LET JUSTICE BETEMPERED WITH MERCY
The sometimes sanctimonious men who comprise the Executive Committee of the AAUhave crassly stamped Miler Wes Santee with the tag "professional" (E& D, Feb. 27, March 5). The punishment: exile for life. And all SI can sayis amen.
By its owninterpretation of an amateur, "one who engages in sport for pleasure, andfor the physical, mental or social benefits he derives therefrom, and to whomsport is nothing more than an avocation," can this committee, inconscience, refute Santee's motive for running? Is there a market forprofessional track men? Santee is certainly our best at the mile; then why noclamor for his services at $50,000 or $100,000 per year?
Wes Santee hasbeen imprudent in many of his past actions. There seems to be no doubt that helacked discretion in accepting too much money to defray expenses in the meetsin question and that a just punishment is merited. But banishment for life?Justice should be tempered with mercy, wisdom and a cognizance of the casehistory of the perpetrator.
The decision ofthe Executive Committee certainly can't be construed as in the best interestsof amateur sport. Wes Santee has been a good friend to American track. Thetragedy of contemporary American sport is that we have too few with the heartyblood of Wes Santee. Men willing to sacrifice through thankless years ofunremitting toil toward self-improvement that is measured in such a minimalthing as a second, or even a fraction of a second....
March 12, 1956
I eagerly awaitnews of the promoters "not at the moment under attack" in the Santeecase. What delays the attack? Surely the evidence against Santee is evidenceagainst them. Should their sentence be any less severe than Santee's?
The ambivalencewith which the AAU judges amateurism is truly ambiguous. They are repulsed bySantee, while smiling benignly at the basketballers who perform in both theirnational tourney and the Olympics. Here are found men paid by summer resortswhile being groomed for college competition, proselyted through college, and"kept," in spirit if not by the letter of amateur law, after collegedays by industrial corporations, ostensibly as employees....
I thoroughly agree with you that the promoters are the real villains in the WesSantee-AAU dispute. Track and field events, in the guise of "relays"and "carnivals," have become big business. The moment such an event issponsored by a commercial organization, it ceases to be a true amateur event.Naturally the promoters of those meets need and want the best athletes to makeit a commercial success and they'll get them any way they can.
The AAU is mostcertainly a bumbling, crippled kind of thing and is much to blame for allowingthe promoters to have taken over in track and field. But with Wes Santee, anarrogant and rather untalented athlete who has gotten the publicity breaks,they have made a beginning towards re-defining amateur sports and enforcingthat definition. More power to them.
L. R. CASSEL
I will agree with you that the AAU's attempts to ban Wes Santee, our bestmiler, from amateur competition are fair only when I see this jellyfish of anenforcing body follow up with similar rulings against other athletes and theking pins in the sports events promotion business.
Some of the AAUofficials hereabouts are connected with sporting goods manufacturers and retailpeople. In other words, they make their living from sports. I think that isfully as incongruous as Wes Santee's expense account.
What we need is avigorous, alert body of uncompromising men to supervise and encourage athleticsfor college students and other amateurs. What this country needs is a dozenAvery Brundages and Kenesaw Mountain Landises!
MORTON G. G. MILLER
HIGH PRIEST OFSENTIMENT?
...I wonder if the problems of U.S. amateurism do not begin with Brundage'sboyhood dream of sport for sport's sake. Obviously no one can object to this.But is this really the point? On the committee which banned Santee are such menas Dan Ferris, Lyman Bingham, Bob Kiphuth. All these are men of integrity andhonor, but none of them, by the faintest stretch of the imagination, can becalled an amateur.
Each of them usesamateur athletics to earn his living. As such, I think, each of them shouldautomatically be banned from any judgment body deciding whether any other manis an amateur—or is profit permitted from amateur athletics so long as it isrestricted to nonparticipants?
The problem theAAU has to face is that what is supposedly amateur is not amateur in fact, atall. This then leaves to the discretion of certain high priests of amateurismjudgment on the actions of athletes who are involved in commercial meets. Solong as Mr. Brundage, with his sentimental views, pleasant and resounding asthey may be, prevails as the court of last resort, none of his lesser officialsis apt to make much sense—largely because they are trying to apply Brundage'sstandards to a set of actions that neither they nor anyone else believes reallyexists.
...I think we whobelieve that there is not too much evil in capitalism and profit might wellconsider whether Mr. Brundage himself is properly defending our position incasting such a cold eye on profit.
ROBERT A. DOYLE
•The decision wasmade by the executive board of the AAU, of which Lyman Bingham is not a member.Only three of 15 board members who ruled on Santee have a professionalconnection with athletics: Dan Ferris is the AAU's salariedsecretary-treasurer, Bob Kiphuth is professor of Physical Education at Yale andLarry Houston is engaged in the administration of high school sports inCalifornia.—ED.
LET THE COUNTRYSEE WHAT'S HAPPENING
Whoever wrote your editorials concerning Wes Santee missed the boat completely.If that AAU committee was so all-fired good why did they ban two small-timemeet promoters and let the big ones go?...
The AAU has becometoo big for its britches.
FRANCIS B. HARVEY
Santa Monica, Calif.
HOW TO PROTECTAMATEUR STATUS
...It is very unlikely that an adult can acquire athletic skill of the qualitythat makes him well known in the sports world without expenditure of money. Whosupplies this money, in what amounts and how it is spent and who gets it appearto have quite a bearing on whether the athlete is considered a professional oran amateur.
The money can comefrom an interested government or an interested father as well as numerous othersources. But it does take money to accomplish skill and it takes money todisplay it. More than anything it takes time, lots of it. That limits theability to make money in anything else.
...Only those ofprofessional skill are ever the subject of amateur controversy. Ironically itwould seem that the best protection an amateur has is to keep his proficiencyunder control.
JAMES R. LOVE
I liked the article The Tournaments by Roy Terrell (SI, Feb. 20). Reading aboutthe team to be sent to Melbourne, I thought of my 14 players who could win hereand in Melbourne. I would like Roy to name his 14 players. Here are my 14 best:First team: Lennie Rosenbluth (North Carolina), Ronnie Shavlik (North CarolinaState), Bill Russell (San Francisco), Si Green (Duquesne), Hot Rod Hundley(West Virginia). Second team: Tom Heinsohn (Holy Cross), Bob Burrow (Kentucky),Dick O'Neal (TCU), Darrell Floyd (Furman), Robin Freeman (Ohio State). And mylast four, Willie Naulls (UCLA), Joe Capua (Wyoming), Lowell Davis (WakeForest), and last, but not least, Big Bill Uhl (Dayton).
GARY B. DEESE
•Terrell's ownfirst five would be Bill Russell (San Francisco), Tom Heinsohn (Holy Cross),Lennie Rosenbluth (North Carolina), Si Green (Duquesne) and Robin Freeman (OhioState). To fill out his squad of 14, he would give serious consideration toShavlik, Naulls, O'Neal, Floyd, Hundley, Uhl, Burrow and Capua, but also keepan eye on K. C. Jones (San Francisco), Temple Tucker (Rice), Julius McCoy(Michigan State), Joe Holup (George Washington), Charles Tyra (Louisville),Paul Judson and Bill Ridley (Illinois), Don Boldebuck (Houston), Jerry Harperand George Linn (Alabama), Terry Tebbs (Brigham Young), Joe Tebo (Brown) andChuck Rolles (Cornell).
Actually theOlympic team will be selected in this manner: the 14 All-Stars will meet theAAU champion and runner-up teams and the Armed Services champions in afour-team round-robin Olympic Trial in Kansas City, April 2-4. The team winningthis tournament will supply not less than five and not more than seven playersfor the 12-man Olympic basketball team; the other three teams in the tournamentsupply the rest of the squad members.—ED.
Fee, Fie, Fid! Boats and Bronze (SI, Feb. 6) was a grand article but a fid is ashort bar or large spike which passes through a hole in the heel of a topmastor bowsprit to hold it in position.
Your captiondefined a marlinespike, which is a similarly pointed instrument but which isused for pinning up the strands of a rope and for tightening or loosening thepins of shackles.
Let's not furtherconfuse an already confusing glossary....
WM. G. AMBROSE
•Although the fidmay at one time have been used to secure topmast or bowsprit, those were daysbeyond even the recall of its manufacturer, Merriman Brothers of Boston, whodefine the fid or hollow spike as used to open strands of line forsplicing.—ED.
In response to Mr. Wind's plaint (SI, Feb. 27), I've coined a few terms forprofessional golfers, distaff type. Perhaps one of these will suit him to atee:
Golfer pro fern.
W. R. ANDERSON
Surely your quota of bird-watcher pages must now be filled for 1956. It'sgetting so I avert my eyes at the sight of a bird.
Your allotment ofone bird page to 15 golf pages cannot represent the actual ratio ofparticipants, for I surely would have met an honest-to-goodness card-carryingbird watcher sometime during my lifetime. I never have.
Your first birdarticle, I mistakenly thought, was a sly elbow in the ribs of a tiny minorityof zealots. Now after three major articles since fall, the horrible realizationsinks in—My God! SI is serious!
Well anyway, thepictures are good!
M. E. HILLMAN
THE PRICE OFADMISSION
In view of the fact that some have expressed dissatisfaction, or at leastamazement, that you have covered such items as bird watching and a few of theother more genteel sports, I wish to take this opportunity to express mycomplete satisfaction with your magazine. I might add that the vast majority ofmy friends who are sportsmen, or who are interested in sports, have spokenenthusiastically about the marvelous coverage you have provided in the field ofnatural history and animal lore.
Personally, I hopethere never comes a time when you do not continue to furnish the wonderfulportfolio of pictures of natural wildlife. These alone are worth the price ofadmission.
GORDON W. THOMPSON, M.D.
Loma Linda, Calif.
At risk of being the only outspoken critic of Connie Mack (SI, Feb. 20) pleaselet a native Philadelphian submit his opinion:
Mack's service tobaseball ended with his playing days. He invariably sold his best players tobuild a personal fortune as typified by the cash sale of the "$100,000infield." His fiscal policy was one of those most changed by theminimum-pay agreement for players.
Make what you wantof the nine pennants, but also remember that his teams finished in the seconddivision 28 times in those 50 years and 17 of them in the league cellar. Infact, in his last 16 years as manager, his teams finished out of the cellaronly six times. Those are the years our young people remember. They don'tjoyfully remember the sight of Connie waving his score card—they are plaguedwith the thoughts that during that period the A's lost 100 games or more infive different baseball seasons.
...The conclusionI draw is that as a manager he was a flop most of those 50 years and wascompletely outclassed by many managers who dropped into obscurity because theydidn't own the club.
For as long as Ican remember the record of the Athletics was so pathetic that most fans hopedfor a divorcement of the baseball club and the Mack family; and when that didnot develop and the franchise was moved to Kansas City, just about the onlypeople who were interested and deplored the situation were the sportswritersand sportscasters, who can no longer spend almost all the summer at ShibePark.
C. ARTHUR BARTH
PIONEERS OF THECRAWL
Please permit me to call to your attention a rather gross error in the articleYale Churns on at the Waterworks by Alfred Wright (SI, Jan. 23).
Mr. Wright statesthat the American crawl stroke with six beats was developed by Duke Kahanamokuand Johnny Weissmuller. The Duke's era was 1912 and Weissmuller's several yearsafter that.
According to MattMann's book of swimming, the American Red Cross book of swimming and theEncyclopedia Britannica, as well as Bob Kiphuth himself, it was I who developedthe six-beat crawl stroke as used today, in 1905, some seven years earlier thanKahanamoku and 14 years before Weissmuller.
This letter is inno way a criticism of SI which I read each week with great interest andenjoyment.
CHARLES M. DANIELS
•SI did not meanto credit Johnny Weissmuller and Duke Kahanamoku with the "development"of the modern crawl stroke. When Wright said "...swimming had come a longpiece since the Duke and Weissmuller speeded up the old Australian crawl bykicking six to the arm beat," he had no intention of slighting Mr. Daniels,whom Bob Kiphuth calls "one of the first great American sprinters to usethe six-beat crawl."—ED.