Throughout the years, I have read so many erroneous stories about the Minneapolis Gorham Press (the office that for years established the national sports-betting line) that I feel compelled to clear the record. Typical is this assertion: “The Gorham Press had ‘correspondents’ in every conference, who in turn had ‘bird dogs’ at every school, keeping them posted on information vital in determining the pointspread on each game.”
As I was the editor of the Minneapolis Green Sheet and one of the four handicappers responsible for the “Minneapolis line,” I feel qualified to set the record straight. I worked for this firm back in the late ’40s and early ’50s. At no time were there any “correspondents” or “bird dogs.” Many people offered to help us, but Leo Hirschfield, director of the organization, rejected them. Leo was the most moral and honorable of men, disavowing dishonest associations like one would avoid the plague. Meticulous in releasing the odds, he worried over the tiniest detail for fear it might be misconstrued. Leo had one of the quickest minds I have ever encountered. Though he did not follow the games that closely, nor play a role in the actual handicapping, he intuitively knew if a game was out of line. He will always remain unchallenged as one of the truly decent people I have ever known.
As mentioned there were four handicappers. Each of us worked independently. Years of UFA experience and countless hours of reading the dailies were our foundation. Sure we talked to people, experts who had an intimate understanding of their local scene, but they were not paid “correspondents.”
The bulk of our work was performed on Sunday after the game reports and statistics were thoroughly digested. It was a day for deep concentration. Early Monday …