A Game in Hawaii
Raider general manager Bud Hastings announced that the team would open their 1961 preseason slate against the Houston Oilers in Honolulu. According to Scotty Stirling of the Tribune, the game was actually a gift to the Oilers players from the team’s management for winning the AFL championship and the Raiders were just lucky beneficiaries. The Oilers would open training camp in Hawaii three weeks prior to the game.
According to an Oilers official, the plan came from owner Bud Adams. “It will be a change from the hot, humid camp we had in Texas last year,” said the unnamed official, “and the trip certainly should be enjoyable to the squad.”
The Raiders had yet to schedule their other three preseason games, but said one would likely be played in Candlestick Park, another would take place in Sacramento or Stockton, and the last would probably be against the Chargers in their new San Diego home. The team was still deciding between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa for their own training camp, with Eddie Erdelatz plumping for Santa Cruz.
Wayne Crow, who reportedly had been at odds with management over his contract for 1961, said he thought his situation, which had involved confusion or disagreement over whether offseason payments were part of his 1960 contract, said he thought things had been “straightened out.”
John Dittrich, for his part, said he was “very happy” with his new deal. Stirling reported that Marty Feldman called Dittrich the team’s best guard.
San Mateo Times
Scotty Stirling, in the Oakland Tribune, reported that there was unhappiness among some of the players over their 1961 contract offers. Wayne Crow, Charlie Hardy, Jack Larscheid, Tom Louderback, and Tony Teresa all voiced some degree of disappointment according to Stirling. Crow and Louderback said they received pay cuts, while Hardy, Larscheid, and Teresa said their raises were too small or non-existent. Tom Flores, on the other hand, said he was “reasonably happy” with his deal and Stirling said the general consensus was that he had received a hefty increase over last year. No specific dollar figures were mentioned anywhere in the story.
Crow, explaining that part of his 1960 deal included the withholding of part of his salary to be paid to him during the offseason while he completed his degree at Cal: “The withheld money was not a bonus, but part of my basic salary and it isn’t included in my new contract. That represents a big cut in pay. The withholding setup did not work too well, and I don’t want a similar contract, but that money was a part of my salary so I feel there may be a mistake somewhere. At any rate, I’m not signing until I’ve thrashed the thing out with club officials.”
Hardy: “My contract had a bump in it, all right, but I’m not satisfied with it.”
Larscheid: “I sent (my contract) back, and I’ve since received a letter requesting I drop into the office to discuss the matter. I know, too, that Wayne Hawkins isn’t pleased with the terms in his contract, and he was a starter all of last year.”
Louderback who, like Larscheid, returned his contract unsigned: “They included a big cut in the salary and I’m not signing. When I first got the contract in the mail I thought it was a misprint. I feel I had a good year for the club. I was a starter all season and didn’t get any complaints about my play from the coaches.”
Teresa: “I just gave (my offer) a quick look when I saw the small raise and I threw it in a drawer. I’m thinking it over and I may send it back unsigned.”
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.
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”
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.”
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz called it “far and away our worst performance” and he wasn’t kidding. On a damp, blustery day in Buffalo, the Bills hit on big play after big play and thumped the Raiders 38-9. The lowering, gray skies and steady light rain kept attendance down to a paltry 8,876, but those who did show up saw their team at peak performance.
The Raiders, at 3-3, came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the AFL and a win, coupled with a Boston win over the Broncos, would move them to the top spot in the league’s Western Division. The Bills, at 1-4, entered the game with the league’s top defense, but with an offense that hadn’t found much success. They had made a change at quarterback just a week ago, picking up Johnny Green, a Steelers castoff, and started him in place of Tommy O’Connell, an old Browns hand. In that game the Bills lost a tight one to the Titans, but head coach Buster Ramsey was encouraged by his play and planned to keep him in there against Oakland. Read more “October 23, 1960”
The team got some bad news today when fullback Billy Lott, one of the heroes in the Patriots game, pulled a hamstring in practice. The severity was unknown, but the team said he was doubtful to play this Sunday against the Bills.
Despite the setback, Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously enthusiastic about his team. While refusing to get caught up in talk of a title run this year, he said the potential was there down the road.
Citing the youth of his team, he said, “With two years experience and added weight, they could lick ’em all. Lack of experience has hurt us this year and maybe the lack of weight, but just figure a guy like Oglesby, for instance. Right now he is 23, stands 6’4″, and weighs almost 230. In two years, he’ll be close to 260, with two full years experience behind him. And it is the same with almost all our young kids. Crow, Prebola, Goldstein, Cannavino, Fields. Right down the line we have young, first-year men in key spots. They are bound to make mistakes, but they are an intelligent bunch, so we don’t have too many men making the same mistakes twice.”
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”
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”
The Raiders hosted the Dallas Texans on a cool, breezy Friday night at Kezar Stadium. The Texans were coached by Hank Stram, last seen as an assistant at the University of Miami, and were led on the field by quarterback Cotton Davidson, who had taken the field briefly with the Baltimore Colts in the mid 1950s. The Texans had gone through the preseason with a perfect 6-0 record, but lost to the Chargers in their season opener, 21-20. Read more “September 16, 1960”