HE IS THE GREATEST
Your August 1 issue has changed me from a charter subscriber to a lifetime subscriber to SI. Reason: simple—your wonderful cover and CONVERSATION PIECE on Ted Williams by Joan Flynn Dreyspool, and a tremendous, wonderfully written article it was. The July 25 article on Pinky Higgins and Ted was terrific. I disagree only on one point: Williams is second to no one. He is the greatest. I guarantee your article on Williams will up your circulation by thousands. Ted is a versatile gentleman: a great pilot, a great fisherman and the greatest ballplayer of any time! I salute SI for its courage to print the truth, as Ted's following consists of little guys like myself.
POLICE OFFICER EDWARD LEO KELLY
LONG, LONG AGO
Your story about Pinky Higgins' success with the Red Sox says it is unclear just where his managerial strength lies. He is indeed quiet, patient and slow to express an opinion. May I suggest that he got that after playing under the late Uncle Billy Disch at the University of Texas, the most successful college coach in the profession?
Uncle Billy, who also was my baseball tutor during the Higgins era (although I didn't make the team), was so well adjusted that his stormiest expression was "My, my, my," and even this was said without raising his voice. His patience with youngsters paid off. Pinky must have learned from him that easy does it.
•William J. (Uncle Billy) Disch, described at the time of his death in 1953 as "a baseball perfectionist who insisted on sharp performance on the field, clean language and strict training," had a 30-season record at the University of Texas of 571 wins and 179 losses; his teams won 21 Southwest Conference championships in 26 seasons, and in a spring practice game in 1939 Texas defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1.
August 7, 1955
Mike Higgins doesn't think he imitated Mr. Disch's qualities deliberately, but he remembers him with affectionate respect. "Gosh, that was a long time ago," Higgins says. "But Uncle Billy was a real influence—a fine man and a great student of baseball."—ED.
CHEERS AT 1:40
Having climbed the Riffelhorn in July of 1953 and the Matterhorn in August of 1954, I was extremely interested in both the pictures and story of Zermatt and its mighty mountain (SI, July 25). However, your writer erred in setting July 13, 1865 as the date of that first successful, though tragic, climbing of the Matterhorn. Mr. Edward Whymper, who led the first party, wrote in his book Scrambles Amongst the Alps that success was finally achieved at 1:40 p.m. on July 14, 1865.
DAVID K. WINDER
Salt Lake City
•Reader Winder is right. Whymper and his party left Zermatt early in the morning of July 13, 1865 and reached the summit the next day. He wrote, "At 1:40 p.m. the world was at our feet and the Matterhorn was conquered! Hurrah!"-ED.
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS SWISS
Congratulations for the article about Zermatt in the July 25 issue of SI. I was there for three weeks last summer, and the pictures brought back many memories. I particularly enjoyed the picture of the Alpine meadow. We drank tea and had cake at the pension in that picture every afternoon as we walked down from Sunnegga.
Could I please be considered for membership in the Happy Knoll Country Club?
Seeing the Alpine picture of Zermatt and the distant Matterhorn on the cover of SI's July 25 issue prompted me to buy my first copy. The insatiable curiosity of the avid mountain climber for the details of a potential conquest immediately became evident as I plunked down my two bits with great anticipation.
Imagine my surprise and ebbing enthusiasm for SI when I read through the article, which must have originally been meant for a travel publication. Any mountaineer thirsting for information on the details of the climb would be hard put to get any solid facts out of the story. Certainly, from a technical standpoint, the photograph and description of Guide Julen's equipment is the best part of the article. Aside from that, the article is better suited for "those who would merely gasp at a mountain from awe rather than exertion."
As one who has done a modicum of climbing and someday hopes to have all of Colorado's 53 14,000-foot peaks under his belt, I recommend to Mr. Sutton Guide to the Colorado Mountains. This book has recently come out in its second edition and contains the technical details of ascending all the 14ers.
BRUCE G. SOMMERS
Colorado Springs, Colo.
•SI extends its best wishes to Mr. Sommers for Peak No. 53. However, Mountaineer's Mecca: The Matterhorn, written by Si's travel editor, Horace Sutton, was aimed at those who gasp from awe rather than exertion. For a much heavier accent on ascents, see A Date on Mt. Rainier (SI, Aug. 23), High Himalayan Sweepstakes (Sept. 13) and Tenzing, Tiger of Everest (April 25 to May 16). Two mountain climbing stories are coming up: one on the British conquest of Kanchenjunga by Dr. Charles Evans, leader of the expedition, and one by James Ramsey Ullman on the mountains of North America.—ED.
SWAPS: FAMILY HISTORY
Re: Swaps. 1) Where did he get his terrible name? 2) In your July 18 issue you mention that his sire was an Aga Khan horse by the name of Khaled. What relation is Khaled to Nasrullah? 3) Was Swaps's dam a quarter horse or was she a mother or daughter of Pegasus?
JOSEPH R. WALKER
West Tisbury, Mass.
P.S. If he can do 1¼ miles in the Westerner at 4/5 second off the track record under a pull that opens his mouth (SI, July 18) nobody will come close to beating him!
•Rex Ellsworth, Swaps's owner, considered and rejected a long series of names for his colt. Finally, tired of "swapping" names, he decided the best solution would be to call him Swaps.
Though Khaled and Nasrullah were both bred by the Aga Khan, they are not very closely related. Their nearest common ancestor was The Tetrarch, a great-grandsire of both horses. He sired both Nasrullah's granddam, Mumtaz Mahal, and Khaled's grand-sire, Ethnarch.
Swaps's dam is Iron Reward, a thoroughbred who raced unplaced at 2 and 3 years. She is a granddaughter of War Admiral, winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1937.—ED.
ITALIAN STARLET, GERMAN TROUT
Concerning your July 25 picture of "Kirk Douglas, a Trout and a Starlet," I am not acquainted with Kirk or the starlet but I do seem to recognize the trout and I believe it is a German brown and not a rainbow as you state. There are many names for trout in the United States, but I do not believe that the one in your picture would be a rainbow anywhere.
•SI's researcher was seeing rainbows because he had starlets in his eyes. Mr. Walker and 48 other readers are right—the trout is a German brown.—ED.
Many of us who watched the Western Open Golf Tournament in Portland, Ore. the end of June think that Julius Boros should have a little recognition for being such a fine sportsman. During one day's play his ball went close to the pin and his caddy was at the pin, and with his hand upturned he motioned up, signaling the caddy to take out the pin. The caddy in error picked up the ball, which cost Boros two strokes and $200 in the tournament. The poor boy cried for many holes, although Boros consoled him. The Portland Club offered to change the caddy, but Boros wouldn't allow it and kept him for the balance of the week, and as soon as he came into the clubhouse he called the boy's parents and told them if that was the only mistake their boy ever made they would never have any worries. Don't you think that's real sportsmanship, considering that golf is Boros' living? He got nothing but praise for the balance of the week. I was just a spectator, but one of the golfers told me about the phone call.
•A well-deserved Pat on the Back to Sportsman Boros from Si's editors—and thanks to Mr. Wicklund.—ED.
SID'S LITTLE GIRL
I have enjoyed reading your magazine for the last year. I am a charter subscriber, and SI has answered my prayers of many years for a magazine devoted to all fields of sport, both indoor and outdoor.
SI's July 25 YESTERDAY was devoted to pictures of oldtime ballplayers. I believe the man on page 62, lower left-hand corner, Sid Farrar, was the father of Geraldine Farrar, the opera singer. Am I right or wrong?
If you have any guest cards left to the Happy Knoll Country Club, do you suppose I could have one? Have enjoyed the letters very much and hope that they continue for a long time.
•Right. Soprano Geraldine Farrar is indeed the daughter of the late Sid Farrar, onetime first baseman for the old Phillies. Mr. Farrar kept a men's furnishings store in Melrose, Mass., which he sold in order to help finance his daughter's studies in Berlin. He died in 1935; Miss Farrar lives in Ridgefield, Conn.-ED.
Some upstart writer, using the obvious nom de plume "J.P. Marquand" in your issue of July 25, took occasion to have a certain Mrs. Gridley defame the character of a youth (or the youth—it was not made quite clear which was intended) of the Queen City of the Sound. I quote: "Bernice, she says, was pushed into the swimming pool by a young man from New Rochelle who should not have been at the party at all."
Pish tush, Mr. Marquand. If you want to imply that New Rochelle youths are not good enough to attend parties at the Happy Knoll Country Club, I can attribute such shocking lack of discrimination only to the well known xenophobia of Back Bay (a geographic location which has given rise to the verb "backbite"—from Back Bight—a bight being a sort of bay).
The fact is, Mr. Marquand, the writer happens to have been present at Happy Knoll on the very occasion described in your story, and I can assure you that the young man in question did not come from New Rochelle at all. He came from Framingham, and is a member of the junior class at Harvard College.
ARTHUR J. MORGAN
New Rochelle, N.Y.
I notice that the outrageous damage caused to the Happy Knoll grounds and rooms was perpetrated (SI, July 25) by "guests, said not to belong to Happy Knoll." I have not the slightest doubt that these were for the most part some of that motley 19TH HOLE crowd to whom SI and the Board of Governors have been issuing guest cards indiscriminately. Serves you right. Meanwhile, could I have a guest card, please? My behavior at coming-out parties is exemplary and I'll even keep an eye on that new element you've carelessly let slip in.
Perhaps it might be wise to tell Roger Horlick, member of the governing board of the Happy Knoll Country Club, to suggest to Albert Magill, President Emeritus, that the Wogan Lawn Service Company, an efficient and far-reaching organization in my town, be employed to repair the damage which occurred during Allie Bledsoe's deb party to the 9th, 10th and 16th greens. This should be attended to immediately, so that Godfrey "Pa" Bledsoe can be billed direct.
JOHN C. RICE JR.
IF I WERE MR. BLEDSOE...
I like J. P. Marquand's Happy Knoll articles very much and wish you would keep them going a long time. However, I thought that he was going too far in asking Mr. Bledsoe, the father of the young girl who had that free-for-all party at the club, to pay for all that damage. It seems to me that the Board of Governors is forever trying to stick someone else for things it really is responsible for. If I were Mr. Bledsoe I would certainly not pay, especially for the oriental rug that someone cut to pieces, and I would tell the Board of Governors to tell old Ned at the bar to buy a pair of glasses if he accepts any more checks made out by Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, or other well-known people. After all, didn't they say in their letter to a new member that Happy Knoll parties for young people were always carefully supervised? If I were Mr. Bledsoe, I would start looking into the Hard Hollow Country Club, even though its parking lot is somewhat secluded.
I know others have received guest cards to Happy Knoll Country Club, but since I am only 18 I am not eligible for the regular card. So considering Happy Knoll's love of the younger generation, may I be the first to request a junior guest card to Happy Knoll?
•As John P. Marquand said (SI, July 25), "Happy Knoll should have the accent of youth and would indeed be a sad place without it." SI is happy to send Mr. Peterson a card.—ED.
MY ONE AND ONLY CHOICE
MY BUSINESS MAKES IT IMPERATIVE I JOIN A COUNTRY CLUB. HAPPY KNOLL IS MY CHOICE. ONLY ONE I CAN AFFORD. PLEASE SEND MEMBERSHIP CARD.
•Mr. Albo is the 68th applicant to be added to Happy Knoll's growing guest membership.—ED.
A LONG LIFE AND A COOL ONE
I do not agree with the opinions expressed by some of the ballplayers that night baseball shortens their careers as players (HOTBOX, July 25). It has been proven that night baseball lengthens a man's playing career. The hot summer weather in cities like Washington, Cincinnati, Kansas City, etc. is pretty tough on the ballplayers during the peak-of-the-heat daytime hours.
Furthermore, night baseball gives more fans the opportunity to see the games, because it takes place after normal working hours. You will remember that President Roosevelt, during World War II, recommended that we play more night baseball, to give the white-collar workers a chance to witness some games. Washington is definitely a white-collar city, and day baseball here would not meet with the workers' convenience.
Reports will also point out to you that night baseball outdraws day baseball two to one.
CLARK C. GRIFFITH
YES, BASEBALL IS KING
After reading Robert Creamer's report of the All-Star Game in Milwaukee (SI, July 25) I wondered whether Mr. Creamer actually was in the "city," as he calls it. If he was, he wasn't quite as observant as he could have been. Milwaukeeans, if I may dispute him, do act foolishly in regard to the Braves. They are indeed fond of them, I grant him that, but they are foolishly fond of them.
I must agree with him also when he says that "everywhere you go people talk baseball." They do. In fact, that is the main, if not the only, topic of conversation Milwaukeeans are capable of sustaining intelligently for any length of time. I ought to know. I lived in Milwaukee, much to my chagrin, for nine months—from September, 1954 through June of this year.
I saw a reception for the Braves at a railroad depot in Milwaukee early in the season when they returned to the town after a many-game losing streak on the road. It was at that time that some baseball columnists were saying that Milwaukee was finally becoming a major league town because the people were beginning to realize that their Braves weren't the all-mighty and all-perfect Spartans that they thought they were. People waved homemade "Welcome Home" signs high in the air and jumped up and down with glee as the players got off the train. One woman started to sing Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here as she ran to get a close look at her heroes. When it was learned that a few of the players and Manager Grimm were driving in and would not be seen that night, I noticed two women turn away with tears in their eyes.
This same type of rabid fan can be found anywhere and everywhere in Milwaukee: on the flag-bedecked buses which run up and down Wisconsin Avenue on game days, in stores, on street corners and at the park itself. The traffic cop on duty knows the score, the inning and the pitchers. The druggist may seldom see a game, but he knows the batting average of each player and how many hits he got in yesterday's game.
This may sound as if I am a baseball-hater. I'm not; I enjoy the game as much as the next guy. I like to go out to the ball park and cheer as long as anyone and talk the game over afterwards. What I'm trying to point out is the fact that the people in Milwaukee have only one other interest in life besides beer. I can't help but wonder, though, what they lived for before the Braves got to Milwaukee. I feel sorry for the town if ever they leave; which I doubt they ever will.
Yes, baseball is king in Milwaukee. Each citizen is a humble servant, standing in awe and staring at it with open mouth. The people love their beer and they love their Braves, but, sad to say, more than that no one craves.
Prairie Village, Kan.
•Bob Creamer was in Milwaukee and it seemed to his sensitive eyes and ears that Milwaukeeans were more knowing than foolish.—ED.