A QUESTION OF FAIRNESS
Dave Sime is unable to compete in the Olympic 200 because at the time of the National Collegiate races he suffered an injury. Everyone must admit he is our best man in that race, and he is kept out because the qualification rules insist on placing in either the National Collegiate or AAU races.
I think that a way could be devised to give such outstanding performers a further chance to qualify, while at the same time preserving the element of fairness to our other competitors in the same events.
Perhaps an Olympic committee could be empowered to make exceptions for men whose past records deserve it. It would seem that there is ample time to run special qualifying races for such people if necessary.
This is a matter for which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, better than any other medium I can think of, could crusade.
ABBOTT T. FENN
•The deed is done. See page 8.—ED.
A NEW CRITERION
I quote your words introducing the lead articles (Superman in Spikes) of your June 4 issue: "Theirs is the will to win which ultimately dominates. They may or may not play for money, medals or records. Victory is the supreme goal, and its dedicated quest sets them apart from Everyman."
The criterion of amateurism has been much in the news lately in a context repugnant to lovers of sports. It seems to me that your statement constitutes a brilliant description—almost a definition—of the amateur in competitive sports.
May I offer for consideration and discussion a possible method of progress:
The designations "amateur" and "professional" shall apply officially only to duly authorized events, not to individuals.
An entrant may compete as a pro one day and an amateur the next, depending on whether the event is for money or love. Committees in charge should be able to set such entry requirements (including bars to entry) as to obtain the type of field they wish.
Incentives for unduly subsidizing college athletes would be lessened, I think, if bona fide students were permitted to earn outside athletic money without incurring inside ineligibility.
Las Vegas, Nev.
A DEPLORABLE SITUATION
It is with deep interest that I have noted in recent months numerous discussions in relation to the coming Olympics.
Of all the material published, not one author has alluded to the fact that in Pierre de Coubertin's revision of the modern Olympic idea no point score is kept and a nation cannot win or lose. Newspapers and periodicals are concerned with "unofficial point totals," and paragraphs of newsprint are perfumed by the unmistakable odor of political strife.
Athletics, and the Olympics in particular, should not be made a political battleground where ideologies clash instead of athletes engaged in clean, healthy competition. It is tragic that we, of all countries, should enter into and establish ourselves as part of such a deplorable situation.
As a coach of men, I perhaps realize better than some the importance of winning. No one in his right mind goes out on the field of sport to lose. However, it seems to me there are other important goals to be attained, especially in this Olympic year. Accomplishments in athletics, undreamed of 25 years ago, are a matter of record today, but man's understanding of his fellow man is as much an unknown quantity as it ever was.
PHILIP A. SEDGLEY
Grove City College
Grove City, Pa.
Congratulations upon winning the Benjamin Franklin Award. It certainly is an editorial achievement to pilot a journal devoted to sports into so high a plane of public service that it merits this honor. If old Ben himself were here he would surely be a reader.
ROBERT SPENCER CARR
MANTLE AND THE GHOST
I completely enjoyed your article The Mantle of The Babe (SI, June 18). I think it's high time that the public starts thinking of Mantle as a great player in his own right and not comparing him to a ghost.
GORDON C. O'BRIEN
Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
Come now, aren't you going a little overboard on Mickey Mantle? And by the way, what ever happened to Willie Mays?
Milwaukee Braves fans are supposed to be rather unsophisticated, but not even they call their Eddie Mathews another Babe Ruth. Yet Mathews eclipses Mantle in the slugging department every year.
Mathews and Mantle are the same age (24) and both started in the big leagues in 1952 [Mantle played in major leagues for part of 1951] but Mathews is tops in home runs and runs batted in.
Major League Totals
When it comes to distance, Mathews hits them far enough to go over the fence and has hit some as far as Mantle, without the eastern fanfare of tape measures.
Mathews and Mantle have much in common. They even were born seven days apart in 1931 (Mathews on Oct. 13 and Mantle on Oct. 20). Perhaps, being older, Mathews has the benefit of more experience.
•A comparison of their records up to this season indicates that Mathews is superior to Mantle as a hitter, but it's unlikely that many baseball men would agree with the record. As SI reported (June 18): "The excitement surrounding Mantle goes beyond numbers. ... Where others impress, Mantle awes, and even the knowing professional speaks reverently of him."
And for the latest addition to the imperishable record, this year through June 20 Mantle had 27 homers, 64 runs batted in and a .380 batting average. Mathews had 10 homers, 25 runs batted in and a .245 average.—ED.
COME HOME BILL VEECK
I just got your article Indian Summer (SI, June 4) and, although I am a Cleveland fan and boo the Indians, I can't help taking offense at some of your statements.
You're right about one thing: We in Cleveland are fed up with being second year after year. The Yankees didn't win the pennant last year—the Tribe lost it....
Nevertheless, in Cleveland, we're really missing Bill Veeck now. When he was here, he gave us exciting ball games to attend, while now all we do is sit at the ball park and watch our dull, old, lifeless team. We just boo the players to relieve the monotony. Please—come back, Bill Veeck!
BRANCH'S CLASSIC BONERS
May I offer a dissenting opinion in the "Rickey-did-it-for-the-Pirates" hullabaloo that has caught the fancy of baseball feature writers of late (E & D, June 4).
For five years the Pittsburgh players and their scapegoat managers were subjected to a barrage of front-office directives and double talk that kept the team off balance most of the time. A few classic examples that come under the heading of Branch's Boners were the attempts to send Dale Long to the minors and turn him into an outfielder. Rickey was recently quoted as saying that he thought Hall was potentially one of the game's greatest pitchers. This, after Rickey had kept Hall shagging fly balls for several years.
Most of the current Pirate stars, such as Long, Friend, Thomas, etc., were with the organization before Rickey's notorious five-year program, resulting in five consecutive last place seasons, was launched.
I do not mean to discredit Mr. Rickey. Certainly he is one of the outstanding figures in the history of baseball. He has done much for the game in general, and for the Cardinals and Dodgers in particular. But, as for the Pirates—it's been a long five years, and that man in the shadows is right where he belongs.
F. E. FARNAN
THE JERSEY CITY DODGERS
Congratulations on a magazine that I read every week. Would you please print the diagram for the Dodgers park in Jersey City as you did for all the other parks in the major leagues (SI, April 9)?
•This field is slightly larger than Ebbets Field, whose measurements are denoted by black lines.—ED.
I am enclosing a copy of an address that I made before the Convention of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners in Chicago on June 26:
"I was very much surprised to read an article in SI, June 4, by Whitney Tower, who is usually well informed and friendly to the sport. In the article entitled Beating the Races, Tower states in part: 'Last year, for example, over $2 billion was spent—perfectly legally—through the pari-mutuel machines on Thoroughbred racing (and, with nearly half a billion more spent on harness wagering), the total U.S. pari-mutuel turnover came to a staggering $2,591,705,143.'
"Tower is not the only one to create the impression that fans who attended the races during 1955 'spent' more than two and a half billion dollars at the race tracks. The information that this amount has been 'wagered' in the U.S. last year was publicized in many of the largest newspapers in America as having been 'lost' at the tracks. The fact is, of course, that of this amount, approximately 85%, or about $2,210 million, was returned to the public. Additionally, out of approximately $390 million, which was lost by racing fans, nearly $200 million was retained by the various states in the form of taxes. Of the remaining approximate $190 million more than 90% was used for purses and other track expenses.
"There is a prevailing opinion, particularly among people who do not patronize the race tracks, that betting is the only reason why people go to the races. There is no doubt that racing could not draw without wagering, but it is a combination of the thrilling sport and the betting that makes racing the most popular sport in the world. No other sport draws crowds that equal those attracted by Thoroughbred racing, particularly in Europe and other countries.... What clearer proof need one have than the crowds that are attracted by horses such as Nashua and Swaps and by races such as the Kentucky Derby?"
J. SAMUEL PERLMAN
The Morning Telegraph
The Daily Racing Form
•Why split hooves over the words spent and wagered? For that matter Mr. Perlman might have used the more proper word gambled instead of wagered, or, if he were a TV network, he could have called it audience participation. Our "usually well-informed" Whitney Tower (and his SI associates) knows as well as any racegoer that some 85% of the gambled money at tracks is returned to the public. And, like any bettor who gambles on the races, he is equally aware that the money spent isn't necessarily returned to those who spent it.—ED.
THE ADAMS SYSTEM
I was amused by the editor's comment "The editors await the system" to my recent letter stating that one could indeed beat the races (19th HOLE, June 18). Well, surprise, surprise, here is my system.
To qualify as a possible selection a horse must pass these three criteria: He must be 3 years old or older. He must have won his last race within 10 calendar days of present race and, in addition, must show at least two wins in the past two years. Lastly, the weight he carries must be 120 pounds or more. This is especially important.
Two don'ts: if at the track do not play the horse unless it is 2-1 or better. If away from the track, consult the consensus page of the Form or Telegraph. Do not play if the horse has 20 points or more in this consensus (five selectors). Lastly: if three horses qualify, the race should be passed. If two horses qualify, the most recent winner should be selected. If both horses won on the same day, play the horse who won for the highest claiming price. If still a tie, pass. I realize the "workout" I gave is for a short period and therefore doesn't prove a great deal.
This system, if used from Aug. 10, 1955 through Nov. 12, 1955 for the major U.S. tracks, would have shown a total of 152 plays with 45 winners. This would come to a profit of $211.90 on $2 flat bets. On $50 flat bets the profit would have amounted to $5,285.00. The longest run of losers would have been eight.
Since writing you, the last bookie I know of has been told to close up shop. This is a sad state of affairs. Horse racing is constantly being made the "whipping boy" of sports. It is of course ridiculous that it should be legal to wager inside a track and a misdemeanor away from the tracks.
Right Field Foul Line 330 FT.
PLY WOOD FENCE 4 ft. 8 in. HIGH
Left Field Foul Line 330 FT.