SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (CONT.)
As a charter subscriber to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I have intended to write this letter every year at this time concerning your annual Sportsman of the Year award.
Webster has a lot to say about sport and sportsmanship, but it seems to boil down to participation in sports and games, primarily outdoors, for pleasure. If this definition is followed, it would automatically eliminate many of our national heroes, and this is precisely what I wish would happen. With the commercialization and professionalization of most of the sports and games in this country, we have developed a fine group of professional athletes. Believe me, I have no argument with them, and am mighty glad to have them. Neverthless, I feel that they are masters of a trade, highly skilled and highly paid. I believe such compensation is enough, and if we are truly seeking sportsmen, we should look to the ranks of those to whom material gain is of secondary, or little, importance.
If necessary, let's establish a separate category for the Athlete of the Year to give deserved credit to our excellent professional athletes, but for Sportsman, let's stick to true sportsmen—Sir Edmund Hillary of Everest, Roger Bannister of The Mile, Briggs Cunningham of LeMans and Columbia—men to whom the sport was the thing, who accepted the challenge not for personal glory or monetary success but "because it was there."
G. W. FLEMING
Many thanks for the finest sports publication extant, to which I hope to subscribe ad infinitum.
November 10, 1958
The above Latin phrase would almost seem to describe the football-playing career of College of the Pacific's Dick Bass, as logged in Roy Terrell's excellent Dallas Comeuppance (SI, Oct. 20). I quote, out of context, "...He made 10 of the 11 frosh scores in 1955" and "...He wants to play football next year, graduate in 1960 and then make up his mind which way to go." As I get it, this means that when Mr. Bass finally arrives at the great decision he will have spent five years on campus, which is bogeying the course any way you look at it. Having missed all of last year's games due to a leg broken in preseason practice, he has another year left in which to play. Is it the policy of COP to keep a man around until the last scintilla of athletic eligibility has been exhausted, regardless of the time it takes? If so, this would seem to be "red shirting" at its finest, with French cuffs and pleated bosom. What if the young man sustains injuries this year, and again in '59? Would he then graduate in 1962? One is reminded of Cliff Norton's gag about being athletically ineligible to attend classes.
I appreciate the fact that Mr. Terrell, by design or not, ended his article with the fine paragraphs about Bill Austin, Rutgers' wonderfully versatile halfback, to whom "football at Rutgers has been a lot of fun. Here, football has been a part of college, not college a part of football." This reader, at least, was left with a fresher taste in the mouth.
JAMES R. RYAN
•Although some conferences, such as the Big Ten, have a rule limiting football eligibility to 10 semesters, the College of the Pacific, an independent, is happy with Dick Bass's five-year study program.—ED.
GOLF: SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Unquestionably one of sport's most emotional moments was the singing of Will Ye No' Come Back Again? by the people of St. Andrews for Bob Jones. This will always be for me my most sentimental moment, thanks to the brilliant reporting of Herbert Warren Wind (SI, Oct. 27).
DAVID J. NELSON
NATURE: AS T.R. SAID
It was a thrill to see the picture of the redwood tree planted in Campbell, Calif. by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 (The Savior of Our Wilderness, SI, Oct. 27). My daddy, Harry A. Fore, was there that day. He was 15 years old, and never forgot the words he heard. It was one of my favorite childhood stories; now I tell it to my own children:
Roosevelt planted the tree, then he brushed off his hands and said, "I haven't time to make a long speech. Just remember this, boys and girls. Work while you work, and play while you play, but don't play while you work."
MRS. H. L. EGGLESTON JR.
SHOOTING: QUICK AND STRAIGHT
I was intensely fascinated, as I am sure thousands were, by Martin Kane's article Shooting by Instinct (SI, Oct. 20).
I was much interested in the specially designed BB gun used by Lucky McDaniel which Ross Baldwin designed. Will you please tell me where this gun can be purchased and, also, what is the price of the gun?
E. G. HERFINDAHL
•The gun is not in production.—ED.
I read with great interest your article on Lucky McDaniel. Met McDaniel one rainy afternoon a couple of years ago in the bar of the Hotel Dempsey, Macon, Ga. Lucky was in town for a shooting exhibition the next day at the fairgrounds. McDaniel talked guns with bartender Ralph Reeves. Reeves's nephew was then quarterback of the Miami (Fla.) U. football team. The talk turned to applying McDaniel's shooting theory to throwing in football, baseball, basketball, etc. Lucky said, "Same thing exactly." McDaniel maintained that with professional and practiced throwers, i.e., baseball pitchers and football passers, he could, in half an hour or so, teach them unerring accuracy and control. Since control is so important in major league pitching I wonder why some team hasn't added Lucky to its coaching staff. Just think of Lucky suited in Washington Nats' flannels, sitting in the dugout, eying encouragement to heretofore wild hurlers.
Among those highly elated at McDaniel's transition from tobacco selling to professional shooting and teaching are all Georgia representatives of national tobacco firms whose products languished in warehouses while Lucky was betting his accuracy with an air rifle against large orders of pipe tobacco. Conservative estimates indicate unsold, unsmoked backlog of McDaniel-sold tobacco products will exist in Georgia crossroad stores through 1962. State merchandising experts are forever grateful Lucky wasn't selling tractors. Kane writes like McDaniel shoots: quick and straight.
PETER K. HYDE
Warner Robins, Ga.
HUNTING: AN INTERPRETATION
I have been delegated by my fellow club members to ask you to settle a dispute. What is a double in duck shooting?
One group claims a double is two birds with two shots, while the other is of the opinion it is two birds with one shot. The first group claims one-shot-and-two-birds is a freak or lucky shot.
Unless we get this matter settled before duck season closes, we might wind up tearing the clubhouse down, so heated do the arguments become. All have agreed, however, to abide by your interpretation. Will you please restore peace among our members?
ROBERT W. DUMM
•The classic double is a left and a right, thus two birds with two shots. Two or more birds with one shot is a freak.—ED.
GOLF: HIGH JINKS AT ST. ANDREWS
Your recent poem (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Oct. 20) concerning the Texan who shot a hole in one golf ball reminded me of one of the highlights of the autumn meeting of the Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews this September. An imaginative and gifted retired captain of the Royal Navy, one Q. Paterson, constructed a pistol, a kind of blunderbuss, into which he would wad first black powder and then a golf ball.
He stationed himself outside the big windows of the Long Room of the R&A (so knowingly described this week by Herbert Warren Wind) and faced into the setting sun, surrounded by numerous fellow members. He gauged the wind, the proper angle of elevation and sighted down the first fairway, waiting for some cyclists and a few dogs to pass. The trigger was squeezed, there was a loud report, and the ball disappeared over the Swilken Burn to the right of the first green, about 350 yards away. The members, some of whom had fully expected that the contraption would explode in their midst, cheered this ballistic triumph and repaired to the clubhouse for another round of gin and tonics.
In the photograph shown below, Captain Paterson, in knickers, can be seen at the moment of firing. The gentleman in the dark blazer at the right is Lord Morton, who was to drive himself in as captain of the R&A the following morning. (Even without the aid of "Boomer Pete," as an American member labeled Captain Paterson, Lord Morton sent the ball a respectable distance.) The dark-suited gentleman, fourth from the left, is Mr. J. Ellis Knowles, outstanding U.S. Senior golfer, from Apawamis and Pine Valley.