I enjoyed your erudite Froissart of Fistiana, Mr. Liebling, in his scholarly essay on Stillman's Academy (SI, Dec. 5) but must take exception to a time honored but purely fabulous "canard" covering that bout between Jack Johnson and Sam Langford, the Boston Tar Baby, in Chelsea, some 50 years ago under the shadow of Bunker Hill.... I had a ringside seat and all that happened was that somewhere in the early part of the fight Jack knocked Sam cold, but...Sam was given an interminable count. "One—what's your mammy goin' ter say when you comes home. Two—think of that chicken your sister is cookin' etc. etc."...
After this "knock-oot d'estime" (if Prof. Liebling can lead with a succ√®s d'estim? I'll counter with this), which didn't count as no one counted according to Hoyle or Queensberry...nothing happened and Jack won easily....
I knew Jack in Madrid in 1918 and asked him about this story, which Sam by hypnotic repetition may have come to believe. Jack concurred with my reporting from ringside and shrugged it off without malice as one of those "occupational hazards."...
There was a whole pleiad of fine Negro heavyweights in Paris around the 20s, Jack Johnson, Jim Johnson, Sam Langford, Sam McVey, Joe Jeannette, etc. McVey, a magnificent looking man like a Zulu chief was on a boat coming from Australia which was intercepted by the Emden. He went below and into the coal bunkers where he disguised himself as half a ton of anthracite, or so they say, and got by....
December 19, 1955
Perhaps in his next installment Prof. Liebling will produce another debatable conte de fée (he seems to like these imported touches)—that someone opened a window in Stillman's. Another "impossible" barrier broken, like the four-minute mile and the 60-foot shotput....
•Waldo Peirce, revered as the last of the Bohemians and one of America's great painters, has done some of his liveliest sketching on envelopes addressed to friends. SI is happy to be counted one of them (see cut). Mr. Peirce's ringside recollections of the Johnson-Langford battle differ from other observers, who saw Johnson, and not Langford, dropped to the canvas. The fight took place in 1906, a year notable in Mr. Peirce's strenuous life for his suspension from Harvard for "inattendance and general sloppiness," to quote more Peirce recollections.—ED.
I KNOW THE MAN
...What Mr. Liebling has written is an excellent picture story of authenticity. Few know the locality about which the article is centered or the boxing beat better than he.
I enjoyed the material, particularly so because of my knowledge of the man—Stillman—and the environment.
Editor, The Ring
THE WONDER OF THE SPORT WORLD
...To me New York means Stillman's Gym and Radio City Music Hall. I felt quite at home reading Liebling's story as I know Jack Curley, Lou Stillman, Freddie Brown, Whitey Bimstein and the rest.
When I had my YMCA boxing team en route to West Point to box the Army plebes, Stillman's Gym was a must stop. Jack Curley introduced the boys to the champions who were training there at the time. Stillman's Gym is one of the wonders of the sport world.
And when Lou Stillman announces the names of the boxers entering the ring to box, it sounds as if he has a hunk of boloney in his mouth.
BLANDFORD (BLANDIE) JONES
THERE IT WAS
Having read your article The Inland Waterway: Sea Road South (SI, Nov. 28) I want to compliment you on this complete and interesting story of the trip.
I have been seriously thinking of such a trip for two years only not in such a large boat or at such expense, and have...looked for stories on this route everywhere I could. Then, along came my SI and there it was. I did not know it was so well marked and traveled.
What I would like to know, since you have been there, can I travel this route safely in a 16-foot boat, powered by a 25-hp outboard motor?
ALAN B. SALKELD
•If Mr. Salkeld keeps a careful eye on the weather he can make the trip safely. Smaller craft and even canoes have done it.—ED.
Here is a modification of the hidden ball trick play, described in SI's Dec. 5 YESTERDAY, Morrison's Magic. The play was worked successfully in a game between Topeka High School and Ottawa High School, during the fall season of 1922, at Topeka, Kansas.
...The Ottawa team had two guards with large "hips." They shifted the left guard so he would be side by side with the right guard.... The quarterback lined up close and directly back of center, and the backs lined up in tandem fashion, directly behind the guards.
When the ball was snapped the quarterback slyly handed the ball to the halfback, closest to the rear ends of the two fat-hipped guards, and he stood hiding the ball, while the remaining two backs took off to the right on an end sweep, with the quarterback faking a run with the ball. The two guards held for a count of three, then opened the gate, and the halfback with the ball scooted 40 yards, unmolested and unseen across the goal while most of the Topeka team chased the Ottawa quarterback. Final score 7-3, Ottawa.
Once we tried putting the ball on the ground behind the guards' feet, somewhat as was done in Morrison's Magic, but got caught, so modified the strategy to the play described above.
WILLIS L. JACOBUS, M.D.
ON THE SPOT
Of all the spectators who "saw" Vanderbilt's hidden ball play against LSU in 1937 (SI, Dec. 5), the photographer who took the picture of Greer Ricketson running down the field for a touchdown and I were closest to the magical goings on.
We were fooled. Like everyone else, including the officials who had been tipped off in advance the play was coming, we swung our gaze to the opposite side of the field where Dutch Reinschmidt was being snowed under behind the line.
I think it was the Banner photographer, the late John E. Hood, who was the first to spot the ball carrier. He recovered in time to snap the memorable picture you used.
I've talked a number of times to Bill Hays, Dutch Reinschmidt and Dr. Ricketson and they substantiate Fred Russell's explanation of the play. But 100 different spectators that day at Dudley Field would give you 100 different versions.
•It was indeed John E. Hood of the Nashville Banner to whom credit should have been given for the picture of Guard Ricketson on his 50-yard run.—ED.
I am an avid SI fan even if you make minor goof-ups, as you did in Ducks' at Dawn (SI, Nov. 28).
Upon closer observation of this WONDERFUL WORLD picture, you will note that the flock of "splashing ducks" is not really ducks but actually coots, commonly called mud hens. Perhaps if one looked much, much closer, one might find a duck, a real duck that is.
Although a coot is a waterfowl, it is not a true duck. It does not have webbed feet and it does not have a bill. Instead it has a beak like a robin or a crow. Its feet are like that of a chicken with small rows of tabs along either side of each toe to facilitate swimming and walking in soft mud. Technically it falls in the family Rallidae, whereas ducks fall in the family Anatidae.
•Correct. By the dawn's early light SI's caption writer saw ducks where he should have seen coots.—ED.
THE THOUGHT THAT TRICKLED
I was rather astounded to find in SI November 28 my telegram to the Trojan football team of Southern California. ("Dear Trojans. Here is a little power thought. Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourselves as succeeding....")
Naturally the wire was sent to the Trojan team, but its very forceful words, quoted from Norman Vincent Peale's book on positive thinking, could have trickled across the hall to the Bruin dressing room. It did accomplish its purpose for them for the words are true and workable. I am happy about this but sorry it did not work for (as you say) the "Dear Trojans."
MRS. LESLIE WILSON CRAIG
WE AGREE, WE HEARTILY AGREE
Thanks for the wonderful article To Save the Herd: Shoot More Deer (SI, Nov. 21). As a deer hunter for some 30 years, I have watched the controlled "doe harvest" with much interest. At first I, like many hunters, was dead against it. Now I, and I feel the majority of central Washington hunters, are for it 100%. After seven or eight years of controlled doe hunting, I know from my own observation that our deer herd is bigger and healthier than it was when I moved to this state 15 years ago. I, and the fellow hunters with whom I have had contact, feel that our excellent Game and Fish Department is sound, on the right track and doing a wonderful job.
The doubters will scream about a slaughter of the innocents. But my father, who hunted many years in Wisconsin, taught me that all wild game comes to a tragic end. God put game on earth for the benefit of man. If man kills quickly and mercifully and beys the rules, I am sure he is pleasing in God's sight. The truth is, and I have seen it many times, that the vulnerable deer are the small ones. The big does and bucks will account for themselves. We have had examples of literally hundreds of small deer starving to death when the heavy snows drive them to congregate in the valleys. Four years ago I saw, in the deep winter snows, the slopes of our beautiful Methow Valley literally covered with starved small deer. They too are the choice of the cougars and the coyotes. The Washington Commission wisely feels it is better for hunters to hunt those deer than for coyotes to feed on dead carcasses. We hunters agree. My 12-year-old son, Danny, who drew a doe permit and shot his first deer this fall in the Methow Valley, a nice 2-year-old doe, heartily agrees!
FRANK J. O'KEEFE
A MILLION FAST BUCKS?
...The theory that wholesale slaughter of deer is mercy in disguise...is parallel to the battle waged by conservationists through the years against selfish interests who have wanted to cut protected virgin timber and generally desecrate the comparatively few remaining primeval acres of national park land—all in the interest of making a fast buck.
In this instance, hordes of dedicated hunters recognize the theory as a made-to-order argument—in the interest of slaughtering a million fast bucks.
Remember it was wholesale slaughter of wild life to the verge of extinction that brought conservation laws into being in the first place.
STERLINE B. SMELTZER
•Neither J. Burton Lauckhart, the Washington State game management chief, nor SI advocated "wholesale slaughter of deer." Mr. Lauckhart's theory, as explained in SI, is that failure to harvest the increase beyond a deer range's carrying capacity means exposing the entire herd to malnutrition and possible starvation.—ED.
NO FRUSTRATED INTELLECTUALS
We feel that the article We Like to Win But...SI, Dec. 5) can be easily misconstrued to give the impression that the Hamilton athlete has a negative attitude toward winning. This is far from true.
Whether athletics are de-emphasized, emphasized, or left alone, the desire to win is as keen in the mind of the Hamilton man as it is in that of any athlete. As evidence, in the past four years we have had three winning football seasons. The athlete at Hamilton is expected to perform well scholastically as well as athletically, and we are very proud of this fact. We have teams made up of good students who have the desire to win and the ability to do just that.
The impression the article left with most of us was one of indignation. We are anxious to have it known that we are not a group of frustrated intellectuals sheltered by administrative policy, but rather men governed by a will to win that is more deeply motivated than that of any "play for pay" athlete.
We don't have to win, but we do want to win.
Hamilton College football team
WE POINT WITH PRIDE
We Hamilton College lettermen wish to supplement the recent article concerning athletics at Hamilton College.
It should be noted that Hamilton College enjoys a better-than-.500 record in intercollegiate competition, even though a majority of the colleges with whom we compete are considerably larger in enrollment. We attribute this accomplishment, which includes this year's fine football record, predominantly to the strong will to win of men who came to Hamilton with all-round abilities, not with athletic skill alone.
...We fully realize the college's policy toward athletics, but this does not mean that we don't play each game with strong determination and spirit.
We are proud that Hamilton can offer a fine education plus a chance to play on a good football team to any man who has sufficient ability along both these lines.
The Block "H" Club of Hamilton College
THE REAL MRS. HAENSLI
In SI's Oct. 31 "Bright Pants" SPORTING LOOK you describe one of the ladies shown as being Mrs. Walter Haensli of Klosters, Switzerland. It was a fine picture, but unfortunately not of Mrs. Haensli. Mrs. Haensli is an excellent skier and designer of after-ski clothes, and I am sure her many friends would like to see a picture of her.
•See above for a picture of the real Mrs. Haensli.—ED.
MY MAN OF THE YEAR
As the year is coming to a close, I should like to nominate Dennis Hill, 1955 "president" of the Cambridge Crew as my Man of the Year. Dennis, as you may remember, had been ill for a month or so and was dramatically inserted at Bow four days before the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, March 26, to replace the indisposed Bowman Bruce. Whereas you remember that Cambridge won this Putney-to-Mortlake thriller by 16 lengths, D. Hill certainly did a nifty job with very little prerace practice.
JOHN C. RICE JR.
SHOW THE WORLD
Most emphatically agree with the choice of G. A. Roscoe (19TH HOLE, Dec. 5) for Sports Figure of the Year: Jill Kinmont, who will one day show the world again how it's done, on skis. A more courageous young sportswoman has not been born.
T. O. PRESCOTT
FOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR BABE ZAHARIAS CERTAINLY HAS BEEN TOPS IN ALL DEPARTMENTS. MY VOTE IS FOR HER.
I HAVE A HUNCH...
SI came on the scene in a year that will always prove to be a milestone in the world of sport—it was the year of the four-minute mile, and Bannister, by being the first to break the four-minute barrier and later by being victorious in "The Mile of the Century" at Vancouver, made his selection as SI's Sportsman for 1954 a virtual certainty which proved correct.
This year there is no hot favorite in the field. Marciano, Fangio and Trabert have kept their place at the top in their respective sports, but somehow I have a hunch they are going to be overlooked in favor of one of those "bums" from Brooklyn. I expect to see that Snider will be your selection as Sportsman for 1955.
FINBARR M. SLATTERY
Asdee, Co. Kerry, Ireland
I enjoy your magazine immensely.
Just for the fun of it, however, this: in your Dec. 5th issue you speak of Dr. John Oliver La Gorce going bonefishing at Bimini. I, too, have enjoyed some very exciting fishing in the Bahamas, principally off Eleuthera. Over there they tell you very politely that you go bonefishing in a cemetery. But when you go after those silvery flashes of lightning, you go bonefish fishing.
JOSEPH W. LESTER
MR. FULLER'S DREAM HOUSE
Taking nothing away from Designer Fuller's dream park for Brooklyn's fabulous Dodgers, I wonder if Mr. Fuller took into consideration Roy Campanella's tremendous pop flies or the fact that, if the Dodgers win another Series as they did this year, Brooklyn fans are apt to blow the top right off Mr. Fuller's covered ball park.
By the way, what did the Princeton graduate students have in mind with two second basemen, unless the nail represents a misplaced umpire—or could it be a base runner stealing second?
Personally I believe Fuller's dome is a thing of the future, but I hope this dream comes true in our time. A rained-out ball game is almost as discouraging as having a home run hit, with two on, against the home club.
Chula Vista, Calif.
•As a matter of fact, the first comment of Dodger President Walter O'Malley upon peering into the globe was not upon the grandeur of Mr. Fuller's concept, but: "There are two second basemen!" A spokesman for the graduate students who constructed the model said that (as Mr. Lancaster guessed) the second nail was indeed an umpire. As for Roy Campanella's tremendous pop flies, the dome is high enough, according to Designer Fuller, to contain a 30-story building.—ED.