If, in this last week before Christmas, you are despairing because you haven't found a gift for the sportsman or sports fan who has everything . . . if you're looking for something a little novel, exotic or downright extravagant . . . here are a few last-minute shopping suggestions.
How about a complete set of Sammy Baugh football cards, for each he played with the Redskins? A golf date with Arnold Palmer? A white ermine jogging suit? Virginia Wade as your partner for your next club mixed doubles tournament? A backyard tennis court? A ride in the Goodyear Blimp? Or, failing that, your own "flying saucer" to hover up there over the Super Bowl? You can even paint "Goodrich" on the side if you wish.
The Sammy Baugh football cards - or those of other oldtime players, Redskin or otherwise - are available from Adco Sports Book Exchange, Box 48577, Briggs Station, Los Angeles, Calif., 48577 (phone 213 - 986-4914). Owner Goodwin Goldfaden boasts one of the world's most complete selections of gum cards, pennants, buttons and other sports memorabilia.
He has on hand plenty of Baughs, not to mention Walter Johnsons and other old Senators. Anything he doesn't have, he says, he can order; if it exists, he'll get it. Prices tend to be high - Goldfaden wouldn't quote any for publication - but you can negotiate with him.
The golf date with Arnold Palmer is easier. Just arrange it with International Management Group, 1 Erie View Plaza, Cleveland, Ohio 44114 (phone 216 - 522-1200. The price is $15,000 for the day. They'll give you a list of dates Arnie is available. You supply the rest of the foussome.
If the idea of treating a friend or loved one to such thrills turns you on, International Management will make appropriate arrangements with other clients: $10,000 buys a tennis date with Bjorn Borg, or $7,500 fetches a day of private lessons from John Newcombe. Viriginia Wade is available only as a mixed doubles partner, $8,500 for a match.
Jean Claude Killy will go skiing with you for a mere $18,000; Jackie Stewart will give you a day's driving lessons for $10,000; Kyle Rote Jr. will tutor your child in soccer for $5,000; Bob Lanier will give you lessons in rebounding for $5,000, or Paul Warfield will instruct in the fine art of pass-catching for $4,000. What could be more perfect for the lad on your list who stands 6-foot-11, or runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has good hands?
For the stylish young woman athlete, Neiman-Marcus offers the all-white, hooded ermine jogging suit for $10,000. It's on display in the fur department of their Wisconsin Avenue NW store. (They don't have a jogging department, you see.)
"It's a very basic design, with tie-string waist and flared pants," explained a salesperson. "Of course, worn with jewelry, it can double as evening wear." For the exercise freak who doesn't want to miss her daily run before heading to the ball, no doubt.
Of more innovative design, for the outdoorsman who backpacks in style, is Neiman's natural coyote coat with silk poplin rain shell, by Conrad Bell. Very sporty, and only $6,500.
Neiman-Marcus also offers these stocking stuffers: a one-piece, burnished Rosewood putter for $65; brass, copper and stainless steel spurs, $110 a pair; sable or racoon hats, to keep warm while imagining the Redskins are in the playoffs, $80; and a chrome putter that looks like a human foot, labeled on the shaft, "For One-Foot Putts," just $26.
Backyard tennis courts have replaced swimming pools as status symbols, according to a national magazine that knows about such things, and there are about a dozen local pavers or court builders who will build you one for $10,000 to $15,000, not including excavation.
Court builders offer more choice of surface, drainage and the like. Van Sumner, Inc., of Portsmouth, Va., has been described by one local expert as "the Cadillac of the industry - expensive, but worth it." Their local number, for an estimate, is 385-9415. Cost will vary with choice of surface, fencing, net, and extras. Lights are additional.
If you already have a court but want to play all winter, you could be the first on your block (zoning permitting) to own a "bubble," one of those air-inflated plastic domes that look vaguely like a beached Moby Dick. Prices vary widely, depending on specifications, but figure $30,000 and up. Information from Irwin Industries, Lexington, Ky. (phone 606 - 254-6404).
If you had your heart set on watching the Super Bowl, World Series, or U.S. Open tennis championships from the Goodyear Blimp, forget it. For these and comparable televised sporting events, all passenger seats are removed and replaced by camera equipment and technicians. No riders.
Between April and November, however, when the blimp is at Mayflower's Winter Base in Miami, rides are offered on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It is licensed to carry six passengers at a time and makes 11 runs a day. Adults pay $7, children $5, reservations needed. There are also bases in Los Angeles and Houston.
The blimp does fly over a number of football games, races and other sporting events that aren't televised, but heavy demand necessitates limiting rides on these flights to big customers and special requests. Best bet is to buy $1 million worth of tires. Information from Goodyear Public Relations: (216) 794-2121. And please, don't call Goodrich.
If you don't have connections to get on the blimp, you might be interested in the futuristic Discojet II Vertical Take-off and Landing Vehicle (VTOL), offered as one of its annual "ultimate Christmas gifts" by Sakowitz of Houston, the Texas-based specialty store that is Neiman-Marcus' major competitor.
A real-life "flying saucer" that looks like something out of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," the six-seat Discojet climbs vertically at a rate of 4,100 feet per minute, hovers, has a range of 1,035 miles at a maximum speed of 325 miles per hour, and can achieve an absolute ceiling of 36,000 feet. Now for the bad news: it is still an experimental aircraft and cannot be flown until certified by the Federal Aviation Authority. It is deliverable in 1979 at a price of $1,125,000. Sakowitz is taking orders: Mail Order Dept., 1111 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002.
There is a smaller version, the two-seater Discojet I with Turbo-fan powerplant, deliverable in 1978, for $687,500.