THAT LOVELY INTERLUDE
It's all over. The tumult and the shouting have died, the heroes are preening themselves in home-town celebrations and the little men who write the record books are sharpening their quills to enthrall future generations.
There were no villains; it was that kind of Series. SI called it on the head some days before the Big Push started by labeling its portraits of Brooklyn greats Series of Heroes (SI, Sept. 26). It was a Series of heroes—the great men living up to their great reputations; lesser lights playing like great men; the walking wounded holding the breach, grimacing in pain. The opening game was drama, successive games melodrama, and the turnstiles clicked like machine guns.
It was our national pastime (as the phrase goes) at its best. And the underdog, Brooklyn—beloved, bedraggled, un-glamorous Brooklyn, always the also-ran, the runner-up, the butt of jokes—emerging bloody, bowed, but victorious after so many long years.
I want to commend you for your courage (that's successful foolhardiness in retrospect) in coming out for Brooklyn in This Year the Dodgers? (SI, Sept. 26). I made use of the scouting cards, which also turned out to be miraculously prophetic ("Duke Snider...very dangerous in Ebbets Field...essentially low-ball hitter"). For me, the Series was a lovely interlude between a hot and exciting summer and a long, wet winter.
E. A. SHEARSON
October 16, 1955
THE TIME IS NOW
Brooklyn: The Day:
"This is next year!"
Wait'll next year!
(An old Dodger excuse—but from now on—for a while at least—it will be the property of us Yankee fans.)
C. D. SCHICK
New London, Conn.
THEY DID IT
Looking at the fine color pictures of the World Series SPECTACLE (SI, Sept. 26), I feel that Hy Peskin and SI did a superb and colorful job.
Very much enjoyed the scouting report on the Yankees and Dodgers of your Sept. 26 issue! It contributed a great deal to watching the game, even on television. Since I am not able to see more than about 10 games a year, it's difficult for me to accumulate the kind of information you put at my disposal in a neat, easy-to-check package.
FRANK J. WENDT
We are all happy that Brooklyn won the Series and still excited about that brilliant last game—the great pitching, that wonderful catch and the double play. SI's pre-Series analysis was sharp and clear!
I have spent a lifetime in the wonderful world of sport and have known many of its leading citizens. Years ago I watched another great contest (the '32 Olympics) with three friends who, between them, kept me reasonably well informed on what was happening on the field. The picture I took of them is a rather rare document, I think (see cut). Grantland Rice, Westbrook Pegler and Paul Gallico—three great sportswriters of our time—sitting cheek by jowl. Granny is gone, Pegler turned to other chores and Paul made his farewell to sports many years ago, though I am delighted you have managed to put him back in harness.
Battle Creek, Mich.
I enjoyed Robert Creamer's article on Leo Durocher's last game as Giant manager (SI, Oct. 3), but was shocked by a glaring error in the reporting of this game. Jack Meyer, not Curt Simmons as you reported, was pitching for the Phillies when Hofman lined into that game-ending triple play. Tsk! Tsk!
PHILIP WAGNER JR.
•Correct. Meyer had relieved Simmons at the start of the last inning of Durocher's last stand in major-league baseball—ED.
I am happy for Bill Rigney and his new assignment (SI, Oct. 3). That guy is no dummy! I used to gather splinters in the left-field bleachers at least four games a week when Bill played shortstop for the Oakland Oaks. Always wondered why they never made a pitcher out of Rigney—he had such a fine arm, he should have made a good one.
Only one thing! As I remember—Rigney had a bad case of rabbit ears in those days and used to let the fans get on him. If this is behind him, he really belongs in the big time.
Los Altos, Calif.
•Bill Rigney, the new manager of the Giants, recalls the old days vividly but shrugs off his onetime tormentors. "I don't listen to this sort of thing any more. I stopped hearing them a long time ago—about 1946, when I got to the major leagues."—ED.
While reading "Notre Dame Finds a Quarterback" (WW, Oct. 3), I was somewhat taken back by the picture of Paul Hornung awaiting the snap from center.
I played against the 1949 National Championship team from South Bend and while I admit it sometimes felt as if some of the Notre Dame linemen had four arms I could never count more than two.
At first glance it appeared Coach Brennan had not only found a quarterback but, more astoundingly, had come up with a four-armed center.
BEFORE I GO NUTS
Before I go nuts please explain this.
W. D. ATKINS
Is Siva or one of the other many-armed Hindu deities enrolled at Notre Dame this year?
•SI assures the Messrs. McGovern, Atkins and Neikirk and 41 other puzzled readers that, while Paul Hornung is an unusual young man, he has the usual number of arms and legs. Photographer Dick Meek's long lens telescoped four players into an unusual action picture. A side view (see sketch) would have shown (left) SMU Guard Don Goss facing Notre Dame Center Jim Mense. Quarterback Hornung (standing) blocks out Fullback Don Schaefer, except for feet and hands.—ED.
TUMMY AND THE COCKING MAIN
Not all the Corinthians (E & D, Oct. 3) live in once-merrie England, nor did Corinthians always concern themselves exclusively with the sporting spectacle of matching boxers. May I quote from the dignified granddaddy of SI, the March 1934 issue of FORTUNE:
"Andrew P. O'Conor, born in America of Irish parents, is a famous handler who has fought cocks for more than 40 years. O'Conor's banner years were 1905-06, when he made a triumphal tour abroad, handling for the Earl of Clonmell, who became his friend and patron. Out of three mains, he won two, the third was a draw; a quarter of a million dollars changed hands in purses and bets."
There were about 50 Corinthians present that day, including His Majesty, King Edward VII, whose friends addressed him as "Tummy," a school nickname. The Earl of Sefton was fighting the cocking main with the Earl of Clonmell.
Punch, the English humor magazine, used this occasion for a political cartoon, Gilding his Spiers, commenting on England's and America's loan to Japan which was designed to re-equip the Japanese navy in order to strengthen it for the impending war with Russia (see cut). Some of my friends (whose eyesight I judge defective) told me that Lou Ravenhill, the cartoonist, used me as the model for Uncle Sam. Hat, cheroot and necktie are mine, but I swear I had nothing to do with that $75 million loan.
ANDREW P. O'CONOR
Corinthian 2nd Class
IWO JIMA TO EBBETS FIELD
I feel that I have a particularly personal interest in your magazine as Sergeant Mark Kauffman and Lieutenant J. K. Young shared the comforts of a rock one day on Iwo Jima during a fire fight between elements of the 4th Marine Division and the Japanese defenders of the place.
Kauffman got some real shots that day and, judging from his pictures in your magazine, he is still in the middle of any action you send him out to cover.
J. K. YOUNG
•Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Mark Kauffman participated with the 4th Marine Division in assault landings on the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima; and came away with some memorable combat pictures. One of the pleasures of being a constantly traveling SI photographer, says Kauffman, is meeting old Marine friends all over the country.—ED.
I was delighted to see something really new in sailboats (SI, Oct. 3). This hydrofoil water bug is one of those things that make a man exclaim, "Now why didn't I think of that!" And so I have another expensive toy to wish for.
CLEVELAND IN MOURNING
In the Oct. 3 YESTERDAY there is a picture of Bill Wambsganss making the final out of his unassisted triple play. The two Cleveland players pictured in this photo wear black bands around their left arms. Could these possibly be mourning bands for Ray Chapman, the Cleveland shortstop who was killed on Aug. 16, 1920?
LARRY E. REIDER
•Correct. Ray Chapman was hit on the head by Carl Mays' beanball and died 14 hours later without ever regaining consciousness.—ED.
"THE BALLPLAYER" CONT'D
To opinions holding Hans Wagner, the modest Flying Dutchman, as baseball's greatest player (HOTBOX, SEPT. 26; 19TH HOLE, Oct. 10) should be added that of a top judge of ballplayers, the late John J. McGraw. most successful of New York Giant managers, who stated at his silver jubilee that he regarded Hans Wagner as the greatest baseball star of all time. Telling why, he said:
"He could play any position on the field and play it well. He was a fine catcher, as good a first baseman as I ever saw, one of the best outfielders, the best shortstop and one of the greatest hitters."
I can recall seeing the redoubtable Hans in Brooklyn's old Washington Park thwarting the strategy of intentional passes by lunging out with his extended reach and slamming wide pitches for game-clinching home runs over the centerfield fence. And I can remember some incredible fielding plays—saves of ball games—made by Wagner both to his left and right with his shovel hands, by adept scoops of hot drives, with off-balance throws to first base for decisive putouts.
It might also be of interest to note that several years ago President Eisenhower, then General Ike, told a group of Columbia University undergraduates that when he was a boy he would rather have been Hans Wagner than anybody else. And the General observed that "they still haven't produced as good a shortstop as the famous Flying Dutchman of the Pittsburgh Pirates."
New Dorp, N.Y.
After reading Joshua Crane's letter (19TH HOLE, Sept. 19), I am forced to write to you on behalf of the great Tommy Hitchcock.
As one who has played polo with and against the best during the past 25 years, I certainly believe that Tommy Hitchcock was indeed worthy of being generally considered the greatest player the game has ever known. It is interesting to note that the U.S. Polo Association records reveal that Hitchcock held the top rating of 10 goals from 1922 until he retired from the game in 1940, with the exception of one year when he was rated at nine due to a head injury. At no time during the years stated was any player ever rated higher than Tommy Hitchcock.
In 1921, at the age of 21, he played on the American international team in England that returned the Westchester Cup to this country, where it has remained since. Hitchcock played on every team that defended the cup in this country against Great Britain successfully, including the series of 1924, '27, '30 and '39.
To have retained his handicap of 10 goals for a period of 19 years is a record in polo so far unsurpassed. Perhaps to be at the top in any sport for such a period is unheard of.
During the golden age of sport in the '20s Tommy Hitchcock and polo were synonomous. He was to polo what Bobby Jones was to golf, Tilden to tennis, Babe Ruth to baseball, Dempsey to fighting.
Allow me to take this opportunity of congratulating you on your excellent publication and the fine article on Cecil Smith (SI, Sept. 5).
CYRIL R. HARRISON
•Cyril Harrison, who has been rated as high as seven goals, played with a handicap of five on the 1952 national twelve-goal championship Blind Brook team.—ED.
SMART ENOUGH TO BE DUMB
Jimmy Jemail didn't ask me but I'd like to venture an opinion about his question: Do race horses have intelligence? (SI, Oct. 3). Sure they have intelligence, equine intelligence, and, just like humans, some horses are smarter than others. From man's standpoint, the ideal horse is one smart enough to know what you want him to do and at the same time dumb enough to do it. As a trainer I know once put it, "May the good Lord deliver me from a horse that thinks!"
JOHN E. O'BRIEN
AN OLYMPIC SCORING SYSTEM
Regardless of all the deathless prose written about the Olympic Games and the fact that they are not scored, they will be scored, as we all know. The newspapers, magazines, spectators, fans and political parties will score the games in their own fashion and to their own satisfaction.
To put a stop to all this foolishness, why don't the powers that be establish an official scoring system? Why don't they face up to the fact that you can't have a game in which there is no winner and establish a scoring system that would meet the Olympic ideal and eliminate all the phony claimants to the championship?
For what it's worth, here is my suggestion for such a system:
Each event would be scored on a 10 points for first, 9 points for second, etc. basis. However, from the points so earned a deduction of .01 point would be made for each million population of the country represented by the contestant. Thus, the United States would receive about 8.35 points for each first place scored, while a country like Turkey would be credited approximately 9.7 points for a first. The large countries would not receive any points for finishes that counted less than their "handicap" (no minus scores would result), while the smaller countries could pick up two or three points by finishing toward the end of the first ten.
It would seem to me that this system would eliminate the unfairness of the games to some degree. As things now stand, the small countries have about the same chance that Slippery Rock Teachers College would have if entered in the Big Ten conference.
Maybe this system would work to give the small fellows a chance to get some of the recognition they work for!
CHESTER L. GARNER
Tech. Sergeant, USAF
•SI has heard from many readers proposing or rejecting a national scoring system for the Olympics and would be interested to have the opinions of other readers.—ED.
RETAIN OLD NED
May I be among the first to place my signature on the petition (Ned will sign in my absence—if he has not already done so!) to "Keep Old Ned" on the staff of the Happy Knoll Country Club (SI, Sept. 26)?
Where in the world today for the price of a Scotch and soda (it may taste like a daiquiri) can you enjoy the comforts of a psychiatrist's couch while sitting at the bar and confiding in Old Ned?
I suggest that the wording of the petition be changed from "Keep Old Ned" to a more exacting "Retain Old Ned." A change of this type will give our club added prestige.
TREBOR E. RELLIM
SPORTS IN EGYPT
I immensely enjoyed the ancient Egyptian paintings of hunting lions by bow and arrow, and ducks by luring them with decoys and then hitting them on the head with a throwing stick (SI, Sept. 26). More of this kind of illustrated sports, please.