I am a duck hunter and greatly admire your cover on the Nov. 15 issue. Would it be possible to buy a copy of the print suitable for framing. Usually it is the mallard or pintail that is glamourized, that is why I enjoy seeing a picture of the lowly spoonbill.
CECIL V. BRIONES
...I must agree with you that your cover duck is pretty, or let us say it's decorative, but to guys who shoot these things, that spoony is right at the bottom of the heap.
As you know, these spoonbills do look, in their coloration, very much like a mallard, and they frequently get mixed up in flocks of mallards. When you occasionally take a flock shot and knock one out, very often down comes a spoonbill. The feeling is obviously that you don't really have to hit these guys to kill them, for the breeze from the passing pellets is enough. In other words they are a poor excuse for a duck.
So far as eating qualities are concerned, they definitely rate at the bottom. They dig into a lot of mud and straining it through that unshapely bill they therefore taste very muddy. It would have been my idea for an esteemed publication such as you are publishing, if you wanted a pretty duck, to have thought of a wood duck or one of those comparatively rare and hard-sought-after wonderful ducks known as the black mallard....
E. A. CASHIN
December 6, 1954
•SI chose the spoonbill, which is neither easier nor harder to bring down than any other duck in flight, mainly for its beauty, but also because it is found in all four flyways. Like other coast birds the spoony's flavor is gamey and some care must be taken in its preparation.—ED.
Your first issue of SI made me an avid fan of your magazine and I have since become a subscriber. I think your over-all coverage of sports in all phases has been amazingly well done....
In the issue of SI, Nov. 1, The Ducks Are Flying South paintings by Athos Menaboni were exceptional. My wife and I have been searching for months for prints such as these that would be suitable for framing. Would you please advise us if these are available and if so how they may be obtained.
E. F. ROSS
•SI anticipated duck fanciers' reactions, is glad to tell Mr. and Mrs. Ross and the 1,640 other readers who have written so far that they can get a specially prepared set by mailing 25¢ (for handling and mailing) to Dept. D (for Ducks), SI, 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20.—ED.
With a hunter's customary optimism, my shooting companions and I discounted the recent SI article about adverse duck hunting and conditions in the Stratford Marshes on the Housatonic.
Last Wednesday we drove to Stratford and rigged our decoys in one of the marsh potholes that had provided good black-duck shooting every opening day for the last few seasons. Shooting was mediocre and there were definitely fewer birds in the air this year.
Tides and winds have removed the evidence of the oil slick that SI reported being the result of careless barge pumping operations up at New Haven. However, the duck population has unquestionably suffered.
This firsthand opportunity to verify the accuracy and appreciate the timeliness of SI's reporting has immeasurably increased my regard for your fine new publication.
LANGDON H. WESLEY
The back of my hand to the myopic nimrod who wrote "the back of a man's head looks like a woodchuck at a distance" (Woodland Stoplight, Nov. 8). Any fool who focuses this poorly must have bird shot for brains and shouldn't be allowed to roam the woods with anything in hand more dangerous than a peashooter.
Anyway, all this does is strengthen my opinion (your Woods Detective notwithstanding) that any man who would shoot an animal for 'kicks' is an idiot to begin with and deserves to take his chances on being killed dead by a fellow waterhead who didn't know his cerebellum wasn't loaded.
You talk a good bit about the pretty, colored clothes a cautious hunter should wear for safety's sake. Has it ever occurred to you that a good number of these trigger-happy delinquents are probably color blind as all get out and couldn't tell red from green in or out of the woods?
If you take all this to mean I don't like your magazine you're out of your mind. It's good and alive (which is more than a good percentage of red-vested hunters can say at the end of the season). I like what you do with football each week and the caber-tossing pictures were great. The balloon article by Mr. Phinizy was unexpected and gratifying.
I like the sketches you run in SOUNDTRACK. They are sharp and usually have a reverse English you weren't looking for. If Ajay is a real name and if he looks anything like the people in the drawings he must be a real pixie. Whoever or whatever he is, he's good at it.
All in all, you've scored pretty consistently at this end with your publication. If the past few issues are an indication of what is to come you have me sewed up as a reader. But I reserve the right to blow off about backs of heads and woodchucks and grown men who sneak up in the forest to slaughter a covey of quail.
LOUIS E. DE LA HABA
El Paso, Texas
•Says our Ajay:—ED.
MR. & MRS. BOXING FAN
As a boxing manager, let me take this opportunity to commend you on the excellent job you're doing with regard to exposing the evils of the fight game....
Again let me say what a fine thing you are doing in presenting to Mr. & Mrs. Boxing Fan (although mostly TV fans, which is indeed unfortunate) the rottenness that exists in the manly art of self-defense today, a condition which has been prevalent for so long in boxing.
You cannot be congratulated enough!
DAVID G. COAPMAN
Shame on you for calling Walt Dropo's deer a 243-pound, 10-point buck. We Westerners count the points on one side only, and not the dew points either. Dropo's little buck could be no more than a five-pointer by true deer hunter's standards....
A. K. GRIFFITH
•There are no "true" standards: Western hunters count the points on one side only, Easterners count both sides, pointing out that some bucks carry asymmetrical antlers. Dropo's swamp buck weighed 243 pounds, qualified Detroit's first baseman for the "Biggest Bucks in Maine" Club.—ED.
... Being an old boxer, vintage of 1912, I want to go on record that the way boxing is being handled by the promoters and the boxing commissions it doesn't have long to go.... Boxing is my favorite sport but if some of the barnies I saw in the last ten years were pulled in our days we would have landed in Sing Sing. I don't go to fights any more. Norris has lots of dough so he doesn't care if we go to his Garden or not. He says he does it for sport and fun. Still he has all fight arenas and fight managers tied up. Will the new governor take care of all the boxing racket with new commissioners and officials who won't sit on their hands and look out of the window? ...
THERE IS A REASON
Could you please tell me if Y.A. Tittle is wearing a Milwaukee Braves cap (page 34 of Nov. 22 issue) in that picture? If so, why? When the 49ers played the Packers in Milwaukee I noticed that some of the other players were wearing Braves caps too. Is there a reason? I'm just curious.
•Tittle, self-conscious of his balding head, wore a Menlo College cap when SI's picture was taken. Menlo Park, Calif. is the training site for the team.—ED.
Enclosed is a photograph I made at the Syracuse-Colgate football game last Saturday....
Two men, West and Alexander, were dedicated to the Football Hall of Fame.
Incidentally I get SI every week, the druggist saves me a copy, and have enjoyed its clear-cut reading of sports events. I believe it is improving with each issue.
•David Belford West, Colgate '21 and presently a trustee, was an All-America tackle 1916 and '19, All-Service '17, and one of George Trevor's All-Time All-Americans between 1919 and 1929. He is the owner of an industrial and marine equipment concern. Dr. Joseph Alexander, the second physician to be dedicated to the Hall of Fame this month (see 19TH HOLE, Nov. 29), a Syracuse Great, was also named (as guard) to Trevor's All-Time team, despite the fact that his medical studies prevented him from practicing with the team. During his internship Alexander played for the Rochester Jeffersons, a wandering pro outfit. In 1925, he became player-assistant coach of the New York Giants and a year later player head coach. In 1927 he played his last five games: the regular center was taking his bar examinations.—ED.
SMILE THAT WINS
Regarding your Sob of the Week in Nov. 15 SOUNDTRACK section.
Give Central State College six more points!
Rule 4, Section 1, Article 1 of the 1954 Official Rules states that "A dead ball becomes a live ball when it is snapped or free kicked, legally or illegally."
Also paragraph 26 of the Question and Answers of the 1954 Football Rules, edited by K. C. Krieger, has this to say about such a play: "The ball is in play whether put in play legally or illegally, and Team B (in this case Central State College) may accept or decline the penalty when the ball becomes dead."
Central State would have declined the penalty and taken the play, the touchdown, and six big points. Of course, the point after the touchdown cannot be assumed.
Being an official I can understand how a brother official could slip up on a rule and its interpretation. Sometimes I think we are overburdened with them and one needs to be a lawyer to have all the answers.
A. M. ULRICH
•Like we always say, to err is human.—ED.
OUR LITERATE AUTHORS
Could SI, in its brash, youthful ignorance, possibly be drawing an unfavorable comparison between Buddy Parker, who has won two divisional championships in three attempts (with a chance to make it three in four) and the greatest perfectionist in football history, Paul Brown, who has won eight in eight (with a chance to make it nine in nine)?
This borders on sacrilege and I'll wager writer Tommy Devine prefers Spillane to Dickens....
ROSS H. SPENCER
•Tommy Devine, an old and close friend of Coach Brown, enjoys Dickens, but really prefers Shakespeare, has never read Spillane—ED.
Normally I would hesitate to disagree with Tommy Devine, for whom I have both a close personal friendship and a normally high regard for accuracy. But in Tommy's Parker Keeps It Simple he errs both factually and by omission.
He is correct on the surface when he says the Lions were a chronic second-division club when Parker took over, but neglects to mention that it was a hopeless entry when Bo McMillin took over in 1948. Bo promised the directors a championship in five years and showed steady progress toward that end. The 1950 club showed great advancement and missed a higher finish through a succession of narrow losses. But the groundwork had been laid and it was almost the same club—certainly the key personnel was the same—which won the championship in 1952—right on Bo's original schedule.
I do not intend to low-rate Buddy Parker, who has shown he's one of the better coaching hands, but it was McMillin who put together such key men as Les Bingaman, Lou Creekmur, Thurman McGraw, Leon Hart, Cloyce Box, Doak Walker, Bob Smith, Bob Hoernschemeyer and Bob Layne—and where would the Lions be without them?
Bo's trouble at Detroit stemmed mainly from his dual position of head coach and general manager. Rumor has it that the internal strife got a helping hand from inside.
I hope this sets the record straight. I want to see full credit given to one of the greatest coaches and greatest personalities football has known.
•All due credit to the great Bo McMillin for the success of the Detroit club.—ED.
About this time every year the writer becomes transiently notable as one who witnessed the first great intersectional football game—Stanford versus Michigan, New Year's Day, 1902. Of course, if my circle of friends forget it, I do not fail to remind them! Perhaps we should form a survivor's club!
It happened that the summer before I had met the great Hurry-Up Yost whose brother was working in the oil fields at Amos, West Virginia. He proudly paraded Coach Yost all over the place and even introduced us kids.
When it was officially announced that Michigan would actually journey west to play Stanford at the Exposition grounds in Pasadena, I think I must have had some vague idea that Yost would remember me and probably invite me to sit with him on the bench!
With another kid we bicycled our way through the dust and across the then-famous bicycle bridge to the game. Suffice to say, Yost was too busy to notice me!
There were probably 5,000 spectators and the youngsters followed the teams up and down the field. The officials could not keep them off the playing field at times.
Five yards to gain in three downs then, and for 15 minutes Stanford was able to make quite a game of it, but Michigan's heavy line and the flying-wedge plays soon made the Stanford team a shambles and forecast the final score of 49 to 0....
J. W. SIEGFRIED
Santa Monica, Calif.
•The game that held moppet Siegfried spellbound was the first (1902) Rose Bowl, which climaxed an unscored-on season for the Wolverines. Yost's "Point-a-Minute" squads collected 2,821 points to their opponents 42 during the great years 1901-05. Fielding Harris (Hurry-Up) Yost coached Michigan for 25 seasons (eight conference championships) while extolling the "pure, good life" to his boys. His authority was absolute. When, with characteristic pre-game enthusiasm he once ordered his team to go "out of that door and win" it piled through and fell into the swimming pool. Yost was equally intense about his highly successful business ventures, mostly in land development and electric power. When his lawyers were repeatedly rebuffed in a Government-contested lawsuit over water rights, Yost took up the law, passed his bar examination and won his case in the state supreme court.
In 1941 70-year-old Yost retired. 37 former Michigan captains, including Tommy Harmon and Yost's own great Willie Heston attended his farewell dinner. He died 5 years later. Coach Yost and six of Michigan's all-time Greats have made football's Hall of Fame.—ED.
With pro football having such a field day, the thought just occurred to me that possibly a great many SI readers would like to know just where the program started. A few years ago arguments were flying thick and fast as to where the first game was played and I believe the consensus pinpointed Latrobe, Pa., others said Connellsville, Pa., while many other places were also named. I doubt if it was ever settled to the satisfaction of everyone. Maybe SI could settle it once and for all. But wherever it got its start, the name of Michigan's Hurry-Up Yost and many other great name players were there, according to these arguments.
SI is good reading every week—and getting better.
WILLIAM T. PRITCHARD
•The first professional football game was played in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. On Aug. 31, 1895, the Latrobe team (who operated on a profit-sharing system) found itself without a quarterback with a game against Jeanette coming up. For $10 and expenses it obtained the services of John Brallier who thus became the first professional player (he later became the town dentist). Another early pro was the great Hurry-Up Yost (see "Notable Transients") who later denounced the whole business.—ED.
In appreciation of the magnificent job of boosting in the Nov. 15 issue of SI, we are enclosing honorary membership (see cut) cards for you and SI Photographer Cooke with the highest compliments of the Michigan Chapter of the SLIPPERY ROCK BOOSTERS.
You did an excellent job in capturing the spirit and traditions of the Rock. The spirit and tradition prompted us to form our chapter in the wild Midwest.
The membership holds meetings which are called from time to time and if you should ever be in the area and would like to attend such a meeting, we could arrange to call one at the drop of a line.
Again our sincere thanks for further spreading the gospel of the Rock and its athletic tradition.
DALE A. RIKER
PRES., et al.
•None of the members of this sporting organization attended Slippery Rock. The club came into existence three years ago when Riker and two friends, deciding that football was too much of a good thing in Michigan, adopted Slippery Rock as a symbol of football for fun. The members have a deep admiration and affection for the college, attend homecoming games and donate an annual award to the outstanding senior. New Honorary Member Bob Creamer will take his duties seriously: he returned from Slippery Rock a confirmed and inspired Booster.—ED.
THE PASSWORD IS S.R.
I am very curious to know the reason why Slippery Rock has become "a password to humor in college football."
In Ann Arbor the football fans wait anxiously for the Slippery Rock score—then cheer lustily if S.R. is doing okay.
But how did this get started?
Ann Arbor, Mich.
•Our authority on Slippery Rock conjectures as follows: "The name Slippery Rock is no funnier per se than, say Duke, but to sophisticated fans there is something incongruous to seeing the Slippery Rock-Clarion State score listed with Notre Dame-USC or Georgia-Alabama. Personally I don't think it's funny."—ED.
PLAY BALL FOR FUN
After reading your article on Slippery Rock State Teachers College, I write to you for information concerning this school. If you have time, I would like to have all the information concerning tuition, fees, books, etc. and an account of the football team and, if any, the rules one should know before trying to compete for the team. As you might know, the rules here in Alabama are dominated by the SEC standard.
I have a great desire to study at a place, as you have described Slippery Rock. I feel that some of the players at Slippery Rock play ball for fun. Here it is no longer a sport!...
St. Bernard's College
St. Bernard, Alabama
•SI suggests a letter to the Registrar, Pennsylvania State Teachers College, Slippery Rock, Pa.—ED.
Here is a humble tribute to the wonderful article about the marvelous marksman of the green felt, though I fear it does nothing to cure the prevalent misconception that playing billiards or pool is symbolic of a misspent youth.
"Will, come out, come out of the schoolroom,
"Will, go back, go back to the poolroom.
"Your game is getting mighty sloppy."
"Okay, mom," said Willie Hoppe.
MAULDIN vs. THE BRASS
May I point out a glaring error in the make-up of your excellent magazine?
Old pros such as Patty Berg, Herman Hickman, Bill Talbert and many others write eloquently and accurately of their various specialties.
Yet for your "flying department"—a wonderful world of its own—you pick a tyro, Bill Mauldin, who writes eloquently, period.
Your other contributors speak from experience. Mauldin laughs at it.
Your entire magazine pays tribute to ability, skill and arduous practice. Mauldin says: "Why bother?"
Mauldin's tragically predictable drivel in your Nov. 8 issue is neither original or new; every man who has ever flown feels too soon that he has it licked; and must necessarily get through this period by luck before he becomes much of an insurance risk.
But much more important than Mauldin's many errors, why not secure an old pro for your flying contributor also?
Someone, and there are many, who knows and reveres a fine art for exactly that. Someone who loves flying and has a deep respect for the skill required to do it well.
To many of us who fly almost daily it is much more than a job: it's a profession of which we are intensely proud. It is also a sport, requiring in its finest applications, all the coordination, judgment and self-control at man's command. It can be properly done, tremendously rewarding; and yet I have never known a truly fine pilot who did not know full well that actual danger, and death, can be the penalty for a bad misplay. No referee—no 15 yards—just serious injury, and death.
Discouraging or frightening? No!
Show me another sport more demanding, or more rewarding.
And please, SI, show me someone who can write, not from scorn, but respect.
D. Q. TRASK
Captain, Eastern Air Lines
•Having read Capt. Trask's letter our Bill Mauldin sat down behind his eloquent typewriter and wrote:
Dear Captain Trask:
I didn't mean to get you in an uproar. I recognize your brand of flying as a delicate art, far beyond the realm of a mere weekend hobby, and I regard airline or military pilots with all the respect of a one-finger piano player in the presence of Paderewski. But at no point did I say, "Don't bother with practice," or "Laugh at experience," or say I "had it licked." As far as my future being "tragically predictable" is concerned, I'm well aware than an amateur who gives his airplane a careful line check, respects VFR weather minimums, doesn't try to pick up a stalled wing with his ailerons and keeps his neck on swivel, is still running only as much risk of piling up unexpectedly as he would driving carefully down a highway. What I was really trying to say was that a lot of old hands in the business still seem determined to keep all aviation a closed corporation, for certified supermen only, and resent brash tyros even learning to fly, let alone talking about it. Your letter might seem in some ways to bear this out. I'm not trying to make flying seem attractive to fools—I'm simply trying to give heart to a few poor timid souls like myself who have long stayed away from airplanes because of the squelching tactics of the high priests of the cult. Don't worry, when I meet you on Green Five I will be holding a proper altitude well out of your way and will salute you with genuine admiration, but can't I have a little piece of air to burn through my modest four cylinders as long as I know my limitations? You speak of experience. How else am I going to get it? I need those Saturday afternoons in the air and all the additional time I can get. As far as my writing about it is concerned, I need the dough.
When I was one of the pre-publication subscribers to SI, I thought I would be getting a magazine like TIME—a lead story and then 100 pages of all sorts of sidelights. I was wrong, and I was mad at first. Then I got to like the pictures too. The backfield shot of the Arkansas team in the Nov. 1 issue was superb. You actually report West Coast events—with pictures and art work—as well as the Eastern events. This was as big a surprise as a West Coast team (UCLA) hitting the top of the AP poll!
Of late, therefore, I have taken to savoring the more detailed aspects of your magazine. Your art work, for instance, is far better than I surmised it would be. Besides drawing on material that is virtually in the publicdomain—Winslow Homer, Audubon, etc.—your selection of work of Fletcher Martin and Athos Menaboni for publication shows you have the public interest at heart—again unlike TIME. The small spots in the SOUNDTRACK section, drawn as far as I can make out, by some fellow named Ajay, combine the modern technique with the old, sound principle of not detracting from the written material.... As an old commercial art student, I like his style and would like to see illustrations such as his on a larger scale—such as on the story Brooklyn Loses.
ASK THE MAN WHO OWNS ONE
Your Nov. 22 question in Jimmy Jemail's HOTBOX was asked of the wrong people. You asked horse people. Ask a horsewoman's husband if you want a truly objective answer.
The wise men say a good marriage is built on compromises. My compromise has been to learn horseman's lingo—in the same manner as the girl who is invited to a big football game and knows nothing about it. She assiduously learns a few stock phrases to bring forth, sagely, when needed.
At a recent show of the Bridlespur Hunt, of which Mrs. Scherck is secretary, I trotted out my phrases in rotation, at which point one of my fox-hunting friends chimed in, "Quit bluffing. I'll bet you don't know the difference between a hock and a wither."
The answer to that was simple. "When you are in the horse-show business, a hock is what you do with your watch. A wither is what happens to your wife."
Are horsewomen tender? Not very. But blamed interesting to live with. And at that, hunt breakfasts aren't so bad. After all, what can you do with a Sunday when it's too cold for golf?
H. J. SCHERCK
P.S. If the Honorable Secretary of the Bridlespur Hunt writes you, don't believe a word she says. Unlike me, she's prejudiced—as were all the horse people to whom you addressed the Nov. 22 question.
•Hon. Sec. as yet unheard from.—ED.