SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR: OFF THE BENCH AND PUNCHING
Congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED on its fine and wise selection of Stan Musial as Sportsman of the Year (SI, Dec. 23)!
Mr. O'Neil did justice to Stan's ultrasuperior abilities in his wonderful article.
Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron can all speak of their own accomplishments but don't own the combination of durability, temperateness, unflagging team support and Christian manliness that characterizes Stan Musial.
With reference to your selection of Sportsman of the Year 1957—"This was your finest hour."
No one in the field of sports exemplifies fair play and all-round sportsmanship more than does Stan the Man.
H. P. HALLOCK
It was the best choice; the only choice. Well done.
BROTHER JOHN NIEMIETZ, C.S.C.
HUNGARIAN ATHLETES: TOWARD THE 1960 OLYMPICS
I read with interest the letter in 19th HOLE (Jan. 6) from the Hungarian National Olympic Team. I thought your readers would like to know that the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village track team has just hired the great Hungarian track coach, Mihaly Igloi, to train our distance runners. As you probably know, Igloi's trained runners have broken 19 world records. We are confident that Mr. Igloi can do equally well with our S.C.V.Y.V. boys and will field a distance-running team which will give the Russians a real battle in the 1960 Olympics.
The S.C.V.Y.V. has also persuaded Laszlo Tabori, who broke the four-minute mile under Igloi's coaching, to join our club. Jim Lea, the great USC quarter-miler and world record holder, is also here. In addition to these two runners, Tom Courtney and Arnie Sowell have expressed an interest in working with Coach Igloi. With this nucleus we hope to stimulate a revival of interest in middle-distance running which will enable the United States to dominate these events, for the first time, in the next Olympics.
The hiring of Igloi and the expansion of our track program will call for a larger budget. The Youth Village would sincerely welcome contributions from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers who share our interest in the development of outstanding American middle- and long-distance runners.
WALTER E. SCHMIDT, S.J.
Santa Clara, Calif.
•The editors heartily applaud Father Schmidt for giving these fine Hungarian athletes the opportunity to take root in their adopted country and to make their individually unique contribution to sport. The Santa Clara Valley Youth Village was founded by Father Schmidt in 1944 to provide recreation facilities for the community's young people. Over the years it has become a highly successful community project with a $300,000 clubhouse and a wide program of sports and recreation. Five years ago, members of the San Francisco Olympic Club track team asked Father Schmidt to sponsor a track team. Although, as always, hard pressed for money, Father Schmidt agreed and the team flourished so successfully that two of its members, High Jumper Vern Wilson and Pole Vaulter George Mattos, made the 1956 U.S. Olympic squad. With the addition of Igloi and Tabori to the Youth Village team, it is quite possible that it will be a real United States track power by next year.
Contributions will be gratefully received and forwarded to Father Walter Schmidt, The Santa Clara Valley Youth Village, Santa Clara, Calif.—ED.
BRIDGE: WHAT'S THE SCORE?
Both my wife and I enjoyed Charles Goren's New Bridge Quiz (SI, Dec. 23) except that this time you gave us no opportunity to grade ourselves. Since we did pretty well on the first quiz (SI, Oct. 14) and have been playing the Goren system faithfully ever since, we would dearly like to know whether our score has gone up.
New York City
•Charles Goren's second quiz was considerably stiffer than his first one and Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, in company with other contestants, can pat themselves on the back if their scores are above 35. On problem 1 a bid of 3 clubs earns 5 points, 4 clubs 1 and 5 clubs zero. Problem 2: 1 club 5 points, 1 spade 3 points, 2 no trump 1 point and 1 no trump zero. Problem 3: 5 diamonds earns 5 points, 3 hearts 4 points, 4 diamonds 3 points and a pass zero. Problem 4: Double 5 points, 2 diamonds 3 points, pass 1 point and any other call zero. Problem 5: 1 no trump 5 points, 1 diamond 3 points, 2 clubs 2 points and 3 clubs zero. Problem 6: Pass earns 5, 2 spades 2, 3 diamonds 1 and 2 no trump 1 point. Problem 7: 6 hearts goes to 5 points, 6 no trump 3 points, 5 hearts 2 points and 4 hearts 1 point. Problem 8: An opening bid of 6 clubs earns 5, 2 clubs 4 and 1 club 1 point. Problem 9: Pass gets 5 points, double 1 point and 2 spades no points. Problem 10: 6 no trump 5 points, 5 diamonds 3 points and 5 spades 1 point. On problems 11, 12 and 13 there can be only one correct answer (se page 123, SI, Dec. 23) which adds 5 points to your score. Problem 14, which involved the playing of a whole hand, was analyzed in detail by Mr. Goren and you can grade yourself from 5 to zero depending on your mistakes.—ED.
FOOTBALL: THE COACHES
Thank you for Character Builders (SI, Dec. 23). I wondered if you would hit this nail on the head and I hope this will not be your only attention to this absurdity.
The Texas Aggies took two first-class whippings from two teams that were hotter than firecrackers. They were beat "fair and square," make no mistake about that. I also know that there are much greater disappointments than losing a ball game—in this instance, the disappointment the boys surely suffered in seeing their great hero wind up just another bag of wind.
The Bear made much great talk while he was over here. He is a big, handsome guy with a bagful of great wit and charm, but everything he said about character building fell apart at the seams with his tear-jerking journey back to his alma mammy in answer to her impoverished pleas.
FRANK BROYLES INTENDED TO STAY THREE YEARS WHEN HE CAME TO MISSOURI BUT HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH ME THAT HE COULD LEAVE IF HE CHOSE. HIS CONTRACT DID BIND US FOR THREE YEARS BUT NOT HIM.
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS
U. OF MISSOURI
•Hm! A fine thing. A contract with the university and an "agreement" with the athletic director.—ED.
As a former player, high school and college coach and big-time sportscaster, I can only say concerning these "character builders," "How times have changed!"
In the November 11 article on high school football Henry Steele Commager, Columbia University's outspoken professor of American history, had the following comment to make:
"High school football is nothing more than a burlesque show on the playing field. We would not expect—we would not permit—our daughters to entertain the community in a nightclub or burlesque show. There is no reason why we should permit our sons to entertain the community by what are in effect burlesque performances on the playing field."
What solution did Professor Commager offer? The following: "Take away the dollar sign. Do away with paid coaches and the pressure for victory will disappear."
Do away with paid coaches, and you do away with one big hope we have to combat the physical lethargy which seems to have taken hold on so many Americans.
Mr. Commager apparently doesn't know about the large contribution in this field made by organized athletics. And, unfortunately, men who spend their time working in athletics can't exist without pay.
Do away with paid coaches and you will do away with our greatest natural resource—physical, able youth.
It is impossible for me to see the similarity between a high school football game and a burlesque show. I am sure that when President Eisenhower was participating in high school athletics he wasn't billed as Rose La Eisenhower or looked upon by the local community as an outcast unfit to associate with others in the school. I can hardly imagine a burlesque show composed of Biggie Munn, Otto Graham, Doak Walker, Bobby Morrow or Bob Richards.
My suggestion to Professor Commager is to stick to the field in which he is an authority—history—and discover who fired the first shot at Bull Run.
BASKETBALL: NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Regarding your estimates on which conferences play the best basketball (Figures Thai Tell a Story, Special Basketball Issue, Dec. 9), I realize that not everyone could possibly wind up happy. There are just too many factors to consider to be fair to everyone. However, you do not take into consideration the one most important variable—where were the games played, on the road or at home? The Skyline Conference for years probably has traveled more than any other league in order to get the eastern prestige which is so essential if a team is to rate high in the various polls. For this reason, we do have a mediocre nonconference record, but would other leagues have a finer record if they traveled as much? This season, we play 43 nonconference games on the road and 34 at home. I believe the competition played by the Skyline is far superior to that of the West Coast, Ivy, Ohio Valey, Yankee, Mid-American or Southern. In your graph on the NCAA Tournament, 1948-57, you are penalizing a league for the lumber of times it has made the playoffs. If a team is good enough to get to the tournament, it should get plus credit.... I coached for 10 years in the Big Seven before coming to Utah and can truthfully say that the caliber of basketball here rates with that league or any other.... And now, after all this complaining, I want to again say what a swell job your magazine is doing for basketball....
University of Utah
•Every coach worth his salt insists his team is handicapped by at least 10 points when it plays on the road; few, however, concede those 10 points when they play as hosts. But Coach Gardner makes a point. It is a strong argument for greater standardization of lighting, floors, seating of spectators and officiating among college basketball conferences.—ED.