I just finished reading The Year, the Moment, and Johnny Podres (SI, Jan. 2)and it was like reliving that greatest of days last October. A big pat on theback for a very fine and moving article. That young man Johnny is truly thegreatest sportsman of 1955 for he gave me my greatest sports thrill and all therest of the world's baseball fans, too, I'm sure.
Mrs. ARNOTT (PAT) DUNCAN
Congratulations on honoring Johnny Podres with the title Sportsman of the Year.Johnny was the principal character in 1955's World Series, which was turnedfrom a possible record-book Series into a storybook Series.
My congratulations on naming Johnny Podres Sportsman of the Year. You've nevermade a better choice.
I would like to congratulate you on your wonderful story and cover of Sportsmanof the Year Johnny Podres. I have been following his career ever since heappeared in his first game against the Giants.
January 16, 1956
I have read manystories on him, but the one that appeared in SI January 2 was the best I haveever read and the picture on your cover was the only one I have seen thatreally looks like him.
College Point, N.Y.
Phooey on your selection of Johnny Podres as Sportsman of the Year. To select aflash in the pan, paprikaed with luck, over at least a dozen worthy contestantsis to me just a sentimental lost weekend. If it were not for your reputationfor 14-carat fairness, I would say the contest was rigged.
How can you do this? Johnny Podres was not even the best player on his team,let alone his league. Granted he is a fine young pitcher and had a great dayagainst the Yanks. However, you can hardly compare his performance with thoseof Howard Cassady, Otto Graham, Tony Trabert, Yogi Berra, Ted Kluszewski, CaryMiddlecoff, Bill Russell, Tom Gola, Bob Cousy and Don Campbell among others,all of whom deserved the award more.
I like readingyour fine magazine but this is an outrage.
MARTIN CHARLES SPECHLER
When I saw your choice for the Sportsman of the Year I was baffled. I don'tunderstand how you could bestow such an honor for only one very well-pitchedgame of baseball.
The length oftime something takes doesn't matter. I agreed with your selection of RogerBannister although what he did took less than four minutes. That was somethingman has been striving toward for many years. The World's Championship ofBaseball is won every year and Podres wasn't even a .500 pitcher!
One game doesn'tmake a man the leader of the sports world in which there are so many greatathletes. I believe you have made a very grave mistake.
Podres' World Series performance entitled him to be nominated Sportsman of theWeek, perhaps, but not of the entire sports year. With equal justice you mighthave chosen a horse that won just one race, a boxer with only one KO to hiscredit or a football back who made only one spectacular run.
I picture the Manof the Year as having been consistently outstanding, under pressure and in thedoldrums.
F. A. HARDING
New Brunswick, N.J.
The year 1955 will always be remembered as the year of the four great Hungariandistance runners, led by Iharos. Their records and performances (especially inthe four-mile relay) are beyond my approach.
KENNETH M. GORSHKOW
Are you sure you are not letting politics interfere with sports? If you are,shame on you. Suppose Sandor Iharos had hailed from Witherbee, N.Y., what then?I will bet $5 towards the Olympic Fund that this time your selection will bringmore protests than pats on the back, provided of course that no Flatbush Avenueopinions are counted. Anyway, your magazine is great and in a class all byitself.
DON N. PENIDO
•So far theprotests have it by a slim margin—ED.
You once again gave valuable assistance to the cause of college soccer (E &D, Dec. 26). It is gratifying to see a publication as large as yours give thetype of coverage the college soccer enthusiasts have been crying for solong.
University of Bridgeport
ANOTHER PLAN FORSOCCER
EVENTS & DISCOVERIES' "A Plan for Soccer" (SI, Dec. 26) may be theanswer to part of the game's overall problems, particularly the collegiateangle, in the U.S.
I wanted to letyou know that the next annual meeting of the professional American League inJuly will include this item on the agenda.
All of theadvantages you named are certainly true and in addition you could havementioned ideal weather conditions. We in the pro game are coming to theconclusion that fans are not going to attend our games in cold wintry weatherso there is no sense playing during this period of the year.
The collegeproblem isn't so much weather as football competition.
Therefore, Iwould like to offer another thought. Why not have the college soccer gamesplayed as preliminaries to the football games? Let the bands, etc., do theirstuff during the halves.
The combinationfootball-soccer goal posts could be used and the soccer lines could be markedin yellow and not detract from the football markings or vice versa.
Frankly, I thinkthe greatest deterrent is offered by those in charge of the athletic programsof our colleges today, both the athletic directors and football coaches. Theyjust won't give soccer a chance. The game has made its gains in spite ofthem.
Of course, thepeople in charge of soccer are to blame as well. They seem contented to playout their schedule and not worry about getting information to the newspapersfor publicity.
Let the NationalSoccer Coaches Association and the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Associationget their houses in order at their annual conventions in January and you willsee the game begin to flourish.
Thanks to SI forat least an occasional coverage of this fine sport.
American Soccer League
•The BaltimoreRockets are one of nine teams that make up the American Soccer League, the onlyprofessional soccer group in the U.S. Other teams are in New York, Brooklyn,Newark and Elizabeth, N.J., Philadelphia and Ludlow, Mass. Team members playsoccer on Sundays and holidays presumably for the fun of it since gate receiptsrarely cover travel expenses. The professional teams also play for the U.S.Soccer Football Assn.'s National Challenge Trophy, a nationwide competition inwhich over 125 amateur teams also take part. However, the pros compete in Aprilfor their own trophy, the Lewis Cup, which they hope some day will be toprofessional soccer what the Stanley Cup is to hockey today.—ED.
The idea of making spring the soccer season is a very good one. It will notinterfere with other games and it will give women a good and always welcomechance to display their new hats.
J. J. STROM
POINT FOUR FORSOCCER
The FIFA (world soccer body) should adopt the principles of lend-lease or thePoint Four Program to rescue the U.S. Soccer Football Assn. from its weak anddesperate straits.
Ironically, thereverse seems to be happening: during the past year an American rescued a famedold Scottish soccer club from closing its doors. Last year James TheodoreFitzgerald, an executive in the Scottish branch of an American firm and formerDetroit soccer player, took over the Dumbarton soccer club when the discourageddirectors resigned and the club seemed doomed. Under his leadership the clubwas unbeaten in its league and even reached the quarter-finals of the leaguecup.
U.S. soccer needsa boost from someone.
As the owner of a 1918 Stutz Bearcat, I enjoyed the story on classic cars (SI,Jan. 2).
There aresupposed to be only three 1918 Bearcats in existence but, of course, thatfigure is always open to doubt because of the lack of a complete registry onold automobiles. Moreover, to the "purist," mine is not quiteauthentic, for the simple reason that over 30 years ago one of the Bearcat'sprevious owners customized it with the substitution of 1921 HCS (Harry C.Stutz) fenders, a pair of cowl lights, trunk, bumpers and one or two otheritems. Nevertheless, the car is still a beauty in its yellow body, blackfenders and red wheels (see cut).
ROBERT S. OLSON
The 12-page spread on the bowl games was splendid (SI, Dec. 26). With SI'scarefully worked-out aids before you, you felt another dimension had been addedto TV sports enjoyment. Please accept my thanks and congratulations!
RAY A. ALBERT
Hats off to you for your excellent and most accurate pre-game analysis of thebowl games.
Having this issueclose at hand while viewing the big games added immensely to the color andexcitement of the unusually great contests.
MONROE C. LEWIS JR.
Enjoyed reading your article on fair and fancy game recipes—true gourmets'delights (SI, Dec. 26).
But who is thisbig-game man, Harry Manners? His ambition in life must be the extermination ofthe African elephant, if not of big game in general. Needless to say, he andthe other great hunters should be stopped or outlawed. If not, the only biggame anybody in the future will see will be in Disney's nature classics.
I believe inconservation and wish Joes like him could take some courses in geology,zoology—or even photography. Such courses might create in them a healthieroutlook on nature. Carnivores kill to eat; ideally, man kills to eat. Harrymust have a big appetite.
ERNEST C. LENDENMANN JR.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
EXERCISE FORHEART ATTACKS
You have done a splendid job in your article on heart disease and exercise (SI,Jan. 2). The article indicates that a great deal of research was involved inits preparation. The manner of presentation is not only most interesting, butextremely clear even to the totally uninformed. The accuracy of the scientificdata discussed can nowhere be challenged.
HENRY I. RUSSEK, M.D.
Staten Island, N.Y.
THE ANSWERS MOSTWANTED
I wonder if you can possibly realize how many of us there are who had need ofyour heart article? The light it lets in, the future it opens again, the helpit gives in understanding what our doctors are trying to bring home to us! I amin my fifth week after an attack.
I have read somany articles which state issues and ask questions, but never give clearanswers. This article not only states the problem, it gives many of the answersmost wanted.
FRED W. FLETCHER
Mount Clemens, Mich.
WONDERFUL WORLD of Dec. 26 pictured Mr. Adlai Stevenson and friends in a skiff.Could it be that Mr. Stevenson's friends are Republicans? If so, their mottomust be: "If you can't lick him, drown him." Safety afloat is notillustrated in this photo story, rather how to end it all the hard way.
Mrs. RONALD ALLEN REILLY
Here are five men who should use better judgment, loading a motor boat withinsix inches of the gunwales and wearing waders and heavy clothes while travelingon water. If Senator Fulbright moved just a little and swamped the boat, theodds are that not one would have reached shore.
For men of theircaliber, very poor judgment was used. It is time Americans used some good watersense and learned how to take care of themselves in and on the water.
ROBERT B. LINSDAY
Meramec River Patrol
American Red Cross
THE TRIALS OFSKATING
Enjoyed the article on The Art of Skating (SI, Dec. 26). In the last paragrapha question is asked about remembering the key to tighten the clamps. Why not goback to about 1906 and ask about the skates used in that period?
How many fingerswere frozen pulling the clamp back to hold the skates on and how many leatherheels were torn off if the adjustment was not just right? Might be interestingto show a cut of what we had to contend with in the good old days.
East Tawas, Mich.
You do Governor Harriman something less than justice in enumerating his sportsactivities (E & D, Jan. 2). What is worse, in so doing you may havejeopardized his support from a group which, while perhaps not the largest inthe United States, is surely one of the most dedicated.
Averell Harriman,gentlemen, is a croquet player. His game has been described variously ascunning, sinister, malevolent and downright dirty. In other words, he is a verygood croquet player.
EDWARD W. BEATTIE JR.
Since your magazine has turned from a mere sports magazine into a political andsociological one, I have not enjoyed it!
SI seems to beconcerned more with the segregation issue than the reporting of sports itself.I refer to your continuous harping, ranting, raving on Governor Griffin and theSugar Bowl incident. I'm not arguing the point whether he was right in thiscase or not—but I'll say that I have admiration for him because he stands upand sticks by his guns on this controversial issue.
That was a good picture of Actress Jane Russell plus sailfish (WONDERFUL WORLD,Dec. 19). However, if that fish weighed 250 pounds, I will gladly eat it, poundby pound. Perhaps she and it jointly weighed that much!
Also, unless itis a first or a possible record fish, why not release it alive? We have done sofor years with all nonedible fish which were not mortally hurt.
JOHN D. McCASKEY
St. Joseph, Mo.
•Sailfish, unlikeJane Russell, are perishable and the specifications of Miss Russell's catch areno longer obtainable. If it will help Reader McCaskey in making hiscomputations, Miss Russell weighs 135 lbs.—ED.
In his article on Rome's Games of Death (SI, Dec. 19), Morton Hunt has repeatedan old and common error by saying that the Romans expressed their favor towardgladiators by pointing their thumbs upward. The way the Romans did expresstheir favor was to press their thumb down with the other fingers as to hide it(pollicem premere). When they wished the gladiators to die they would pointtheir thumbs upward or toward the breast (pollicem vertere). These facts can beverified by referring to Leverett Freund's Latin lexicon.
Saint Benedict High School
•SI, like MissTidball, should have consulted its dictionaries, remembering Virgil's advice:"Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas" (happy is he who hastroubled to learn the origin of things).—ED.
THE BETTER PARTOF VALOR
Your cartoon of the cheering Texan at a football game (SI, Jan. 2) expressed myfeelings as I sat watching SMU get walloped by Notre Dame.
Throughout thefirst quarter I bravely waved my Lone Star flag—but "C'mon Texas" ranga dull note among the cheering, winning crowd of Irish fans that engulfedme.
With true Texasspirit I silently urged them on, rolling up my flag so as not to injure thegleeful victors.
NADINE MATSON HEID
Grand Rapids, Mich.
U.S. GO BRAGH
Since the Irish cannot win the Olympics, please accept a donation to theAmerican Olympic Fund, simultaneously electing me please a Happy Knoller.
TIMOTHY GREGG HAGENS
Having just played my first nine holes of golf yesterday, I can now apply formembership in Happy Knoll. I daresay that I'll carry the club's highesthandicap for quite some time. Here is my contribution for the Olympic Fund.
JAMES E. BANKS
Kirtland AFB, N.M.
•Thanks also tothese contributors: John Steinson Jr., Omaha; Henry Junker II, Fleet P.O., NewYork; Betty Wood, Atlanta; John O'Brien, Richard Corkum, Peter Eisenman, AlbertFeldan, Alfred Fordiani, David Morse, George Mueller, William Dalton, all ofthe 57th FA Bn.; William Langenmayr, Fayetteville, N.Y.; Ann Bradbury, Fresno,Calif.; William Cannon, Brecksville, Ohio; Peter Macdonald, Winnipeg; JohnMcCaskey, St. Joseph, Mo.; Harry McCain, Kansas City; Jack Mittelman,Philadelphia; James Banks, Kirtland AFB, N.M.; Richard Nelson, San Francisco;James Baker, San Francisco and Robert Rohacek, Racine, Wis.—ED.