February 19, 1961

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.

Oakland Tribune

December 28, 1960

Both the Associated Press and United Press International announced their all-AFL teams today and several Raiders found themselves named.

Center Jim Otto made AP first-team and UPI second-team. Defensive back Eddie Macon was picked first-team by the UPI but wasn’t mentioned by the AP. Defensive back Joe Cannavino and linebacker Bob Dougherty made second-team UPI. Honorable mentions for the AP were guard John Dittrich, linebacker Tom Louderback, guard Don Manoukian, and defensive end Charley Powell. Dittrich was also a UPI honorable mention as was fullback Billy Lott.

Associated Press
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

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 13, 1960

Giving what head coach Eddie Erdelatz called their best defensive effort of the season, the Raiders beat the Bills 20-7 to even their record at 5-5.

Before the game there was still noise about a pair of NFL games being televised in the area before the Raiders’ 1:30 start. After Chet Soda complained, Lamar Hunt was reportedly planning to lodge a formal protest with the NFL. The NFL’s commissioner Pete Rozelle was unmoved. “The new league appears to have a fixation that every action and policy of the National Football League is designed to impair their operation,” he said. “If they would expend more time and energy in the development of their own league, and less time worrying about the NFL, they would be much more successful than they apparently have been so far.” Rozelle added that the league had no control over broadcasts, explaining that once they sold the rights to networks, the league has “no control over utilization of these rights other than blacking out NFL cities from other NFL telecasts when our clubs play at home. This is in accordance with a 1953 decision of a US district court in Philadelphia. Telecasts of a game involving teams in the new league are beamed into all NFL cities when our teams play at home.” Read more “November 13, 1960”

October 16, 1960

Final statistics

 

The Patriots hadn’t lost a game on the road and the Raiders hadn’t won at home, but that was all out the window at the end. It was probably the Raiders’ best game to date, but they were also lucky to get away with a 27-14 win over the Patriots on an unseasonably warm afternoon at Kezar Stadium.

Almost immediately, things began to go Oakland’s way. On the second play from scrimmage at the Raider 13, Jack Larscheid, starting in place of Tony Teresa, took a pitch from Tom Flores and took it 87 yards for a score. And if that weren’t a rousing enough start, Ron Burton fumbled on Boston’s first offensive play and Carmen Cavalli recovered for Oakland at the Patriot 31. Flores couldn’t move his team much closer and the score stayed 7-0 when Larry Barnes’s 40-yard field goal attempt came up short.

Most of the rest of the quarter was a punting duel. The Patriots did get close enough to give Gino Cappelletti a chance to kick one from 47 yards out, but his attempt was short, too. Frustrated with Flores’s inability to move his team after the first drive, Eddie Erdelatz put in Babe Parilli late in the quarter, but on his second play Bob Soltis picked him off and returned it back to the Raider 9. Three plays later, Alan Miller took it in to score from the 2, but Riley Morris, in the game despite numerous reports saying he wouldn’t play, blocked Cappelletti’s extra point attempt and the Raiders kept the lead. Read more “October 16, 1960”

October 15, 1960

Eddie Erdelatz decided to give his players the day off before tomorrow’s game against the Patriots. “Our Saturday work is limited to 20 minutes and experience has taught us the drill isn’t necessary,” he said. “When a team comes off the road, say, on a Friday before the game, then a Saturday workout is in order. But we have been home all week and I think we’re better off without the Saturday practice.”

The Raiders coach confirmed that linebacker Riley Morris would miss the game. “Riley was kneed in the back when he ran with a kickoff return against Dallas,” Erdelatz explained, “and he will have to sit this one out.” Tom Louderback would slide over to Morris’ right linebacker spot and Larry Barnes would get the start at Louderback’s middle linebacker position. On offense, halfback Tony Teresa would see only spot action because of his back woes and Jack Larscheid would start the game in his stead.

Having seen poor attendance at Kezar Stadium since their first game in July, the Raider front office was anticipating improved numbers starting tomorrow. “We hope for a crowd of 15,000,” said general manger and co-owner Chet Soda, “but a lot depends on the weather.” Their best attendance total to date was the 12,703 figure for their regular season opener against Houston.

In public relations news, the team announced that Erdelatz and his staff would provide a pair of football clinics for local area kids in November. They would happen on the 19th and the 25st and were to take place at Triangle Field, adjacent to Kezar. The sessions were part of a project sponsored by former major league baseball players Mike Sabena and Lefty O’Doul in conjunction with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Board.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 8, 1960

The team planned only a light workout today with the coaching staff wanting to give the players some rest before tomorrow’s game, especially in light of all the bruises and bumps many key players had been working through. Some of these injuries had previously been announced by the team, such as Tony Teresa with his back problems and Jim Otto with chest and knee issues. But also among the walking wounded with unspecified aches and pains were fullback Billy Lott, middle linebacker Tom Louderback, defensive back Eddie Macon, tight end Gene Prebola, and defensive tackle Ron Warzeka. According to trainer George Anderson, all were expected to be in more or less game shape tomorrow, except for Teresa. The halfback’s status was still uncertain, and if he did play, the team expected to use him sparingly and that he would be of reduced effectiveness.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 2, 1960

The Raiders had high hopes. They were coming off their first win of the season and the Broncos were coming off their first loss. And for a quarter, the Raiders were able to keep hoping, but Denver scored three touchdowns in quick succession in the second quarter and coasted from there to a comfortable 31-14 win.

Read more “October 2, 1960”