CONGRATULATIONS ON ANOTHER WONDERFUL FIRST. DERBY RESULT MAKES MEMORABLE YOUR FINE PREVIEW STORY AND PHOTOS OF IRON LIEGE 1957 KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINUTES AFTER BEING FOALED.
TEX RICKARD: HE HAD IT
I met Tex Rickard (SI, April 22 et seq.) in his saloon and gambling casino in Tonopah, Nev. in 1900 or 1901 and want to tell you my story.
My instructions were exact. There was money to collect and to turn into Wells Fargo Express Money Orders. The Wells Fargo office closed at 5. On this memorable night I was late. Something had to be done. The stage did not leave until next morning and I could not sleep with that mound of gold and silver about me. So after supper I went to Rickard's saloon.
It was not hard to talk to Tex Rickard. He let you do it all and replied to my question if he'd take my cash with the word, "Sure." Reaching back he came up with a canvas bag saying, "Pour'er in." Tex wrote my name on the bag in pencil, turned and chucked it into the huge mouth of the safe. He did not count my money. He gave me no receipt. All he did was to say, "It's here when you want it."
I never had gambled but felt a slight token for his kindness was in order. At the roulette table I placed a dollar on the red, and the little ball spun around to land in a black socket. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder, and, turning, met face up with Tex Rickard. He did not smile. He did not scowl. He said less than a dozen words, but those words have followed me all these years as a lesson gospel true. What he said was this: "Boy, this is not yer game."
Men were either straight or crooked, there were no betweens, you either had it or you didn't. Tex Rickard had it.
New Braunfels, Texas
BASEBALL ISSUE: HOP, FLOAT AND JUMP
Regarding the article "Pitcher in a Jam? Call the Weatherman!" (April 15) by Rear Admiral Dan Gallery, I would like to know what effect aerodynamic theory would have on a knuckle ball. Also, some people say that when a fast-ball pitcher has an exceptionally good day, his fast ball "jumps." How does aerodynamic theory apply to this?
RICHARD DE MORE
•The knuckle ball's peculiar behavior, explains Philip Michel, aerodynamics engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft, is caused by the effect of surface air flow and pressure distribution on the ball's irregular surface, i.e., the seams. The knuckle ball "floats" up to the plate with a slight spin which causes the seam on one side to be oriented slightly differently toward the oncoming air than the seam on the opposite side. This causes asymmetrical pressure distribution on the two sides resulting in a net force perpendicular to the ball's path. Such behavior would be highly unpredictable, and it is the knuckle ball's unpredictability which makes it such an effective pitch, and one, incidentally, difficult for catchers to handle. As for a fast ball "jumping," aerodynamic engineers doubt that forces can be applied to the fast ball to make it jump or hop.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: WHAT CURVE?
Before the pitchers begin breaking their arms in attempts to throw the Admiral's curve, perhaps it should be explained just what forces are involved in shifting the position of the axis of rotation of the spinning baseball, which in this instance is a gyroscope, with inherent stable orientation.
D. F. MUNRO
•Theoretically the curve is possible because of the "lift" force, which causes the ball to break when the axis of spin is exactly perpendicular to the ball's flight path. The axis of spin can be given a small angular velocity about another axis perpendicular to the spin axis. A simple analogy would be spinning and flipping a pencil simultaneously. The pitcher, through wrist motion, spins the ball and at the same time causes the spin axis to tumble at a slow rate from a point where it is aligned with the flight direction (and where there is no lift force) to a point where it is perpendicular to the ball's flight path. At this point the lift force would be at its maximum, causing a sudden increase in flight-path curvature. In other words, the ball would "break." If all this were simpler, we would presumably have more good pitchers and, as Admiral Gallery pointed out, now is the time to put these theories to test in a wind tunnel.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: MAN MISSING
It was only a natural reaction to be a bit disappointed in your magazine's major league baseball edition as it omitted any mention of Curtis Barclay of Missoula, Mont., pitcher for the New York Giants.
We saw the strong rookie right-hander in action during the grapefruit season, and in sterling performances against the Cleveland Indians he demonstrated the control, speed, curve and poise to make the grade. Barclay won 15 games for the Minneapolis Millers in the American Association last year and so he may be a shot-in-the-arm for the Giants' hurling corps.
I'll bet you a Montana sirloin that Curt Barclay does himself proud on the hill for the New Yorkers. Methinks Johnny Antonelli and Ruben Gomez will welcome the "Sal Maglie of Montana" ere the season is very far along.
JOHN T. CAMPBELL
•In his first game (against Philadelphia) Barclay was unable to get a batter out as four runners crossed the plate. But hang onto that sirloin—the Maglies were not made in one day.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: MEAT MAN
If Jack Tighe, the Detroit manager, is a vegetarian, then the hot dogs sold at Briggs Stadium are made of Grade A U.S. Government-inspected soy beans. They are not and Jack Tighe, a heavy consumer of same, is not a vegetarian.
BASEBALL ISSUE: STAR COACH
In the Baseball Issue (SI, April 15) analysis of New York Yankees you say: "Unlike Stengel, who never played in American League, his three coaches are all former Yankee stars; Bill Dickey (first), Frank Crosetti (third), Jim Turner (pitching)." Please advise when Jim Turner was a "Yankee star" other than a star coach of pitchers who has made Stengel look good. I think he was an old Boston Brave.
R. W. JENSEN
•Jim Turner pitched for the New York Yankees from 1942 to '45. He was with the Boston club from '37 to '39 and Cincinnati '40 to '41.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: MURRAY'S LAW (CONT.)
Reacting to James Murray's well-written and thought-provoking article, Fame Is for Winners, I should like to cite three players, Honus Wagner, Stan Musial and Tommy Henrich as both team players and winning-team players.
Honus in his Pittsburgh prime had a 13-year record of four pennants, four second-place finishes, four third-place finishes and one fourth-place finish. He was on one World Series winner in 1909, and in that Series he outhit Cobb .333 to .231 and out-stole Cobb by six to one. (In two of Wagner's pennant years, no World Series games were held.)
Musial, in one of the Cardinals' peak periods, played on four pennant winners and five second-place finishes over a nine-year stretch. Stan played on three winners in four World Series.
Citing that ballplayers' ballplayer, Tommy Henrich, need take nothing away from Dickey, DiMaggio, Berra and Rizzuto—all rightly identified by James Murray as team players. Tommy's winning record rather closely parallels that of DiMaggio.
At one time or another, the entire trio of Wagner, Musial and Henrich played both infield and outfield during pennant-winning years for their teams. This seems to me an additional indication of their having possessed the team-player attitude.
ERNEST S. GREEN
As a young lieutenant, I took two weeks' batting instruction from Ty Cobb. He worked with me on the technique of batting, but I can assure you that each day he talked about the importance of winning and about competitive spirit. "Cobb Syndrome"-that's a very big word James Murray uses in describing such a skillful and tireless competitor.
Babe Ruth was our greatest ballplayer, in my opinion, with Ty not far behind.
COLONEL RED REEDER
West Point, New York
BASEBALL: THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE
Shades of the late, lamented Henry L. Mencken! Watching the local committee erect a sign announcing a drive for funds for Little League park improvements, I called the attention of the assistant manager to the fact that the batter painted on the sign was batting cross-handed.
"Well," he replied, "that's a bad example for the kids, to have that batter batting cow-handed."
Later in the day several others corrected me with "You don't mean cross-handed—you mean cow-handed."
I wonder if other localities have other names for holding a bat in a way to invite broken wrists, to say nothing of losing power?
BASEBALL ISSUE: ANNIVERSARY
Seeing the Special Baseball Issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED brings to my mind that it was just last year that I began reading your magazine. After I had read about three issues I became a subscriber. Looking back I wonder how I did without it.
Our family receives many magazines of all types, and you can guess which one everyone grabs for first...!
MRS. ARTHUR FLECKTEN
Drayton, N. Dak.