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SPORTS CLOSE-UPS By Ira Seebacheri NEW YORK, N. Y., June 5. The United States has seldom been a power in foot racing at thjj middle and longer distances. So it is not surprising that of those who have skipped to a mile in four minutes and under there are now an even dozen the 12th and last of these is the only American in the bunch. The newcomer to miledoms elite is Don Bowden, virtually an unknown from the -University of California who has never even come close to this clocking in previous mile competition. Yet Bowden - turned in a stylish . 3:58.7 at Stockton Calif., recently. AAA Probably Bowden and a few others were the only ones knew he was poised like an arrow in a bow. He had run a tremendously fast mile relay leg earlier in the season but such things are seldom prominently mentioned. But it didnt fool the insiders and Bowden, despite a mediocre field, went out and gained his modicum of greatness in the effort. Still, we can understand this skinny youngsters decision not to do much additional mile racing this year. In fact, if .he doesnt run the mile again at all, it would not be surprising. As fast as he is, he is just as fast at the half and because of his strung-out 160 pounds on a six-foot-three frame, he probably still lacks his full maturity and stamina. It is better to avoid the risk of burning out trying to lower his new standard. At a half, the "Stork," as he is called, is a bit of phenom, recently having turned a 1:47.8, matching Tom Courtneys effort run the same day. In any event, Bowden is in Courtneys class as a half miler, though, perhaps, he is not yet the peer of. Ron Delany at the mile. In fact, Delany who is to meet Bowden in the NCAAs, has to come down to the half to do so. Delany will probably elect the longer distance in the Nationals at Dayton, but Bowden will not find the half any easier for all of that. At a half, there will be such contenders as Arnie Sowell and Courtney, and possibly Jim Bailey, the Aussie now attending the University of Oregon Bailey is also a sub -four-minute miler but has been running the 880 most of this year. . AAA We cannot say this in contrary to the dictates of common sense. Given the speed, more strengh and experience that comes with maturity will make for the best mile running. These youngsters already have an uncommonly large gob of speed and strength now but that doesnt preclude their improvement. As a matter of fact, there are now so many good half-milers and milers- about, it isnt likely that the 3:58 on the books for eight furlongs is likely to stand for very- long, maybe another year at most. Just how much lower they can flog that record, no one knows, but some of the guesses are as much as two seconds lower. Doesnt seem possible and yet look -how much it has been lowered in the post-I war years. As for the half, it is simply breath-taking how many chappies there are around now who sneer at a mere 1:50, long the mark of an outstanding half-miler. Now if you cannot get under 1:48 youre just another bum. Wow! I TELEGRAPHING THE PUNCH: If it is true that the Yankees who celebrated Billy Martins birthday at the Copa recently and wound up in a brawl with a delicatessen Continued on Page Forty SPORTS CLOSE-UPS I By IRA SEEBACHEK Continued from Page Two owner were each fined a grand, doesnt that make the Copa just about the most expensive night spot around? If they had all pooled their G apiece, they could have bought the place . . . Sam Sneads 67 final round in the Palm Beach round-robin was made in company of Doug Ford, Ben Hogah and Ken Venturi. And he is the guy who is supposed to have trouble putting when the pressure is applied . . . Maybe baseball isnt big business but if we were meeting with Walter OMalley today, as is Mayor Wagner, we might be very pointed in asking whether it is true that Mr. OMalley owns a block of Skiatron, the outfit with the supposed inside on paid TV iffen the Dodgers move to the Coast. Of course, like those retreating behind the legalistic fence of the Fifth Amendment, Mr. OMalley can retreat behind a similar fence with a "No comment." But a reply such as that will be tantamount to a "Yes," wouldnt it?" Glad to see Johnny Thomson was able to break the hour mark in driving 100 miles on an oval track at Langhorne Sunday. Thomsons time was 59:57.14, just about as fast as the hot-rodders can make it when the cops are looking the other way. Mighty restful to know the pros are on a par with the kids . . . Still a little early to give up on the Yankees but every day spent tossing in the doldrums means it will be that much harder if they do decide to pull themselves together ... As for the White Sox, they havent had turkey and trimmings since the ill-fated 1919 crowd sold out for a mess of pottage ... It would be a funny turn of the wheel if the Sox can make it, only to face the Cincinnati crowd again . . . The way Cincinnati has been playing, well, they might win, although in recent days the Phils have shown a rare and totally unexpectedrstern-ne.ss.