A SPOT OF SUNLIGHT
Your recent articles on boxing promoters Norris and D'Antoni support, the great mass of evidence pointing to boxing as one of the most corrupt, unsavory, criminal, dishonest "sports" of all time.
Congratulations on your forthright reporting. It must dismay you, as sports lovers, to have to report and record such sordid facts.
Keep up the good work. Additional articles of the type you have done on the "big" men of boxing can help to bring sunlight into a dark spot.
JOHN P. SWANSON
Glen Head, N.Y.
THE NEST EGG AND I
I am so appalled at your (ugh) article, Subject: Blaise D'Antoni (SI, June 27), that I am quite speechless, which may I assure you is very seldom. On counting, I found D'Antoni used the pronouns "I" or "my" 120 times, "money" or a specific sum 42 times. If the love of "me-I" and "money" means the life of a "cultured" man, I'm glad my husband brings home a $66.82 paycheck each week.
After reading the excellent story by Robert H. Boyle on Blaise D'Antoni, I guess it would be pretty hard to say what the New Orleans promoter, with his unlimited funds, would do next. Tell me, though, did he buy his 11-year-old daughter 15 real leopards, or those of the toy variety? At first reading, one would think they were the latter, but doesn't the possibility exist that D'Antoni is equipping his boxing jungle for an invasion by the lions and tigers from other sections of the country?
•When D'Antoni told his daughter to "go and play with the leopards," he was merely telling her to run off and play with the stuffed, or F.A.O. Schwartz, species.—ED.
Can't remember when I've enjoyed a story as much as the one SI ran entitled Subject: Blaise D'Antoni. Laughed for almost three days.
HARRY DEL GRANDE
IN HIS STEPS
About Bannister's literary work (SI, June 20, 27): I think it was great. I have run the mile on occasion, and from Bannister's description, I was able to live every step of his two greatest races with him. Anyone who has not run a competitive mile just doesn't realize what the runner goes through—the mental punishment is far worse than the physical punishment. In my opinion, Bannister did an excellent job of describing his mental tortures and the great lift he got from victory.
RUNNER AND WRITER
I am indeed indebted to SI for printing Roger Bannister's autobiography—a remarkable piece of writing by an amazing young man....
EDMUND S. CARPENTER
RUNAWAY BEST SELLER
It would be a marked understatement to say that Roger Bannister's story offered both enjoyment and inspiration, for it offered the ultimate in both. I do not believe that anyone who failed to receive an inspiration from Bannister's writings could profess to be a true sports fan, much less a track fan.
Bannister's feats are even more awesome when you stop to realize that he is one of the few true amateurs in this era of high-pressure, win-or-else sports. I believe that all athletes would do well to heed Bannister's ideas and ideals.
The only regret that I have is that when Bannister became an autobiographer he also became a professional athlete, removing any possibility of his ever again participating in amateur athletics. Thus the sports world has lost a great champion but has gained a sportsman and author who will serve as an inspiration and guide to all athletes.
•Roger Bannister, SI's Sportsman of the Year, announced his retirement from all competitive running several months before completing his autobiography.—ED.
THE FAN IN THE CORNER
I read with much enthusiasm your article on "Williams' Corner" in SI (E & D, July 4).
It certainly makes a small-town fellow feel pretty good when he reads his name in a magazine such as yours.
FRANCIS A. MORIARTY
WHAT, NO PENMANSHIP?
We are pleased to read that you have been in correspondence with two registered Morgan horses (19th HOLE, June 27), but we are not surprised, as Morgans are world famous for their versatility. The forthcoming National Morgan Horse Show at Northampton, Mass. does not include any classes in penmanship, but it will illustrate the accomplishments of this amazing breed of horse. Each horse must perform all the class requirements (and it is remarkable that a show horse can run a quarter-mile, trot a quarter-mile and pull a weighted stoneboat like any common draft horse).
Morgans are primarily a family horse, due to their steady dispositions, easy keeping qualities and the ability to do anything, including reading SI and writing letters to the editors.
SUSAN P. ANNIS
•We will be in Northampton July 29th to get it straight from the horse's mouth.—ED.
NO. 1 GUEST
May I be one of the first to receive a guest card to Happy Knoll Country Club?
•Jerry Conklin-Litts is hereby extended Guest Membership No. 1 (see cut).—ED.
VITRIOL AT HAPPY KNOLL
John Marquand certainly drove a long straight one off the first tee at Happy Knoll (SI, June 27). Looks like he is going to beat par on the new course.
Haven't enjoyed his particular brand of sapid vitriol so much since those two pieces he wrote some years ago about the winter colony in the Bahamas.
H. E. HARRINGTON
•For another savory serving of Marquand vitriol, see page 35.—ED.
Your magazine is required reading in our home, where my eldest son and I discuss it at length.
A question, please. In the June 20 Ben Hogan article Miss Dreyspool quotes Ben as referring to certain clubs as "Nickels." Wasn't Hogan referring to the fine old line of wooden-shafted Butchart-Nicholl irons? If so, your copy desk needs an old gaffer or two to Remember When. If not, my apology.
•Neither Nickels nor Nicholls, those clubs were made by George Nicoll of Leven, Scotland.—ED.
ROBERT T. AND ROBERT TRENT
In SI's April 4 Masters Preview, Bobby Jones, the golfer, was listed as the architect of the Masters. That, I think, is clear, but then in your National Open preview (SI, June 20) there was an article by Robert Trent Jones, who made the course tough. What confuses me is the fact that both articles call their Joneses, Robert T. Jones, except that in the Open preview it was Robert Trent and not just the initial. Could you please help clear this up for me with a little information on the two (provided that two is correct)? Are they both architects?
Eau Claire, Wisc.
•Robert Tyre Jones Jr. is Bob Jones, the championship golfer of the 1920s. SI referred to him and to Clifford Roberts as the architects of the Masters Tournament (that is, as the men who built the tournament into the classic it has become). Robert Trent Jones is the noted architect of golf courses, who rebuilt the Olympic Club course at San Francisco for this year's Open. The two men are friends, and worked together in improving the 11th and 16th holes at Bob Jones's Augusta National course. They are resigned to the confusion sometimes caused by the similarity of their names—ED.
MESSRS. WIDENER, SWOPE AND THE $2 BETTOR
A belated letter, inasmuch as this comes from the Land of the Midnight Sun, but I can't help commenting on the recent articles and subsequent letters about one of my favorite sports, horse racing.
First there was an article about the projected changes in Belmont Park (SI, April 25) and a little later (May 9) HOTBOX dealt with the best and worst tracks in the country. The Messrs. Widener and Swope and the Westchester Racing Association should have looked this over very carefully.
However, the two-dollar bettor might do well to read those articles over also. Jockey Glassner was brash enough to call a spade a spade when he said Dade Park was the worst. I worked with a string of 32 head there in '38 (Dr. C. N. Finch) and during the 30-day meet wound up with eight lame horses shipped to the farm with bowed tendons. You'll note the majority of the jocks picked Belmont the best for the very reasons the management is considering changing: large wide turns, no crowding, plenty of racing room, etc. The Widener Chute gives the little guy in the stands the best run for his money and is the best training ground for 2-year-olds in the country. I've seen fields of 24 or more green horses pound down that stretch unhampered and untried to pay off at no more than 6 or 8 to 5 because the public had faith in the type of track and in the conditions under which they were running.
If these so-called improvements go into effect, Belmont may end up with two half-mile ovals (one under lights, no doubt) with hard surfaces to get more speed records (the public of today seems to be getting record happy). The mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes may go out as a result of this demand. Considered strictly old school, it may be revised to two¾-mile events (both add up to 12 furlongs and twice as much betting, you see).
Congratulations on your wonderful magazine; it's the most popular thing of its kind in the outfit. The complete coverage reaches everybody and the mature manner of writing is more than appreciated.
SFC. ROBERT WINTER
ENTER SPEAR CARRIER
I've been reading SI for many months now but I can't recall seeing any articles or pictures on spearfishing. I never knew anything about this fascinating sport until I accompanied Mr. Jerome Hines, basso of the Metropolitan Opera, and his wife on a trip to North Carolina.
Mr. Hines is quite the expert! These sheepshead (see cut) were caught off the "Huron" wreck at Nags Head, N.C.
Let's see more on spearfishing in future issues.
South Orange, N.J.
MARY HAD A LITTLE RACKET
Please let me correct an all-too-common error which sends shudders down the spines of tennis players and racket stringers. Since finest quality lamb's gut is used in the stringing of rackets, I suggest that Glenn Pritchard's poem (SI, June 27) should be amended as follows:
A lamb watching tennis
Stars really whack it
Said, "Thank goodness
I'm not in that racket!"
JAMES L. COX
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
•Poetic license notwithstanding, the dictionary definition of catgut is: "a tough cord made from the intestines of sheep," and even adds that there is no indication that catgut was ever made from cats.—ED.
Because of that down-to-earth article about Archie Moore by William H. White (SI, June 20), the fight between Moore and Olson took on a human side.
When I read the article, I suffered along with Moore on that agonizing diet.
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
LOOK, MA, WRONG HAND!
I am sending this letter by air mail to be among the first to inform you that Ken Rosewall—"Australia's little left-hander" (SI, June 27)—is a right-hander.
LEMAN S. BAKER
Texas City, Texas
STOP, HOOK & SLICE
In your PAT ON THE BACK for Chick Evans of Golf, Ill. (SI, June 13) you say "Trains no longer stop at Golf." At least 20 trains stop each day which, of course, is why the railroad maintains the picturesque station shown in one of your photographs.
You wrote that on dedication day (May 20) "actually the engineer forgot [to stop], overshot the station, had to back up." He's forgiven you, since, as he acknowledges, there are things about editing not entirely clear to him. But he didn't overlook the orders the engine crews and train crews had received. Piloting the Olympian Hiawatha, the Milwaukee Road's Seattle-bound speed-liner, he approached the unscheduled stopping place at a clip too fast for a comfortable stop and rather than apply the brakes too heavily he "ran by," then, protected by automatic signals and a sign from the rear brakeman, quickly backed the train, to the delight of the throng assembled on the station platform.
FRANK J. NEWELL
•Golf is a scheduled stop for the Milwaukee Road's commuting trains. The through trains no longer stop there, as they formerly did, to let Chicago executives off for an afternoon round.—ED.
AMERICANS IN FRANCE
Captioning a photograph of Cunningham at Le Mans (SI, June 13), you state: "U.S. hopes for its first Le Mans victory will be riding again this year with Briggs Cunningham, whose third and fifth place with his C4R design last year was the best ever by a U.S. team."
The first American victory at Le Mans occurred in 1921. That year, Jimmy Murphy piloted his three-liter Duesenberg to first place at an average speed of 78.1 mph. Both car and driver were American. This success, incidentally, marked something of a turning point for everyone concerned. Returning home, Murphy won our own Indianapolis 500 in 1922.
I do not mean to imply that your mistake is an intentional affront to an outstanding car and driver. Your oversight, though, is no less pardonable when one recalls that your issue of February 14 contained a picture of Murphy and his mount during the same '21 Le Mans race that they won.
GORDON C. ACKERMAN
Albany, New York
•Murphy won a different race in 1921—the French Grand Prix, which was only 30 laps (321 miles) around the course at Le Mans. SI was referring to the Grand Prix of Endurance, which lasts 24 hours. It was run for the first time in 1923.—ED.
SPEED, SKILL & SAFETY
In the June 27 issue, Mr. Aldo Vittadini, writing from Italy, refers to the Indianapolis 500 as "...the crawling about that oval at speeds attainable by a reasonably good European family car...."
While such a statement was obviously made to underline Mr. Vittadini's views on the antiquity of our "brickyard," he goes rather too far. I shouldn't call the Bentley Continental merely a "reasonably good European family car"; it is perhaps the most expensive and delicately assembled member of the fast touring category and certainly the ultimate link between "family" and authentic sports machinery. Yet this fabulous creation can hardly nudge the 129 mph mark, let alone average this pace for several hours, especially after a long period of enforced reduction in speed, such as the one which followed the Vukovich accident. Alfa Romeo? Pegaso? Mercedes? What other marque builds a 129 mph family car at any price, Mr. Vittadini?
The track at Indianapolis is no more outdated than Rheims, Monaco, Le Mans or any other. As another reader, Mr. Robert H. Hellmann, points out, the 1955 deaths (and probably most of any other high speed racing fatalities) could have occurred just as readily at 60 mph as at 160 mph. The relatively flat turns at Indianapolis require a technique at speed altogether different from that used on bobsled banked corners. The Indianapolis course stands unique. Routes hemmed in by shops and houses, or public roads also carrying normal traffic, are fairly common in Europe.
Brute power and speed can win only so much of a race; driving skill must sooner or later be taken into account. Any course has a maximum speed limitation and to ignore this invites disaster. But what is to be gained by making courses easier if driving ability is made less important and higher speeds are a foregone conclusion?
Possibly Mr. Albert D. Trager, who also comments on the 500, has a point in suggesting an engine formula attractive to European competition, but, more important, also drawing more attention to each driver's ability. Competition between driver and driver instead of between engine and metal fatigue ought to permit the use of tactics and strategy, and thus give a reason for the 500.
Make the driver-skill obvious enough and perhaps more fans will become enthusiastic about racing.
ROGER T. PATTERSON