SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR: ALL HONOR TO THIS GLADIATOR
I nominate as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Sportsman of the Year Sal Maglie, the indomitable old pro who gave us baseball's finest hour in the 1956 pennant stretch drive. Maglie, in my opinion, merits this recognition because he has made the full circle from the game's-the-thing youngster to money-is-all pro, only to become once more the athlete driven by the spirit of the game.
There were times last season when a perceptive ear could hear the old man's joints protest the strain, but so intensely consumed was he with his mission on the mound that he conquered all with the singular fierceness of his determination. All honor to this gladiator, this survivor of a thousand arenas, this slayer of a thousand lesser men, who achieved his ultimate triumph through resources of spirit and skill 10 years in the making.
SPORTSMAN: HE STANDS ALONE
This time there can be no discussion. John Landy is the only worthy candidate. His inspiration to his fellow athletes, taken with the magnitude of his own achievements, make him stand alone in sports.
JANE RIPLEY STORM
SPORTSMAN: RELUCTANT CREDIT
I do not quite agree with the self-nomination of Avery Brundage for the Nobel peace prize, but I think the man deserves the almost equal distinction of becoming your Sportsman of the Year for 1956. Before your readers cream me for this seeming heresy, reflect: did he not stage the Olympics in a world torn with strife, with a feeling of brotherhood toward all? Does he not symbolize the trend of 1956 toward less commercialization in sports? It would not break my heart to hear of Avery's resignation but, nevertheless, credit where credit is due.
December 24, 1956
SPORTSMAN: IN MEMORIAM
I nominate Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the finest of athletes and the most courageous of women....
SPORTSMAN: LOOK TO THE OLYMPICS
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Man of the Year must surely have been seen in action in Melbourne. Hoad's failure in the U.S. championships ousts him, Hogan has still to notch up that fifth Open, while old age seems at last to have caught up with Archie Moore. Unfortunately, no Zatopek was seen in these Olympic Games, so a number of competitors must come in for careful screening. The following must be in the line-up: Kuts, Morrow, Delany, Campbell, Mimoun and Brasher. The best all-rounder must be Campbell; the decathlon winner must always be included in the final analysis. Brasher made it the hard way, while Delany won the race of the Games. Still, I think the man of the year rests between Morrow, the fastest human on earth, and Kuts, the Iron Man from Russia. I would give it to Kuts.
FINBARR M. SLATTERY
Asdee, County Kerry, Ireland
•For the editors' choice, see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Jan. 7 issue.—ED.
OLYMPICS: STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE
The Olympic coverage was great, simply great. Too bad the team didn't do as well as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED did in covering the contests.
ROBERT BURKHARDT JR.
OLYMPICS: EXPERT INSIGHT
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S articles concerning the 1956 Melbourne Games were of such calibre as I have never seen before. I speak specifically of their insight into the world situation today and their expert coverage of the Games.
OLYMPICS: TRACKMEN YOUNG AND OLD
It is agreed by all that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is the best magazine of its kind ever published, and has put out some great issues, but I think the Olympic issues are the greatest of all.
I hope that Roger Bannister will continue to write for you. His Olympic forecast was a great article, and I am sure it will be an inspiration to all young track men.
Kingston, Jamaica, B.W.I.
•Mr. McKenley's 400-meter Olympic record of 45:9, posted in the 1952 Games, still stands today.—ED.
OLYMPICS: PERMANENT RECORD
I have covered the Olympic Games from the start of the modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens, Greece, yet in your issue I found many items of real interest that were brand-new for me.
What impressed me the most was the double-page spread with the progression of records and performances. I have kept your first issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and I assure you that I won't part with the Olympic issue for a long time. My sincere congratulations.
OLYMPICS: VALUE RECEIVED
I have a collection of the newspapers of the foreign lands. Unfortunately, I know not to acquire your fascinating news magazine because of diverse difficulties in my land. I must apologize to you for my boldness, yet can you send me some pieces of your magazine, especially on the Olympics so that I can see the photographs of the excellent U.S. athletes. Please excuse my bad English, I have come to Szeged to study at the university. I send you my best regards and a stamp of the Olympics.
My request is to send me all magazines about the Olympic Games, because it isn't possible to receive them another way. I am a student and I am very fond of sport. I want to know more news about the Olympic Games.
I can't send you any value, but I send you Olympic postage stamps issued by my country, Bulgaria.
•A set of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Olympic issues has gone out with the editor's warmest Christmas wishes to Mr. Kormendi in his land of diverse difficulties and Mr. Koussev in his people's democracy.—ED.
OLYMPICS: FINE PEOPLE
Thank you for your wonderful story Golden Melbourne (SI, Dec. 10). The writing was fine, and the pictures more than a man could expect. What fine people must have done that story.
OLYMPICS: MATCH RACE!
Now that everyone has acclaimed Bobby Morrow as the world's fastest human, let's see him come home and face the real champion of the sprinters, Dave Sime. In the one time they have met, Sime beat Morrow. As you know, Dave was injured and could not compete in the Olympics. A race (preferably 220 yards) between these two would solve the question of who is the faster. I'll grant it would be close, but I'll wager Sime would take it.
OLYMPICS: VANCOUVER CINDERELLAS
For your readers' information, we would like to give you a rundown on the financial and other handicaps that our Canadian Olympic crew was subject to.
Thirteen University of British Columbia students sacrificed, among other things, a year's education; paid money out of their own pockets for the privilege of rowing; lived like monks for six months; got up at 6:30 a.m. to row on the infamous and log-littered Coal Harbour of Vancouver; worked all day and rowed again at night, only to get up at 6:30 a.m. and start the procedure all over again.
These boys were helped by a U.B.C. grant of $1,450 which made it possible for them to own their own equipment.
The coach, Mr. Frank Read, gave up time and no one knows how much money to coach these boys toward their tremendous goal. Without the generous assistance of local citizens who gave food and other necessities, all this would have been quite impossible.
Please note our "Cinderella" crew of four romped to an easy victory for Canada's first Olympic gold medal in rowing.
Our Canadian eight made a valiant showing in both semifinals and finals, only to be beaten by a mere half-length by the United States Yale crew.
OLYMPICS: WHERE TO PLAY
I am intrigued by your Nov. 19 PAT ON THE BACK for the U.S. Olympic field hockey squad. How were they chosen, where and by whom? Is there a U.S. field hockey association for men's play? Are there any field hockey clubs or teams in the East or in the Princeton area?
I played the game in 1954-55 on an English Speaking Union Scholarship in England and would like to play some more but had no idea any such animals existed in the United States.
HAMILTON W. MESERVE
•The U.S. team was selected last September by the U.S. Olympic field hockey committee. There are only about a dozen men's teams in the U.S., five of them in Greenwich, Conn., the rest in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Mr. Meserve might want to write to the Olympic field hockey committee chairman, Henry Kirk Greer, Rye, N.Y.—ED.
FOOTBALL: SMALL THANKS
Your small-college-football coverage all season long has been great and the article on Johns Hopkins (SI, Dec. 3) was no exception.
Many thanks for printing Randolph-Macon scores throughout the 1956 season.
FREDY C. STENG
FOOTBALL: A PAT FOR ALBIE
The quiet confidence with which Albie Booth ran the Army-Navy football game was in such contrast to the nauseating showboating we see from most referees of collegiate football (particularly on the West Coast) that Booth seems well worth a "Pat on the Back."
Of course, the logical conclusion is to try to interest more first-class football players in officiating after they have completed their active interest in the game. Certainly something should be done to get rid of the overweight, gray-headed, pompous dudes whose principal interest is to get their best profiles in focus for the TV cameras.
I realize that these fellows have the officiating work sewed up just as tight as the plumbers' union, but they could be "loosened up" if enough spectators would raise a big enough squawk.
•Yes, indeed. For a reminiscent look at Albie Booth "showboating" 93 yards for a touchdown, see page 73.—ED.
FOOTBALL: THE RECORD BOOK
Now that Oklahoma has won 39 straight games, many a newspaper and magazine claim this to be the longest winning streak in college football history.
According to some records of my own, Yale totaled 46 straight victories between 1885 and 1889. Also, the University of Washington is reputed to have gone without defeat for 63 straight games—winning 59 and tying four between the years 1907 and 1917.
DOUGLAS C. WRIGHT JR.
New Haven, Conn.
•Reader Wright is right.—ED.
FOOTBALL: FULL-SPEED GRANDPA
On one of my trips through this territory, I was pretty bored and I decided to take in a football game between the Lockport Esso team and Batavia, both of the New York Semi Pro League. What I saw made me want to see more, so I decided to watch Lockport play against both Fredonia and Buffalo.
I noticed a very fast right halfback, who ran full speed every minute of the game. He blocked viciously, hit the middle of the line and ran the ends like fury. He ran 85 yards for a touchdown against Batavia and set up two more on runs of 20 and 30 yards. In the game against Fredonia, he gained almost 200 yards, including runs of 70 and 55 yards.
Upon investigation, this halfback turned out to be a 40-year-old (!) Nisei surgeon. He is Dr. Kiyo Tashiro, assistant director of the Niagara Chest Hospital in Lockport, N.Y., a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and a thoracic surgeon. He was president of his county society in Ironwood, Mich. before returning to New York. Up in Michigan, he was also known as one of the hardest hitters in Class A softball.
There have been physicians who have played football, as for instance Dr. Dan Fortman of the Chicago Bears, but there have been none who have played at the age of 40.
When I met Dr. Tashiro, I asked him if the other ballplayers called him "Pappy." He smiled, shook his head and said, "No, they call me 'Grandpappy.' "
FOOTBALL: THE END IN SIGHT
In your issue of Nov. 19 you printed a letter from J. Shober Barr, dean of athletics at Franklin & Marshall.
He stated in his letter that Gettysburg and F&M are participants in one of the longest small-college football series in the country, dating back to 1887.
The 59th game in this series has been played and won by Gettysburg. This is the sixth straight Bullet win. Is this traditional game headed for the scrap heap? Dean Barr stated in his letter to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that Franklin & Marshall College had abandoned football scholarships and would only schedule colleges with similar policies with regard to financial aid to athletes. Does Mr. Barr consider Gettysburg aims to be "similar" to those of F&M or is there foundation to the rumors that F&M plans to drop "big time" G-Burg so that Coach Sponaugle can have an undefeated season?
If that be the case, alumni of both colleges certainly will be disappointed. If the series is giving Coach Sponaugle a set of ulcers he should take heart and hark back to 1950 when the Bullets on the schedule that year were outclassed by the likes of F&M's Cordier, Galebach, Cope, King, Lowder, Ebersole, Pietchke, et. al., who, incidentally, went undefeated.
•After the 1958 game Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall will discontinue their ancient football rivalry—at least temporarily. Mr. Barr says the moratorium will continue so long as the two schools go in "opposite directions" in their athlete procurement policies. However, the long-running athletic rivalry will continue in all sports but football.—ED.
MINOR SPORTS: LITTLE JOHN UP THE POLE
What is the world's record for flagpole-sitting? How many days, and where? Reason I want to know is, my son has been on a flagpole since Aug. 4, 1956 down at Fort Smith, Ark. and we are trying to find out what the record is. If we are not able to do so, I don't know how much longer he will stay up as he has passed 100 days this last weekend.
His name is Little John, and when he went up on the pole his weight was over 408 pounds. His goal is to break the world record and lose from 100 to 200 pounds. Would you please send me a speedy reply?
MRS. MARION GREGORY
•Ever eager to report sports news in the making, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED dispatched a reporter to Fort Smith, Ark., who filed as follows: sure enough, Little John Gregory, a free-lance ventriloquist and pantomimist who got his weight up to 408 pounds by everlastingly munching, munching, has been up a 42-foot pole since 10:45 a.m. Aug. 4. Little John's base of operations is a six-by-eight-foot platform atop the pole covered by a tent. Here Little John sleeps, listens to the radio and talks by phone to his girl, who, although cool when he shimmied up the pole, is now audibly impressed with her suitor. Every hour on the hour Little John snaps on a radio transmitter and for five minutes broadcasts over the local radio station an account of his condition and tribulations, laced with plugs for his sponsors who have made all this possible. Fridays Little John does his bit for national defense as an observer for the Ground Observer Corps. Informed that the world record for flagpole-sitting stands at 196 days, Little John plans to stay aloft until March 9, 1957, and come down with a decisive 37-day margin on the old record. But, don't get us wrong; we don't consider flagpole-sitting a sport, although it might be an art.—ED.
MINOR SPORTS: THE TACK-JIBE (CONT.)
In your 19TH HOLE of Nov. 26 Mr. Jock Elliott refers to himself as a landlubber because he cannot understand the so-called tack-jibe. Why this terrible inferiority complex?
It is not clear how else Rainbow could have turned the mark, approaching it as she did on the starboard tack. It must be remembered that it had to be left to starboard. The turning was routine. Charlie Adams was sailing Yankee and Frank Paine was beside him. It is insulting to one's memories to intimate that they did not know how to turn a buoy. I do not remember whether we approached the mark on the starboard or port tack. If we came to it on the starboard tack we turned it as Rainbow did. If on the port tack we simply bore off and eased our sheets after jibing. We were all much more interested in figuring out how to catch and pass Rainbow on the 15-mile run to the finish.
Managing owner of Yankee
•The routine way of turning the mark would have been to go over on the port tack and then jibe. Vanderbilt never let his boat get on port tack, but held his sail amidship until he was able to jibe.—ED.
THE BALL: ANSWERS
9 Table tennis
10 Field hockey
12 Water polo
14 Outdoor polo
21 Court tennis
22 Lawn bowling