FOOTBALL: THE VIEW FROM STANFORD
This is not a hot-stove letter—we're just plain hot about the article concerning John Brodie and Stanford's recent loss to UCLA (SI, Nov. 12). It seems that Mr. Murray has joined the ranks of those misguided individuals who feel so sorry for "poor little" UCLA and are out to get those "nasty ole" Stanford Indians.
We are referring to those staunch crusaders who are continually heaping abuse upon Stanford for its recent stand against professionalism in the PCC. In casting the lone vote against the proposal of making guilty seniors eligible for five games, Stanford took the only ethical stand. Either they were eligible or ineligible; there can be no compromising of fundamental principles. It is absurd to have a player half-eligible.
We have been urged by our administration to bear this abuse with a mature patience. We are sick and tired of turning the other cheek. We have had to endure taunts of "purity boys," "saints with halos," and, last but not least, Mr. Murray's denotation of "Stanford's simon-pures."
It might also interest Mr. Murray to know that there were a few apathetic Stanford students (3,000) who put up their poker chips and were unable to go to the library Saturday morning because they were cheering their heads off at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
December 3, 1956
We too are able to quote Shakespeare, as is "Lucky" Henry Sanders:
If their-purgation did consist in words,
They are innocent as grace itself:
Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.
(As You Like It, Act I, Scene iii).
DAVID A. DUNCAN
•James Murray, a firm admirer of Mr. Brodie and Stanford's relaxed attitude toward football, asks, "What have I done that thou dar'st wag thy tongue in noise so rude against me?" (Hamlet, Act III, Scene iv). And the editors add: If Stanford took the proper stand, which we believe it did, why should its. undergraduate Indians be so self-conscious—ED.
FOOTBALL: TWO MUCH PRACTICE
I have read with interest the investigation and recommendations made by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and also by the Big Ten (SI, Oct. 29). As a former letterman from the University of Illinois I am quite familiar with Big Ten athletics.
There's one feature that was not much touched upon in your report. I refer to a definite tendency among many coaches to require more hours of practice from the athlete than he can afford to give and still maintain his academic standing. I had a very good basketball coach, Ralph Jones, who required our time only from 4 to 6:30 p.m. each day.
On the other hand, there is a college basketball player working for me here now who had to leave one of the schools in the South because he had been required to practice from about 3:30 until almost 7 p.m., and when he got home he was too tired to study.
It would seem to me that the number of hours which coaches are permitted to require of the athlete should be definitely limited so that the academic staff will agree that these do not adversely affect the standing of the student.
E. A. WILLIFORD
HOT STOVE: THE MAN IS MAD
When Mr. Saperstein suggested trading Roy Campanella for Smokey Burgess (19TH HOLE, NOV. 12), I could have been knocked over with a pin. Then he wants to trade Snider and Hodges. The man is mad, I tell you! Snider is not only a great hitter but an excellent fielder. The same thing goes for Gil Hodges.
What is this about trading Gilliam? He is not only a good hitter but a switch hitter as well, and can play two positions, left and second. He is always a dangerous man on the bases.
I like the team just the way it is. The Old Pros have got a few good years left.
HOT STOVE: EVERYBODY HAPPY?
Contrary to the opinion held by some of your recent correspondents (19TH HOLE, Nov. 12 and 26), there is more to baseball-player trading than exchanging players you don't like for players you do. The club must consider, for example, whether it is building for next year, three years from now or six years from now; who has been offered, privately or publicly, as trade bait by other clubs; when and at what positions its farm clubs are going to produce; the peculiarities of its park (fast ball pitchers do well with deep center fields, as in the Polo Grounds; the Dodgers need right-handed hitters in Ebbets Field); the manager's ability in handling players—whether he's better with veterans or youngsters, with go-go guys or quiet types; the fan's reaction to tampering with familiar and well-liked players (as Frank Lane found out in St. Louis).
Keeping these considerations in mind, the club must try to correct its weaknesses by trading off from its strongest points. My own Braves, for example, need hitting, particularly in the leadoff spot, and we have the best chance to add hitting by filling in at our weakest-hitting positions, which are left field and second base. We can afford to trade one pitcher and a good young catcher (i.e., Crandall). Now it so happens that Cincinnati also has an extra catcher (either Bailey or Burgess), and furthermore, the Dodgers are desperately in need of a replacement for Campanella. But to get the catcher, the Dodgers will have to give up something, and it is going to hurt them plenty, because catchers do not come cheap.
Cincinnati is definitely cool on Post; likewise the Dodgers on Newcombe; the Braves are dissatisfied with O'Connell and Thomson.
Taking all the above factors into consideration and adding Pittsburgh's interest in trading Thomas or Shephard for Crandall, I come up with the following trade, which should solve the major problems of all three of next year's National League contenders: 1) Crandall for Thomas and Shephard, 2) Thomas, Thomson and O'Connell for Gilliam and Amoros, 3) Buhl for Frank Robinson, 4) Bailey and Post for Newcombe and Furillo.
The Braves end up with a left fielder and a second baseman-leadoff man. The Dodgers get three right-handed power hitters and a catcher. Cincinnati gets two 20-game winners and a fair exchange in right field. None has given up anything which would cause a serious lack in any area. Everybody happy?
TRIBUTE TO A BOOKIE
Recently EVENTS & DISCOVERIES announced that Leo Schaeffer, known in the take-a-chance world as a bookie, had run afoul of the authorities in Winnipeg, Canada (SI, Nov. 12).
To us the news causes a pang of pain as sincere and acute as if this bookie were of our own flesh and blood. We didn't mean to say "bookie" with professional contempt, for to us, the thousands upon thousands that know him best, he is not only a gentleman gambler, but best of all a real man clean through.
There are some who believe in waiting until a chap passes to the bourn from which no traveler returns ere they give expression to his inner integrity. We like Leo Schaeffer primarily because we know-the kind of man he is. We also know of his philanthropic deeds, never carried on his coat sleeve, which would fill a book. He is a living example of "We only keep that which we give."
NASHUA VS. THE DANCER (CONT.)
Before you close the books on discussion of Nashua's merits, it might be apt to remind Jolene Boyd (19TH HOLE, NOV. 12) and other admirers of Native Dancer that two questions have to be answered to determine any competitor's degree of greatness: not only "What did he do?" but also "What did he do it against?" An unbeaten record means little if it has been achieved against obviously inadequate opposition.
A real horseman's first question, whenever a champion's name is mentioned, is not "How much did he win?" or "How fast did he run?" or "What weight did he carry?" The first question is "What did he beat?"
In the case of Native Dancer, the answer has to be, "Not much." Alfred G. Vanderbilt's gray, excellent performer that he was, had the misfortune to be the outstanding horse of a generation that provided few worthy opponents to test his mettle and, because of his injury as a 4-year-old, he did not race against enough horses of other generations to justify any conclusions.
His best opponents were Jamie K., an otherwise rather moderate horse who seemed to take a big jump in class when challenged by the "big 'un"; and Straight Face, who might have been a real top runner without his stiff knee.
On the other hand, Nashua beat a number of worthy opponents, not only of his own generation, but also of the one before and the one after.
His own generation was the best foaled in the U.S. since the golden crop of 1945 (Citation, Coaltown, Better Self, My Request, Billings, Ace Admiral, Bewitch, Miss Request, etc.). Nashua and Swaps alone would have been more than enough to make any crop outstanding. But the foals of 1952 also include Summer Tan, a real crack horse when he is right (remember last year's Wood Memorial?); Traffic Judge, hard hitting and nearly always providing a top effort; Royal Note and Royal Coinage, a pair of brilliant juveniles never able to show their quality in later seasons because of injuries; Saratoga, a real danger if he did not fret himself into nervous prostration before the start; Sailor, a fine handicapper until he broke down, etc. And Nashua beat them all.
He also licked such of his able seniors as Social Outcast, Find and Fisherman, among other excellent performers, and some of his skilled juniors, notably the route-loving Riley and Third Brother in The Jockey Club Gold Cup, a tough 2-mile test which the former Belair Stud star won twice, something no horse has been able to accomplish since Dark Secret in 1933-34.
FRANK TALMADGE PHELPS
•Mr. Phelps, well-known contributor to The Thoroughbred Record makes a stout case for a stout horse—but, for the record, Royal Note, now at stud, defeated Nashua as a 2-year-old in the Cherry Hill Stakes, giving away three pounds.—ED.
HAUTE COUTURE AT PRINCETON
In reference to your portrait of the Princeton tiger at the Princeton-Columbia game a few weeks ago (SI, Oct. 29), I thought you might like to know how the Princeton tiger got his skin.
It is a couture creation, you might say, from the Paris salon of Revillon Fr√®res.
Bill Briggs, this year's tiger, stopped off in Paris this summer while vacationing in Europe and was fitted into this costume. Briggs looks out through the tiger's mouth, and gets additional ventilation through numerous bound perforations in the skin which are not easily visible.
Even so, it was easier for the 400-pound Bengal tiger who originally wore this skin to carry it around than it is for Briggs. He loses 14 pounds every football game but somehow manages to get enough of it back to keep it up through the season. Revillon donated the tiger skin to Princeton and expects it will outlast the next dozen Princeton tigers.