ROAD RACING: IT MUST NOT DIE
I am extremely sorry that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has sounded the death knell of road racing. "City-to-city racing is doomed," you say, "and probably justifiably so" (Speed and Indianapolis, May 27). Road racing is a great sport whose unhappily sad plight should not be accepted passively, least of all by a magazine of sport. The Pan-American road race and the Mille Miglia were two great sporting tests of men and machines, incomparably more fascinating, romantic and grueling than anything at Indianapolis, where a bunch of identical vehicles run around in circles. Road racing, or as you call it, city-to-city racing, must not be allowed to die. The answer is in properly preparing the course for the safety of spectators. Both the Mille Miglia and Pan-American courses have numerous high points of vantage from which a part of the race can be seen. Spectators must be banned from roadside points and from village streets. Lastly, some reasonable limitation, but only reasonable, must be placed on the displacement of cars entered.
ROAD RACING: BLOODY HOT RODS
Recently the morning newspapers headlined the needless racing tragedy in Italy in which 13 lives were lost, including several children (SI, May 20). Is this the type of "sport" your magazine should feature in such great detail, along with baseball, track, golf, basketball, football, hockey and tennis?
Let us consign this bloody form of mayhem to the hot rod magazines and concentrate on true sport where the ultimate reward is glory in life rather than in death.
ROAD RACING: NOT A BAD WAY TO GO
Admitting that the Mille Miglia may be too dangerous for modern cars, I still object to the use of the word "horror" in your article. Where's the horror in the death of 13 people at an automobile race? That's not a bad way to go. They were all there by choice, and they knew the danger.
Your account of the drivers in that race shows that they prized their courage more than their lives. If death in any form horrifies you, you may be illustrated but you are no sports.
BASEBALL: ERRING SCORERS
I want to comment on the practice of using local newspapermen as "official scorers" in major league baseball games.
These men travel with and write daily baseball articles about their particular teams and naturally are prejudiced. I am not questioning their integrity, but it is human to form a partisan attitude under these circumstances.
When the home town pitcher has a no-hit game going, or when the local slugger has a consecutive hitting streak riding, these guys invariably get the break on a close hit or error play.
Why not have one of the umpires, or even an additional one, act as official scorer? Decisions then would be absolutely unbiased.
Are these newspapermen paid to act as official scorers? If so, by whom—the individual club or the league?
L. B. WEATHERFORD
•Mr. Weatherford makes a good point. However, it is not so much that official scorers favor one player or one team, but rather that they tend to favor the players over an objective appraisal of the play itself. For example, in one of last week's Yankee-Senators games Jim Lemon hit a long ball to Mickey Mantle—who unmistakably muffed the catch. The scorer called it a triple, leaving both Lemon and Mantle far happier than if he had ruled an error.
The rules specify that the league president appoint an official scorer for each game. In practice this means that in each major league town the members of the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association apportion to themselves the duties, and the $21-a-game fee, of official scorers.—ED.
BASEBALL: COMMON SENSE
Go west, Horace, take your beloved Giants to San Francisco. And while we're at it, let's move the White Sox to Minneapolis, Cleveland to Toronto, Washington to Dallas and, of course, Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
Then realign the major leagues into a Western Division and an Eastern Division. Here's the breakdown:
New York Yanks
I suggest the Cleveland and Washington moves because they are losing money as matters stand.
Now, could anything be more sensible?
GERALD J. WEIPERT
FRISBEE: MANNERS AND MORALS
As a master-in-training at Harvard I learned disrespect for anything Princetonian; as an undergraduate at Haverford I learned to value truth above all. So it is not surprising that I suffered a double-edged pain in my alumnophagus when I read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the Nassaus were being given credit for providing "a local habitation and a name" for the game of Frisbee (E&D, May 13).
If, as seems apparent, your reporter received his information only from that New Jersey backwash, it is not at all surprising that he included such phrases as "childish." That is the Princeton ethos, Sir!
But Frisbee as played at a man's college has gone far beyond in its requirement's of skill and in its accent on virility. In fact, Frisbee was taken to Antarctica by a Dartmouth member of Operation Deepfreeze and played there amidst adoring penguin admirers and in very sub-zero weather.
FRANK P. FLINT
FRISBEE: THEY ARE PROS, GENTLEMEN
I believe that my record of service to the great sport of Frisbee allows me to point a finger at the festering sore of which Frisbee insiders have been aware all too long, but which I feel must now in the best interests of the game become public knowledge. I refer, of course, to the grievous breach of the National Frisbee Amateur Code at a certain eastern institution which, to protect the innocent, I will call Princesseton. I fear that your reporter was taken in completely by the seemingly carefree and buoyant attitude of Princesseton's Frisbee athletes. I am quite sure that this was a deliberate smoke screen to hide their hideous history.
It is nothing short of this: in the beginning Princesseton's current Frisbee players played to eat. They are professionals, gentlemen, nothing short of professionals. The circumstances are these. In the early days of the sport Frisbee was, as you pointed out, played with the lids from Keebler biscuit cans. Certain members of Princesseton's jeunesse dorée took up the game and in order to develop strong and readily available players subsidized some of Princesseton's less fortunate undergraduates by allowing them to devour the biscuits in the Keebler can after a round of Frisbee.
Those are the facts. I take no pleasure in washing Frisbee's dirty linen in public. But the time has come to call these men what they are—the Art Aragons of Frisbee.
J. B. BRILLEN
DERBY: 1960 PREVIEW
About the time Willie Hartack was fashioning some $107,950 whacks on Iron Liege's flank on his way to Calumet's sixth Kentucky Derby triumph, Everett Plunkett walked out into one of the many rolling paddocks at Calumet Farm, clipped a shank on Bewitch, a mare heavy with foal, and led her into the barn where all the Calumet horses have foaled since Nellie Morse dropped Nellie Flag in 1932.
Bewitch, like Citation and Coaltown among the 1945 foals sired by the incomparable Bull Lea, won more money ($462,605) than any other mare in the history of the turf and her value as a brood mare is incalculable.
So far, her record at stud had been a series of misfortunes. Barren to Alibhai (leading sire this year off earnings by Bards-town, a son of Calumet's 1944 Horse-of-the-Year, Twilight Tear), Bewitch gave birth to a dead foal by Count Fleet the following year. Then she aborted her foal by Tom Fool and last year was barren to Native Dancer.
Plunkett watched her anxiously Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On May 7, he called Veterinarian Arthur Davidson. At 11:30 p.m. Davidson, vice-president of the Thoroughbred Club of America, assisted as Bewitch gave birth to her first live foal, a gangling bay filly by Calumet's 1949 Kentucky Derby Winner Ponder.
Bewitch was the only horse to defeat the great Citation as a two-year-old (in the Washington Park Futurity).
Ponder (14 wins, $541,275) is sire of Needles, the leading money winner of last year and winner of the Kentucky Derby. Ponder won the Derby himself in 1949. His sire, Pensive, won the Kentucky Derby for Calumet in 1944. His grandsire, Hyperion, leading sire in England for six years, won the English Derby of 1933. His great-grandsire, Gainsborough, also won the English Derby.