Feb. 07, 1955
Feb. 07, 1955

Table of Contents
Feb. 7, 1955

Pat On The Back
  • A salute from the editors to men and women of all ages who have fairly earned the good opinion of the world of sport, if not yet its tallest headlines

  • Olympic Track Star Mal Whitfield of the U.S. runs, demonstrates and lectures in Northern Rhodesia at the end of a five-month international tour building good will through sport

The Wonderful World Of Sport
Sporting Look
Column Of The Week
Snow Patrol
Fisherman's Calendar
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over


Bob Hall deserves congratulations upon two counts: First, he contributed to SI an interesting and informative article on the college football television problem. Second, he flushed Bernard Honan of Lebanon, Ind., whose letter-to-the-editor appears in SI's Jan. 24 issue.

This is an article from the Feb. 7, 1955 issue Original Layout

Honan set out in his communication to disparage Hall's statements; but he succeeded in proving Hall's case with full conclusiveness.

By his own comments Honan shows himself to be an enthusiastic football fan. Fortunately for him, he resides within easy driving distance of eight stadiums in which major college football contests regularly take place. However, he insists upon getting his football via TV. He wants nothing but the best—and, if he doesn't get what he considers to be the best, he feels that he is being mistreated.

I wish that Honan were unique. The truth, I fear, is that he is typical of a large number of football followers. Honan and others with the same point of view constitute the reason why the NCAA must exercise control of football telecasts if the game of intercollegiate football is to survive.

What baffles me is why Honan et al. don't realize that if television carried all of the games which they want to see, there would soon be no games to televise. No sponsor of a sports event can give away millions of free tickets through television and expect to sell some thousands of them at the same time. It is all as simple as that.
Eastern College Athletic Conference
New York

Just completed reading the letter from Bernard Honan in rebuff to the article by Robt. Hall (SI, Jan. 10). If Honan is disgusted with Mr. Hall and his opinions, he should know my opinion of his views.... First, he is located near not less than eight schools which he deems to have football teams worthy of his attention. Teams he could see with a minimum of travel and expense. But, does this true-blue fan go to see any of these schools play their games? Of course not, and furthermore he announces proudly to one and all that he is a TV fan. This probably causes wild exotic dances of joy by the athletic departments of the schools in his vicinity. He plainly says that about all he is prepared to spend for a Saturday afternoon of fun is his time, at the TV of course. So, when a national sponsor and the NCAA cater to him, it is only natural to suppose that he will appreciate the offering.... But again, poor mistreated Mr. Honan fails them, and he writes letters just dripping with vitriol in stern rebuke. Why, you say? Why simply because that stupid fellow who makes up the schedule of games for TV did not schedule the game dear Bernard wanted to see.... He suspects that the NCAA, the TV station, the teams playing that day are all in one big cloak-and-dagger operation and are sitting up nights thinking up bad games to put on the TV, and ruin his Saturday afternoon. However, he soon gets solace from the thought that tomorrow is Sunday and the pros will be on. Oh happy day.... Just in parting would like to let Honan know that his letter has shattered Sid Gillman, coach of the UC Bearcats. When he read that a real fan such as you had never heard of him he has become quite a problem. He has locked himself in seclusion, refuses all foods, and we here in this town are afraid he might consider suicide. Just a shattered man. Please accept this bit of advice, Mr. Honan, if you do you will find a greater peace of mind: investigate the various buttons on your set, you will find one of them is marked "on" and "off." Please make use of this when you do not care for what you see on your set....

This letter is directed to Mr. Bernard Honan. First of all, orchids to SI for the finest sport publication on the newsstands today. Since I am a graduate of Western Michigan College of Education, Kalamazoo, I was a little ashamed of what Kalamazoo's "Average Reader" said about your periodical (SI, Jan. 17, 19th HOLE), but "Forgive them, they know not what they do."

Now for Mr. Honan. Sir, I am in agreement with most of your rebuttal to Robbert Hall on NCAA TV. However, you made some awful insinuating remarks that I just can't go along with at all. I quote, "Who wants to see Miami play Cincinnati any time anywhere? Certainly no football fan, because they don't play football. Haven't the players nor the coach and don't know how."

You couldn't be further from reality, Mr. Honan. Or don't you remember what Miami did to your dear old state institution last fall? Tsk, tsk. And just a week after it had topped a good Michigan team. Or perhaps you've never heard of "Stu" Holcomb, former mentor at Miami? Or more recent, ever heard of Woody Hayes who left the Oxford, Ohio campus to lead Ohio State to a Big Ten title, a mythical championship, and a Rose Bowl win?

They don't play football? Please, that's going too far. Let's take a look at Miami's schedule for next season. Northwestern, Indiana and Marquette. Why that's a better slate than some major colleges play (Maryland, for example), and I guess it doesn't mean anything to have had one of the longest winning streaks in the country as Cincinnati had early last fall—against some tough competition.

As for the players—the state of Ohio has long been recognized as one of the nation's best for producing college material. Ask Mr. Hayes or Mr. Holcomb what they think of the type ballplayer enrolled at these two schools. I think that they will agree with me that the fellas are plenty tough. I know—I've played against them and certainly vouch for that. Indeed, they tackle and block just as hard as any Big Ten ballplayer....
Dundalk, Md.

I am...a charter subscriber to this turkey SI—French pheasant shoots—skiing in Africa—bull fighting—"Wonderful World of Sports"—Phooey!! I've been gypped.

I have read each issue of SI and believe that "Average Reader," who thinks your generally excellent mag has forgotten him, has a good point. Also, I don't think your terse comment, "Time will tell," answers his point.

Professionally, no one can deny that SI is a good product, but—are you reaching the average sports fan? I doubt it. SI evoked a great deal of comment when it first arrived on the newsstand. More comment was caused by your current exposé of boxing. But it's not the average guy who is making the comment.

"Average Reader" complains that you haven't covered his favorite sports—hunting and fishing—enough. My complaint is that you haven't reached the mass sporting audience.

As you are well aware, there is one large school in the journalistic world that contends all readers are of the grade school level and that a publication must be edited on this level. I don't agree with this school, but it does seem that your magazine isn't edited to reach the guy who spends his dollar for a bleacher seat at the ball park.

As you might suspect, I have a particular gripe. This concerns your coverage of pro basketball, which has been spotty at best. Although you run the scores and league standings of the National Basketball Association clubs in your SCOREBOARD department....

Hope you don't mind a kibitzer (and I really enjoyed your story about the Culbertson bridge match).
State Editor
Oneida Daily Dispatch
Oneida, N.Y.

•But do they play bridge in the bleachers?—ED.

Quote:..."My opinion as to what is wrong with SI:" (Them's fighting words!) "Where am I? Where is Mister Average Sportsman???"

You will have to answer the first yourself, Mr. Average Reader. You will find Mr. Average Sportsman in SI. After reading his letter, I couldn't resist checking a few back issues. How about his doing same? I suggest, Oct. 25, Nov. 8, 15 and 22. If he is not satisfied with the hunting and fishing coverage, I suggest he check with the Michigan State Conservation Dept. They put out some good stuff but I'm afraid they can't reach him every time. They want to reach all Michigan hunters and fishermen and trappers, etc. Just as SI wants to reach all sportsmen, amateur or pro, hunter or skier, rich or poor. We all like to see ourselves but it sure would be tiring if we had a mirror in front of us at all times.

I feel I must quote him again... "Today we are fed a diet of skiing articles, but here in Michigan beside the small handful of young people who visit ski resorts..." For the handful, I have a quote from a local newspaper: "The Bureau of Business Research at Michigan State College found some 65,000 people [didn't state the age range] haunted the ski resorts here last year." Young people? Yes, between the ages of 4 and 50. How about taking a look at Echo Valley sometime when you are lucky enough to have snow.
Battle Creek, Mich.

In answer to "Average Reader," I believe I, also, am an average reader and can in some ways sympathize with "Average Reader" but in other ways disagree with him.

I think that some issues of your magazine may leave out the average reader but all in all I think yours is the best of its kind and I am sure that I will see it on the newsstands, in the barber shop, and in a hundred other places, if not a million other places in 1966, 1977, and many years to follow.

Here in the Army I think that I come in contact with as many Average Readers as with any other kind and all I have heard from them, as I rescue my weekly issue of SI, is praise for its complete coverage of all kinds of sports. There are a great many sports that I don't, in particular, care for, but after reading about them in SI I have become quite interested in them and intend to try them all if I ever can.

As your editors pointed out in an early issue you could not, conceivably, cover all sports in every issue and I think you have done a tremendous job in covering as many sports in every issue.

The thing that tends to make Average Reader think this is a FORTUNE magazine for sports, in my opinion, would be the various articles on sports cars and the wearing apparel that is common to that particular type folk. I do believe that sports cars are a trifle out of my reach but I still like to read about them and to admire the clothes, fashions, etc. that are connected with them. Perhaps, some day, I can live and do as some of the people you picture. I am a devotee of Stock Car Racing and drove in Peoria, Ill. one season before coming into the Army late in 1950. I am more used to going to races in work clothes rather than the elaborate layouts of Jim Kimberly and his crew. Nevertheless I do not feel as if your magazine is written any more with Mr. Kimberly in mind than with me in mind....
Ft. Carson, Colo.

Let me join "Mr. Average Reader" (Jan. 17, 19TH HOLE). He expressed my thoughts exactly. I've been boiling since your Jan. 3 issue where you failed to include Joe Leonard, 1954 national motorcycle racing champion in your gallery of 1954 headliners. He compiled a record unmatched in all of motorcycling history.

SI...has failed to give its readers the right balance of sport coverage we had a right to expect. For instance the bull-ugh-fighting and squash (which probably 99% of the readers will confuse with a vegetable) articles in your Jan. 17 issue.
Gadsden, Ala.

•Joe Leonard has come a long way in his fourth year of competition. In 1954 Leonard placed first in eight top meets, enough to make him the first Grand National Champion. His eight wins:

AMA 100-Mile National, Laconia, N.H.
AMA 75-Mile National, Wilmot, Wis.
20-Mile National (dirt track), Bay Meadows, Cal.
25-Mile National (dirt track), Springfield, Ill.
8-Mile for mile tracks at Indianapolis.
9-Mile for½ mile tracks at Hammond, Ind.
45-cubic inch TT National, Peoria, Ill.
80-cubic inch TT National, Peoria, Ill.—ED.

I have a grievance, but it is towards my fellow subscribers. I think that most of them who write in and complain that you didn't play up this sport as much as that one have never shared anything with anyone. Sports must be shared to be enjoyed. There must be fellowship and equal admiration and respect for one another or there will be no fair play in sports. Anyone who truly loves sports will find that understanding is necessary. Understanding that not everyone in the world likes the same thing.

The only other things which bother me are that the magazine is not big enough and only comes once a week.
Hickory, N.C.

By a coincidence, SI and the Hibbert Journal of Great Britain published articles, simultaneously, on bull fighting and bull sacrifice: the one as a sport, and the other as the central act of worship of the ancient Persian religion of Mithraism. The unearthing in the heart of London, recently, of a temple to the sun-god Mithras proves that this pagan religion extended not only to Spain but to Great Britain. Had Christianity not met the challenge of Mithraism and conquered, it is probable that the gory sport, which John Stanton describes in your issue of Jan. 17, would today be carried on as a form of worship in churches instead of being confined to the bull rings.

The sculptured panel (see cut) shows Mithras in the act of slaying a bull. From the tail of the dying animal sprout ears of corn, a dog eagerly licks the blood which pours from the wound in its neck, while a snake and other reptiles feed on it from below. Bull killing symbolized the renewal of life and of life-giving power.

The ancient sport of bull killing probably takes its origin in these rites.

I have just seen your Jan. 24 number featuring Maids on a Mission, and I notice that nowhere in the article do you give any indication of where the Swedish athletes can be seen.

If they're playing the East coast, as you say, most likely they'll visit either Baltimore or Washington—perhaps even the Naval Academy in Annapolis....
St. John's College

•The Swedish Gymnasts will be in Baltimore, March 4 at the American Turners. Other stops:

2 Feb. Notre Dame U., South Bend
4 Feb. U. of Wisconsin, Madison
7 Feb. La Crosse St., La Crosse, Wis.
8 Feb. Iowa State U., Iowa City
10 Feb.U. of Illinois, Champaign
13 Feb. Kansas St., Manhattan, Kan.
15 Feb. SMU, Dallas, Texas
19 Feb.U. of Texas, Austin
21 Feb. Louisiana St., Baton Rouge
22 Feb. Miss. So. Coll., Hattiesburg
25 Feb.U. of Florida, Gainesville
26 Feb. Florida St., Tallahassee
28 Feb. Auburn U., Auburn, Ala.
1 Mar. Georgia Tech, Atlanta
2 Mar. N. Carolina U., Chapel Hill

Enjoyed your coverage of the Swedes as did every gymnast and fan in the metropolitan area.... SI is giving this cause a boost! It would have been appreciated even more during the Christmas holidays in Sarasota, Florida, where the National Gymnastic Clinic held the 4th annual meeting, nationally. Here, during this week, were gathered the cream of America's gymnasts and coaches and hundreds of gymnast enthusiasts. It was truly a spectacle and the citizens of Sarasota want us back again next year! We hope that SI will be around!
Captain, 1948-52
U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Teams
Setauket, N.Y.

•Christmas in Florida sounds fine.—ED.

In a recent issue of SI I read with interest the article The Cozy Caribbean by Horace Sutton and was particularly interested in the island Bequia which I would like to visit.

Can you advise me where I may obtain further information regarding transportation to the island and accommodations there?...
Trumbull, Conn.

•Thirty cents and good sea legs will get you to Bequia (pronounced Beck-wee) via the daily 2 p.m. sloop from St. Vincent B.W.I., but this two-hour odyssey is recommended only between April and June when winds and sea are calm. The easy way is the twice-a-week $6 plane service. Arriving at Port Elizabeth you will find Mrs. Morgan's Guest House half a mile from Admiralty Bay's north jetty. A day's room and board comes to $2.50. The Sunny Caribbee is a little more elaborate, but a month's room, good food and afternoon tea on the lawn still adds up to only $40. Mrs. Edwards will rent you a shore-line bungalow for about $30 a month with an additional $5 for a servant. Bequia is truly a paradise island, beautiful, slow moving and very simple. The shingled huts obscured by mangoes, soursop, hog plums and cactus fruit, nightly torchlight fishing off Morality Bay for grouper, sprats and barracuda and the weaving traffic of schooners, yawls and sloops in the bays have not changed at all for a hundred years.—ED.

A. C. Spectorsky's piece on what's new in boats and boating for 1955 (SI, Jan. 17) should be a joy to just about everybody who looks to the waterways for recreation. The article was particularly appealing to me since boating is both my profession and my hobby.

However, I wonder why Mr. Spectorsky says that the boat show held in the Kings-bridge Armory in New York is "the biggest" of the various boating expositions to be held across the country this year.

According to the New York show's press book "a record-sized fleet of 380 recreational craft" were to have been exhibited there. On the other hand, there will be a total of 541 recreational craft at the Chicago National Boat Show, which will be held in the International Amphitheatre here February 4-13 under the auspices of the Outboard Boating Club of America.

•Both shows are impressive testimonials to the U.S.'s booming interest in boating. New York leads in sales, number of large craft and gadgetry displays. Chicago, an increasingly aggressive rival, puts the emphasis on small crafts such as dinghies and row boats, boasts of a steady increase in sales, exhibits and attendance.—ED.

SI sure gets around. A few weeks ago a customer of ours, in from Switzerland, dropped in the office. After a while the talk drifted from business to sports and relaxation. Then, out of a clear sky, the visitor mentioned SI. It goes without saying that I was a bit flabbergasted. My guest then explained.

Somehow he had gotten hold of the copy of SI in which Sir Arnold Lunn had written his article on skiing (SI, Dec. 13). Being an avid skier, he had fallen in love with SI at first sight. He also had picked up a copy of your magazine on the plane over—and now he was very anxious to see the latest issue. I sent a boy down to pick up a copy, and you never saw such a smile of delight on a full-grown man as he had reading SI again.

He took SI to lunch with him and after the meal he gave me an order about two times the size I had expected. It was the best quarter I ever invested.
New York
P.S. I love SI myself, too.

Herbert Warren Wind's article on hockey's Gordie Howe and Co. (SI, Jan. 24) was no better than his previous story on Maurice Richard (SI, Dec. 6) which to my estimation was the finest sports article in a long time.

Once again Mr. Wind has successfully grasped the dash, color and art of that fine game, ice hockey. The embellishing color shots of your usual high standard just made things more delicious.

But the treat of treats was William Faulkner's candid description of his first hockey game. He was as accurate as an electron microscope, and vastly more entertaining.

Your Jan. 24 issue was very appealing to me especially since you offered two excellent articles on ice hockey, a game which has recently caught my fancy. When I came home from my first game I marveled at the splendid speed, lusty checking and unique goal tending but never could express it as wonderfully as William Faulkner. He took the words right out of my mouth!

Also enjoyed the feature on Gordon Howe of the Red Wings. Mr. Wind sensibly took a neutral stand on the longstanding Richard-Howe superiority controversy.
Albany, New York

This is the first time I have written a letter either affirming or denying any of the many things that have been said about me or my ex-husband in various publications. Most of them have been highly inaccurate. However, the remark that Mr. John Stanton has made in his article Only the Brave (SI, Jan. 17), about my ex-husband is the crowning blow.

Mr. Stanton has said, "La Punta's peppery owners, Don Paco and Don Pepe Madrazo, are furiously angry with the impresario for selling the reservations to their traditional seats in Plaza Mexico to former U.S. Ambassador Bill O'Dwyer and others...." Paco and Pepe Madrazo may quite well be "furiously angry" with the impresario of the Plaza Mexico, but not for that reason.

During the entire time Mr. O'Dwyer and I were in Mexico, our seats were beside those of Mr. Madrazo and Tono Algara at their invitation. These gentlemen are very good friends of ours and they were kind enough to give me quite a good basic education in the art of bullfighting.
New York