MY. HORRIBLE SUSPICIONS
I have followed your persistent efforts to expose the dirty business in boxing through successive issues of SI without, I must admit, much interest. That is until the Norris story. Looking through the papers for the next few days I carefully read what various local and syndicated sportswriters had to say about it and it slowly dawned on me that while they all devoted much spit and froth to SI's efforts, generally belittling Thomas, not one of them mentioned the all-important central fact that SI had for the first time called Jim Norris a part of this dirty business. Now, I am a careful and prudent man and I am not going to put down the horrible suspicions I have regarding what, now I must assume, is a long standing relationship between the bosses of U.S. boxing and those that present their activities to the U.S. public. As I say, I am a prudent man and Norris has a circle of impetuous friends. But I am going to say that for the first time I am good and mad at the whole miserable, sordid and humiliating business. I am with you as long as you spare no one, if you have to keep hammering at it till Vol. XXXX No. 32.
This is an article from the Jan. 3, 1955 issue
YOU NAME THEM
I have been talking to my friends about your recent articles on boxing and the result prompts me to write and tell you about it. In these conversations they all act surprised that Norris has not been named before and wonder how you latched on to this information. My God! Everyone who cares a straw about boxing has known this, or I should say suspected it, for years, ever since Jim left his dad's apron strings to play with the boys with sawed-off shotguns. No one before you, however, has had the guts to come out and say it. And thereby, as I keep telling my friends, hangs as sordid a tale as ever recorded in the history of American journalism—or should I say never recorded in journalism. I am not looking forward to the next few months if you are serious about your crusade; you will have to topple some of the idols and near idols of the American sports scene. But, I'll let you name the names.
Many, many thanks for the guts to stand up and call Norris what he is: part of boxing's dirty business. But keep this in mind in the weeks to come: you can't fight them alone. The sportswriters are against you because they've known of this for years without ever a peep from them. You must ally yourself with the commissions, the governors or the sponsors if you want any action. And that should not be too difficult. I am horrified to think what a few cynical promoters have let respectable companies in for: besmirching each week their hardwon reputations by sponsoring, in an exasperatingly naive fashion, some of the dirtiest goings on since the Black Sox scandals. The governor of New York should not be too reluctant to wash dirty boxing shorts in public.
Don't let SI be a lone voice in the wilderness. This is too important to all of us.
...We are backing you 100%.... We know the people in Chicago will back you up....
LILLIAN AND HENRY LODEWIG
I REALLY MEAN IT!
Your boxing exposé in SI, Dec. 13 was just fine! Please, please—continue your honest and outspoken reporting. We have so little of it today, it seems.
My congratulations also on the breadth of coverage in sports you display. I wonder how many like myself, who were formerly absolutely cold to ice hockey, are now fans of the Montreal Canadiens (SI, Dec. 6)? All in all, you have by far the best magazine in the field, such a one as has been needed badly for years.
If there is anything we fans can do to help you in your fight with Norris, please tell us what it is—and I, for one, will do it.
KENNETH S. WALES JR.
P.S. I really mean it—all.
AND TWICE ON SUNDAYS
I was willing to believe Harry Thomas right up to the point where he belittled Max Schmeling's ability to really hurt him. Then I began to hold his whole story suspect.
Why do these characters always have to embroider their statements in such a patently absurd manner?
All he needed to say was that he lost deliberately. Instead, he has to indulge in such hokum as "he didn't hurt me any more than my little son could."
To anyone who ever followed the careers of the two men at all, this remark is really gilding the lily!
Max Schmeling could have beaten Harry Thomas six nights of any week and twice on Sunday. He might not knock him out in every encounter, but of one thing you can be sure—he would have always hurt him!
There was nothing fake about Schmeling's right hand. Ask Joe Louis!
I am willing to concede, in spite of Thomas' foolishness, that the fight may have been fixed. The managers of Schmeling at that time were certainly not above such arrangements....
ERNEST M. POTTS
•See cut for Harry Thomas' smiling face immediately after his defeat by Max Schmeling, Dec. 13, 1937.—ED.
SI has done it again. It was indeed gratifying to read Harry Thomas' timely and revealing article on some highly questionable practices in the boxing world. He has done a service to the athletic world and should be recognized for it. And, of course, SI should get its well-deserved bouquets for printing such a splendid story.
ROBERT G. LARIMER
...I must confess that the first issue or two of your magazine left me lukewarm—but now all the best and success in your efforts on behalf of better boxing.
SETUPS AND PATSIES
...I am glad that a major magazine is devoting time to cleaning up one of the most despicable fields on the American sport scene. Boxing really needs a "box" in the ears. Setups, patsies and fix rumors are really degrading what could be as clean a sport as baseball, basketball or football. Baseball extracted a heavy toll from Jackson and the Black Sox, basketball took the privilege away from Groza and the Indianapolis Club, as did the pro football league in its scandal a few years back. Boxing needs to be cleaned. The above three mentioned sports remained clean with comparatively few blemishes because the players themselves wanted the sport to be clean.... The trouble with the ring sports is that the fighters themselves don't want the sport cleaned up. It is really too bad because the American public that supports it does want it cleaned. Keep up your work on the Norris fix business and good luck in any impending law suit....
East Rochester, N.Y.
ON THE HEAD
Your article on Norris and "Boxing's Dirty Business" hit the nail right on the head. Keep up the good work....
CLARENCE F. CHAPIN
WE BELIEVE IN YOU
WE BELIEVE IN YOUR SINCERITY IN SPORTS. PARTICULARLY IN BOXING. OUR FEELING IS THAT YOU ARE 100% RIGHT IN CLEANING UP BOXING. WE ARE BOTH ATHLETES AND VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS TO KEEP GOOD INTERNATIONAL SPORT.
BUBS GEORGE AND PETER DIX
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
I will never regret my charter subscription to SI. You really are putting out a great magazine.
I want to commend you for exposing Jim Norris' part in the boxing fixes and scandals. The American people should be grateful for the job you are doing. Keep up the good work.
I want to use this means to congratulate SI for the wonderful work you're doing in arousing boxing's "big wheels" into some action to clear up boxing's underhanded work....
CLARENCE J. FISCHER
MAKE THEM SQUIRM
I wish to tell you I think your magazine is one of the best sports magazines that is on the market today. But they are hard to get here.... It really tickled me to see a big magazine really knock Jim Norris, the boxing big shot, down to his right size.
Just keep up the good work and I'll bet it will make a lot of other people squirm....
Roaring Spring, Pa.
I FOR ONE
I have been reading SI for the last two months and I would like to express my views concerning your articles about boxing. It is about time that somebody has had guts enough to expose the crookedness and dirty work behind boxing. I, for one, am behind you to the end to wipe out all the money-hungry gamblers in boxing. I, for one, would like to see boxing as a legitimate sport and not as income for the biggest crooks in the world. Keep up your good work.
GORDON L. MEDEIROS
Castro Valley, Cal.
WE'RE STAYING IN
Re Jim Norris wrangle. It is inconceivable to me that a mag like SI would print the story unless you had the facts nailed down. Denials by Norris mean nothing unless he, too, has documented facts. After all, the youngsters coming along in the sport are the ones who really need some airtight protection from those who manage and control the sport.
Keep punching and never mind the belt-line. When you're wrong, admit it; when you're right, stay in there.
I notice particularly that in all of James Norris Jr.'s denials of your "fix" story that he says not one single solitary word about the challenge for him to submit to a lie detector test!
PIN THEIR EARS BACK
Being a subscriber to your magazine, I want to take this opportunity to express my opinion (for what it's worth). Your magazine is great, and one of the best on sports in the field. Commenting on the articles in last week's issue, and the newspaper stories of this week I am glad to see that someone has enough guts to hit at a guy who's as big and rich as Norris. You will, I hope, meet him in court and pin his ears back.
ANDREW D. SCHAIDLER
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
YOU'VE CONVINCED ME
I just saw an article in today's paper saying that Jim Norris wanted to sue SI for $5 million.
Harry Thomas in his SI article, however, convinced me Jim Norris is part of boxing's dirty business. I don't believe that Jim Norris will win his argument because I'm positive that a man like Harry Thomas, who has taken a lie detector test, has a wife and children, and wants boxing's dirty business cleaned up, was telling nothing but the truth in his article.
Good luck to SI in this hot argument on boxing's dirty business.
Cleveland Hts., O.
•As this issue went to press no suit had been filed.—ED.
OLYMPICS: FROM MICHIGAN
It is not surprising that the Salt Lake City Olympic Training plan created by William D. Cox and explained in SI (19th HOLE, Dec. 20) was enthusiastically received by the AAU and the Olympic Track and Field Committee. It is a plan based on voluntary enrollment on the part of the athletes which will adhere to our standards of amateurism. There is little doubt that athletes and coaches concerned with international competition will support this plan 100%.
If our Olympic athletes can be provided with sound coaching and good practice facilities during the summer of 1955 and 1956, some of the most serious problems we face for the 1956 Olympic Games will be solved.
Those who ponder our Olympic Games future, as pointed out in my article, Russia Will Win the 1956 Olympics, (SI, Oct. 25), are concerned mainly with three problems:
1) The absence of summer competition and training necessary to prepare our athletes for Olympic competition in the late fall of 1956.
2) The lack of concentration on many Olympic events (i.e., steeplechase, hop-step-and-jump, etc.)
3) Increased voluntary public support, financial and otherwise, of our Olympic program.
At last report, the American public was contributing to the Olympic fund on an unprecedented scale. The Salt Lake City plan, if carried to conclusion, will do much toward solving some aspects of all three problems.
We must assume the Russians will improve as much from 1954 to 1956 as they did from 1952 to 1954, and the Salt Lake City plan is a big step toward seeing that we do the same. William Cox and Salt Lake City should be congratulated on a concrete plan that will certainly aid our Olympic athletes.
DON B. CANHAM
Univ. of Michigan
OLYMPICS: NAVY ANSWERS
Russia may win the 1956 Olympics but not the men's track and field part of it. To most Americans the Olympics mean men's track and field, plus rowing. And Rusty Callow may have something to say about the latter, as he did in 1952.
There is always someone worrying about our track men losing interest in the game. I was worried some years back myself and wrote to Dan Ferris suggesting some hocus-pocus for the indoor season that would stir up interest. He wrote back and thanked me for my ideas but he thought things would work out all right. Sure enough, a lot of new men appeared on the horizon and indoor track had one of its greatest seasons.
There is talent in this country right now that will produce the greatest team ever assembled by the U.S. or any other country. I have never seen such an array of talent as has been produced in the high schools of Southern California alone. In 18 months some of those kids are going to be terrific, especially if they can take advantage of the "Cox plan" (19th HOLE, SI, Dec. 20) which sounds like a very smart idea to me.
The AAU has recognized that we must have more summer competition and is making plans to that end, I understand. That is one thing we have missed in the past several years. Back in my time and before there were always a lot of "pot hunting" meets and the summer concluded with the National AAU championships. I feel that some of those meets should be resurrected and the AAU and other big meets be held at the end of the summer, especially in 1956.
Michigan's Don Canham (see letter above) is a fine coach but I feel he is too pessimistic. Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I think it pays off, if one works at it hard. Of course, there are times one must control his optimism and that time is coming for me next spring when Navy, Penn State and Michigan meet in track at Penn State. I'll be Mr. Pessimism himself then.
Navy Track Coach
We, the freshman class I at London High School, have decided to send a donation of five dollars in the form of a check to the United States Olympic Fund.
We are sending you this small sum of money because we hope to have future athletes. Also we believe in self-government because we are living that form of government every day as athletes and citizens of London High School.
THE FRESHMAN CLASS I
London Public Schools
•SI, on behalf of the Olympic Fund, thanks the freshman class.—ED.
VOLLEY OFF HOPMAN
...Harry Hopman's article is one explanation of why there are huge crowds at tennis matches in Australia. I know Harry well, have played against him in doubles and admire his coaching ability. The way he slams both Australians and Americans prompts me to assume that he will step out as mentor after the Davis Cup matches this month. Can you imagine an American football coach prognosticating so confidently? We must give Harry credit for getting his charges to adopt the big game which Budge and Kramer showed them....
Harry should be reminded that even at our ball games objectionable hecklers are escorted out by the police. Nobody in the USLTA has ever considered all the people at Australian tennis matches poor sports. There has been a feeling that a few noisy hecklers have been allowed to remain in their seats or on their feet at the tennis matches in Australia. This has not worried me because I feel that the top players in any sport should learn to concentrate and to avoid being petulant.
PERCY C. ROGERS
Please send me the markings, height and weight of Lizanne Kelly, whose picture appears in PAT ON THE BACK, Dec. 20. Believe me, in 20 years of assiduous girl watching I have never seen a more perfect specimen.
FREDERIC B. CLEAVES
•5,8½"-140-35½-25½-37.Hmm!And eyes of blue, too.—ED.
A GOOD THING TO HAVE
Thank the Lord! Finally a national sports mag has given something more than passing attention to the fastest-growing sport in the country—skiing.
I have read both your articles (Skiing in Europe and Skiing in America) and they are the best yet. My compliments to your staff; they have at least been on skis before. Other magazines read as if they sent the boxing reporter out to cover a race and that he didn't like the cold. Consequently the story was written in either the bar at the lodge or in the city, miles from the snow or even a hill.
Also bouquets to you for telling people that the skiing in the West is good, too. In the past all I have ever seen about skiing had to do with some dinky little area in the East, where the hills would be called "school hills" out here.
Keep up the good work, and I shall expect your usual excellent coverage of the coming races this season.
BATTLE OF THE CENTURY
...My weekly issue gave me an idea for what could be THE battle of the century.
In SI there were some excellent photos of a fight between a mongoose and a king cobra....
...Now here is a match that has real possibilities and with the prize fight game in a pretty sad state I believe a round robin between some of India's better mongeese (mongooses or whatever they are called in groups) and some of our own big diamond-backs could work up some real interest among the fight fans who like their action fast, mean, and no fixes.
Might have to hold the battle on a barge, like prize fights used to be held in this country, but that would undoubtedly add extra interest, like getting a drink during prohibition or stolen sweets.
Maybe you could arrange to let Jim Norris Jr. raise the winner's hand, especially if it is the rattler.
Glen Burnie, Md.
A PERSONAL RECORD
I read your article Think and Lift and enjoyed it very much. It proved very interesting to me. Even being a weight lifter myself I never paid too much thought to concentration. But after reading your article I went downstairs and tried it out. I made a new personal record. I agree with you—it was the best weight lifting story I have read. By the way, what lift is that Norb Schemansky is using 400 lbs. for? Looks like the press....
Keep up the good work.
•No, clean and jerk.—ED.
On behalf of a great many fellows who were Bob Harlow's close pals and who worshipped the guy, I want to thank your paper and particularly Herbert Warren Wind for the grand story on Bob.
Confidentially, as one who was fairly close to Harlow and Hagen for a long, long time, I think Bob's job in running interference for Walter and in directing the talented Hagen's destiny pretty much opened the road for all professional athletes to come into polite society and high solvency.
Also in elbow-alongside-elbow bar intimacy I might say that I have been very much interested in and impressed by the way in which you are finding the right answers pretty well in setting an editorial pattern for SI. I thought it would take you about four years to really find out what the formula would have to be. That's about the best I could expect of anyone, but to my delight and in my own private opinion you are doing a much better and faster job than I expect any other genius could do.