TAR HEELS: SHADOW OF THE STILT
Well! this is just what I have been waiting for—true proof that "we" have the greatest team in the nation.
The sportswriters were smart enough to recognize the best team when they chose the University of North Carolina as the No. 1 team in the nation. But your magazine clung to Kansas as if in desperate hope.
Well! I hope you will make a little effort to make up for the big mess you have made all season. First, you might begin by looking into all the records Carolina has just broken. I think that might make interesting reading for one paragraph. Confidentially, many of us Southerners have taken just about all we will stand. We are tired of being hidden in the shadow of Kansas and Chamberlain.
I would like to close by saying that we do not find your magazine to be the only one in error. I would also like to say that your magazine has been in our home since its first edition. This letter has been composed to let you know how we honestly feel down here. We are most proud of our team, and we wish for others to read of our greatness.
A true Tar Heel
Chapel Hill, N.C.
April 8, 1957
•The Tar Heels set a national record for consecutive wins in a single season (32), a conference record for rebounds in one game (78 against Furman), and a bookful of campus records.—ED.
TAR HEELS: CATSUP AND PREJUDICE
Gentlemen, by now you should have come to your senses, realizing that the University of North Carolina basketball team is most definitely No. 1 in the nation, despite your prejudices.
Against Kansas, the Tar Heels proved that they are second to none. Once again they took to the court and performed with their deadly attack, never once losing their poise, never once giving up when defeat was so near. They withstood the fateful three overtimes with Kansas much better than the thousands here in North Carolina did as we watched the game on TV—and they went those three overtimes without the services of All-America Lennie Rosenbluth They are a team, not a one-man outfit.
In view of the unbelievable record of the Tar Heel team, why have you deliberately neglected them throughout the season? Why have you deliberately refused to give Lennie Rosenbluth the recognition that is due to him? Give them the credit that if long overdue from you.
If Tex Maule and Jeremiah Tax would care to eat their words we would gladly furnish the catsup. Care to make a few more predictions?
BENNETTE E. WHISENANT, ROBERT E. MCRACKEN, FRANK W. SMITH, WILLIAM T. M. RACKEN, H. G. GANDNER JR., GEORGE E. BUNNELL. JOE MILLER, J. M. MILLER, JIM CARROLL, ROBERT W. LONG JR., C. JEFFERSON THOMPSON, CHARLES L. SOWERS, AVERY THOMAS, CHARLES R. THOMPSON, J. GILBERT WRENN, HARRY M. GELEZ, WALTER NEVILLE, D. C. RATLEY, AL GOLDSTEIN, GEORGE WRAPE, BILL HUTCHINSON, TOM GRAFF, CLOYD A. BOOK-ANT, B. J. MOFFETT, EMMETT CIRFF JR., WESLEY P. DOCKERY, KENNETH A. HOKE, LLOYD CAMPBELL, BOB RHOADES, JERRY AMAN, HARNER O. GILBERT JR., JAMES S. SHORT JR., CHOCTIS L. POOLE, WILLIAM C. CHARLES, WILLIAM DUNN III, JOHN JONES, HILLY GOLDMAN, DAVID L. CHRONISTER, DUANE HOWE, BILL ANDERSON, JAMES KAY WELBORN, PETER COLLINS. WALLY GRAHAM, BOB KUSHNER, ROBERT L. CARSWELL, LEE LAWRENCE, TOM BURGISS, BARRY CLARK, BOB LEE, BOB MACKENZIE, JAMES HASKINS, THOMAS CORDLE, DAVID A. PARKER, LEON V. TALABAC, ROBERT LEE MORRISON, WADE BOWLES, RAYMOND L. DUKE JR., TIM E. JESSUP, JIMMIE BELK, GARY E. WIDEN-HOUSE, BOYCE LYNN, WASH M. SMITH, NEAL KELLY Chapel Hill, N.C.
•Pass the catsup. Messrs. Tax and Maule will eat all their words except Tax's last: "It is impossible to give too much credit to Coach Frank McGuire and his crew of Tar Heels" (SI, April 1).
But our basketball writers did not "neglect" North Carolina, e.g., "North Carolina...should have slight trouble with N.C. State in the Atlantic Coast Conference but with no one else" (SI, Dec. 17). "North Carolina State, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest-have for years been among the best anywhere. Indeed, if they did not spend most of the season knocking each other off, all four would undoubtedly enjoy consistently higher national rankings" (SI, Jan. 7) "No team in the East seems capable of stopping North Carolina..." (SI, March 18). "The Tar Heels are unquestionably the most experienced and poised of the four teams [in the NCAA championship finals]. Pressure...should hurt them the least" (SI, March 25).
Another prediction? Since we have now heard from practically every adult citizen of Chapel Hill and environs—either singly or in groups—we predict that if the Tar Heel spirit is maintained at its present level and if Coach McGuire can bring along his two prize freshmen, York Larese of New York City and Lee Shaffer of Pittsburgh, the Tar Heels will win another NCAA victory despite the loss of Lennie Rosenbluth and Bob Young—if, that is, they get through the perennially tough ACC and, once again, in the NCAA, keep the ball away from Wilt Chamberlain.—ED.
MOTOR SPORTS: OH, PIONEERS!
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S look at Sebring (SI, March 25) is the stimulus for me to sit down and tell you how very wonderful has been your coverage of what used to be the sport of a few "nuts." I am a sports-car pioneer in the sense that I was the first man around here to drive "one of those silly, little foreign cars"; to wit, an MG in 1946. Today I have the pleasure of owning a larger car and the even greater pleasure of hearing friends, acquaintances and strangers discuss it with knowledge and a little envy. Furthermore, there are now so many sports cars in this place that the station parking lot looks like the starting point of a road race. I think that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, with its often beautiful and exciting and always conscientious reports and pictures on sports cars, races and other events, can take a large share of the credit for bringing sports cars to the verge of a major participation sport. There is, of course, no finer sense of participation to be gotten from anything. I hope to continue to see the magazine give much coverage to sports cars.
PALM SPRINGS: HOMETOWN, U.S.A.
I have passed many happy days in the discreet seclusion of The Smoke Tree Ranch (Clothespins and a Code of Calm, March 18) and consequently have my own clothespin and my own little feeling of having experienced life to the full. My code of calm, however, has been somewhat disturbed, and I take the liberty of advising you herewith.
Horace Sutton did a splendid job of assessing the peculiar way of life at Smoke Tree, and the entire presentation, story and pictures, is distinguished. What you have done, however, in the adjoining article on the city of Palm Springs is what has disturbed my calm, as it will hundreds of other balanced people. Palm Springs has all that Horace Sutton says it has, and I have seen it all. It is indeed a trap for the socially ambitious, the big spenders and the Texas oil tycoons who can buy their way into the company of Hollywood and New York celebrities. On the other hand, Palm Springs is many things to many people. The large residential population is striving to establish a civic consciousness and a normal life.
They have churches, a school system, a public library, a desert museum, a civic chorus, a distinguished playhouse, a Jewish Community Center and hundreds of honest people who work for their living and support the local economy.
They do not indulge in sequined feather dusters, as do the tourists, but they manage. It has distinguished architects and lawyers, physicians and surgeons, and because of the God-given climate people can there regain their health and well-being quite independently of Charlie Farrell, "Mousie" Powell and the Racquet Club's highly accelerated publicity.
I have no objection to Horace Sutton having his fun. Having seen the desert through the focus of Smoke Tree, I can understand that life for him will never be quite the same again. But as to Palm Springs, I have the impression he went through the station and heard the calls but hadn't time to get off the train and actually look around. If he had, he may have seen a sprawling desert community with the worst growing pains a town ever had, and the end is not yet to come as long as there are teamsters and gangsters, false fronts, suckers, publicists and press agents, sewers, home-loving people, subdividers and dreams. Let him go back and try again, for humanity's sake.
Riverside County, Calif.
•Take away that sequined feather duster and you lose Footloose Horace Sutton.—ED.
SPRING FOOTBALL: BALANCED VIEW
There is a great deal to be said on both sides of spring football (HOTBOX, March 18). Within the Ivy League itself several athletic officials have expressed widely varying views on the presidents' rules.
However, there is more to the matter than spring football. Recently several have attacked Ivy athletic policy without understanding the basic issues involved. A good example of this was the statement last October by Washington Redskins Owner George P. Marshall in which he accused the Ivy League presidents of killing college football and suggested that these presidents be fired.
What Mr. Marshall and others have failed to see is that the Ivy colleges simply aren't interested in producing athletes of professional caliber on a large scale. They are more interested in training men who will write political history than sports history. They have no objection to schools who train athletes or emphasize their sports programs. But they can't compete with those schools on the collegiate athletic field because they spend the major part of their time in other areas. They recognize, however, that there is a need in the world for both athletes and scholars. The Ivy League colleges want to produce scholars. Other schools want to produce athletes. Why not let each go his way?
The Ivies try—and I believe succeed—to mix academics and athletics. They have found that their academic aims are best achieved with a limited athletic program. As a varsity letter winner, a sports editor and an undergraduate at an Ivy League college I believe this balance to be sound.
JOHN P. BECKER
THE HOME RUN
When home run records are discussed, reference is always made to Ruth's 60 in 1927 and the possibility of Mantle (or some lesser hero) breaking that. Recent publicity on the total number of homers made each year since 1920 by all players in both leagues indicates that Ruth's 54 in 1920, or his 59 in 1921 are much greater achievements than the 60 in 1927 and cannot be compared with any record that might be set this year or next. In 1920 the total home runs in the combined leagues was 631, so when Ruth made 54 he had one in every 12 by all major league players. By 1927 the total had risen above 900, so the 60 of that year was one in about 15. If Mantle had hit 61 in 1956, when total home runs were nearly 2,300, he would have made one in 38. His ratio would have been less than one-third that of Ruth's 1920 figure.
GEORGE P. MEADE