AN ART REVIVED
Rocky's answer to Moore's "How's he gonna hit me?" (SI, Sept. 19) wasas convincing as SI's answer to those of us who for a long time have despairedof the revival of the art of boxing. In 18th- and 19th-century England, boxingwas not only a sport, albeit an illegal one, but a subject that inspired greatpainters, engravers and writers to some of their finest work. Each notable boutlater produced sketches, mezzotints and prints that have become collector'sitems around the world.
As both a boxingfan and amateur historian of the once noble game I would like to congratulateyou on your September 19th issue. Ezra Bowen and Martin Kane wrote nobly,skillfully and lovingly and obviously put pen to paper only after having many along talk with Archie, certainly the most likeable challenger since Carpentier.But the huzzahs belong to artist Robert Riger and those who advised him. His 32drawings were masterfully executed, well thought out and give, I believe, onceand for all the answer to: What can the brush accomplish that cannot bebettered by the camera? His lead drawing (see cut) almost exactly anticipatedsome of the subsequently published photos of an astute Moore defending himselfagainst a close-slugging Marciano. I have not seen a photograph that can equalthis drawing in felicity of manner, reality and impact.
What I want tothank you for, in the main, is for going to the trouble to do all this when Iimagine you could get by handsomely with a far lesser effort. I read yourcataloguing of boxing's dirty business with admiration. Your preview of theheavyweight championship I read with both admiration and pleasure.
RAY H. ENDICOTT
"How's Marciano Gonna Hit Me?"
October 2, 1955
D. M. BATES
He almost had me convinced!
PORTER L. AUSTIN
Capon Springs, W. Va.
Conversation Piece: Subject: Archie Moore, proved a most perfect appetizer forthe Marciano-Moore debut. It was excellently done and the art work wasterrific.
It's history nowand we all know that the perpetually flailing Rock did what was expected ofhim, but we'll still admit, "How's the man gonna hit me?" flavored thematch and perpetuated interest.
Suggest we havemore of the same with Rocky's next opponent.
BUD ON SKATES
I read with interest your piece on Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma's football coach(SI, Sept. 12). However, I was rather surprised that Wilkinson's undergraduatecareer as varsity goalie on Minnesota's hockey team wasn't mentioned. He wasquite a guy on skates too!
During aMichigan-Minnesota game which would pretty well decide the Big Ten hockey titlefor the year, Minnesota's squad, numerically larger and individually bigger,was giving our Michigan team a real going over in the first period. I had astick slash over one eye and something that looked and felt like a plum overthe other. But then, being goal tender, I had remained relatively aloof fromthe main scenes of activity. Just as the period came to a close, the Gophersworked the puck practically into our goalmouth, and, in the mad scramble thatfollowed, those playful Minnesota kids draped me around one of the goal postsso neatly that, had Michigan's colors been red and white, I could have passedas a barber pole. Oh yes, somebody also remembered to push the puck in too.When the referee allowed the goal, our club was fit to be tied (not me, I wastoo busy trying to get untied). A second or two later, the buzzer ended theperiod. As both clubs skated toward the only door leading to the dressingrooms, Vic Heyliger, our center iceman (he's now Michigan's hockey coach), feltor fancied an elbow in the ribs—and the melee was on! That is, it would havebeen were it not for Bud. He "bulked" out in full goalie equipment,looking like Paul Bunyan. And the way he scattered the prospective antagonists,I'm not sure he wasn't. When he got to me and my prospect, he simply tuckedeach of us under an arm and casually lifted us up off our feet. I'll neverforget the understanding smile on his face as he said, "Now, don't bechildren."
Speaking ofchildren, Bud Wilkinson is one coach I wouldn't mind a kid of mine playingfor.
TELL ME MORE
As a member of the general public, which John McCormack of Dallas says knowsnothing about horse racing (19th Hole, Sept. 19), I wish he would tell me moreabout John P. Grier, who "wasn't the same after his classic race with Mano' War." As a 4-year-old the next year, didn't John P. carry his"broken heart" to a track record? And didn't he beat Exterminator thatseason?
So the Derby, at10 furlongs in May, is run "much too early in the year." The Preakness,at nine-and-a-half furlongs, is run the same month, and the Belmont at 12furlongs is in June. Two-year-olds go eight-and-a-half furlongs the previousOctober and November in the Garden State and the Pimlico Futurity.
Derby startersaverage about 38 months of age. If 10 furlongs is wrong for 38 months, why is12 furlongs ideal at 39 months, the average age of a Belmont starter?
As a native of abackward state which doesn't have horse racing, McCormack must think2-year-olds are put away in the fall, then brought out cold and stiff after ahard winter to run in the Derby.
The "madscramble" he mentions isn't on the Kentucky Derby track. It's the battlefor the tickets by real race fans who want to see the greatest race in theworld.
John Bentley's account of the Johnston-Hill duel at Elkhart Lake's Road America(SI, Sept. 19) was almost as thrilling as the race itself! Congratulations toSI on a staff of writers who combine the happy talents of thorough knowledge oftheir subjects and true literary and reportorial craftsmanship.
DONALD S. BUCK
A U.S. GRANDPRIX?
Thank you for your fine coverage of the Road America races. Your report broughtall the color and excitement of a great race to the reader.
With the RoadAmerica races American sports car racing reached its high point. Competing weremany fine drivers including one, Phil Hill, who would appear to be of GrandPrix caliber. Present were Ferrari Monzas, D Jaguars and Maseratis, the samecars which are currently winning many of the world's greatest races. It wassports car racing at its very best and the type of event we should see muchmore of in this country.
I would like tosuggest that we now go on to something bigger and better, a U.S. Grand Prix ofworld's championship status. We now have a suitable course. Road America is atrue test of car and driver; it's extremely beautiful and it's safe andexciting for the spectator.
I don't want to introduce a sour note, but my husband, an unreconstructedbatting-averages-and-yardage-gained kind of sports fan, has ordered me to askyou why a sports magazine has a fashion section. While thinking up the answer,could you tell a mere woman where, in Buffalo, I could get the heather-bluesuit you pictured in your September 5 Tweeds (SPORTING LOOK)? It's exactly thekind of thing I've been needing for years and years.
•Point I: Clothesare as much a part of the sporting scene as the people who wear them, either asparticipants or spectators. Point II: You can purchase the suit at Flint &Kent, 554 Main Street.—ED.
THE TREND OFGOLF
Your golf coverage is excellent as it has been all year.
However, I forone am alarmed at the steady disappearance of courses (generally to make roomfor housing projects) with no replacements. This is matched by a tremendousincrease in enthusiasts anxious to enjoy this great sport.
If this trendcontinues, golf will once again become what it was when I was a boy—a game forthe wealthy only.
It would beinteresting to see statistics as to the number of courses and golfers inAmerica today as compared to 1930.
RALPH J. GUST
•The character ofgolf has changed with the times. The National Golf Foundation estimates thatover the last 20 years a million-and-a-half duffers have taken up the game toswell the playing total to three-and-one-half-million golfers. The number ofcourses available, however, has declined from 5,691 in 1931 to 5,076 in 1954.But 20 years ago 80% of all courses were private clubs. Today, 2,198 (40%)links are public or semi-private courses, used by 70% of all golfers. Curingthe hooks and slices of this large and dedicated group are 3,500 professionals(up 2,200 from 1943) who may also compete for $850,000 annually in tournamentmoney or more than double the sum offered 10 years ago.
But the greatestchange that has come over the sport is the emergence of golf as a spectatorsport of formidable and ever-growing proportions.
For golfers thetime spent on the links in the years ahead is likely to be frustrating:thousands of new enthusiasts are drawn to the ancient and honorable game eachyear; golf has become a flourishing part of industry-sponsored recreation (seeE & D, Aug. 29), and each year the graduates of 500 college teams arewaiting to claim their turn on the first tee. FORE!—ED.
E & D's up-to-the-minute review Word of Caution (SI, Sept. 19),highlighting a forthcoming dog movie that stars Basenjis, calls for a word ofprotest. Basenjis, the relatively rare, so-called barkless hounds of thePharaohs, are natural hunters.
The interesting,clever devices of the movie producers are played up in the article. Theirpurpose is not to deceive or misrepresent, but to give the public the spirit ofthe poignant story. So well do they succeed that the tears mentioned willprobably be the involuntary contribution of the viewers, not the dogs!
Basenji ownershave abundant firsthand testimony that the primary function of the dogs inAfrica is hunting, to supply food for their masters. They are known to behighly courageous and to attack animals as big or considerably bigger thanthemselves. They are naturally extremely bird-conscious, eager to hunt them andto follow the flight of birds in air; they don't necessarily have to lift onefoot to point. Moreover their keen noses lead them unfailingly to such finds aswell-hidden nestfuls of baby rabbits. Basenjis, with ease, outrun and pull downthe fastest coursing rabbits. In daily life they constantly point the new orunexpected.
Several months ago a generous kinsman made my wife and me subscribers to SI. Upto then, I had just seen your magazine occasionally, or when I had twobits.
You are gettingout a magazine that exceeds any expectations of mine—and those that I had werehigh, because the field was open for it.
I try to take ageneral interest in public affairs, and what do I find in the Sept. 19 issue? Ifind that Mr. Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the Senate majority leader who isrecuperating from a heart attack, has acquainted himself with baseball and hasbecome an ardent fan. As a confirmed baseball fan myself I applaud this wisdomof choice on the part of the Senator.
I also note thathe says he intends to devote more nights to baseball and fewer to the cares ofstatesmanship. He says he may even go back to Texas to stay and perhaps buyhimself a baseball club down there. When I was a boy (and a few old-timers inthe Southwest still referred to San Antonio as Bexar) there was a saying thatnobody ever dies in San Antonio; they just blow away. I have since learned thatsaying dates back at least to 1825 and there must be some truth in it.
Rye, New York
•SI is sure thatJournalist Marquis James, the Pulitzer Prizewinning biographer of Sam Houstonand Andrew Jackson, would never file a misleading report.—ED.
WHAT THE DOCTORSHOULD HAVE ORDERED
I am glad that E & D agrees with my theory that baseball is good therapyfor a cardiac condition. Senator Johnson's experience is like my own.
I was lying inthe Presbyterian Hospital, Newark, N.J. in October, 1951. I had a radio goingin my room when Bobby Thomson hit That home run and when Russ Hodges got a bithysterical. "It's a home run!" At that instant my doctor walked intothe room and switched off the radio with the remark, "That stuff's no goodfor you." I said, "Doctor, you could not be more wrong. That is justexactly what I need. That is the cure of cures!"
I went home thenext Sunday and I never did hear the finish of that broadcast. Although I haveseen heart specialists several times since then, I have not been hospitalized.I hope that Senator Johnson has found in baseball a permanent cure for hisheart trouble.
FRANK W. SIMCOE
THE SMILE THATLOSES
I was thrilled to read Don Connery and Gerald Holland's wonderful article, Hey,Mr. Banjo (SI, Sept. 19). "Jolly Cholly Grimm" has the spirit thateveryone in sporting competition should have: the spirit that says you don'thave to win to be happy. Many thanks.
MRS. ROBERT L. ANDERSON
Your staff and Mr. Jeremiah Tax deserve the gratitude of everyone in theharness racing sport for the fine job on the Brown Jug in your issue of Sept.19. The coverage of the Hambletonian (SI, Aug. 1, Aug. 15) was fine, too.
Harness racing,although one of this nation's oldest sports, is not too well appreciated inthis horseless age. I hope that one of your writers can someday find time to doa piece on the sport as it is practiced at the county fairs—there's a good yarnthere.
WALT. S. GRANTHAM, Secretary
Missouri-Oklahoma-Nebraska-Kansas Harness Racing Assn.
Kansas City, Mo.
•SI will keep aneye trained on county fairs.—ED.
Enjoyed your article and the photos by Jerry Cooke and John Bryson on DogsStrange and Rare (SI, Sept. 12). May I suggest that you sponsor the Lhasa apsoas a challenger on the TV program, "Place the Face?"
JAMES J. METCALFE
As one of your original subscribers, I have considered SI mighty sharp, but inmy unsolicited opinion you hit a low low with your "Shaggy ManagerStory" (E & D, Sept. 19).
I was born in1901 and have followed baseball ever since I first learned to read. Mygrandfather, a violent fan, was the first to tell me the same story, but withthe setting in the Daffy Dodger days and Belmont the track.
W. D. ANDERSON
•SI believes asporting classic occasionally deserves retelling.—ED.
MORE ON THEXOLOIZCUINTLE
We have read with a good deal of interest Mr. Reginald Wells's article, DogsStrange and Rare (SI, Sept. 12), although nobody in Mexico seriously believesthat the Mexican hairless was first imported from China around 1600. It is thetraditional dog of Mexico, which has been on the scene for thousands of years,as shown by a wealth of archaeological evidence.
We must agree,however, that not a great deal of enthusiasm has been shown about this animalby Mexican dog fanciers until now. But it is incorrect to say that thisassociation has registered only five specimens. No less than 13 were exhibitedat our last circuit of shows—all of them, of course, registered with thisassociation.
The animal issomething of an enigma, as specimens appear which are not entirely hairless.The theme is a complex one, but the University of Mexico is publishing adetailed study of the whole question, embodying its paleontological,archaeological, historical, traditional and genetical aspects, and we hopethat, in due course, this will be published in English in the U.S.A. Meanwhilethis association has appointed a committee to revive, or re-establish thebreed, having due respect to history and tradition in this country. In view ofthe present scarcity of the animal amongst dog fanciers in the capital, we aresearching for good specimens in the remoter areas of the republic, which we areentrusting to specially selected members who are interested enough to breedthem selectively and scientifically, in cooperation with our committee. We hopethus to save this animal from extinction through uncontrolled miscegenationwith dogs with ordinary coats.
Traditionally inthis country two different types have been recognized, each with distinct namesin the Nahuatl language. At the local shows, the larger (and rarer) form hasalways been classed with the nonsporting group, and the smaller with theminiatures. Both forms are a good deal larger than the Mexican hairless bred inU.S.A.
But any would-beAmerican breeders will have to realize that anything our members might be ableto send them will not be of "Chihuahua dimensions." They will be, atmaturity, comparable either with small fox terriers, or with, let us say,outsize Irish terriers. Like all their brothers and sisters, they will have aset of teeth which, judged by ordinary canine standards, can be termed"deficient" and, as a result, they will demand less bones to chew. Butthey will make delightful pets and possibly arouse a new interest amongst dogbreeders, as they are beginning to do here.
One final point:local public interest in this matter has risen to such an extent that a specialtrophy has been offered for the best xoloizcuintle (this is the animal'sNahuatl name) in our next circuit of all-breed shows in October.
NORMAN P. WRIGHT