YOUR MASTERS TOURNAMENT STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN LAST WEEK'S ISSUE ARE BOTH DESERVING OF THE HIGHEST PRAISE. I DOUBT IF ANYTHING ALONG THESE LINES HAS EVER BEEN DONE BY A MAGAZINE IN QUITE AS ATTRACTIVE FASHION. MY HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS.
May I compliment you on the absolutely out-of-this-world photos in the April 4th issue! The cover was the best you've had, a photo that really caught my eye...and the pictures of diver Ann Cooper were breath-taking—also the photo of Willie Mosconi, the Masters golf tournament shots, and the "rascal in fur," the raccoon...it was the greatest collection of sports photos between two covers...let's have more of the same!!!!!!!!
San Francisco, Calif.
In your March 21 issue you have three striking pictures of a rhinoceros charging a photographer. Last month I had the identical experience, and I was taking pictures of cheetah at the time we were charged by the rhino. We were so busy saving our skins, I didn't get any pictures of the rhino. The closeup that you reproduced was exactly what happened to us.
St. Joseph, Mich.
April 11, 1955
CHAMPION BENCH WARMER
Delano, Calif. was happy your fine new magazine paid credit to the new 880 world champion, Lonnie Spurrier (SI, April 4). It might interest you to know that Lonnie's high school track coach, Dan Della, shares your theory that the sudden drop of altitude may have given the added spurt needed for the record. Della coached the 1948 Peruvian Olympic basketball team and also worked with track men. When the distance runners went suddenly from 10,000 feet to sea level, they ran away with the distance events in South America.
It might also interest you to know that if Spurrier had been a slightly better baseball player, he wouldn't be setting track records today. Lonnie spent three of his high school years as a highly unsuccessful baseball candidate. When the 1950 season opened, and it became apparent to him that he would again be a bench warmer, he elected to switch to track. He was an immediate success and came along rapidly enough to wind up sixth in the 440 in the state meet. He competed in six or seven different events that season but only ran the 880 twice, both as laps in a medley relay. Had he had a slightly better batting eye or a little better control on the mound, he would have made Delano's 1950 starting varsity and the track world would have lost a coming champion.
JOE D. STEVENSON
THE SELECT FEW
In your description of the Pan-American Games you say, "Rosslyn Range and John Bennett each bettered 26 feet in the broad jump, a distance made sacrosanct by Jesse Owens 20 years ago," from which it might be inferred that Owens was the first (or only) 26-footer. Not so, although he is the dean of a very select few.
The first man to clear 26 feet was the Haitian Negro Silvio Cator in 1928, followed by Chuhei Nambu of Japan, who jumped 26 feet 2 inches in 1931 (fractions purposely omitted). This stood for three years until Owens established the present mark of 26 feet 8 inches in 1935 (the oldest standard track and field record on the books) and during that year and the next he surpassed 26 feet 10 times in official competition. He was closely pressed by his great contemporary, Eulace Peacock, whose best mark was 26 feet 3 inches. Since then Willie Steele, the 1948 Olympic winner, has cleared 26 feet 6 inches, and George Brown has done 26 feet 3 inches.
GEORGE P. MEADE
I got to see quite a bit of Parry O'Brien this winter when he was working out at the University of Maryland as a member of the Armed Forces Track Team. He puts in more time in training than any other field man I have ever known. I think he is the greatest field-event performer the world has ever known.
Joel Sayre in his story (SI, Mar. 21) says that O'Brien's chest is 50 inches. He should have mentioned how big around his arm is. He points out that Stan Lampert and Tom Jones both weigh more than Parry, but they have some fat on them, while O'Brien is all shot-put throwing strength.
O'Brien is so fast in the shot-put circle that you can't really see what he is doing. One day I was watching him trying to figure out the plane his head passed through during the various steps of his throw. It was impossible to figure it out, so fast is he. If you watch him throw with someone else, it is like watching a sprinter and a marathon runner come down the track. O'Brien's speed, size and strength, but mostly his speed, make him the greatest shot-putter ever known. Compare him with the fat weightmen of yesteryear on page 65 (YESTERDAY) of the same issue.
THE RECORD STANDS
Mr. Bentley states in his March 28 column that he ran out of gas four miles from the pits, and then decided to run the four miles after he had pushed the car "less than 400 feet." He states it took him 15 minutes to run the four miles. This beats Bannister's record, doesn't it? Or could Mr. Bentley be slightly mixed up?
I like your magazine.
North Hollywood, Calif.
•Bannister, Landy, Santee and all the other great runners are quite safe. Bentley did not say that he ran the four miles to the pits. His Abarth ran out of gas four miles from the pits on the actual race course (see X on chart), but Bentley cut across the infield on foot to the pits, a distance of about one mile. To get to the pit with his car he would have had to push it on course from point of breakdown—without any short cuts.—ED.
Have read with a great deal of interest all your articles in SI on horse racing....
In 1951 I had the good fortune to be in Munich, Germany and I came to be quite interested in racing as it is staged in Germany.
There are two race tracks in Munich—Riem and Daglfing. Racing is held on Saturday and Sunday and takes place about 40 weeks out of the year. The two tracks alternate each day of the weekend. Riem is the smaller of the two tracks. It presents a mixed program of flat racing, steeple-chasing and harness racing. Daglfing offers only harness racing.
The German system of wagering is quite different from ours. In place of our win, place and show they have only SIEG (win) and PLATZ (place). However, since the fields are generally from 12 to 25 horses, it is possible to collect a PLATZ bet should your horse run as far down as sixth. There is also a separate pool called an EINSZWEI, in which you may collect on a horse that either wins or runs second. The last type bet they have is called an EINLAUF and is exactly the same as our quiniela betting. This type of betting is by far the most popular among the Germans since it offers high pay-offs for a small investment.
An interesting aspect of the German system of betting is that even though betting is done through windows as in our parimutuel system, there is no guarantee by the track that you receive a profit from your bet. I have seen several instances where a heavy favorite would win and return only the amount bet....
All races in Germany are generally of smaller stature than in the U.S., yet they are run for distances of two miles or more and carry weights of 140 to 150 pounds with no apparent difficulty. All German jockeys are stretch riders and they purposely stay off the pace early in order to come charging down the stretch, whipping and shouting like Custer's Cavalry.
Betting ranges from a minimum bet of two marks, about 50¢, to a big bet of 50 marks, about $12. A bettor at the 50-mark window is automatically stamped as a tourist.
Mr. Coles Phinizy's article on the Tewksbury Foot Bassets (SI, Mar. 14) was most interesting, especially the pictures. My daughter, then Mary Mather, and her sister Jane had some years ago a fine pack of Bassets, which they kept in the kennels of their father, who still has a great pack of foxhounds at Brandywine Farms, West Chester, Pa. (SI, Oct. 25).
The girls, then ages 15 and 12, took their pack to northern New Jersey and alone entered them in the Basset pack trials at Peapack. They won the trials, and also won championships at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show. This pack was fine in the field also, no one ever helping the girls.
We went to Nantucket in the summer and hunted with Mr. William Justice's harriers. I made the great mistake of calling "Tallyho" when treeing away a hare. Mr. Justice never forgave me for this. He said to hare it was always, "So-Ho."
I would like to know if this is correct. If it is not too much trouble, would you let me know?
•The unforgiving Mr. Justice is right. On viewing a hare the proper cry is "So-ho!" "Tally-ho!" is properly used in foxhunting only, but our Mr. Phinizy distinctly heard them cry "Tally-ho" at Peapack.—ED.
THE AF'S FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER
I quite agree that Andrews Air Force Base (High-Flying Rockets, SI, Mar. 21) does have a plethora of talent but in so acquiring this "plethora of proficiency" hasn't it left a paucity of talent, basketball-wise, at many of the former home bases of the Rocket stars?
Last year in the 1954 World Wide Air Force Basketball Tournament the Rockets fizzled out in one game, due to the unerring eyes of Rousey and Keely who played for Francis E. Warren AFB. Subsequently, needless to say, these two men were transferred to Andrews AFB, ostensibly to hold down conventional Air Force jobs.
The avowed purpose of the Air Force sports program, at the intramural level, is to provide sports for all, while at the interbase level it is to develop teams which give the outstanding athlete a chance to display his wares.... At the conclusion of each athletic season the various sports conferences (the Air Force divides the world into 12 major sports areas called conferences) hold tournaments to determine their top team. The winners of the several conference tournaments have the opportunity to participate in the Air Force World Wide Sports Tournament.... The purpose is to declare the resultant victor the best team in the Air Force. But, gentlemen, how naive can we get; it appears to us in this sports business that the 1955 World Wide Basketball Tournament is a foregone conclusion.
It is a pity that the objective purpose, which the Air Force sports program is supposed to have, has been transmuted into an extremely subjective, if not selfish, purpose on the part of "...somebody with authority at Andrews..."
The Frankenstein monster, created at Andrews, has succeeded in winning many, many basketball games from teams in and out of the armed services. But has not this Frankenstein monster run amuck and destroyed the wonderful purpose, at least in theory, the Air Force promulgates about its sports program? There are many in the Air Force sports business who will agree....
ATHLETIC OFFICER'S NAME WITHHELD
MILLIONS FEEL LIKE I
As one of millions of bowlers who have valiantly fought to have bowling recognized as the tremendous sport it is, it is gratifying to read a sports magazine that lists bowling along with other sports events.
This letter was meant to have been written some time ago, when I first noted a special section devoted to bowlers. Then when I saw the Mar. 28 issue with a bowler, the famed Steve Nagy, on the cover, I knew there must be millions of bowlers who feel the way I do.
Congratulations on a marvelous sports magazine—interesting, informative and all—encompassing.
Las Vegas, Nev.
I notice in your Mar. 28 issue there is an article about The Maharaja of Mysore, with pictures of his near-record, 10-foot-plus tiger.
My tiger was shot in Bilvansi Beat between Sahanpur Estate, Najibabad and Sahanpur Shooting Box in the Koria block of the Bijnor Forest Division—India. My host was Rajkimar Giriraj Singh. My guides were his brothers—Raja Shamsher Jung and Raja Preyatim Jung.
My tiger measures 11 feet nine inches from tip of nose to tail.
We baited our tiger and shot from machan, only three of us in hunting party; no driving by natives or beaters.
They are the finest people I have ever met in 50 years of hunting—sincere, honest and kindly—they go out of their way to make one comfortable and the hunting successful.
WILLIAM K. BEAN
In Mar. 7 19TH HOLE, S.V. Hanon of Delafield, Wis. has a letter on the American water spaniel which brings back many fond memories of five spaniels I have owned.
In the old days there were at least 50 of these dogs owned in this town (2,000 pop.) and they were all used in the various duck and goose stands along our coast.
One of my dogs was brought up with an English setter and soon learned what upland shooting was all about. He would not point but would stop trailing and stand and look at me when a partridge, quail or woodcock was near enough to shoot—only at my signal would he flush the bird and any cripple was as good as in your pocket, as he was a 100% retriever on anything you shot.
Since the government did away with live decoys, all the gunning stands have disappeared, as well as the spaniels.
I have owned 50 hunting dogs and the Irish water spaniel has more natural intelligence and stamina than any breed of dog I know of.
I hope Mr. Hanon has success in bringing back this dog's popularity.
H. C. BURNS
South Duxbury, Mass.
LITTLE DID I DREAM
When I first saw the funny cartoon on "Mr. Eggly is here for a 1,000-mile checkup," I chuckled at the humor of it and of course noticed the similarity of the name used and my own.
But little did I dream that the artist could have referred to me, and my surprise was great when two months later an old physical education colleague from Newark, N.J. sent me a clipping (19TH HOLE, Feb. 21), telling that Artist Shirvanian, a former pupil, actually referred to me, his former gym teacher.
Shirvanian was a quiet, studious and well-behaved pupil who seemed to have a literary bent. Just where in his educational effort he strayed so badly as to produce such lowly cartoons is beyond my comprehension. He was such a nice guy too!
Please convey to Shirvanian that after 30 years of physical education teaching I resigned and am now busier than ever as manager and vice-president of Penn Fishing Tackle Mfg. Co.—makers of the world's finest salt-water fishing reels, Penn!
Give him my best; I'd like to see him again.
JOHN H. EGLY
•Artist Shirvanian says that if he was quiet and well behaved it was because he was thoroughly cowed by Mr. Egly's energy and enthusiasm. Cartooning is a gentle and withdrawn sport calling for a minimum of physical exertion.—ED.
NEW WORLDS TO CONQUER
Many thanks for publishing the square dance picture in SI Mar. 28. To answer your question: square dancing is a contest, and a very technical one at that. We have made 30 appearances in exhibition and competition during the past year and hold the Western Pennsylvania Championship in open competition. In Allegheny County Championships (which we also won) 80,000 people were in the stands. At the International Square Dance Festival, Nov. 13, held in the International Amphitheater, we represented Pennsylvania. Ten thousand dancers demonstrated, with 15,000 in the stands, so you see there is a very definite element of competition involved.
Furthermore, square dancing is sometimes referred to as football set to music, but the present trend is to smooth it out and strive for grace and precision; however, it still takes a lot of condition and practice to keep up the pace. Age does not seem to have too much to do with it, as in our championship set we have two men over 60 years of age and have a man of 75 who dances three nights every week. We celebrated his 75th birthday last night and he had four of his granddaughters in his set. In fact he stated, "I dance with these people to keep young but it nearly kills me to keep up with them."
Maybe if you stir things up a little, we can get some more competition. We are hunting new worlds to conquer.
100% HONESTY AND IMPROVED LIES
Your HOTBOX question in the Mar. 28 issue with regard to 100% honest golfers was provocative and the general consensus of opinion was negative except for Ted Bishop's qualification on tournament play where competitors are closely watched.
When I first began golfing some 30 years ago, the ball was played as it lay and I would think there were many honest golfers then. However, in recent years I have witnessed a spread of the practice of playing winter rules or preferred lies. This provision enables the golfer to move his ball on the fairway to improve his lie and inevitably many golfers are encouraged to take liberties in rough and hazard.
The old rule of playing them as they lie may have added a stroke or two to the average score, but it did keep the golfer honest. It also added to his power of concentration in having to make difficult shots from bad positions. It gave him the positive attitude of making a stroke from a difficult place, rather than the negative attitude of fearing failure on a stroke from a favorable position.
This rather fits in with your TIP FROM THE TOP in the same issue where George Aulbach points out that many bad strokes are caused by failure to concentrate on hitting the ball on the desired target spot. If a ball is cupped in a hole, you have to hit it in the right spot for an effective shot.
HOW TO RISE TO GREATER HEIGHTS
Wonderful coverage in your fine article on Parry O'Brien (SI, Mar. 21) by Joel Sayre. It's this type of article which exemplifies the spirit in SI and excites the interest of many young track and field fans. Being very interested in this story, as I am an amateur shot-putter myself, I could not help but feel that this provided me with the inspiration to improve my style and rise to greater heights.
On reading this article thoroughly, I felt that there was one small detail left out, one which could only be detected by a person as intimately concerned with shot-putting as myself. In your vivid illustration and description of the "O'Brien technique," one was left in mid-air as he read through the description of the O'Brien travel across the circle. I could not understand from the illustration how he traveled from his original crouch position to the one in which he actually sends the missile sailing. The pictures show the two positions, the start and the finish. What happens in the middle? Does he take a hop off the right foot or does he take a short step first with the left and then follow with the body spin and momentum? If you could possibly show a shot of him taking the initial step, it would suffice my desires completely.
Glen Ridge, N.J.