Have just finished reading your Nov. 22 issue of SI, and enjoyed it as much as the preceding issues.
One thing I would like to commend you on is the story about the attempted $20,000 fix. Your magazine is really giving the readers the news fast. I had finished reading this article, and our local newspapers didn't have the story until that evening. That, plus the rest of the article, makes it a swell sport magazine.
Keep up the good work.
I was very pleased to see that SI finally gave some real attention to the greatest sport in the world to watch or play—soccer.
December 13, 1954
I played it for the first time this fall, and of all the sports I have ever watched or played, it's the greatest.
In your article you should have mentioned Oberlin College. Oberlin won nine straight games this fall, and has now played 41 straight games without a defeat. They lay claim to Midwest supremacy, and to one of if not the longest unbeaten strings in college soccer.
HOW CAN WE MAKE HIM UNDERSTAND?
In regard to your article on soccer, I must say that never before have I been moved so much. For the last four years or more there have been some interested students on this campus knocking their brains out on the soccer field.... Every year we approach our athletic director about becoming a varsity sport here and are usually cast off with a puff of smoke from his pipe.
What can we do to make him understand what a great sport soccer is?
Just to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your fine story about the Army-Navy soccer game in SI November 29. I'm sure I also express the feeling of over 500,000 grateful soccer fans the country over. It is indeed a fine tribute to this sport that the infant GIANT of the American sports scene, SI, was the first serious sports magazine to recognize the world's most popular game in its pages.
Soccer gives the average-and smaller-size student an equal chance with the six-footer to compete for his school colors. What's more, outfitting an entire soccer team costs barely more than it costs to outfit a single football player.
I hope that SI will not stop with this one article. I truly believe more people are interested in the booting game than many of the pastimes that receive regular coverage in your publication.
The article Country Full of Deer by Chas. Niehuis (SI, Nov. 22) could have been a classic had not the author included the very last paragraph.
What a sportsman—"I shot the buck as it lay in unafraid comfort, etc., etc."
For shame—why should you condone such sportsmanship.
R. R. BORMAN
Fargo, N. Dak.
•Niehuis accomplished the supreme achievement in deer hunting: to stalk the buck to his bed without alarming that extraordinarily sensitive animal. The odds against this are staggering and no poor sportsmanship is involved in killing the animal as it lies.—ED.
Mr. Hurd's article on polo (SI Nov. 22) was very pleasant.
It reminded one a bit of stories like Mr. H. L. Herbert's. They were unable to get balls and mallets when he formed his club so they put together several sets with hay-rake handles and croquet mallet heads. Later on Mr. Herbert guided the affairs of the U.S. Polo Association for over 30 years.
I sometimes wonder if all the fuss about level fields is so important. One of the clubs in Massachusetts used a field (considered one of the very best for over half a century) with such a dip at one end that spectators could only see bobbing heads....
New York Polo Publications
•H. L. Herbert, father of American polo, served as chairman of the Polo Association from 1890 to 1921. Miss Prescott's dipping field was located at Myopia.—ED.
Since you have been hearing from correspondents about the 1908 Olympic Marathon (SI, Nov. 1) I thought you may be interested in further details.
This is an event in which I am greatly interested as I witnessed Longboat's training at Kilmallock, County Limerick, Ireland and was present at the race.... Longboat was inclined to tip his elbow and was a constant source of worry on that account to his trainers.
After the race (on a very hot day, by the way) it was common knowledge that a tremendous betting coup had been put across. His trainer was a Canadian bookmaker who laid 10 to 1 against Longboat.... He was leading at 20 miles when he was given champagne with possibly something else in it and shortly after he dropped out. I had followed him on a bicycle twice while training over the full route and never saw him distressed. You can never convince me he wasn't "jobbed" or that possibly $100,000 was not won on his failure.
By the way, the 1908 games was the occasion when the running of the 440 was declared "no race" at the halfway mark on account of the "boxing" by the U.S. runners and when ordered to be rerun in lanes we refused to run....
Thanks for SI which I enjoy tremendously.
•In retrospect the 1908 Olympics seem a comedy of mismanagement. Originally awarded to Italy, the games were shifted to London due to the '06 eruption of Vesuvius and other internal difficulties. Lord Desborough, an internationally admired sportsman and head of the British Olympic Committee, set up and supervised the games with great goodwill and enthusiasm, but soon had so much trouble on his hands that '08 is sometimes called the Battle of Shepherds Bush after London's stadium. First of all the U.S. and Sweden discovered that their country's flags were nowhere to be seen among those of the competing nations; the proudly independent Finns, however, were assigned Russian flags (a Russian idea), and the Irish were horrified at being assigned to the British team. The U.S. considered marathoner Longboat a professional; the Italians protested the decision of the famous Marathon (see SI, Nov. 1); Canada and France were miffed over the conduct of the cycling races and Swedish wrestlers withdrew from the Graeco-Roman events. Great and lasting bitterness, however, was caused by the 400-meter run. Here one of England's favorite sons, Lieut. Wyndham Halswelle, was matched against three Americans: Carpenter of Cornell, Robbins of Harvard and Taylor of the Irish-American A. C. Days before, English papers darkly hinted at the skulduggery that could be expected from the Americans, U.S. Coach Murphy cautioned his men to stay out of trouble and on the great day itself spectators were urged to bear in mind Lord Nelson's instructions at Trafalgar ("England expects..."). The race itself has been the subject of arguments for over 45 years. Carpenter led into the finish, but had he blocked Halswelle at the turn? Who cut the finish tape and why did English officials obstruct Taylor in the stretch? It was rerun the next day with the inaptly named Halswelle sadly walking the distance as the only entrant.—ED.
I thought that the article by Don Canham in SI, Oct. 25 deserved some comment. My only wish is that I had received the magazine copy earlier so that it might have been possible to counter his article to some extent, but my being over here prevents my getting the issues any earlier than a month after publication.
In the first place, if America "loses" the Olympics, either over-all or just in track and field, she will be hoisted by her own petard. America is the country that invented the slogan "We Won the Olympics" when everybody else was just interested in the individuals who competed. It was very easy for us to win the games when there were no large, athletically minded countries competing in them. Mr. Canham mentions the 1920 games when Finland won as many events as we did. Doesn't he consider that a country of 3 million people has won when it ties one of 130-140 million in the matter of gold medals? In all probability the 1940 games would have resulted in a defeat for the U.S. at the hands of Germany. Only the start of World War II prevented that from taking place....
More important is the fact that Mr. Canham believes that the Russian team at Berne was a surprise. Before the 1952 Olympics I spoke to a group of newspapermen at Helsinki and the consensus was that the Russians would win between 8 and 10 events in male track and field events and probably everything in the women's events. They ended up taking the lowest number in the men's events and lost three of the women's events. If anything, the surprise at Berne was the great weakness of the Russians in various events, especially the sprints and jumps. This is especially true if the times that have come out of Russia have been correct. Eleven Russians have done 10.7 for the 100 meters in the past year and a half (Sanadze has been timed at 10.4 this year), yet they could not find two men to beat 10.7 seconds and qualify for the final at Berne. Sanadze couldn't even get into the semifinals. Very much the same was true in the other flat shorter races (under 5,000 meters) with the exception of Ignatjev. The latter looks like one of the truly fine sprinters in the world. His 46.6 in the 400 meters was achieved rather easily and he has since done 46.1—although this latter may be around one turn.
...An indicative sign of Russian strength is the fact that Anufriyev, who has been considered their second best distance man (behind Kuc), has completely fallen apart this year. There is really no other Russian besides Kuc who can compete with the Zatopek, Kovacs, Schade and company over the Woolworth courses.
As for the other Russian runners, they don't appear to be a threat except in the 400-meter hurdles. Bulanchik would have to use a pogo stick to keep up with the three best Americans and the Jamaican Gardner. In the steeplechase, Rinteenp√§√§ and Karvonen of Finland, the Norwegian Larsen and Rosznyoi and Jeszenszky of Hungary are a greater threat than any of the Russians to Horace Ashenfelter (and of course the Pole Chromik who was unable to run in the final at Berne). In the field events only Scherbakov and Krivonosov look like potential winners. Yet both face extremely strong competition. The former from A.F. de Silva of Brazil and the latter from the more consistent Strandli and Csermak.
If there is going to be a shock at Melbourne, I think that it will be provided by members of the British Commonwealth. Since the 1948 Olympics their runners and throwers have been coming on at an astounding rate of speed. Beyond the more famous Bannister and Landy, there are such men as Johnson, Chataway, Pirie, West, Du Plessis, Gardner, Elliott, Agostini, and Harry Kane, the young 400-meter hurdler who recently split Litiyev and Yulin at London. They are today what Russia's athletes were in 1948, just under their peak and always going better in each subsequent race. They are in a position to wreck any timetable set up today.
KENNETH J. OBERMAN
A STORY LONG OVERDUE
Your Beau Jack story, Nov. 24 issue, was excellent, interesting and heart-warming. It produces an inspiring message to young fighters who wish for the greatness Beau Jack had as an athlete. It's a story that was long overdue. Congrats to SI on a fine job, on a great guy....
CARRY A TORCH
I will never regret my charter subscription to SI. It surely is one of the most satisfying publications I have ever read. Until the Nov. 15 issue, however, I did have one complaint and was, in fact, about to register same until seeing the Slippery Rock article....
I do not carry a torch for Slippery Rock particularly, but for what it represents—the hundreds of small colleges with hundreds of thousands of alumni and supporters throughout the country....
I thought of this one day early in October. Returning from a business trip in New York, it was necessary for me to make a two-day stopover in a small town in western Pennsylvania—Meadville. The local newspaper informed me there was a college football game that afternoon between Allegheny College, sporting a 12-game losing streak, and Hobart College, an overwhelming favorite, featuring two "little All-Americans" in their lineup.
Knowing little about these schools, but being an ardent fan of any kind of football, I took in this game, and had the most enjoyable afternoon that I have experienced in a long time.
Allegheny, while clearly outclassed, never stopped trying. One of their halfbacks, a freshman playing his first college game, took a kick-off six yards deep in the end zone and ran it back 106 yards for a TD. What a thrill this must have been for this boy. Yet no one more than 50 miles from Meadville would ever read about his outstanding feat (which, for all I know could be the longest run of the season in any game), but every fan in the country would read over and over again about an Alan Ameche making a spectacular one-yard plunge. Ameche, of course, is great, but must a boy attend a large, well-publicized college to earn acclaim?...
•We couldn't cover them all, but a count shows we reported on 122 college teams—some big, some small.—ED.
SI's comments over this last football season on higher education—football relationship recall this true story.
Enough time has passed so that this tale can be related without embarrassment to any of the actors.
It involved a 135-pound quarterback. In addition to his featherweight physique, he was slow of foot. In his third year he still sat on the bench with four games on the schedule gone.
Then, quite by accident, because the coach intended to send in another, heavier quarterback, he got to play about the middle of the third quarter of the fifth game. The score was 0-0, and his team was bumbling badly against a supposedly inferior opponent. Our quarterback quickly steered his team to four touchdowns, and from then on he was the regular quarterback with two years more of eligibility ahead of him.
As he entered his fifth year of college, he was hard put to find anything left in the curriculum. After several sessions with his dean, for lack of anything else, a beginning course in Babylonian language was elected. When the marks were handed down, our quarterback was awarded an A.
The next year every eligible footballer took Babylonian—all got A's. There is a limit to all good things, and that was it for the football players. The professor of Babylonian passed away the next June before he could conduct his third class for the football team.
The rationale of the professor of Babylonian has never been explained. Perhaps the sight of a star football player in his meager audience was such a shock that he was temporarily distraught, and having set a precedent refused to deviate; perhaps, knowing that he had a good product, he seized upon his first real opportunity to popularize it; perhaps again, this particular troop of stalwarts had genuine but unforeseen aptitude for things Babylonian....
...The years were 1925-26, the quarterback Bob Curley, the coach, A. A. Stagg at Chicago in the pre-Hutchins days, when the Maroons could beat almost anyone, most of the time. The professor of Babylonian was Daniel D. Luckenbill, died June 5, 1927.
CARL V. WISNER JR.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
•Bob Curley did emerge as Chicago's regular quarterback from that game with Indiana, but he recalls that the Babylonian scholar-athletes, as the result of faculty disapproval, were eventually all flunked by the vacillating professor of ancient history.—ED.
HOW COULD YOU?
FOR SHAME A FRANK MERRIWELL SWEATER IN CRIMSON (SPORTING LOOK, NOV. 22) AND HE YALE'S MOST BELOVED ATHLETE. HOW COULD YOU? IT OCCURRED TO US THAT BECAUSE OF YOUR FREQUENT AND MOST WELCOME MENTION OF FRANK MERRIWELL IN YOUR GRAND MAGAZINE THAT POSSIBLY YOUR ADVERTISERS AND READERS MIGHT ASSUME THAT THEY COULD USE THE NAME FRANK MERRIWELL FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, SUCH IS NOT THE CASE. WE OWN ALL THE RIGHTS TO FRANK MERRIWELL AND THAT NAME CANNOT BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES WITHOUT OUR EXPRESSED PERMISSION. NOT ONLY HAVE THE FRANK MERRIWELL TYPE SWEATERS RETURNED TO POPULARITY BUT FRANK HIMSELF WILL RETURN TO THE SPORTS ARENA IN A NEW COMIC BOOK SERIES STARTING IN MARCH.
H. TONY LONDON
•A pat on Merriwell's true blue sweater.—ED.
KIP'S DIRTY LOOKS
Those of SI's readers who are fond of dogs may enjoy this letter which a friend of ours recently received from the kennel manager who is training his Golden Retriever Kip. The manager is Chuck Morgan of Random Lake, Wis. and he wrote as follows:
"I believe that Kip should be left here. He is beginning to grasp that our entire purpose in life is not just to make him happy; to let him do as he pleases; that he has some responsibilities in life. He is a beautiful dog and no doubt feels that the Almighty would make such a fine-looking dog for just one purpose, to be petted, played with and admired.
"While we do not want to deny him the gazes of admiring eyes, or the touch of friendly hands, we are beginning to get over to him that he can't do all the time just what he pleases—that he can do certain things to please us. He isn't taking it too tough. In the process he occasionally gives us a dirty look. I believe that in time he will get in the spirit of it. I feel he is smart, but I can appreciate it was a rude awakening and a terrible shock to him to have his personal liberties interfered with. He tried to tell us three or four times that he didn't care for it and was going to retire to the peace of his pen. We convinced him he was wrong and to continue his studies. He is campus king and a library quarterback, but we have told him he could be a good football player on the regular team. We already have plenty of cheerleaders. Leave him here awhile longer. Like all living things we cannot cure him of doing everything he should not do. In dogs, as in human beings, there seems to be a constant urge to do things we should not do. I think in time he will make Mr. Gates an acceptable hunting dog. It might take a month or two longer, and a refresher course next summer. He is no fool, this Kip, sometimes he seems too smart."
I. C. PETERSEN
I read with great interest and amusement a letter regarding his scow Serenade from a Mr. Art Konkle in 19TH HOLE, NOV. 15. As a matter of fact, I nearly sat down and cried. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. I would think that the least you could do is to send the poor guy a trophy. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't have to cost much, it's the thought that counts. You could send him an old split sail batten or maybe a slightly frayed jib sheet. On second thought, I have a slightly used Willkie button. But Mr. Editor, Please don't send him another horn to blow.
I have talked with some of the people who were in the "One-of-a-Kind" race and I do not want or intend this letter to take anything away from the boy that sailed the scow as he gave a good account of his sailing ability....
But under the system that they were sailing, everything favored the scow. It is a lot bigger, more sail, and in relation a much shorter waterline. It's like racing a Buick against a Crosley....
My suggestion to Mr. Konkle is that he get a violin and serenade the "Serenade" and when he is through with that converted Waikiki washboard, get a sailboat and try sailing instead of tootin'.
J. B. THOMPSON
Several weeks ago I read an article in your magazine (SI, Sept. 20) regarding the progress of baseball in the countries of Europe. Upon reading this item, I wondered if you and your magazine staff had heard of the popularity and progress of baseball and softball in South Africa and the Rhodesias.
Baseball from an amateur status is well organized and is progressing very rapidly in South Africa. The South African Baseball Association has just completed an arrangement with the U.S. Amateur Baseball Association to send an amateur team from the United States to South Africa and the Rhodesias in November 1956, for the purpose of playing approximately 28 games with the South African and Rhodesian ball teams.
The baseball season begins on 1 October and continues until about 10 March of each year. Each province of South Africa has teams organized into one or more leagues according to playing ability. Games are played on Saturdays with the major league teams playing on a central field called "Baseball Headquarters." Here in Northern Transvaal the major league has seven teams. After the completion of the first round of play, each province picks an all-star team from their major league players. This team is called the Province Team (Northern Transvaal). Games are then played between the province teams. The province with the most wins over the other provincial teams is considered the unofficial champion of South Africa....
NORMAN W. BLACKWELL
Pretoria, South Africa
As one who has closely followed sports here and abroad for many years, and who has read every issue of SI to date, congratulations on a job well done. ... It is a splendid service to the American sporting public.
In recent years I have been engaged in writing a history of the American turf. I was particularly interested in the coverage of Racing's Laurel International in your Nov. 15 issue, and am sure you won't mind my making a correction in the article U.S. Racing Is Headed for Grass by Albion Hughes....
In the article, Mr. Hughes states: "First American race track was Newmarket at Hempstead Plains near where Belmont now stands. In fact the Newmarket Porringer, oldest American sporting trophy and earliest piece of authenticated Colonial silver extant (at Yale University), was donated by British Governor Nicolls in 1668 to be competed for at the spring meeting at the then three-year-old Newmarket grass course."
Actually, it is no fact at all.... The porringer referred to in the Yale Collection was fashioned by Peter van Inburgh and the misleading inscription on it is: 1668. wunn. att. hampsted. plaines. march 25.... The noted Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, John Marshall Phillips, has given me the following information:
"The porringer is not the oldest authenticated piece of American-made silver in existence as it was fashioned...probably around 1710. It bears the initials Fs[Sup]M for Francis and Maria Salisbury who were married about that time.
"There was a silver cup offered as a prize for a race run at Hempstead Plains in March 1668, and since this porringer bears an inscription which must have been copied from an earlier piece it was thought that it was fashioned from the cup which was the prize given at that time.
"The race, run over Hempstead Plains, Long Island, was won by Captain Sylvester Salisbury, a close-up ancestor to the Francis and Maria Salisbury whose initials are on the porringer. Therefore, this porringer in the Yale Collection is inscribed as of 1668 to commemorate the date of the silver racing cup awarded an ancestor in that year....
"...The earliest piece of American silver is however a dram cup by Hull and Sanderson, fashioned in 1651, in the Garvan Collection."...
THE AIR I NURSED
My attention has been called to a letter in your issue of Nov. 1, 19TH HOLE, relative to Anchors Aweigh, signed by Captain N. L. Nichols. As author of this piece I would like to add a bit of history to Captain Nichols' letter.
Anchors Aweigh was composed in 1906 by me as a football song. The facts are these: as leader of the midshipmen's church choir, it became my duty by custom to prepare a portfolio of songs for the midshipmen to sing in the upcoming December 2 Army-Navy annual football contest. Up to then no permanent football song had been produced at Annapolis and the use by the midshipmen of a parody on Army Blue (revered West Point song) was suspected as being somewhat responsible for the Navy's recent string of three defeats and one tie in competition with the Army.
It was evident that we needed an inspiring marching song. The title first considered was Haul Away, then Heave Around, but luckily I finally hit upon the nautical term, Anchors Aweigh which seemed to have a catchy connotation.
It was at church choir practice that the air which I had been nursing developed into a song that all hands liked. We then rehearsed with the brigade of midshipmen and they quickly learned it. Navy won the game after four lean years and we marched from the railroad station to our quarters in Annapolis singing Anchors Aweigh. At last—it was "sink the Army"—a good omen and the song has persisted to this day.
Bandmaster Charles A. Zimmerman, in writing the orchestration for our 1807 June Ball march, dedicated to the graduating class, included the football refrain as the trio of the march. For this I felt complimented and gladly gave my permission. Zimmerman's march was also arranged in a higher key for brass band by Adolph Torovsky, 2nd leader, and published under Professor Zimmerman's authorship purely as a march without words.
Several parodies on the original football song have been written and I also wrote a verse which was widely used as a war song during World War II. The government records show that in 1929 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased this march from Professor Zimmerman's widow for $1,000.
Anchors Aweigh has since been so widely used in the wars and with the Navy in general, that to many it has perhaps outgrown its significance as a football song, but such it was and is, and every time the Navy makes a touchdown you will hear the Navy band play it with gusto!
ALFRED H. MILES
Captain USN. (ret.)
BUT WHO'S GOT THE BALL?
Here's a photo of a brush drawing by the Chinese artist Chi Kwan Chen entitled Football Game which may amuse your readers. Chen, architect as well as artist, is currently working on plans for new university buildings on Formosa. It is the artist's reaction to a number of football games he has attended while studying and teaching in this country. Perhaps in this case a picture is worth a thousand diagrams!
J. WYLIE, President
T&L Art Appreciation League
•Maybe it is. Our Bob Creamer, having charted the Army-Navy game in front of his television set, just put this diagram of Army's second touchdown on our desk.—ED.