spots,” and suggested that some prayer wouldn’t hurt, either.

Camp news

Scotty Stirling’s camp report in the Tribune included news of a “near fight” between Al Bansavage and Bob Coolbaugh, and Tommy Kalmanir’s praise for the work of running backs Oneal Cuttery, Alan Miller, Jetstream Smith, and Tony Teresa. Joe Cannavino, Wayne Crow, and Bob Voight also looked good.

Stirling said Erdelatz was already installing his new defense and that he was pleased at how fast the veterans were catching on. “We are throwing the stuff at them fast,” he said, “and they seem to like the change.”

Linebacker Bob Dougherty concurred, “Coach Erdelatz is doing a lot more coaching with the defense than he did last year and I’m confident we’ll be a lot tougher.”

Read more “July 26, 1961”

July 25, 1961

Not everyone showed up for training camp on time, as it turned out. While George Fleming’s absence to train with the College All-Star team was known and excused, the Raiders reported today that defensive tackle Ramon Armstrong hadn’t shown up either, and hadn’t contacted the team at all. Efforts by the team to reach him had gone for naught so far.

Oakland Tribune

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”

November 11, 1960

Just yesterday the team said defensive end Charley Powell was unlikely to play on against the Bills, but today trainer George Anderson said Powell had responded to treatment and would be ready to go on Sunday. “Charley has that good attitude and wants to play,” said Anderson, “and that always helps in injuries.” Fellow lineman Ramon Armstrong and guard Wayne Hawkins were pronounced fully recovered from recent ailments and would be on the field, too.

Eddie Erdelatz was pleased with the way his team had been looking in practice this week. “They appear more ready for this game than for any other in recent weeks,” he said. “I think revenge has a lot to do with it. The Bills did a pretty good job on us in Buffalo and the kids want to make up for it, both for the fans and for themselves.”

While the focus had again turned toward on the field matters, the stadium talk was still going on in the background. A divide was beginning to appear between those who favored an Oakland site and those who wanted more consideration to be given to south county sites. Francis Dunn, the chairman of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors acknowledged the challenge of getting a non-Oakland site approved. “Under the proposed financing, with Oakland and the county backing a loan from private financial sources to construct a stadium,” he said, “I doubt if anything farther south than Hegenberger would be accepted unless it were a great deal cheaper.”

Team co-owner Robert Osborne insisted “nothing specific has been settled on that. We will peruse all possible sites throughout the county. In fact, my heart is in your area (South Bay). I’d hate to believe that there would be less cooperation from those whose cities were not picked. This should be looked at from the broad viewpoint.”

San Leandro mayor JD Maltester seemed to be on board with the cooperative model. “I have no particular area in mind,” he said, “whether it be Hayward, San Leandro, or Fremont. Our only possible site is in the Trojan Powder Words area fronting on the bay, but I believe Hayward has several possible places. It’s important that the two cities work together. Certainly, there wouldn’t be any squabbling between us.”

In the end, though, Dunn was plumping for an Oakland site. “A multi-purpose stadium such as this would be a tremendous asset to the entire community. There are many things it could be used for, such as expositions. I hope people at our end of the county get behind the project. Personally, I favor the Hegenberger site. It is centrally located within the county, has as good a weather as anywhere west of the hills, has access to freeways, and is fairly close to the airport.”

Osborne said the team hoped that the project would be complete and ready for occupancy by 1962.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

November 10, 1960

Team trainer George Anderson reported that Charley Powell was doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Bills because of his badly bruised ribs. To take his place on the end of the line George Fields would slide over from tackle and taking Fields’ place would be Ramon Armstrong, Don Deskins, or Ron Warzeka. The Raiders were shifting personnel in the secondary, too. Eddie Erdelatz was benching safety Wayne Crow for unspecified reasons. Alex Bravo would move from his corner spot to take Crow’s place, with John Harris moving in at starting cornerback. Erdelatz wouldn’t comment on the benching, but observers said that Crow’s play had gotten “sloppy.”

In broader league news, Chargers owner Barron Hilton, quoting a conversation with Lamar Hunt, said that all eight AFL teams would return in 1961 and play in the same city as this season. “This goes for Oakland, (too),” said Hilton, “There have been some reports that Chet Soda, co-owner of the Raiders, might move the franchise, but Soda says he will definitely have an Oakland team in 1961.”

Oakland Tribune

November 8, 1960

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.”

Oakland Tribune
United Press International

November 5, 1960

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.

Oakland Tribune
San Rafael Independent-Journal

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”

October 28, 1960

Final statistics

On a rainy Friday night in the Big Apple, the Raiders staged a ten-point comeback in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Titans, 28-27, before 10,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds. The Raiders entered the game coming off their worst loss ever, a 38-9 beating at the hands of the Bills. At 3-4, they had fallen back to the pack after challenging the Broncos for the Western Division lead just a week ago. They did come into the game mostly healthy, though. Larry Barnes, Tom Flores, and Charley Powell had all been suffering from various forms of mild illness in recent days but would be ready to go at game time. Read more “October 28, 1960”

July 26, 1960

Now that two-a-days were done the players had time to indulge in a little team promotion. With an afternoon practice scheduled, the Raiders bused from Santa Cruz to Jack London Square in Oakland to participate in a “Welcome Raiders” parade. The front office expressed satisfaction with their local popularity in general and said tickets for the Texans game, a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay, were selling briskly with more than 20,000 already sold, according to PR man Gene Perry.

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the team appeared to have been inspired by the event and looked particularly crisp and spirited during their workout. Only non-contact blocking and tackling drills were performed, as the coaches hoped to prevent further injuries before the game.

Their hopes weren’t realized, though. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback, who was practicing with a bruised shoulder, exacerbated the injury and was pronounced doubtful for the upcoming contest. On the other hand, the Raider quarterback picture brightened immeasurably when Tom Flores was able to return to practice following treatment of his pulled calf muscle and third-stringer Bob Webb was seen on the field as well.

Looking ahead, the team provided a provisional depth chart for the game that included few surprises, aside from the absence of Flores and Webb. On the offense, Chris Plain and Don Churchwell were at tackle, Lou Byrd and Ron Sabal were at guard, and Jim Otto was at center. At the ends were Alan Goldstein and Gene Prebola. In the backfield behind Paul Larson were Buddy Allen, Tony Teresa, and Billy Lott.

On defense, the front four consisted of Carmen Cavalli and George Fields at the ends, Joe Barbee and Ramon Armstrong on the inside, Louderback at middle linebacker, flanked by Billy Ray Locklin and Bob Dougherty. In the defensive backfield were Joe Cannavino, Alex Bravo, Eddie Macon, and LC Joyner. Larry Barnes was the placekicker, while the punting job was up for grabs among Barnes, Wayne Crow, and Bob Fails.

Oakland Tribune