NO 3-YEAR-OLD CHAMPION?
I have refrained from joining in the discussions of Belmont's gross failure to let a fellow change his mind (always provided he ever wanted to change his mind) about running a horse named Swaps here in the East.
But now, after your two-column head over John McDonald's letter (19TH HOLE, May 30) I am a little sore.
McDonald says, "I would like to persuade you to take a stronger editorial attitude toward the Swaps-Nashua affair." What affair? Swaps beat Nashua handily, in a good race. McDonald continues to say "...we won't have a 3-year-old champion." Why not? Mr. Andy Crevolin took his Determine home last spring and we had a 3-year-old champion. We've had 'em for a good many years, and many times they have not been the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Of the last nine winners of the Belmont, only one, Middleground, failed to be named champion in his year. Middleground was beaten out that autumn by Hill Prince (1950).
McDonald continues, "Yet the Belmont worthies incomprehensibly insist upon rules that prohibit supplementary nominations to the Belmont Stakes." Well, Belmont's nominations for this stake are on Feb. 15, the same date nominations close for the Derby and the Preakness. If a man wanted in the Belmont, he knew how to get in. There were 118 horses nominated by people who did know.
Why blame Belmont? Maybe Mr. Ellsworth should be blamed, unless, of course, he intended to do just what he did do—take dead aim on the Kentucky Derby and go on home with it.
As for McDonald's suggestion for supplementary nominations, it does seem to me that, since we still use early closing stakes (perhaps their usefulness is over), supplementary nominations are debatable. Personally, I don't think supplemental entries are fair to the ones who have gone along the regular way, without waiting to see whether it was worth the risk.
And all this has obscured a fine piece of horsemanship on the part of everyone connected with Swaps in Kentucky. Everyone here hopes to blazes they come East for the autumn racing. Win or lose, they'd be great to have around.
New York Racing Associations
•For the very latest on Swaps and Nashua see page 20.—ED.
THAT CRITIC OF GENIUS
If Mr. George P. Stevens of New York—whose comment (SI, May 30) on William Faulkner's report on the Kentucky Derby consisted of the phrase, "Faulkner—phooie!"—wishes to read such simple prose as any dunderhead could understand, I might refer him to the Daily Racing Form. There, the only words of more than two syllables are the names of the horses themselves. It would be a classic struggle, but I think Mr. Stevens might fight his way through.
Possibly Mr. Stevens would have liked to punch Albert Einstein in the nose, since the great Stevens seems to favor the abolishment of everything which his brain cannot fathom.
Writers are hired to write, not to cater to the elementary taste which is apparently so abundant in this Gotham grumbler.
Criticism of genius is the trademark of the ignoramus.
•Thanks, but mind your words about the Daily Racing Form, an eminently literate sheet which paid tribute to Faulkner in a trackside interview at Churchill Downs.—ED.
NICE GUYS PAY THE PRICE
Your articles on Leo Durocher (SI, May 23, et. seq.) are fascinating...the note which strikes me most about the account of Leo the Lip is his statement, "Nice guys finish last."
Now I think "Nice guys finish last" poses the enigma of all existence. A number of spiritual mentors preach the philosophy that good deeds will be returned and many of us expect to be treated in kind on this earth. Others suggest that the rewards lie in heaven only, that goodness on earth cannot necessarily be expected to produce equal earthly rewards. But Lippy and many others don't think so.
Durocher exemplifies the man who sets out to achieve a single goal, giving little thought to simultaneously achieving others and disregarding consequences not immediately related to the achievement of the single goal.
Nice guys might finish last, but it takes one devil of a lot of nice guys to keep the world on an even keel so the guys who aren't so nice get a chance to win. And, as aptly illustrated in the Durocher biography, it's the nice guys and gals who pay the price for his victory.
KARL E. BRANDT
THE FACTS, PLEASE
In Part I of the Durocher Story (SI, May 23), Mr. Shaplen is evidently preparing a movie script with an all-star cast—"Cobb was on first and Tris Speaker was at bat."
In the words of Dragnet's Joe Friday, give us the facts, please. What team was this with Cobb and Speaker in the same outfield?
JOHN S. SPEAR
•Here are the facts, Sir: it was the 1928 Philadelphia Athletics. Cobb, after 22 years with Detroit, went to Philadelphia in '27. Speaker joined the A's in 1928 after playing nine years for Boston, 11 for Cleveland and one for Washington. Tris Speaker was then 40, Cobb 42, and it turned out to be the last major league year for both. Dum-Da-Dum-Dum.—ED.
TEE AND SYMPATHY
Mr. Wind's report on the 15th Walker Cup match at St. Andrews (SI, May 30) was in his usual excellent manner and, as usual, I enjoyed it very much. In my opinion it is the shot-to-shot description, sometimes mentioning the type of club used, that makes these articles especially interesting to the average golfer. Before you know it, you find yourself playing his shots, and when he sprays one—you sympathize with him and yourself.
I also enjoyed the picture of the course, and SI didn't break what seems to be an unwritten law against showing any "warmth" in that particular course. It is the coldest-looking place that I have ever seen.
GEORGE J. BUSER, JR.
Mr. Herbert Warren Wind has written a very fine article on the Walker Cup match. His feature left no other thought in my mind than that of participating with him in observing the match.
DONALD M. CAMPBELL
There is an old Latin saying that goes something like this: Morituri Te Salutamus! meaning "We who are about to die salute you." At the rate boxing is going it might be a good idea to say it. A few years ago I thought that the sport of boxing was clean, in and out of the ring. I can thank SI for teaching me what kind of a sport boxing really is. I guess this is all history to you. After all, you know who all the crooks are as well as I do. I just hope you will be in on the kill.
FOR THE RECORD
In the wrestling piece It's a Gaudy Show (SI, April 11), you mentioned the title match between Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt of 1908 in Chicago and said the match went an hour and nothing approaching a hold had been gained by either man.
For your information, my older brother and I, both now living here in Los Angeles, were at that match. It took less than three minutes and Gotch had Mr. Hackenschmidt on his back and the match was over.
It is possible your writer was not even born at the time, so let's keep the record straight.
CLARENCE H. BUSH
•SI's account of the 1908 Gotch-Hackenschmidt match is correct. Mr. Bush's memories are probably of the only other time the two met: in 1911 Gotch threw his man in 14 minutes and walked off the winner in an additional 16 minutes.—ED.
THAT HILL IN OUR BACKYARD
I was most interested in SI's issues containing Tenzing's story.
Tenzing came here to St. Joseph's College recently to show us films of the two Swiss expeditions of '52 and slides of the British expedition of '53. We told him of the first impact in Darjeeling of SI's articles, especially his account of reaching the summit, and he was delighted.
Many feared Ullman's efforts would perpetuate bitterness about the Everest climb; but rather they dealt it a death blow. The passage about who got there first belongs to the ages.
You may be interested in a new sport: telescopically searching for and watching climbers wrestling with a 28,000-foot summit. Just now Dr. Evans' party is on Kanchenjunga, 45 miles from here but fully in our field of vision. We have a 9-inch reflector telescope trained on camps 4, 5 and 6. Clouds interfere often, and it's a gamble whether we'll see the final assault at the top.
The enclosed snapshot shows the school and hill in our backyard, Kanchenjunga.
M. STANFORD, S. J.
•For the latest news from Father Stanford's backyard see page 11. The complete account of Kanchenjunga's conquest, written for SI by Dr. Charles Evans, leader of the successful expedition, will appear in an early issue.—ED.
TWO LITTLE LINES?
When I first read about SI, I thought it was the answer to one of my personal prayers. You see, I am a motorcycle enthusiast and I thought at last I would be able to get motorcycle race results within a week instead of waiting, in some cases, as long as a month. But, alas, not so. In your schedule of coming events you cover the motorcycling field fairly well, but the following week you never give the results. A recent example of this was the National Grand Prix races on Catalina Island, which took place on a Saturday and Sunday and could easily have been reported in the issue for the following week. Mind you, I am not hitting the ceiling like some have done because you did not cover their favorite sport, because I realize that motorcycling is considered a relatively minor sport by most people and has a very limited national appeal. I suffer in silence while page after page of color coverage is given baseball, tennis, track, etc.
I can't expect baseball-type coverage; I just want a little two-or three-line item in some inconspicuous place way in the back, hidden behind a beer ad or the like. You give big coverage to most of the big auto events, which is right; but some of the motorcycling events are just as important.
There is one group of races coming up soon that I wish you would make a special effort to report. They are the International Tourist Trophy races to be held on the Isle of Man on June 6, 8 and 10. The races are the most important motorcycle events in the world, and I hope you will see fit to treat them accordingly.
In closing let me say that you have a great magazine. Let's just make it a little more well-rounded. Since it is exclusively a sports magazine, let's put everybody's sport in it.
GUY B. HOLT JR.
•SI reported the ordeal of at least one winner at Catalina in WONDERFUL WORLD, June 6. We are well aware of that important Isle of Man race, but also note that this is the week of the Le Mans sports car classic in France, the Yale-Army vs. Oxford-Cambridge track meet in London, the Canada Cup golf tournament in Washington, a bantamweight title fight in Los Angeles, a Yankees-Indians double-header in Cleveland and the Belmont Stakes in New York. But Mr. Holt can count on seeing the Tourist Trophy results in SCOREBOARD.—ED.
WHO WAS THIS MAN?
On June 23, 1875 a man died and was buried in the little town of Gamlakarleby, Finland. On June 23, 1955 the citizens of Gamlakarleby will commemorate this date and honor this man by placing a new stone, with an inscription, on his grave.
Who was this man who is being so honored, 80 years after his death, by people who could not possibly have known him in his lifetime? A great writer, poet, musician, scientist? Or, perhaps, a statesman or a man renowned in war? He was none of these. His name was Jackson Haines and he was an American. And why is he remembered? The inscription on the stone to be placed on his grave will tell. It will read: "In remembrance of the American Skating King."
I do not know exactly where you could find much factual data about Jackson Haines or his life. I have read that he was born in the Middle West, lived much of his life in New York and went to Europe in 1864. Irving Brokaw, in his book The Art of Skating, published about 1919, says, "In 1864 Jackson Haines went abroad and electrified all Europe with his figure skating and remained there until his death." He goes on to say, "The International Style, which some persons ignorantly consider to be a product of the other side [Europe], is in reality the European development of American skating, carried to the Continent in the winter of 1864-65 by Jackson Haines of New York, who was a dancing master and who had less enthusiasm than his contemporaries [the New York Skating Club and the Philadelphia Skating Club and the Canadian Skaters] for the invention of one-foot, continuous figures, many of them made in small, kicked circles."
So, when Sonja Henie came to America in 1935 and gave new life to figure skating here, she was merely repaying us for what Jackson Haines had done in 1864. And it is a noteworthy coincidence that at the present time the figure skating champion of the world is Hayes Alan Jenkins of Colorado College who is a worthy successor of Jackson Haines and well deserving of the title, American Skating King.
There are not many people who are remembered and honored 80 years after they have passed away and you would have to think awfully hard to find any sports figures among them. But little Gamlakarleby, Finland remembers The American Skating King and will pay him honor on June 23, 1955. I think that is news and I hope you do too.
HARRY N. KEIGHLEY
•Jackson Haines not only developed the major movements used in figure skating today (the sit spin is officially called the Jackson Haines spin), but also pioneered modern skate design.
The American Skating King was born in 1840 to a well-to-do New York family. An energetic, dapper young man with blue eyes and curly chestnut hair, he cut a fancy figure on Eastern rinks, becoming U.S. Champion in 1863.
Haines's contemporaries admired his innovation of skating freely and gracefully to music and his adoption of leaps and paces from the ballet, but themselves stuck firmly to hacking around the rink in stiff and apprehensive circles.
In 1864 Haines took his ideas to Europe. London received him with mild interest; Stockholm and other Scandinavian cities were enthusiastic and in Vienna the man and the moment met: Haines invented the art of waltzing on skates. His flowing, continuous style of linking one figure into the next led to the development of the Vienna school of skating, from which emerged the International Style. For 11 years Haines reigned as a European celebrity. Rinks and babies were named in his honor; decorations and distinctions were showered on him. In 1876, while traveling by sled from St. Petersburg to Stockholm, Jackson Haines was caught in a snowstorm, developed pneumonia and died shortly thereafter.—ED.
ORCHIDS ALL AROUND
John Bentley has done a remarkable job in reporting the splendid sports car races at Cumberland, Md. I, for one, am pleased that you are paying such close attention to this wonderful, fast-growing, amateur sport.
One orchid is certainly deserved—and that to the Chief Pit Steward, Steele Roberts of Pittsburgh, who marshaled all those temperamental cars (284) and drivers (272) with hardly a hitch and on time every time. Even the accident during the 10th race held up the schedule only 10 minutes—and the 11th race was over practically on time.
So, with "America's biggest event ever" and a record turnout of competitors and spectators—WATCH OUT, WATKINS GLEN!
STANLEY R. MARCH
THE RETURN OF BERNARD HONAN
Last fall, in all innocence, I wrote you a letter (which you published) complaining that I, the TV football viewer, was low man on the football totem pole. Much to my amazement it produced several months of acrimonious debate in your columns over the NCAA's stand on televised football, in which my name appeared repeatedly, generally as a loathsome adjective. Bernard Honan, many of your readers said in effect, is a jerk. Let him get up from his chair in front of the TV set and get out to the football games he wants to see, even if the fresh air kills him.
Well, thanks in small part to my sounding off and your continued interest in the subject, I am no longer the low man on the totem pole. The morning paper shows an AP dispatch saying that the Big Ten conference has signed a contract with CBS to televise five first-rate games on the regional basis agreed to by the NCAA. It's getting pretty hot around here, but my thoughts have winged beyond summer to the wonderful fall afternoons in front of the TV set watching such teams as Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan. I owe it primarily to you.
BAREFOOT TO DES MOINES
It may come as something of a shock to Brooklyn's Carl Furillo when he learns that, while doing pasture patrol for the Flatbushers, somebody done moved his home town out to the corn country. One of the office girls on our staff lives a stone's throw from Carl's old stomping grounds, and if she commutes daily between here and Iowa, I'll walk barefooted to Des Moines (and I'm not a country boy!).
Putting Stony Creek Mills in Iowa is like putting Reader Taylor's Stovall in North Dakota.
•A typesetter's finger slipped an inch and moved Stony Creek Mills from Pa. to Ia.—ED.