CONSERVATION: MAJORITY RULE
It is surprising that Bill Douglas, with his extensive legal experience and outdoor background, is opposed to the opening of that stretch of still unspoiled Pacific coastline to the motoring public! (A Hike for Posterity, SI, Sept. 8.)
Surely he knows that under our system of government the majority rules, and all who love the outdoors know that this majority insist on their God-given right to despoil Nature.
It would be unfair to require them to walk more than a half mile from their cars to decorate the landscape with beer cans, picnic scraps and broken bottles or to uproot shrubs, heave rocks at wildlife and start forest fires. So let's get the bulldozers rolling and start building hot-dog stands and souvenir shops without further delay!
Congratulations to Justice Douglas. I, too, think they have enough highways along the Washington coastline.
September 21, 1958
Let them put the superhighways where they really need them.
Mrs. EDWARD A. WOOD
Woodland Hills, Calif.
FLYING: AH, WILDERNESS
In your issue of August 25 you have a picture of a Cessna 180 equipped with floats (The New Age of Private Planes). Beneath the picture a paragraph explains, "With more than enough power to handle the extra drag, it lands and takes off easily on 'back-and-beyond' lakes and strips. The plane, as much as any other, has changed the Idaho Primitive Area from pack-in country to a weekending hunter's or fisherman's paradise."
The above paragraph may give to some the impression that landing aircraft on water or land within Wilderness or Primitive Areas in the National Forests is legal. To land aircraft within such an area is against the law and also violates the ideal under which these areas were set up.
ROBERT W. CERMAK
•Mr. Cermak is mistaken. Not only is it legal to land on any of the seven airstrips located in the million-acre Idaho Wilderness Area, but private planes make a far wider public use possible, without destroying the essential character of the preserve. In addition to two resorts on the Area's fringe—Sulphur Creek Ranch and Moose Creek Ranch—there are four Primitive fly-in resorts: Pistol Creek Lodge, Middle Fork Lodge, Flying B Ranch and the Jess Taylor Ranch. Those who administer the area welcome flying visitors, especially hunters who help keep the large Middle Fork of the Salmon deer herd, for which there is far too little grazing land, under control. Even with a limit of two bucks per hunter the Middle Fork herd is still "critically" dense.—ED.
FOOTBALL: THE FACTS
Several newspapers in the South have stated that Jimmy Phillips (A Free Ride for Big Red, SI, Aug. 25) was misquoted in your article.
I have much respect for your magazine. If your story is the correct one, then Phillips should be corrected. People lose faith when there are charges of misquotation.
JAMES A. GEROW
•Sports Illustrated's article was a factual account of Jimmy Phillips' football career and the quotes were accurate.—ED.
FOOTBALL: CAUSE FOR PRIDE
In reading the article by your Mr. James Murray regarding the unfortunate death of Red Sanders, the late football coach at UCLA (SI, Aug. 25), I could not help noting a statement which can only be considered grossly inaccurate. Says Mr. Murray: "The West Coast never held its head as high in the Rose Bowl as when a Sanders eleven took the field to represent it."
I think it might be wise for you to call Mr. Murray's attention to the following:
1) UCLA appeared in the Rose Bowl four times and lost on every occasion.
2) The University of Southern California appeared in the Bowl 12 times and lost three times.
3) From 1930 to 1945, USC appeared in the Bowl seven times and won on every occasion.
4) USC is the only West Coast football team to have won a game from the Big Ten since the contract was signed in the late '40s.
EDGAR ALLEN YALE
FOOTBALL: READY TO ROLL
Thirty-four years ago, the University of Michigan "made" Red Grange—as your new football forecaster scored four tremendous touchdowns against the Wolverines in the opening minutes of the game (Michigan-Illinois, 1924).
In 1958 the University of Michigan could "break" Grange as a prognosticator—as the dark horse Wolverines are ready to roll in the Big Ten. If Red wants to keep his average up he had better pick Michigan as a steady winner throughout the season.
•All of which demonstrates the perils of prognostication even before the prognosticator prognosticates.—ED.
GOLF: MY MAN OF THE YEAR
This Knowles guy with his handicap-equalizer (The Inequitable Equalizer, SI, Aug. 25) has a good point and could easily win the Man of the Year award at our club. Our local best-ball matches are inevitably won by a couple of 12 or 15 sluggers who turn in cards showing five birdies and five 9s, but who backed each other up in trouble. Last week my partner and I (3 and 4 handicap) played a match with an 18 and 19. The two hackers came in with gross 75, 3 over par, to our 70—and we had to give 12 strokes. Needless to say, it was a match for only 13 holes. On the basis Mr. Knowles suggests, both of our opponents would deserve about 12 handicap. It would of course damage their standard of living a good deal. Interestingly enough, we refigured the card on a four-ball basis and would still have lost about 6 and 4. In the case of my partner and myself, our total gross scores all year won't be 10 strokes apart. The others' scores may run from 78 to 108. But the point is that their handicaps do not accurately reflect their match play potentials. And that is what we pay (dearly) to see every Saturday.
Please do not use my name. No matter how sore I am, I still have to live with these guys.
JOHNSON VS. THORPE (CONT.)
Reader Vern Baumgarten (19TH HOLE, Sept. 8) has a few of his facts twisted in arguing that Jim Thorpe is a better all-rounder than Rafer Johnson.
Thorpe's decathlon performance of 1912 did not stand as a record "until a few years ago." It was bettered in the Olympics of 1928, and as a world mark in 1927. The world record has been upped an additional 11 times since 1927.
Thorpe's pentathlon-decathlon double in the Olympics was no endurance feat. The pentathlon was six days before the first day of the decathlon, and the latter event was contested over a three-day period, rather than the usual two.
It is true that training methods, equipment and the tracks themselves have improved since 1912—and so have the competitors, who put in as much or more time training for the decathlon as Johnson, and still can't match him.
Before selling Johnson short, let's realize a few other important facts. Whereas Thorpe was 24 years old in his Olympic triumphs, Johnson was just a 19-year-old freshman when he first broke the world decathlon record. And we still haven't seen the best of this tremendous athlete and fine gentleman. For big Rafe hurt himself in 1956 and hasn't been sound since.
The best proof that he is operating at something less than 100% efficiency lies in the events in which he competes during the regular season. In 1956 he broad-jumped 25 feet 5¾ inches (making the U.S. Olympic team) and hurdled the highs in 13.8, both marks among the half dozen best in the world that year. By this time he already had run 100 meters in 10.5, 220 yards in 21.0 and 400 meters in 47.9, plus the 220 lows in 22.7. He was, obviously, a speed type, ideally suited for the sprints, hurdles and broad jump.
But then he banged up his knee and sat out most of the 1957 season and part of the 1958 campaign. Still unable to put his knee to the test of hurdling or jumping, Rafer turned to the weights, and in one amazing day (April 26 against Stanford) put the shot 54 feet 11½ inches, threw the discus 170 feet 9½ inches and the javelin 237 feet 10 inches. No one man has ever done so well in these three events—in one day, or in a lifetime.
With practically no sprinting, hurdling, jumping or vaulting behind him this year, Johnson still shattered the world decathlon mark. Should he be completely healthy in 1960 he will score so many points that he will again amaze those of us who think we cannot be amazed by anything the fabulous athlete does.
Publisher, Track and Field News
Los Altos, Calif.
AMERICA'S CUP: REMEMBER PAINE
I have read Carleton Mitchell's excellent article Which Will It Be? (SI, Sept. 1) with great interest. I feel, however, that in discussing the selection of Rainbow over Yankee in 1934 and her subsequent successful defense of the America's Cup over Endeavour some important facts have been overlooked.
"Superior crew work" did "undoubtedly" carry Rainbow to victory. A most important contributor to this superior crew work, however, was Frank C. Paine, designer of Yankee and an important member of her afterguard, as well as one of her chief financial backers. Endeavour won the first two races, and the situation looked desperate for Rainbow. An important reason for this state of affairs, according to the memoirs of C. Sherman Hoyt, mainstay of Rainbow's afterguard, was the complete inability of the U.S. crew to handle a parachute spinnaker properly. At this juncture, the Rainbow group borrowed Yankee's parachute, along with the expert services of Frank Paine to supervise its handling. The latter, a sportsman in the truest sense, forgot his chagrin at Yankee's debatable elimination and bent all his efforts to help the Rainbow cause. Many well-informed yachtsmen believe that Paine was largely responsible for pulling the fat out of the fire. This added an ironic touch to the selection of Rainbow over Yankee on the basis of superior crew work and equipment.
I believe that this should be pointed out now out of respect for the memory of one of our greatest yacht designers and sailors and, above all, one of our great sportsmen, the late Frank Cabot Paine.
FRANK J. MATHER III
Woods Hole, Mass.
AMERICA'S CUP: LITTLE BOYS BLUE
I was much amused by the delineation in text and drawing of Harold Vanderbilt (Ten Men and a $40 Cup, SI, Sept. 8). I recently came across a photograph of the "living legend," as George Plimpton characterized Vanderbilt, when the legend was only a short, short story.
The picture (below) shows Harold Vanderbilt with his cousin J. Watson Webb on the beach at Nice. Both boys must have been around 6 or 7, which would make it about 1890. Harold and my father grew up to be among the great sportsmen of their generation, so the sailor suits may have been prophetic.
J. WATSON WEBB JR.
BASEBALL: ELEMENTARY ECONOMICS
I note with interest your editorial (Big League Balance Sheet, SI, Sept. 1) which reads as follows:
"The events of the past five years, during which the Boston Braves, the St. Louis Browns, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants have seemingly saved their shirts [italics mine] by pulling up stakes and performing before a new audience, suggest that nothing is better for ailing baseball business [italics again mine] than a change of scenery."
I fear that the above statement conveys the misleading impression that the Brooklyn Dodgers were a sick franchise financially—even though the article from which it is extracted makes the very valid point that geographical removal of baseball franchises will not necessarily produce an economic panacea for the ball club that moves. In the case of the Dodgers, as you of course know, the figures in the Congressional Record establish that the Brooklyn club made more money for the 10-year period prior to its removal than any other team in the National League. Even in recent years, when Milwaukee became the lone National League team to outdraw Brooklyn in home attendance, the Dodgers probably made up the difference—or even exceeded it—by way of television revenue (Milwaukee does not telecast its games). The basic point is that the Dodger departure from Brooklyn was without economic justification.
Incidentally, so in lesser degree was the Giant removal. The same figures in the Congressional Record—and nobody did a better job of presenting them than SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SI, July 1, '57)—disclose that for the 10-year period prior to the San Francisco adventure, the New York Giants were among the three moneymaking clubs of the National League. When the Giants moved, the front office was ailing financially, but the people of New York City and environs were not to blame.
New York City
BASEBALL: BROTHERLY LOVE
I don't think that Phillie fans can be excused from accusations of bad conduct by the discomfort of Connie Mack Stadium or the Sunday blue laws, as Reader Mark Finston attempts to do (19th HOLE, Sept. 1) in rebuttal to Richard Pollard's article (On the Road with the "Freaks," SI, Aug. 11). Having observed many a basketball game at the Palestra, I can attest to the fact that Philadelphians as basketball fans are the loutish equals of their baseball-loving confreres.
May I suggest that Philadelphians merely have an acute lack of the brotherly love which gave their city its name?
New York City