SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
I say that our ideal sportsman must have all those qualities which we admire in great men in addition to those we admire in athletes. Specifically, he must have intelligence, not specialized intelligence but the kind of creative intelligence which produced the Marshall Plan, the polio vaccine and similar creations which reflect human wisdom given to the service of mankind; he must have high moral character, that which distinguishes the man restrained by law and the man governed in his actions, from the meanest to the greatest, by a conscience which is unyielding in its ethical directives; and he must have real initiative, the kind which pushes a man to better himself for no reason than self-satisfaction, not the kind of prostituted initiative which produces money-making schemes only. Your magazine has given us a sordid picture of such initiative: the IBC.
As an athlete he must be skilled as only Musial, Williams, Mantle, Aaron, Burdette and McMillan are among baseball players; he must demonstrate in his play and in his sportsmanship the qualities we have already found in our ideal man; and he must be a great competitor, great when situations call for greatness. We see occasional glimpses of such greatness every October in our World Series.
Can such a man exist? Probably not, but I think we ought to measure our Sportsman of the Year by such a standard to determine his fitness for the title. Without offense intended, I would like to suggest that only one of your three selections truly was the great man I speak of. He was Roger Bannister. Who can forget the picture of this lean, brilliant English medical student racing alone against the most uncompromising competitor of all time, on that overcast spring day in 1954? Or who can forget his magnificent victory rush at Vancouver against the only man alive at that time who could challenge him? Unfortunately I can think of no one in 1957 to equal him. I hope others can.
DONALD C. STEWART
November 18, 1957
No one nominated Hank Aaron. Believe me, I am strictly a Yankee fan, and I hate the name of the Braves. But I am not one of those who in their loyalty do not recognize the abilities of players other than of their own team.
New York City
Ted Williams—Athlete of the Year 1957, yes; Sportsman, no.
My nomination is Casey Stengel. Though it hurt and hurt him deep, he was a true sportsman in losing the big one.
I don't know whether a jockey is a sportsman or not, but, on his performance of riding in the rich races and winning both, I would like to nominate Bill Hartack as Sportsman of the Year.
•Anybody in the wonderful world of sport is a candidate, whether a jockey or in hockey (see below).—ED.
This year the most remarkable feat of the year was performed by Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. He became the first hockey player in history to score 500 goals. I hereby nominate for Sportsman of the Year not the rocket that sent Sputnik up but the real rocket, Maurice Richard.
CRIBBAGE: COMING UP
Your recent articles on bridge by Charles Goren are undoubtedly invaluable to bridge playing athletes. In our office we feel you are neglecting the old-fashioned minor sport of cribbage. Our lunch-hour athletes have just completed a well-fought tournament of the pegs. Twenty-five unhappy losers are looking for good Monday morning quarterbacking and tips on how to be the winner next time.
Don't you have a Charles Goren of cribbage who can do something for your gallant but downhearted losers, all 25 of them?
•Hold your muggins: nobs, heels and cribs will be dealt with by Mr. Goren very soon.—ED.
HOCKEY: INTEREST OF TRUTH
Congratulations to Dan Parker for aterrific story of truth concerning pro hockey. The topic has lingered in the minds of hockey fans (re: Norris family) in our fair city for a long time, but the truth has finally been given a national airing. The results should be very interesting.
ALLAN H. TABAC
FOOTBALL: A BOOBOO
"NOW IN NOVEMBER" (SI, NOV. 4) ERRONEOUSLY LISTS AUBURN AS A SUGAR BOWL PROSPECT. AUBURN IS INELIGIBLE TO PLAY IN A BOWL AS A RESULT OF AN NCAA PENALTY.
•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED steps off a fifteen word penalty for sending an illegal receiver down South.—ED.
Thanks for giving us dog lovers some excellent reading. I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Zern's article on retrievers ('Fetch, Fido—Or Else!', SI, Oct. 28), and Hy Peskin's photograph of the Labrador is magnificent.
Mr. Zern mentioned one of the finest gun dogs, the flat-coated retriever, one of the older breeds of recognized retrievers and a very rare breed in the U.S. It is popular in England, where it originated about 1860 as a hunting dog kept by the gamekeepers of large estates. Flat-coats work beautifully in water and upland shooting, and it seems unfortunate that we have so few in this country. To my knowledge, since 1947 only one litter has been born here, that one only last month. The litter is owned by the Black-acre Kennels of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Kaplan of Portland, Oregon.
As you will see by the picture of the dam (an English import), flat-coats are bright, intelligent and handsome.
Are you suggesting that A. B. (Bull) Hancock is the owner of Nashua (SI, Oct. 28)? You're wrong. Nashua is the property of a syndicate headed by Leslie Combs II and is now standing at Combs's Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky.
N. S. MEAD
•Right. Mr. Hancock negotiated the purchase of Nashua's sire, Nasrullah, for his Claiborne Farm, and Nashua (then the property of the late William Woodward Sr.) was foaled there. But at the 1955 Woodward dispersal sale Hancock was underbidder to fellow kentuckian Leslie Combs II. Nasrullah, however, recently did well by Bull Hancock when another of his sons, Nadir, captured The Garden State (SI, Nov. 4) and rewarded his owner with a check for $155,047.50—the largest winning purse of 1957.—ED.