SCRATCH THE HUNGARIANS
Out of the crackle of confused reports that swirled from Budapest last week came one hard item of information—of relatively minor importance perhaps when compared to the momentous demonstration that freedom still lives in Magyar hearts, but yet important in itself: the Hungarian Olympic team, said the Budapest radio, will not go to Melbourne. The revolt, said Budapest, has "interrupted their training."
Budapest's reason, of course, makes no sense. It is far more likely that Hungary's Red government simply doesn't trust its Olympians. In any case, the decision is a shame.
Next month in Australia, Hungary was scheduled to unveil some of the greatest athletes ever to be seen at an Olympic Games. Athletes such as the famous distance runners Sàndor Iharos, Làszló Tàbori, Istvàn Rózsav√∂lgyi and József Kovàcs, who among them have smashed a double handful of world records; steeplechasers such as Sàndor Rozsnyói (who recently broke another world record) and Làszló Jeszenszky; the discus man, Ferenc Klics; and the 1952 Olympic hammer throw champion, József Czermàk—who, along with Gàbor Benedek, silver medalist in the 1952 pentathlon, has already been killed in the fighting.
November 5, 1956
The Hungarian water polo team is the world's best; two sabremen, Alàdar Gerevich and Rudolf Kàrpàti, were gold-medal favorites among those who know fencing; Éva Székely, the defending breaststroke champion, led a team of women which included the strong backstroke contender, Éva Pajor, and the freestyler, Katalina Sz√∂ke.
They were scheduled to leave Budapest last Sunday night, moving in easy stages by two chartered airliners across southeast Europe and into India, on to Singapore and Indonesia and eventually to Melbourne, stopping frequently to rest and work out and perhaps to spread a little good will.
The loss of the Hungarians at the XVIth Olympiad will be a small price for the lessons Hungary has just given the world. But sportsmen of all nations will miss them, and will meanwhile hope Budapest reconsiders.
UP, MR. ELIOT
As readers of this magazine know, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED inaugurates this year a new kind of All-America honors list. It will be known as the Silver Anniversary All-America and the laurels will go to senior lettermen of the football fall of 1931, for accomplishment in chosen careers and in community service since graduation.
Nominations are still coming in as this issue goes to press, and it will be a while before the nominations go to the Board of Judges. But the University of Illinois could not have chosen a more opportune time than last Saturday morning to send word that its nominee for Silver Anniversary honors will be a fellow named Ray Eliot, who happens to be varsity football coach at the University of Illinois right now.
The word came just a few hours before Ray Eliot's Illinois team fashioned the upset of 1956—by beating Michigan State 20-13 (see page 16), after which Coach Eliot was carried off the field shoulder high.
Speaking of the Board of Judges, in addition to those named in the MEMO FROM THE PUBLISHER in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Oct. 22 issue, the following expert witnesses on accomplishment and community service have joined the board: General Omar Bradley of Los Angeles, Roger Blough of Pittsburgh, Harlow Curtice of Detroit, Benson Ford of Detroit, Jerome Crossman of Dallas, George Peabody Gardner of Boston, Bernard F. Gimbel of New York, F. Peavey Heffelfinger of Minneapolis, J. Edgar Hoover of Washington, D.C., William Kirkland of Houston, Chester J. LaRoche of New York, Shane MacCarthy of Washington, D.C., John M. Olin of East Alton, Illinois, General Matthew B. Ridgway of Pittsburgh, Robert A. Uihlein Jr. of Milwaukee and Collett E. Woolman of Atlanta.
THE IRON IRANIAN
With all its philosophical conflicts and all its tincture of professionalism, college football is not quite the cynical institution which its critics imagine it to be; neither are its players the faceless mounds of muscle which distance and modern equipment may sometimes make them seem. Nobody is dramatizing this fact quite so refreshingly at the moment as Jamshid Abol Hassen (Jim) Bakhtiar, a husky young fellow from Teheran who plays fullback for the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Iran is not overrun with football scouts, and the Cavaliers (to put it charitably) do not have a granite line; nevertheless, Jim Bakhtiar, a pre-medical student, is rated No. 6 among the nation's ground gainers.
A fine aura of improbability, in fact, shines about almost every aspect of Bakhtiar's career on the gridiron. His father is an Iranian surgeon, his mother an American nurse; when he was brought to Washington, D.C. to get a high school education he was both fascinated and frightened by football. "When a player with the ball came at me, I stepped out of the way and let him go." There was some reason for this reaction—he weighed but 133 pounds. On a seven-month visit with his family in Iran, however, he ate so much rice, khoresht and Persian bread that his weight shot up to 188, and on his return to Washington he promptly made the all-city team.
Jim has been dragging tacklers toward goal lines ever since. He is a good-looking young fellow with a crew cut, a deceptively amiable grin and a good deal of interest in the girls of Sweet Briar College, but he is a rough man on the field. Last year, as a sophomore, during a season in which Virginia lost nine out of 10 games, he carried the ball 158 times for a total of 733 yards; this year in six games he has carried 127 times for 547 yards, an average of 91, and, due in great part to his heroics, the Cavaliers are even in six games.
For all this muscular competence, however, he does not fit the popular concept of the college football serf at all. He came to Virginia primarily to get an education, and he is a good student. He has some very decided ideas on how to achieve long life. His father, who is now 77, expects to live to be 150. "I don't know if he'll make 150, but he'll certainly make 115—he gets up every morning at 3:30 and exercises every part of his body every day." Perhaps in preparation for longevity, Jim refuses to wear a football helmet except in games. "It rubs your hair off," he says. "I don't want to lose mine."
He is also trying to decide whether Geritol, the highly publicized patent medicine, gives quick energy. "I took it for three straight days before the VMI game and broke the conference record for rushing with 210 yards. I took my bottle up to Bethlehem for the Lehigh game, and it dropped on the floor of the hotel lobby. Gosh, it made an awful crash." He has not reinvested in a new bottle because of the expense ($2.49) and his discovery that it is 12% alcohol, but feels that he might use it again in an emergency.
Although his father has offered to pay for his schooling, Bakhtiar is proud of the fact that he has made his own way for years—as a gas station attendant during his high school years and, at least in part, as a football player (room, board, tuition) at Virginia. "It is a fine way to learn the American way of life. On the field you take a knockdown, take a loss and get up again. You've got to have endurance. You've got to have teamwork too. That is something my people lack. In India, Pakistan, Arabia, the people need this idea of cooperation. This is what I want to take back with me. I can't bring them football. But I can bring back the spirit of the game."
DREAMS IN JAPAN
Losing generals of imperial Rome were sometimes sent off to gain perspective and confidence in distant provinces—very much, perhaps, as Walter Alston and his beaten Brooks have been exported to Japan. It is a fair question whether the drubbings the Dodgers have taken from a couple of Japanese teams have done much to restore Brooklyn confidence. Certainly, Dodger memories, like the memories of Pompey after the Battle of Pharsalus, are still filled with thoughts of the imperial victors back home—the self-same victors that Artist Marc Simont arranged in invincible phalanx not too long ago (SI, Oct. 1, see above).
But exile may be a healing experience, and certainly the exiles are entitled to dream. It may be, by now, as Artist Simont suggests on the opposite page, that the Brooklyn generalissimo is refighting and revising his Pharsalus in some teahouse of the Alston moon.
THE JUMPING MULE
After a lifetime of what might be described as involuntary social climbing, Charlie the Jumping Mule has finally crashed society; last week despite his long ears and less than perfect family background he competed as a hunter in the seventh annual Chicago Hunter Trials at the Oak Brook Polo Club, Hinsdale, 111. Charlie seemed rather bored but his fond owner and rider, Mrs. Libby Chase Swift—a wiry, middle-aged Chicago socialite who possesses a certain sense of drama—was tremendously set up by it. Recognition had not come without struggle.
Charlie, one might say, is Mrs. Swift's invention; at any rate it was she who decided to breed a Thoroughbred mare named Kilishia (whose Grandsire, Black Toney, also sired two Kentucky Derby winners) to a jackass ten years ago, and Charlie was the result. When Charlie was two, Mrs. Swift began training him with her jumpers. Charlie soon proved that he could leap over almost anything—if he was in the mood—and Mrs. Swift, delighted with his talent and personality, took him to her ranch in California and set about preparing him for greater things. She held parties for him on his birthdays and brought him into her house, shod in green felt house slippers, to eat cakes made of oats and bran with carrot frosting. She also rode to hounds with him.
When she attempted to enter him in California horse shows, however, she was refused; also, nobody would admit Charlie was a hunter, although he loved fences so much that he jumped them by himself and sometimes went from pasture to pasture releasing horses incarcerated therein by opening gates with his nose. Mrs. Swift rebelled by holding a "mule show" in which Charlie won ribbons, but real social recognition was refused him. "They're new out there in California," said his owner, "and they wouldn't qualify him."
But a few weeks ago Theodore Mohlman, joint master of hounds for the Oak Brook hunter trials, agreed to let Charlie enter. "I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be permitted to jump as a hunter if he's doing what he's supposed to do. If he carries his rider across country and across fences, well, in my opinion that makes him a hunter." Charlie responded amiably enough in his first official trial and took Mrs. Swift over nine obstacles in the Ladies Hunters Trial with ease. He did not win. "It's a nice jumping mule," said the judge, "but it hasn't got style and it looks like it likes to eat, too."
Charlie got more attention than any of the horses, however; Mrs. Swift saw to that by pulling four gold-colored rubber shoes over his hoofs and riding him through the Polo Club dining room at lunch.
The patent office has granted Patent No. 2767920 to Willie P. Roberson of Winston-Salem, N.C. for a Registering Boxing Glove. The Registering Boxing Glove contains an air-filled bladder from which a pneumatic tube leads to a counter embedded in the wrist part of the glove. Every time a boxer hits his opponent the punch is registered. At the end of the fight the referee checks the counters of each fighter, and the man with the highest score is declared the winner. The glove can be adjusted to screen out love taps and register only telling blows.
Ordinarily, it would be difficult to praise anything that only adds to the statistical approach to what should be flesh-and-blood sport. But Mr. Roberson's patent, like so many patents before it, is primarily a labor-saving device; it does away completely with the boxing judge. In certain states that wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
Two 17-year-old boys, having shot a round of golf, were refreshing themselves with double chocolate malteds. One of them was unmistakably depressed. "My advice to you," said his friend in a grave and candid manner, "is to lay off for six months and then give up the game."
LAMENT FOR A MANAGER
There is not much point in shedding tears for a baseball manager when he leaves a $35,000-a-year job. One presumes that a few dollars have been stashed away in a convenient hatbox for the rainy season.
Still, the departure of Manager Marty Marion from the Chicago White Sox is an irritating thing to consider, and an indignant reaction necessarily occurs. Few men know baseball better than he, few can appraise their teams and opponents more shrewdly, few are better liked or more widely respected.
"We all felt," explained White Sox Vice-President Charles Comiskey, "that the club should have done a little better this year."
Who all felt? In the spring of the season Casey Stengel, that shrewd ob-server, said of the White Sox: "They don't have enough players." What Stengel meant, of course, was that the fine Chicago first string was unsupported in depth, a vital ingredient in today's baseball. There was no real reserve strength, no secondary starting pitching, no row of pinch hitters, no room to maneuver. When a player slumped (as so many White Sox did this season) there was little that Marty Marion could do. Unlike Stengel, he could not turn to his bench to shake things up. He had to stay with his first string, because an in-and-out Larry Doby, for example, was still preferable in center field and in the batting order to a nonhitting Bubba Phillips or a nonfielding Ron Northey.
Almost inevitably the White Soxers collapsed in July when they struck a simultaneous slump. In 10 days they were all washed up, and the pennant race was over. Marion rallied his team sufficiently to salvage third place but failed to overtake Cleveland, which, by something more than a coincidence, has also dropped its manager.
And the man who beat them both? Casey Stengel has just been voted Manager of the Year for the fifth time. And the Yankee farm system will be busy all winter digging up fresh troops to make sure Casey is Manager of the Year in 1957, too.
GENTLEMAN FROM AUSTRALIA
Since John Landy "retired" from track competition two years ago, he has turned in four under-four-minute miles; he gallantly spoiled a good chance to better his own world record in the mile by stopping to help a fallen runner at a meet in Australia; he traveled to California and ran two races there to help create interest in the Melbourne Olympics. Two months ago a soreness of his leg tendons made it difficult, then impossible, for Landy to run. He stopped training to see if rest would help before finally ruling himself off Australia's Olympic team. Last week an official was attending swimming trials in Melbourne when Landy phoned him to say that he would, after all, be a member of the team. Relayed by loudspeaker, the news brought the crowd to their feet and the swimmers from the water to cheer John Landy—not so much for what he was about to do, but for the kind of man he already was.
BIG GAME HUNTER
He's stopped the elephant
In its track
With a morsel from
His peanut sack.
—F. E. WHITE
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
•The Campbells are Coming, Fast
England's Donald Campbell, holder of the world speed record on water (226 mph), will try for another one on wheels. In a car with a British gas-turbine engine, he hopes to better 400 mph. Present record: 394. Campbell will make attempt in Utah, expects a big problem will be keeping car from taking off like a plane.
•Valley in the Sky
International ski authorities, approving Squaw Valley, Calif. for 1960 Winter Olympics, called for two adjustments: 1) advising athletes to come early and adapt to thin air because site is about 1,000 feet higher than Olympic maximum; 2) shortening downhill run to eliminate easy slope at bottom. Both measures have precedents in earlier Games: a shortened run at Oslo, extra altitude at St. Moritz.
Sweden, cheering on the Hungarian revolt like all Western Europe, faced a minor but urgent practical fact: last Sunday's soccer game between Swedish and Hungarian teams, scheduled for Budapest, had to be canceled.
•Russia's Adopted Athletes
Ukrainian emigrants in six different countries joined in a protest against an all U.S.S.R. team at the Olympic Games. Declaring that 14 of the 15 Soviet Republics are "unwilling partners" of Russia, the group urged that non-Russians on Soviet team compete "as representatives of their respective nations."