Article written about the 1966 FINAL BASEBALL PREDICTIONS
by: HANK HOLLINGWORTH, Executive Sports Editor
Long Beach Independent, Press-Telegram, November 15, 1966


Digressing from football for a moment, if we may, we'd like to tip the old derby to our James McCormack, the man who covers California State College at Long Beach and who is currently in a state of shock after the hilltop school's unfortunate loss to an undermanned California State College at Los Angeles (oh, how I hate those ridiculously drawn-out names) club last Saturday night.

Our James, who lives and dies with good, old CSCLB, needs a booster shot today, and he will get it.  According to a Mr. Nelson E. Slagle, 12617 Clark Ave. (Apt 5), Downey, Mr. McCormack -- who admittedly, knows little about major league baseball -- wound up first in Slagle's annual poll on pre season baseball predictions.  This is no small feat, since McCormack had 335 opponents.

The poll was unique, or strange, to say the least.  Among those whose predictions were tabulated were folks representing Strick Trailer Co., Fairless Hills, PA (honest, cross my heart and hope to die) Lybrand, Ross Bros & Montgomery Public Accounting Firm (address unknown); also a student in veterinary medicine at Ohio State and a student at Marion Harding High School, Marion, Ohio.

Then there were people representing Sports Illustrated, the New York Post, The Sporting News, Cleveland, Boston and Detroit newspapers, and you name it.  Oh, yes.  Somehow a gal named Peggy Heilgeist of Hacienda Heights, Calif. (honest Injun, again) got into the act, too.

You can readily see that Slagle drew no lines when he drew up his list of competitors.

Anyway, our Jimmy killed 'em all when Mr. Slagle's computers concluded their work.  No matter if you have as competitors such as Bev Shealy, Mitchell Melnik, Richard Mog, Ara Michaelian, Fred Labavitch, John Mariscotti, Carl Weisheimer, and other renowned journalists.  If you finish No.  1 in a field of 336, you've accomplished quite a feat.

Actually this writer is jealous of McCormack's feat and we'll tell you the reason a few paragraphs hence.  (In the interests of good reporting -- and being all heart, -- we will reveal Slagle's final accounting of the Independent, Press Telegram staff's predictions, even though it will break this writer's heart.)    

After receiving notice of his "exceptional prediction," McCormack sat back, and awaited his reward.  A day passed, then a week, then a month.  "Well, I got a kiss from my girl friend," sighed Jimmy, "and I guess that's better than nothing."

At any rate, Slagle's formula is based on the total number of games by which each team's place is missed.  It would take days to completely explain the format, but say, you picked the Yankees to win the A.L. pennant and the Dodgers to finish 10th in the N.L. and you'd better believe you'd wind up dead last. (Speaking of such things, a chap named Bob Ball from Columbus, OH.  must have done something fantastic in the crystal ball race because he finished in position No. 336, more than 10 lengths, or points behind the next-to-last prognosticator.)

By this time I presume you're waiting with bated breath.  According to Slagle, who won't win any bouquets from this author, the I. P-T standings concluded as follows:

Sir James McCormack, No 1; Ross Newhan 15th, Dave Lewis 24th , Doug Ives 38th; I. P-T consensus 43rd, John Dixon 89th; Rich Roberts 122nd, Gary Rausch 126th; Loel Schrader 141st; George Lederer 176th; Chuck Medick 195th; Al Larson 214th; Hank Hollingworth 244th, with two other gentlemen who no longer are with our newspapers trailing the writer.

I certainly can't say I'm happy with the Slagle System, but on the other hand I did finish ahead of Ike Gellis, Nancy Chapman, Mrs. Truitt (who is identified only as Pennsylvania-A, and on second thought how did so many females get into this act?): Ron McNutt, Baseball 66 Magazine, Richard Foos; Harry Reichenberg; Margaret Scholl (another gal . . . and what is our sports world coming to); the noted Patrick O'Reilly (how's that again?); Allan Roth, the greatest statistician in the nation; and Final Exhibition Standings of 1966; and wotinell that means I don't know.

I guess I've learned my lesson, anyway.  I'll stick to football . . . or haven't you noticed our staff standings recently!  Lucky in football, lousy in baseball . . . and I'm certain our Dodger expert, George Lederer, will concur.

THE SLAGLE SYSTEM, which obviously has its flaws, puts a "Ross Newman" as the No. 1 expert on pre-season placing of American League teams.  Since there is no "Ross Newman" listed in the Baseball Writers Assns, of America directory and because ROSS NEWHAN of the Independent, Press-Telegram staff is the new chairman of the SoCal Assn, we assume the Slagle System is referring to our man.

ROSS NEWHAN did a fantastic job of predicting the A. L. race.  He listed the top six teams correctly (Baltimore, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and the Angels), then placed Washington and Boston in the No. 8 and 9 spots.  His only error was in listing the Yanks seventh and Kansas City 10th.  A reversal of these two teams would have netted NEWHAN a clean sweep.

Anyway, if you want to get your baseball at its finest, read McCormack and NEWHAN.  If someone named Hollingsworth pops off, go the other way.


Early Years