I must say Booton Herndon's How Colleges Gather in a New Crop (SI, June 18) was one of the finest articles yet. I enjoyed it, and so did the other coaches here. It would be wonderful if all writers were as well informed about their subject as Herndon.
Asst. Football Coach
Notre Dame University
South Bend, Ind.
Your article on Pennsylvania prep school football was one of the best down-to-earth viewpoints on good high school football. I have seen prep school ball in Texas and other states, but Penn is in a class by itself. Almost every good football club has a Penn boy on the roster.
W. JAY O'BRIEN
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
THIS IS THE TRUE IDEA?
I, too, experienced some of the rush that Jimmy Cox of Collingdale High is going through now in choosing a college. I strongly feel Jimmy has lost the true idea of college, that of an education, not, as he put it, "at dumps like Penn State you got to eat what they give you."
JAMES R. CASTLE
Captain, 1954 U. of Pennsylvania football team
•Jim Cox, who made his first trip to the Penn State campus after SI's article appeared, reports it as "a wonderful place."—ED.
GRADE A CAMPUSES
You mentioned that one Ernie Westwood (a natural for UCLA, no?) was most influenced by the prospect of unlimited milk at the training table. If milk is what he wants he should not overlook the University of Chicago in choosing his college.
Here at ol' Academe-on-the-Midway, all residents of the men's dormitory can have all the milk they want at meals. Chancellor Kimpton says that we're going to have a football team again some day, and I'm sure that Mr. Westwood would be most welcome here. If he's interested, he can rest assured that we will match glass for glass the milk offered by any other college dining hall! As we say at the University of Chicago: Crescat scientia lac excolatur.
•Or as they say at Harvard, which also serves unlimited milk to its students: Lac et Veritas.—ED.
Martin Kane's Costly Victory (SI, June 18) was wonderful. As Mr. Kane said, "The Hurricane is a heroic kind of fellow." To me he is a symbol of courage, and he has my respect.
At last I feel happy when my husband and his friends are discussing sports. When some particular track record, tennis score or golf pro slips his mind, my husband turns to me and says: "What was the fellow's name, Jean?" And I usually come up with the right answer and silently thank SI.
San Andreas, Calif.
A VERY BASIC SPORT
I was most pleased to read the answers given to Jemail's HOTBOX "Is cockfighting cruel and sadistic?" (SI, June 25). Considering the prejudice in this country against this very old sport, I had not expected such fair-minded responses.
Cockfighting is, as one of your respondents put it, a very basic sport. To anyone who has ever handled a bird or witnessed a cockfight it is a very beautiful sport. Cocks are vicious fighters first and last. They live for nothing else and need no stimulus or reward. But this of course is not enough to make it a sport. The birds are also beautiful animals. Their taut, lithe bodies, all fighting muscle, and their vivid, multihued plumage make them an unforgettable spectacle.
Truly one man's (or woman's) meat is another's poison: to me the thought of watching men drive fast cars around a brick oval with the hope of witnessing a crash is utterly revolting. But I like cockfights.
MRS. A. C. F. PETERSONS
Cockfighting cruel and sadistic? Tail-feathers! It is indeed a sport of sports. The blood! The torn flesh! The wagers! The gameness of it all!
Compare it with other sports—Russian roulette, bridge-jumping, wife-beating. Where else can the primitive sports fan find such tremendous competitive interest?
Oh, to be in the cockpit rooting for the bantam with. the loose eyeballs and the ten-spot riding on his beak. Oh, blood and gore! Oh, wonderful world of sport!
WESLEY CHARLES ACKERLEY
LET ME ASK ONE
Perhaps the question should have read, "Are people who attend cockfights a little queer and somewhat demented?"
The answer to this question was a unanimous "yes" (12 people from this area at dinner last night—all sports enthusiasts).
HUGH H. FRANCIS
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
DON'T TAKE THE OLD BOY SERIOUSLY
The continuous controversy that rages over the rabbit ball (E & D, June 18) is nothing short of amusing. No doubt the antiquarians of every sport will be forever with us, but why must we take the old boys so seriously?
With each issue of your fine magazine I eagerly look forward to a reader onslaught against the tape measures, timing devices and standards of weights that are used in the sports world today. I have prepared myself for the day when it is suggested that a 16-pound shot no longer weighs what it did in the good old days and that our metallurgists have developed a more lively shot. I shall refuse to be surprised when one day someone suggests that a 15-foot pole vault is but a fraction of what it was in the prewar days. Without a doubt, our livelier timepieces render 4 minutes the equivalent of about 4:20 of yesteryear. I wouldn't be surprised if not a man over 40 could bring himself to read a recent announcement that the major league ballplayers of today are two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than their counterparts were but a few years ago, and equate such facts with the recent spate of home runs. It would be even more surprising if anyone would take seriously a suggestion that the greatest of all baseball teams played since World War II (probably one of the Yankee teams between 1949 and 1953 or the winner of the 1956 World Series). In the same breath I also suggest that Berra and Mantle, Kaline and Kuenn, Snider and Campanella, Aaron, Banks, Boyer, Fox, Friend, Hoeft, Kluszewski, Mays, Power and Score are as superior to their predecessors as are Sime, Morrow, Golliday, Lea, Sowell, Whitfield, Landy, O'Brien, Nieder and Bragg are to theirs.
PAUL H. SMITH
Ann Arbor, Mich.
HE STANDS ALONE
We think SI (June 18) helped to prove Ruth's magic 60 is not the most famous baseball record by showing how near it has come to being broken on many occasions.
Take the record of Ty Cobb: hitting against real pitchers and a dead ball, he led the American League 12 times. See what you can do with it. You will not see any Mantles, Foxxes, Greenbergs, Wilsons and others who either have almost broken it or are about to break it.
Ty really stands alone.
WILLIAM L. MAGILL
•Those who have come closest in the American League are Harry Heilmann ('21, '23, '25, '27) and Ted Williams ('41, '42, '47, '48), who each led his league four times.—ED.
May I add a postscript to that nostalgic backward glance at New York history, Gehrig's Last Day by Babe Dahlgren (SI, June 18)?
Dahlgren, now a baseball scout for the Kansas City A's in this territory, can claim paradoxically, an unusual distinction in football. In 1953 Dahlgren composed a stirring cadence, The Junior Rose Bowl March for the Junior Rose Bowl game of Pasadena. The tune has become the official song for the annual junior college classic.
But baseball is still Babe's love. K.C. Athletics' fans might be interested to know that there might be a Dahlgren battery in their town someday: Pitcher Donny Dahlgren and Catcher Ray Dahlgren. Pop works with them every day.
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY
Congratulations on Ezra Bowen's complete and excellent description of Carleton Mitchell's fabulous Finisterre (SI, June 18). I am sure that this will be of tremendous interest not only to all who actually participate in the sport of sailing but also to the far larger group who dream of someday owning an auxiliary.
However, few individuals will ever be in a position to invest in a boat that costs anything like the "more than $60,000" Mr. Mitchell acknowledges as being the price tag for Finisterre. I would prefer the Amphibi-Con, so ably described by Bob Bavier in the May 28 issue, which incorporates many of the features of Finisterre and costs about one-tenth as much. The ultimate in the sport of sailing, namely the ownership and use of a cruising, racing auxiliary, need not be the impossibly expensive sort of thing indicated by a Finisterre but can be within the reach of the average person.
CHARLES E. ANGLE
WHERE IS THE WATER?
I was amazed at the completeness of every detail aboard the Finisterre, whether for long-distance cruising or racing. After listing all the gadgets, important to the over-all weight, I was disappointed to find missing any data on the amount of drinking water carried aboard and the location of tanks. Water and batteries for the electrical system have always been important in regard to their placement in racing hulls.
MILTON E. BACON
•Water tanks carrying 87 gallons, ample for extended West Indian cruising or an Atlantic passage, are located under the transom berths.—ED.
No doubt Finisterre is a splendid ship, but Ezra Bowen is talking through his yachting cap when he says that this "fat-bodied centerboarder" represents a "revolution" in design. Who is my authority? None less than Finisterre's owner, Carleton Mitchell, who wrote the following in Yachting (Sept. 1954):
"But somewhere along the line a new-type centerboarder came into being, a boat able to hold her own in triangular racing—the only true test of relative speed—yet retaining...the weight and power to have a bigger boat 'feel' on any given waterline. ...I like 'em wide and I like 'em shoal. And especially so after having ridden around in one for the past five years. During that period I have cruised and raced my fat centerboarder Caribbee, which was designed by Phil Rhodes...."
Philip L. Rhodes designed Caribbee in 1937, 19 years ago. Of course, the type has evolved since then. Revonoc (1946) and Finisterre (1954) illustrate the evolution of smaller ships of this type.
AUSTIN LAMONT, M.D.
•In his analysis of the Bermuda rule, Ezra Bowen made it clear that the Finisterre is as much the product of the revolution (to heavy shoal-draft boats) as the cause of a revolution to small centerboarders. However, Caribbee, Escapade, Revonoc, White Mist and the other successful centerboarders of the past 20 years are all a lot more boat in size compared to the Finisterre, and none of them has the perfect balance of weight, lines and low racing handicap of the Finisterre.—ED.