SWAPS VS. NASHUA
There is only one way to settle this Swaps-Nashua match-race controversy and that is to have the race. Thank goodness SI has seen to that.
It will be a great race—I'd sure like to see it!
E. E. ANDERSON JR.
At Home with Swaps in California and CONVERSATION PIECE: Subject: Meshach Tenney (SI, July 18) were wonderful articles. Undoubtedly, you will receive innumerable letters from irate eastern breeders, criticizing Mr. Ellsworth's unconventional horse-raising methods, so I thought it best to write this note of wholehearted approval.
And isn't Swaps a perfect example of the soundness of Mr. Ellsworth's theories?
Newport Beach, Calif.
July 31, 1955
I have worked for quite a few stables (especially Mrs. Graham's) and I have seen a lot of good horses, going back to Whirl-away, Count Fleet, Alsab, First Fiddle, Citation, Bon Jour, Lucky Draw and a lot of other topnotchers. Swaps reminds me of them. The more he runs the better he gets and a lot of wise trainers will agree, Sir.
I cannot go along with the Easterners on Nashua although I am not taking anything away from him because he is truly a fine thoroughbred. In my opinion, though, he is not as good as Swaps. Swaps is the nearest thing to Count Fleet and Lucky Draw. My salute to Swaps and Shoemaker.
A3C WALTER D. YOUNG, USAF
Lowry Air Force Base, Calif.
I am sure that Nashua will defeat Swaps when he meets him. Swaps is a great horse but I didn't like it when I saw in your July 18 issue that some people from California are comparing him to Man o' War. I don't think there has been a horse yet who could defeat Big Red.
How could Nashua lose with a jockey like Eddie Arcaro riding him?
A HANDFUL OF DUST
Anyone who thinks Nashua could beat the greatest horse of all time is wrong. All Willie Shoemaker would have to do is crack the whip lightly and Swaps would run and leave Nashua in the dust.
In my opinion Nashua is racing's Chuck Davey, who came to fame via TV.
Swaps runs against older horses on the West Coast and still comes home the winner. Watch him roll in the match race in Chicago.
WORTH 1,000 WORDS
WILL SOMETHING HAPPEN?
Just because Swaps doesn't parade himself around the eastern circuit, some of your readers think he is unknown. Maybe I should deny the existence of Nashua. After all, he has never run in California for me to see!
I fail to see how anyone can make such inapt statements in a national magazine and get them printed. Swaps is the champion and will remain the champion until something happens to disprove it and that something isn't Nashua.
DON M. LESHER
HOW TO WAKE UP SCREAMING
Since I am a staunch Arcaro and Nashua fan, I say without a doubt Swaps has little, if any, chance to win that match race.
If I remember right, California was all up in arms a year or so ago on how Correlation would run away at the Derby. So what happened? He pooped out and wound up sixth. Even Willie Shoemaker couldn't make him run.
I think Nashua will come out on top. Arcaro knows a heck of a lot more about the horse he'll ride than those people who are building their hopes on a dream that could turn out to be a nightmare.
•SI has received a flood of mail from partisans of both horses. Reader opinion has Swaps over Nashua by a 5-1 margin, but a lot of that mail comes from California.—ED.
BRAVADO AT ARLINGTON
Scoop! Scoop! Scoop! And SI is the first to hear about it. Last Saturday I was among the faithful at Arlington Park rooting Nashua into a still higher income bracket. I too made my modest profit from the race and I was able to secure a position of some advantage near the winner's circle. All felt right with this world until I glanced at Mrs. Woodward, who, with other human and equestrian dignitaries, was installed in the winner's circle. "Great Heavens!" I said to myself, "Ann is wearing the same dress that she wore on the day of the Kentucky Derby." And after SI devoted a full spread to her (WW, July 4) as the best-dressed woman, showing her in a different and highly becoming ensemble every time she and Nashua moved into the winner's circle over the '55 season.
But that's not the whole story. Mr. Woodward, who during Nashua's entire '55 season has posed wearing the same suit and the same striped neckwear, was sporting a brand-new tie (see cut).
The conclusion is obvious. Horse players, lend me your ears: Swaps will take Nashua come August 31 in Chicago. The Woodwards as good as admitted that last Saturday, when Mrs. W. made her old frock do, knowing that a new dress was not justified with old Nashua's earnings about to be curtailed drastically by Swaps.
Mr. Woodward's new necktie? Sheer bravado. He's whistling in the dark.
AN INTERESTING STORY
I am curious about the bulldog picture called "The Yale Eleven" which appeared in your July 4 issue, and which you state was by an unknown photographer and was discovered in Scotland by Fabian Bachrach.
I have the identical picture and have had it for at least 20 years and have never seen it anywhere else.
I bought it for 50¢ in a Third Avenue antique store, and on the front of my picture the photographer is shown as "Bradford," Newton, Mass. I bought it because I happened to have a couple of bulldogs and because once upon a time I played football up at New Haven.
It strikes me that Mr. Fabian Bachrach has made up a very interesting story, and while I hate to disillusion him, I am rather curious as to why the discovery of the picture would be so very remarkable, because it is obviously not of any value whatever.
OTIS L. GUERNSEY
•Mr. Bachrach thinks the picture is remarkable chiefly because, though it came from Scotland, it fits the Yale football eleven to a T—or Y. He assures Mr. Guernsey that the story was not made up, and suggests the following explanation: His father, Louis Fabian Bachrach, found the picture in Scotland about 1925 and brought it back to Newton, Mass., where the Bachrach photographic laboratories are located. At that time the Bachrachs had a subsidiary called the Bradford Greeting Card Company, also in Newton, which made a number of prints of the picture marked with the company name. One of these eventually turned up on Third Avenue, and in Mr. Guernsey's scrapbook.—ED.
SI scooped my half-dozen chess magazines with our Sammy's own Conquest of Moscow (SI, July 18). I have just had the wonderful dub pleasure of defeating the great Botvinnik with Sammy's moves, which appeared first in SI! This postal chess Goose, an Associated Press editor long retired, compliments SI on its beautiful coverage. SI, like Uncle Sam's Sammy, retains the initiative!
WILD GOOSE SCHROEDER
WHO'S A MORON?
SI, June 20 carried in the EVENTS & DISCOVERIES section an apparently pointless diatribe against the time-honored British game of cricket. Having read it through several times, I can only assume that the writer is an ignorant, prejudiced moron.
The Englishman can take criticism of his foibles—even his favorite sport—in a good-humored spirit. However, I wonder why people feel the urge to mock cricket, as I am certain the average Englishman doesn't waste his time wondering why Americans wax so enthusiastic about baseball. Too many people consider that anything foreign to their own tastes is necessarily peculiar.
As to the inane statistics supplied by John Fletcher in The Lancet, I would like both Mr. Fletcher and your gullible contributor to spend a day on the cricket field and see if they agree that hardly any energy is required to cope with a full day of fielding, bowling or batting. Both gentlemen should be referred to an article in a previous issue of SI by your own Paul Gallico, who frankly stated that in his opinion nobody could call cricket a sissy game.
Yes, Englishmen will go on watching the game with stolid joy, and if more people in this world got pleasure from such harmless things, we might be in better shape than we are today.
OVATION AND OPTIMISM
I must admit that as we get deeper and deeper into baseball season, SI gets to be more and more like the magazine I was wishing for when I got my subscription.
Paul Richards' articles are the next best thing to his book, which I now have. Preacher Roe's piece (SI, July 4) was the best you have ever printed, to my way of thinking. It was amusing, interesting, informative and well written. To top it all off in fine style, the color pictures of the American and National League players (SI, June 27, July 11) were superb.
Please keep up the good work, and I hope you can give your excellent coverage to the White Sox, about October 1.
SO MANY SLIPPERY ACTIVITIES
The amusing outcry from the idealists concerning Roe's spitball story (19TH HOLE, July 18) wouldn't have been heard except for the cosmopolitan coverage you have been able to obtain with your magazine. Any real baseball aficionado knows the whole structure of the game is founded on cutting corners; in fact, my earliest recollection of the game was the cutting of second base when the single umpire was working back of the pitcher. Of course, that was strictly bush—I believe the majors always had two umpires but, nevertheless, even in the high minors it was standard operating procedure, just as is the brushing of hips now by a third baseman when a man is trying to score from second; the kicking or bumping a ball out of a baseman's hands (as glamorized by Eddie Stanky); stealing of signals; or the "stick-it-in-his-ear" procedure to prevent toe holds.
Fundamentally, Roe did nothing different from the numerous other procedures that are proscribed but nonetheless routine in the game today. To try and make the fellow a blackguard only indicates the inexperience and lack of understanding on the part of his critics. I know this will immediately bring forth a bleat from the Rover Boys who spout the meaningless phrase, "It's not how you won or lost but how you played the game," but I believe that throughout the baseball fraternity, Durocher's "nice guys finish last" is the more often accepted principle.
What these idealists fail to understand and what the sportswriters won't write is that the game is dominated by the class so beautifully designated by Red Smith as "the fatheads who own baseball."
The management of the game is the principal cause of these many slippery activities. For example: The head guy (Frick) wants the spitter brought back; yet he's powerless to get it back, because the club owners still want the pitchers handcuffed. The recent hemming-in of the catcher on an intentional walk has brought about so many slippery activities, i.e., a deliberate and open tipping of the hitter's bat to have first base awarded for interference; letting the first baseman catch the pitched ball to draw an interference call; etc. All of these are evidence of lack of intelligence in the management of the game.
In fact, the openly insolent treatment of the baseball fan is unequaled in any other sport. If this statement is not understood, I need only mention the locking of exit gates to force early leavers to pass out by the concessions; the lack of drinking fountains to force patronage of the concessions; the failure to develop any form of communication between the umpire and the stands, except for the elementary "safe," "out," "strike" and "ball" signals (just consider the football referee's signals for example), and the generally filthy restrooms.
E. M. KERRIGAN
HE DID RIGHT
The "disgusted and nauseated" 19th HOLERS (SI, July 18) who would unfrock the Preacher have disregarded the fundamental fact that his damp sermons were delivered in full view of stadium crowds, not to mention the ever-present quartet of umpires and an eagle-eyed rival congregation.
Those who scorn Roe's "low-down trick" must have equally strong feelings against the hidden-ball caper, the duster, and the dastardly catchers and infielders who lure unwary base runners to their doom by feigning disgust with a "late" throw.
This knuckle-rapping against a player who polished his craft through the careful application of a little saliva is laughable. So long as baseball is played, pitchers will be thinking of new ways to get the batter back on the bench and vice versa. Preach only added an interesting chapter to this endless battle. We need more like him to return some of baseball's lost color.
Silver Spring, Md.
I WAS PLEASED
Some of your readers think the good name of baseball has been blackened by the story of Roe's spitball (SI, July 4). Baseball is a great game but it has no good name. How could it have one when the principle is to win any way you can? Take away the sign stealing, bench riding, body blocks made breaking up double plays, bean balls, plate crowding and many other practices and the game becomes mechanical.
It may not be cricket for an outfielder to remain silent on a trapped line-drive catch called out or for a baseman to pull the hidden-ball trick on a base runner, but it gets the side out. I do not necessarily condone Roe's spitball, but, knowing and enjoying the game, I was not shocked, just pleased by SI's good reporting.
RICHARD L. GREER
THE TIME HAS COME, SI
Your article by Dick Young on Preacher Roe's "confession" has evidently made the practice of dishonesty a controversial issue—at least if the letters to the 19TH HOLE in the July 18 issue are any criterion.
Your magazine has more than made the point as to how it stands on dishonesty in boxing, and yet Mr. Young's article, the fine reporting job not withstanding, seems to attempt to justify the Preacher in his own admitted dishonesty.
Since it was through the pages of your magazine that this situation was brought into the public's eye, I feel that you have a definite obligation to your readers to take an editorial stand on an issue that never should be an issue at all—but which you have made one.
The time has come to stand up and be counted on this one.
If cheating and dishonesty are wrong in boxing, then they are wrong in baseball or any other sport.
O.K. I'm counted—how about you?
•SI is not against the spitball as such, but a rule is a rule.—ED.
Preacher Roe's confession has aroused the general controversy that was to be expected. However, everyone seems to have missed the point that in baseball you are entitled to anything you can get away with. That is tradition, always has been, always will be, and is part of the fun of the game.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
THE WENDIGO'S AMERICAN COUSIN
Re your story on the new Canadian trout: you will be interested to know that a similar trout is now being bred at the Pennsylvania Fish Hatchery at Bellefonte. When I saw the picture of the Canadian fish I recognized the fish and thought I was about to read a story on the effort at Bellefonte. You'd better check me on this, but it may not be too long before Pennsylvanians get a crack at this beauty.
P. B. WILKINSON
•Biologists of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission have bred wendigos at the research station near Bellefonte. They call the fish splake, however, which is the name first given to the Canadian wendigos. Gordon Trembley, chief aquatic biologist at the station, says that a second generation of splake has been produced and one Pennsylvania lake has been lightly stocked with them.—ED.
CRITIC, FRIEND & COPYCAT
Congratulations on your wonderful magazine. I find I just have to write and thank you for the great photographic coverage of the swimmers attempting the treacherous Strait of Juan de Fuca. Such coincidence! No sooner had I received my issue in the mail than I heard on the radio that burly Tacoma logger Bert Thomas had finally conquered the 18-mile stretch on his fifth attempt.
But don't get the idea that I'm sending all bouquets, as I was going to write a couple of months ago and sound off about the poor coverage you gave to the Stanley Cup play-offs. I was quite disappointed, to say the least, but nevertheless I must admit that SI is still head and shoulders above everybody else in the world of sports publications, even if Gentleman Jim Norris and company don't think so.
I do not want to be a copycat, but I wonder if it would be possible for me to become a member of the Happy Knoll Country Club. I'm very envious of Fellow Reader Conklin-Litts.
•Welcome to Happy Knoll.—ED.
Just to keep Niagara history straight: in SI, July 18, there is an article on Captain Matthew Webb who attempted to swim the Niagara Rapids. It is stated that the grave of the "Shropshire lad" is in Lewiston. Captain Webb rests in Oakwood Cemetery at Niagara Falls, N.Y. alongside the graves of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and live, and Carlisle D. Graham, famed for his swims and barrel trips through the Rapids.
ORRIN E. DUNLAP JR.
Great Neck, N.Y.
•Mr. Dunlap has his history straight. After Captain Webb's unsuccessful attempt to swim the Whirlpool Rapids his body was recovered from the lower Niagara River at Lewiston and interred in Oakwood Cemetery at Niagara Falls. He was the first to be buried in what later became known as the Foolkillers' Plot: the resting place of several Niagara stunters, some of whom put on their act only once.—ED.