THAT REMINISCENT FLAVOR
Believe me when I say that the three Southern gentlemen who spoke their piece on your April 11 cover are not typical of our attitude towards the colored race or our opinions on sports. The flavor of their thoughts is reminiscent of electioneering in Mississippi hamlets. You may have offended custom, such as it is, but you're on the winning side again—this time the right one!
I, A TRUE SOUTHERNER
I am embarrassed beyond words and infuriated to the point of battle, concerning those letters from the good Americans in Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas who thought your cover was "racial propaganda" and "an insult to white women."
As background, allow me to state that I am a native North Carolinian. I lived for 21 years in the same South as these caustic readers, attended an all-white school, rode in the front of the buses, ate and went where I pleased. My ancestors fought on the same side in the Civil War as did theirs, and they got the same tar beat out of them just like all the rest. I, a true Southerner who have lived in New York less than two years, am still admiring what I think is one of the most democratic typically sportsmanlike covers ever printed.
Willie Mays is an American baseball player first, last and always. He waves no flags, he stirs no trouble, his teammates like him, he has no axes to grind. He is the personification of liberty, initiative, democracy and fair play. Willie is a top-notch baseball player; his only discriminations are against opposing pitchers, his only philosophy is to play good, clean baseball.
NORWOOD W. POPE
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
May 1, 1955
THOSE NEGATIVE REACTIONS
After reading the letters of Messrs. F.M. Odom, E.F. Webb, T.B. Kelso and A.C. Dunn in THE 19TH HOLE (SI, April 25), I was shocked to see that such strong negative reactions to SI's April 11 cover should prevail in this great democratic country of ours. I would like to point out to the authors how warmly the essence of their letters would be received in Moscow, Russia.
I am quite sure that when SI printed the cover there was no intention of South-baiting, recollecting the Civil War, insulting any women or spreading racial propaganda on the part of the editors, as these gentlemen claimed. As a matter of fact, the sooner the authors of these letters and people with similar feelings realize that they are wrong the better off the United States will be in the eyes of the peoples of the world who we are trying to win over to our side in the battle against Communism.
A.P.L. KNOTT JR.
I have never written to a magazine before, but I consider it my duty to do so at this time. I was disgusted at the letters concerning the cover of Willie Mays and Mrs. Leo Durocher. I may be only 15 years old but I have more common sense than any adult with those ideas.
Long Beach, N.Y.
WHAT KIND OF SPORTS?
Referring to the letters to the editor from Messrs. Odom, Webb, and Kelso and Dunn, concerning your cover of Willie Mays, Leo Durocher and Laraine Day.
To be putting it mildly, the aforementioned people are narrow-minded and absolutely poor sports on their criticism of that particular cover. I come from the South myself, and where I come from that sort of letter would be considered completely unfair. I doubt if any one of these people are more model citizens than Willie Mays and they'll have to come a long way to be as successful as he has been under the odds that he's had to face. I think that those people could do well to apologize if they are any kind of sports at all.
ROBERT M. YOUNG
I wish the postal regulations would permit me to address a few words to Messrs. Webb, Odom and Kelso; however, the issue on which they saw fit to deliver their little verbal convulsions won't be an issue too much longer, and thus is nothing on which to waste my deathless prose.
MORE POWER TO YOU ALL
I, for one, would like to venture an opinion that SI's cover was an excellent example of candid photography, and see nothing insulting, unsportsmanlike, or affectionate, for that matter, in it.
So I say, more power to you all and your sporting magazine. In the variety of items which you cover, and the unprejudiced way in which this is accomplished, maybe it will bring to the more sporting population a feeling of comradeship and good will. It seems we have more than our share of ill feeling in this world of ours today.
When I first saw SI's April 4 issue I at once sent a telegram of congratulations.
Since that time I have also read with interest the report Herb Wind did with respect to this year's tournament. Both of these stories were done in such a fashion that I wish to compliment not only the author but also the others of your organization. I don't believe I have ever known an instance when a tournament story caused such a great deal of favorable comment.
Both Bob Jones and I feel that the first article deserves to be classified as the best thing of its kind that has ever been done in connection with a golf tournament. Needless to say, both of us are quite happy that the tournament which is sponsored by this club should be singled out for such high praise.
Chairman, Executive Committee
Augusta National Golf Course
Your fine pictures and article about Bobby Jones's dream course and the Masters made me feel as if I'd played there. As an ardent golfer, I am bothered by one question about the course. Why isn't par the same on both No. 10 and No. 13 holes, since they are 470 yards long?
GILBERT M. WARREN
•No. 10, a par four, runs downhill all the way, with the green visible from the tee. The par five, No. 13, a very tricky hole indeed, is a slightly uphill dog-leg, with a stream and a formidable trap guarding the green.—ED.
WHAT IS HE SIGNALING?
What kind of ball is Catcher-Coach Bill Lobe calling for on your April 18 cover? Never have I seen a signal (note Lobe's left hand) like that.
San Mateo, Calif.
•That's no signal. Lobe, like many a regular catcher, keeps one finger on the outside for better glove control.—ED.
...Thought maybe Lobe was keeping his fingers crossed in hopes that Cleveland will win the pennant again this year.
Adams County Free Press
WHERE WERE HER FEATS?
David Richardson's article On to Australia! (SI, April 4), did not mention the feats of America's javelin champion, Karen Anderson. This girl's story is one of the best to come out of the Pan-American Games, as she only began to throw the javelin last summer.
With only five weeks' instruction by Boo Morcom, former New Hampshire track great and Assistant Track Coach at the University of Pennsylvania, Karen won the National AAU outdoor championship at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with a toss of 127 feet one inch. In Mexico, Karen threw the javelin a hefty 161' 1½" to a new Pan-American record.
Only 16 years old, Karen needs only 6 feet to break the Olympic record. We feel she will do it in the Olympic Games in Australia.
WM. DEAN BUFFINGTON
NEVER THE NATIONAL SPORT BUT...
I read Mr. Kane's story, The Amateurs Don't Groan (SI, April 18), through to the end. I found it clear and concise, yet comprehensive. It is certainly the best thing that has been published about amateur wrestling in a long time.
Because we Americans are the kind of people we are, wrestling will never become the national sport, yet it does deserve a better place in our schools and colleges for the tremendous good it is doing and can do for men and boys.
If these parents to whom Mr. Kane refers as refusing their sons permission to take part in the sport could be brought to read this article, I am sure it would have great influence in changing their decision. I have the feeling that many of them obtain their education in that line from what comes to them by TV.
It might surprise you to know that most of the grunt-and-groaners you see on your screen would much prefer to be wrestling on the level and to stick to straight wrestling. But promoters have found out that most fans do not want the real thing but an act. I speak from personal experience, having been both a wrestler and a promoter.
Director of Athletics
ONE EASY LESSON
This is the first real article on amateur wrestling that I have ever seen come out in a national widely read publication. In my opinion the article has been very well prepared by Mr. Kane. It is short, concise and to the point—no beating around the bush—it's a quick course in "how to understand amateur wrestling in one easy lesson." It certainly should serve as an eye opener for the "channel changing" public if they'll only take time to read it. Still there will be those who will scoff at "only" nine minutes of wrestling—"Why, only last night Ollie the Ogre and Vernon the Vermin rasseled one hour to a draw."...
ALDEN H. BURNHAM
University of Delaware
SO I SIMMERED HIM DOWN
Late yesterday evening the telephone rang with that persistent raucousness Long Distance uses as a signal in this village. I took down the receiver.
"Mother?" It was the excited voice of my 17-year-old son calling from St. Andrew's School, Sewanee, Tenn. "I know this is expensive, but I had to let you know right away.... I just came from the bookstore, and I was looking at a magazine, a real sports magazine, and plastered all over the bottom of two pages are pictures of Sam, my brother Sam, in wrestling holds. I got the mag right here in my hand. Mother, you just got to see them."
I simmered him down a little and said, "I want to see the pictures. Tell me the name of the magazine that has them."
He did. And then he said, "Mother, I wish you'd read the story. It's the best stuff I ever read on amateur wrestling. It's just what we have been trying to tell you all along, but we just couldn't make you see. It's a real fine story."
I drove to Deland, bought the last copy available at the magazine shop and turned to SI's article, The Amateurs Don't Groan. I enjoyed the action drawings of my son Sam, and I agree on the story. It made sense to me and came near explaining for the first time why two of our boys chose wrestling teams as their energy outlet and pleasure.
Though Tom wrestles on high school varsity at St. Andrew's and Sam wrestles on varsity at Columbia U., I've never seen a match. The few bouts I've had to see on TV sickened me and seemed bestial. So thank you for making me see what the amateur sport represents.
Orange City, Fla.
It was welcome news to read that we $2 bettors are in for a better break when we go racing in the future. But if racing is supposed to be the No. 1 paid spectator sport in America, shouldn't the attendance figure be closer to 30 million instead of three million?
F.H. VON STADE
•Yes, it should have been 30 million. Our proofreader has taken off his blinkers.—ED.
A TRUE PHOTOGRAPHER
In the April 11 issue of SI I read of the death of Camilla Koffler, better known as Ylla. She was a truly good photographer.
Would you please list the 12 books written by her?
•Harper & Brothers brought out Ylla's Two Little Bears; Animals in Africa; Cats; Dogs; They All Saw It; The Sleepy Little Lion; Tico-Tico; and The Duck. Animals was published by Hastings House; Big and Little: Animals by Scribner; and Dogs by Farrar, Straus: Two books appeared in England only. Ylla's Animals (Methuen) and Ylla's illustrations for Julian Huxley's Animal Language (Country Life Press).—ED.
YOU ADDED INSULT TO INJURY
I, for one, do not consider 52 words in your March 21st SCOREBOARD section to be sufficient coverage of the 200-mile American Motorcycle Association national championship race at Daytona Beach, Florida. Adding insult to injury, SI, April 4 features two pages on "Motorcyclists Choose Their New Queen," which is completely irrelevant to the more interesting and vital story of the races themselves.
As a personal friend of Bradley Andres, the new national champion and record-holder from San Diego, I urge you to correct this oversight. Perhaps this background information will help.
Brad is 19 years old, which makes him the youngest expert motorcycle champion in history. All his previous racing experiences are in the novice and in the amateur classes, in which he won numerous honors. The AMA 200-mile national event was his first major race as an "expert" rider, however. And, he not only won the race but did it by riding his Harley-Davidson to a new record of 94.57 mph against men with years more experience. Furthermore, Brad is a personable, intelligent young man who is serious about his future, as attested to by the fact that he enrolled at San Diego Junior College.
As a Californian, I take pride in the fact that all three of the winners of the first three places were residents of this state—Jimmy Phillips of South Pasadena, who finished second to Brad Andres; and Johnny Gibson of Duarte, who finished third.
Please do not consider this to be a condemnation of your fine publication. I realize that an editor's lot is not an easy one. As a regular reader of SI, I have enjoyed many of your fine articles. My main concern in writing, however, is to give credit where credit is due—to Brad Andres, the new 200-mile motorcycling champion.
San Diego, Calif.
OBTAIN YOUR LICENSE HERE
I have a real beef: too many people read SI in general and 19TH HOLE in particular! Some weeks ago I gave a Backseat Driver's License to Pete Hollis of Cooperstown, N.Y., which he sent to you for forwarding to Backseat Driver Branch Rickey. You promptly printed it in 19TH HOLE, March 28 and what happened? Poor old Hollis has been buried with a flood of letters from people all over the U.S.A. wanting a similar license. Citizens from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and Texas, among others, have written in for the license and a couple of letters have even asked the price per hundred. Hollis got tired of handling the volume of mail and has turned it over to me. After all, he says, I started it all.
I'm game to oblige the good people who want them, provided they enclose 6¢ for postage and envelopes. Come and get them.
THOSE FASCINATING LITTLE HOUNDS
On behalf of basset hound lovers everywhere I would like to congratulate you on the very fine pictures and article, The Tewksbury Foot Bassets (SI, March 14).
I should like to point out that basset hounds are definitely a different type dog—once you own one of these fascinating little hounds no other member of the canine kingdom will satisfy you as a pet, companion, hunter and general allround pal....
Once again, thank you for publishing the excellent article on the Tewksbury Foot Bassets as well as the interesting and informative article on the Westminster Dog Show (SI, Feb. 14).
RUTH M. TURNER
The Basset Hound Club of Northern California
West Sacramento, Calif.
OUTBOARD RACING COMPETITION
Having just returned from Florida, I am very pleased to note your coverage of the St. Petersburg outboard race (SI, March 21). Championship class outboard racing is all too often overlooked by the press. It is nevertheless of genuine public interest, since it features the fastest equipment, the most experienced drivers, and is open to all makes of motors.
Congratulations to SI for giving a well-merited publicity break to a grand old (some of the drivers are of the third generation) sport.
For the record, however, it should be noted that any competition between Bud Wiget and myself "(Wiget and Tenney battle it out for Southern outboard honors," " 'We'll have to continue to feud with Tenney next year,' he [Wiget] grinned"), was not quite of the order denoted by your article. Bud will be the first to acknowledge that the writer was in fact over-all winner at the St. Petersburg regatta...and the record shows that the writer was over-all high point winner at Lakeland, Lake Lafred and Punta Gorda.
Credit should have been given to Doug Creech, Mabry Edwards, Bob Cramer and other drivers who beat the writer more often and more thoroughly, with equal class equipment, than the single heat victory which the record shows for Bud.
Heartiest congratulations are due to Bud Wiget, however, for a fine showing in breaking the Class F Hydro competition record at St. Petersburg and the Class C Service Runabout record at Lakeland, and for winning the Col. Green Star Island Trophy for the greatest number of points amassed in any one class in the Grapefruit Circuit, in this case in Class C Service Runabouts.
Thanks again to SI for running such a fine article on what to many of us is the finest sport of all.
I have just received the April 4th issue. I think the chapter from the book Korean Boy is one of the best stories I have ever read.
Great Neck, N.Y.
PLUG FOR A FRIEND
Being able to consider myself one of the charter subscribers to SI, I would like to put in a plug for that heartwarming short story, My Friend, My Playmate.
Plenty of human interest here—keep them coming.
GEORGE A. SANFORD
Enjoy all your stories but especially My Friend, My Playmate. It is really a most moving and heartwarming story to read.