February 1, 1961

Ernie Jorge resigned his post as offensive line coach today, citing “the length of the pro season, the number of games, and the traveling” as his reasons. He had been hired by Eddie Erdelatz last February after having served under him at the Naval Academy in the 1950s and was the first of the four assistants he hired.  Jorge said he still wanted to coach and would “listen to any and all offers.” The news left the Raiders with just two assistants, Marty Feldman and Tommy Kalmanir, following last week’s departure of Ed Cody to Washington State.

 

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 27, 1961

Today the Raiders announced their biggest signing of the offseason so far, inking halfback George Fleming to a contract. From the University of Washington, Fleming was the team’s second-round pick and the sixth-round pick of the Chicago Bears. To convince him to sign with Oakland, Eddie Erdelatz traveled to Seattle to speak with him in person. After the deal was announced, the Raider head coach was “elated.” “Needless to say, we’re very pleased to sign our number two draft choice,” he said. “He’s an outstanding football player and I’m confident he’ll see plenty of action with the Raiders. We plan to use him as a flanker back and also expect to utilize his ability as a placekicker. He’ll help us in several spots.”

Fleming had played quarterback with the Huskies and had been named co-outstanding player in the 1960 Rose Bowl.

In other news, supporters of a multi-purpose stadium in Oakland received encouraging news. Word came out that the American League had identified Oakland as likely site for Major League Baseball expansion by 1964. In response, the chair of the Oakland Coliseum Committee, Robert Nahas, responded by saying, “This gives us a great impetus to proceed with all speed along the lines we are now pursuing with the construction of an all-purpose stadium.” The committee was, at present, trying to fill out the directorship for the non-profit corporation tasked with getting the project underway.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 1, 1961

The Raiders signed two draft choices today, their first two of the offseason. Putting pen to paper were ends Paul Yanke of Northwestern and Clair Appledoorn of San Jose State, the team’s 25th and 27th round choices, respectively.

The team hoped to sign others soon, including their 19th round pick, San Francisco State halfback Charley Fuller. A report appeared saying Fuller had signed with the 49ers, but he denied having done so.

They also held out hope they could ink Northwestern halfback Ray Purdin. Picked in the 7th round by both the Raiders and 49ers, Purdin said he didn’t “feel strong enough to play in the NFL this year. I’ve been bothered by injuries all year and I don’t want to take any chances, but I would like to try with the 49ers next year if I get a little stronger.” He thought he might hook up with another team this year to keep his football skills fresh.

One player they weren’t going to get was halfback Pervis Atkins. A big, fast star out of New Mexico State, the Raiders acquired his signing rights from the Minneapolis franchise that selected him as a redshirt last year, but the Rams had selected him, too, and Atkins decided to go with the NFL.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

December 19, 1960

The Raiders ownership group had their first post-season meeting and, contrary to reports, there was no shift among their membership. Chet Soda remained president and general manger of the team though he acknowledged, “in any business group there’s the possibility of a change of officers at any time.” He characterized the meeting as “affable,” and referred to the rumors of some owners selling out saying, “there was an exchange of opinion on certain matters, but it isn’t progress when you quit after putting up money to build up a business. In the clutch, I’m sure any one of the eight owners would take over and operate alone if he had to.”

At the moment, Eddie Erdelatz was still head coach, but rumors persisted that he was angling to add the GM job to his portfolio and would leave if he didn’t get it. Soda expected him to stay regardless, saying, “Eddie has a two-year contract. I’m in the construction business and I’ve always felt in business dealings, you honor your contract.” Erdelatz made no public comment.

Soda briefly addressed reports of the team’s financial losses, though he wouldn’t say whether the reported $400,000 figure was accurate. He said the losses were “not as great as anticipated and surprisingly small. If you consider the advantages Denver and Buffalo had in their operations our losses were among the lowest in the league.” He cited Denver’s ownership of their stadium and Buffalo’s small stadium rental fees as support for his claim.

Figures were released showing that for at least six of the seven home games, paid attendance was significantly less than the reported figure. Soda blamed at least some of the poor showing on the league’s television contract, complaining that only four of the seven team’s road games were shown to Bay Area fans and added, “TV could be a blessing and a poison for both us and the National League. Conflicting telecasts such as we had this season are bound to hurt everyone. The government will force both leagues to get together in all things just like the American and National baseball leagues.”

He thought an improvement in attendance in 1961 would be “automatic,” and said, “There’s no question Candlestick is the place to play in 1961. Naturally, we would prefer a stadium in the East Bay, but will wait until 1962 when the proposed Oakland stadium is completed,” and said he was “confident” a new stadium would be in place by then.

Another owners’ meeting was scheduled for later in the week.

The team also reported they had acquired guard Jack Stone from the Texans as compensation for giving up signing rights to Abner Haynes back in the spring. Stone at 6’2” and 245 pounds out of Oregon had played all 14 games for Dallas in 1960, his rookie season.

Hayward Daily Review
San Francisco Chronicle

December 6, 1960

The Raiders trimmed their roster today, placing halfback Billy Reynolds on waivers. Signed as a replacement for Bob Keyes back in October, Reynolds had been used mostly as a punt returner with an occasional stint at the flanker spot. No word on whether the team would fill his spot.

In stadium news, representatives from across Alameda County met to discuss the proposal for an East Bay stadium. Despite some dissent from those representing cities south of Oakland, the committee agreed to focus on the Hegenberger Road site in Oakland for the purpose of financial planning. Mayors from Hayward, Pleasanton, and Union City argued that a stadium that serves and is paid for by the whole county should be placed in a more central location, with Pleasanton mayor Warren Harding saying he generally opposed public subsidies altogether. Oakland City Council member Fred Maggiora said while he thought his city would support an Oakland site, they would probably not approve funds for a stadium elsewhere. No final site decision had been made by the end of the meeting.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

November 14, 1960

The Raiders waived end Al Hoisington today. He had joined the team a few days after the season opener against Houston but had played sparingly as a backup to tight end Gene Prebola, catching just a handful of passes in eight games. With Doug Asad getting more work, Hoisington looked increasingly like the odd man out. That left the team with 34 players on the roster. Eddie Erdelatz was vague when asked if they would add another player to take his spot.

The players still on the team were enjoying the first of three consecutive days off.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

October 22, 1960

The team arrived in Buffalo after a red-eye flight during which sleep was fugitive, at best, for most players. Upon arrival, the players were instructed to hit the hay and get some shut-eye. When they woke up they learned there was a new face in the ranks.

The Raiders announced the signing of 5’11”, 200-pound halfback Billy Reynolds. The former University of Pittsburgh Panther had broken in with the Browns in 1953 and his rushing, receiving, and special teams play earned him the NFL’s rookie of the year award. The following year he was an important member of Cleveland’s championship run, but he spent the next two years in the air force. When he returned for the 1957 campaign he began to suffer a series a nagging injuries that sapped his once-formidable speed and was traded to the Steelers the following summer. He played only sparingly in Pittsburgh and ended up in Canada for 1959. He spent the summer of 1960 in Chargers camp but they let him go just before the season started. The Raiders, looking for more backfield and special teams depth, decided to take a flyer on him.

To make room on the roster, they put Bob Keyes on waivers. The seldom-used Keyes had played just three games for Oakland, rushing once for seven yards, catching one pass for 19 yards, and returning one punt for five yards.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

September 28, 1960

The Raiders continued to work on optimizing their roster today, signing John Dittrich, a 6’1”, 240-pound guard out of Wisconsin. Dittrich, a two-year letterman for the Badgers, played in the Senior Bowl and the College All-Star game following his university career and was drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round of the 1956 draft. A part-time starter with the Cards in his first season, he spent the next two years in the Air Force before returning to the NFL with the Packers in 1959. Green Bay dealt him to the Cowboys this past August. Dropped by the Cowboys earlier this month, the Raiders picked him up hoping to improve their offensive line.

To make room for Dittrich, the team released tackle Bill Striegel, a player who had been added just eight days ago and made his single appearance for the team against Houston.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Hayward Daily Review
Janesville Daily Gazette
Oakland Tribune
Pro Football Reference
San Mateo Times
Sterling Daily Gazette

September 22, 1960

The Raiders were heading to Houston tomorrow and Eddie Erdelatz had something to get off his chest before they did. “It’s unfortunate a team in our position was scheduled against the two best teams in four of the first five games,” meaning Dallas and Houston.

“Because of our late start, we are still trying to place our personnel while almost every other team in the league has been set for weeks. Sometimes you have to experiment quite a lot before you find the right man for the right spot, and it is even more difficult with us because we are still trying to help ourselves with cuts from other teams.

“We’ve had quite a turnover in personnel and it isn’t finished yet, so you can see that we have problems in addition to the routine work involved in preparing for a football game each week. Take Dallas and Houston, for instance. They were two of the first teams in the league and they have top personnel. They knew pretty well what their players could do before training opened, and they have gone pretty much with the same units since early in the exhibition season.

“Most of our players were complete strangers, so it was a matter of slowly grading them to find out just who could do what. Now, it is almost like going back into training camp when we pick up new players. We have to first find out if they can play football then teach them to play our way. It puts an added burden on the coaches and the squad because you can’t concentrate on simply preparing for next week’s opponent.”

The roster experimentation continued today with another move. The team signed 5’10”, 185-pound halfback Bob Keyes. Keyes, who played his college ball for Antelope Junior College and the University of San Diego, had previously been in camp with the 49ers, but had been cut by them a little over a week ago. To make room for Keyes, the Raiders released defensive back LC Joyner. On the team since April, Joyner had looked pretty good in the preseason and had started the opener against Houston, but became expendable in the interim.

There was also a report in the Hayward Daily Review that Babe Parilli would start at quarterback in place of Tom Flores, but the piece didn’t identify a team source for the information and no mention of the switch was found in the other area papers.

While last minute preparations for travel were underway, the team was hit hard by the sobering news that offensive line coach Ernie Jorge had suffered a heart attack sometime during the evening. Erdelatz reported that his long-time assistant was expected to make a full recovery but would likely be bedridden for more than a month in the meantime.

Billings Gazette
Farmington Daily Times
Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune

September 20, 1960

Still looking for the formula that would put them on the winning track, the Raiders made more roster moves today, adding linebacker Riley Morris and defensive tackle Bill Striegel. Morris, according to some reports had been signed off waivers from the Chargers as early as September 8, but had only now put in an appearance at team headquarters and was officially added to the roster.

Striegel, at 6’2″ and 235 pounds, had been a teammate of Tom Flores at the College of the Pacific and was drafted by the Eagles in 1958 in the eighth round. He missed his entire rookie season because of an injury suffered in the College All-Star Game, but appeared in all 12 games for the Eagles in 1959. Taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL expansion draft, he was cut by the team near the end of the preseason and subsequently picked up by the Raiders.

To make room for the two new additions, the team cut linebacker Billy Ray Locklin and defensive lineman Glenn Holtzman, who never showed up after being acquired from the Chargers two weeks ago. Locklin, signed in June, had appeared in each of the first two games, garnering three tackles and a sack to show for his efforts.

While the front office tinkered with the roster, Coach Erdelatz made some changes in the depth chart. Alan Goldstein, who had a productive day as a substitute against Dallas, was installed in the starting role at flanker, moving Tony Teresa to halfback. Teresa’s move to behind the quarterback displaced Jack Larscheid from the starting lineup.

And though the team escaped the Texans game without injury, they didn’t fare so well in today’s workout. Both defensive end Ron Warzeka and tackle Dalton Truax came up limping, Warzeka with a right ankle problem, and Truax with a pulled muscle in his right leg. Neither injury was thought to be serious and both players were expected to see action against the Oilers.

Hayward Daily Review
Monroe Morning World
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times