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THE U.S. ACCORDING TO VLADIMIR

April 13, 1959
April 13, 1959

Table of Contents
April 13, 1959

Ask Him Anything
Wondrous Wall
Florida Derby
Wonderful World Of Sport
They Call It Baseball
  • HERE, beginning with a few ideas on what one can expect in 1959, Sports Illustrated presents its fifth annual preview of the major league season, with pictures in both color and black and white, scouting reports, schedules, statistics and features

The Umpire
Scouting Reports
  • Even in an inflationary economy there is no safer and better return on your money than the 40¢ profit you get in the fall from the dollar you bet in the spring that the Yankees will win the pennant. New York will win again in 1959

  • The White Sox feel that this is the year the Yankees can be beaten. If such a feat is possible, this is the team that can do it, if only someone would start hitting home runs. The rest of the pennant-winning ingredients are all there

  • Let the small letter i represent the American League. The Yankees, of course, are the dot, so the best the Boston Red Sox can hope for is a place near the top of the stem. Much depends on whether life truly begins at 40 for Ted Williams

  • Colavito, Minoso, Piersall, Power and Martin are about as colorful a crew as you will find in baseball. The team as a whole isn't nearly as good as the perpetual second-place finishers of a few years ago, but it's going to be more fun to watch

  • Every spring the Tigers promise much, but when summer rolls around they deliver little. This year they are keeping quiet, hoping that this team of many stars can finally do what everyone feels it should do—contend for the pennant

  • The Orioles' outstanding pitching and good defense should guarantee a fight for any opponent. Last season they finished sixth, but a good sixth, just three games out of the first division. To finish in fourth place, then, is their goal for 1959

  • The fury of mass trading is just about over, and the Athletics are a lot closer to that glorious day when they will be able to boast 25 major leaguers on the roster. Nevertheless, a .500 season for Kansas City is still a remote possibility

  • The road to the American League cellar is paved with the good intentions of the Washington Senators. Baseball magnates feel it needs a major league club in the national capital, but Cal Griffith provides only the palest imitation of one

  • An original statistical report

  • The Braves are not too blasé to appreciate those fat World Series checks every fall. With a well-rounded band of seasoned players and the richest pitching resources in the league, Milwaukee will not be easily beaten. But it can be

  • The Pirates will be a stimulating team to watch this summer as they throw strong pitching, superior defense, sharp hitting and fast legs onto the field. They'll be nearly everyone's sentimental favorite and might just win it all

  • Talented young players with great arms, blazing speed, sure instincts in the field and powerful bats in their hands are the trademark of the 1959 Giants. Sophisticated San Franciscans are in for excitement if the pitching holds up

  • The great power teams of 1956 and '57 are gone, but so is the bad pitching that wrecked them. Changed also is last year's squad, which was unbalanced in the opposite sense. Now the Reds plan to field a ball club with a smoother blend

  • Bad days have fallen upon the St. Louis Cardinals, and the bright promise of two years ago has been faithless. The effects on the club of uncertain, divided direction and erratic trading policies are now being felt. Busch has a loser here

  • Heavy trading during the past two seasons and a thorough search of the farm system produced last year a hard-hitting lineup that gave the Cubs the best team they've had in a long time. There is, however, still lots of work to be done

  • Walter O'Malley made all the money he expected to last year. Now it's time for the Dodgers to start playing ball. This is too good a team to be fooling around down in the second division. It should be a more pleasant season for Los Angeles

  • The good old days for the Phillies were in 1950, when Manager Eddie Sawyer led the club to its first pennant in 35 years. Those days are gone, and the Phillies are back in eighth place. Once again it's Sawyer's job to take them on and up

Boxing
Horse Racing
Motor Sports
Food
Dogs
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

THE U.S. ACCORDING TO VLADIMIR

Thanks to air travel, the young Russian visitor saw a few oddly assorted bits of the United States: New York City, plus some towns in Oklahoma: Tulsa, Norman, Stillwater. He was Vladimir Sinyavsky, one of the eight Soviet wrestlers who visited this country last year under a sports exchange agreement sponsored in this country by the U.S. State Department. Writing for Pravda Ukrainy, which, interestingly enough, means Ukrainian Truth, Vladimir offered glimpses of a U.S. which any American would recognize—and some right out of never-never land.

This is an article from the April 13, 1959 issue Original Layout

Vladimir, a factory worker at home, was one of the shyest and quietest of the visiting wrestlers—a blond boy who smiled often but paid, careful, solemn attention to everything that was shown him. Like his teammates, he was astonished by the size and clamor of New York, delighted by volleyball, which the Russians played for the first time in the Tulsa YMCA, and puzzled by chewing gum. He liked most of the sports facilities he saw, and "the American wrestlers—those cheerful, simple fellows—left a very good impression." Furthermore, said Vladimir, "in every city, on every street, we were approached by unknown people who shook hands with us and smiled, pronouncing badly such Russian words as 'peace,' 'friendship' and 'good.' "

But could the folks back home in the Ukraine be left with such an amiable account of the U.S.? Apparently Vladimir—or conceivably someone who took Vladimir's pencil out of his hand—thought not. For Vladimir's description of New York interrupts itself in tone and spirit for what might be called a message from the sponsor:

"Somehow we felt sorry for these simple American people at the thought that at the same time, several blocks away in Wall Street, their countrymen were sitting and concocting vicious plans against the Soviet people.... We were struck by the accumulation of cars on the New York streets and the lines of big fellows carrying placards reading 'I Seek Work' on their backs; by giant sky-scrapers and the homeless who sleep in the parks.

"The Port of New York had a very depressing effect upon us, after it was explained to us that its territory is considered international and that, therefore, women who have no dollars with which to pay the tax collected in New York for the birth of a child come here to give birth."

Vladimir, you (or was it your sponsor?) got a few things badly wrong. Even Robert Wagner, New York's tax-desperate mayor, has not thought of a birth tax. But you got a good many things right.

The bits of incomprehension and hostility in Vladimir's report are hardly surprising—they are the very things these U.S.-Soviet athletic exchanges are meant to eliminate. In June, American wrestlers are due to return the visit of the Russians. (Just which American wrestlers will be decided this month in Stillwater, Okla.) We offer Vladimir's curious report on the U.S. as a reminder to these young men and to the country that sends them that in Russia they, too, may find some things they will fail to comprehend. And we offer it in the hope that they will reach a final estimate like that with which Vladimir Sinyavsky signs off in his little piece in Ukrainian Truth, after the sponsor's message has been dutifully disposed of. On boarding the plane for home, Vladimir related, he asked himself what was the best thing he was taking back: "For some reason the prizes won on the mat and the gifts received in Oklahoma were forgotten. Before my eyes, instead, were the smiling faces of Americans."

PHOTOVLADIMIR SINYAVSKY (SECOND FROM LEFT) WATCHES AS OKLAHOMA'S GOVERNOR PRESENTS FLAG TO RUSSIAN WRESTLERS