PORTAGO: SHARED RISK
Racing Is a Vice by the late Alfonso de Portago (SI, May 13) verily predicted the death of this handsome and daring sportsman. Though "off the road" many times himself, his accident was caused by that 5% chance for mechanical failure, and was directly responsible for the lives of his co-driver and 11 bystanders.
It is to be hoped that our own famed Indianapolis "500" will be run safely this Memorial Day, without the loss of any spectators' lives at least, although the drivers who enter it do so at their own risk.
Racing of any kind has been and always will remain a dangerous but thrilling spectacle to see, whether it be on land, sea or air. But until proper safeguards for the defenseless public who come to see them are more rigidly enforced perhaps we can better do without them. We have enough highway killings every weekend now, due in large part to this "vice" called speed!
FRED LA CHAPELLE
•For a discussion of the challenges and responsibilities of auto racing, see Speed and Indianapolis, page 14.—ED.
May 26, 1957
PORTAGO: PERSONAL SHOCK
After reading Racing Is a Vice, by Alfonso de Portago, I felt all the shock of losing a personal friend when the news of his death came.
TV BASEBALL: TIGHT RACE IN DETROIT
The wonderful H. Allen Smith article on TV announcers (SI, May 13) certainly homered in Tiger land. It seems to me our TV cameramen never have the camera on what the Tiger announcers are describing.
Our two announcers are president and vice-president of the "Never Give the Score" club. It seems they have a contest going on to see who can go the longest without giving the score. Van Patrick, I believe, now holds the record at 14 minutes 16 seconds, but the other broadcaster, Mel Ott, is gallantly trying to better Patrick's record.
Also, could SPORTS ILLUSTRATED let its readers know who are the officers of "Laugh at Our Own Jokes" club? We have an excellent candidate if there is a vacancy in the club.
•Nominations are open.—ED.
TV BASEBALL: ST. LOUIS BLUES
H. Allen Smith's Baseball on TV Is Swell—I Think was a perfect description of our local boy. Surely no other team is "blessed" with such talent.... Holy cow!
BOB and HELEN WEISSFLUG
TV BASEBALL: HOPE
Kindly send reprints of the article to all sportscasters and TV directors. It may not help much, but we can always hope.
East Orange, N.J.
SPITBALL: PERSPIRATION, ASPIRATION
It's too bad that so many pitchers are lacking the spunk that Lew Burdette has. Actually, the "spitter" has as much right, if not more, to be used as the knuckler. Certainly it can be used with more control and more efficiency than the knuckleball.
In Lew Burdette to the Mouth (SI, April 29) we are in agreement (if I read between the lines correctly) that the spitball should be reinstated and thereby give the chuckers a bit more of a repertoire to choose from.
Who knows—some aspiring, perspiring drooler might even win 30 games in a single season. Here's hoping that the spitball will be brought back to life—legally, that is. Then the pitchers will be on a more even basis with the hitters.
CHARLES F. KILLEBREW
POOL BOOM: GOOD FORM
As one who has a professional interest in sports, I have been impressed with the completeness with which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED handles its reporting. I read your analysis of home swimming pools (SI, April 29) with special interest.
On the whole, your report is excellent, but part of your description of my pools might be misconstrued. To say that Esther Williams Swimming Pools are "little more than well-engineered holes in the ground" is far from correct unless you meant that they are well engineered but not lavish or expensive.
White Plains, N.Y.
•Like their lissome namesake, Esther Williams Pools are very well engineered.—ED.
FRISBEE: OHIO VERSION
We at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, are familiar with the game of Frisbee, (E&D, May 13) but in a more rugged form.
Our participants are constantly increasing and many of these are football players (our motto is: "For those too rough for football") who seem to take to the game like ducks to water.
We beg to differ with your comment: "...after 10 minutes' practice, anyone is an expert." Many of us have been playing at the sport since it first became possible, in middle February, and few of us have yet mastered the "quick drop," the "side wobbler" or the "boomerang drop."
We also have variations of Frisbee. These include Night Frisbee, Wandering Frisbee and team, individual or competitive accuracy bouts. A novel version is our proposed use of a blunt-toothed circular saw, and optional equipment will be a pair of heavy winter mittens.
If the fellows at Princeton would care to match throws, we of Symmes Hall hereby cordially extend an open invitation to all challengers.
MIKE BLATE, TOAD FREIBERG, MILT ALTZNAUR, JIM WHITE, BUTCH HENRY, DAVE FISHER, JIM HOKUM, JOHN HUFF, PAUL RIPPNER, DICK PUZZITIELLO
FRISBEE: HISTORIAN'S REPORT
I read with considerable interest your brief remarks on Frisbee. After discussing the matter with members of the Graduate College Lawn Frisbee Association, I decided that you might be interested in some of the historical background of the game, which I have uncovered in my researches as historian of the association.
Our association's Arbiter of Rules informs me that it originated at the Theta Delta Chi chapter at Dartmouth. While it flourished in New England colleges, it was played with much more elaborate rules and terminology. The disc was called a "prattle," and the official, legal catch, which is one-handed, was referred to as a "snaffle."
At Princeton it has become, among the undergraduates, a rather aimless and admittedly childish pastime, instead of the skilled competitive sport, adapted from the original principles of the game, played by the Graduate College Lawn Frisbee Association. It is incorrect to say that anyone can learn to play in 10 minutes, for the complexity of throwing methods, and the strategic alertness of the accomplished Frisbeeist can be acquired only after long practice and experience, and novices are quite out of place in a serious match.
But let me say again, on behalf of the entire GCLFA, that despite minor inaccuracies and omissions your statements were in general just, and that you have done a great service in furthering the advancement of Frisbee on a national level.
Frisbee, sir, is not a game; it is a way of life.
ROBERT S. HALLER, GCLFA
Phrisbee has been played on the Amherst campus ever since that fall day in 1949 when a sophomore slipped on the steps of Johnson Chapel and lost control of his tray of a local brew. Several classmates walking nearby were stunned to see that the tray dipped and glided through the air. Determined to investigate this phenomenon, they enlisted the aid of the late physics professor Aaron Phrisbee, who personally supervised experiments on the quad.
Amherst men taught Phrisbee to girls at Smith College, where it enjoyed immediate success. The game was introduced to Princeton by a wandering Smithie and apparently has caught on there.
We hope that this clears up the question of the origin of Phrisbee to the satisfaction of all enthusiasts.
KEN ROSENTHAL, GEORGE GILLETT, RICH NICHOLLS, PETE SCHMITT, TIM WOODBRIDGE