TRACK: ON TOP OF MT. SAC
There are many track buffs here on the West Coast who take issue with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the "core of U.S. strength lies in the heart of the country" (High Focus on High Hopes, SI, May 4) meaning the Midwest and Southwest. Track buffs hereabouts, a fanatic element, point to the Drake and Penn relay performances with disdain, feeling that West Coast athletes whipped them both in nine events held at the Mt. San Antonio Relays, and that's even giving them the benefit of the doubt in the wind-blown 9.4 hundred.
For the record, marks at Mt. SAC were superior to Drake and Penn in the broad jump, 25 feet 6¼ inches by Joel Wiley of Los Angeles State; in the two-mile relay by USC in 7:31.8; in the discus throw of 189 feet 4 inches by Rink Babka, formerly of USC, now of the Striders; in the hop, step and jump at 50 feet by Herman Stokes of the Striders; in the 440-yard relay by San Jose State in 40.4, anchored by Ray Norton; in the shotput at 61 feet 10½ inches by Dallas Long of USC; in the two-mile run by Bill Dellinger, formerly of Oregon, now in the Air Force at Oxnard, Calif., in 8:48.2, which is a new American citizen's record; in the high jump at 6 feet 9½ inches by Charlie Dumas of USC; and in the distance medley at 9:55.5 by USC.
Drake was superior in the high hurdles, 13.7 by Hayes Jones; in the pole vault at 15 feet¼ inch by Jim Graham; the mile relay in 3:11.3 by Texas; in the 880 relay by Texas in 1:23.9; in the javelin at 253 feet 5 inches by Bill Alley; and in the 100 in 9.4 by Ira Murchison. The latter was wind-blown, and if you discount it then Norton (Mt. SAC) and Bill Wood-house (Penn) tied in 9.5.
Prestige may rest at Drake and Penn, but performance honors must go to the Mt. San Antonio relays, making their debut in adverse weather—cold on Friday night and rain on Saturday.
May 17, 1959
Furthermore, we claim that the Far West, specifically California, will put more men on the U.S. team for the Russian meet and with more top marks than the rest of the nation combined.
When are the editors and writers of your publication going to get their heads out of the muck of the East River long enough to take a look at the records?
If the Midwest is so hot in track and field how is it that the winning marks in nine out of 15 events at the Mt. San Antonio Relays were superior to the Drake Relays?
Further, at least three winning marks at the Drake Relays were posted by West Coast performers. There is no doubt that the Drake and Penn meets are fine events. There is no doubt that there are many wonderful athletes in the Midwest and Southwest. But I doubt that the "bulk of the U.S. national team...will come from the Midwest and Southwest."
W. L. MELLENTIN
La Canada, Calif.
•Let all doubters turn to page 61.—ED.
BASEBALL: WHERE'S THE PITCHER?
The article about the shortage of top-line pitchers and their sore arms was interesting (The Aching, Aching Arms, SI, May 4). However, one thing of importance was not mentioned. This is the fact that under the present over-all organization of baseball it is impossible for the situation to improve.
The professional league teams play every day, and about one out of every three players is a pitcher. These teams get all their players from colleges, high schools, Ban Johnson, American Legion, and probably originally from the Little League. One characteristic common to all these amateur teams is the fact that they play only one or two games per week. Therefore, they only need two or three pitchers for a team of 20 or so, a ratio of one in 10! Prospective Little League hurlers are even discouraged and forced to play other positions, or not play at all.
How then can professional teams find pitchers who simply do not exist?
One remedy for the situation would be for all the amateur leagues to make a rule that no pitcher can work more than three innings or so. This would force the managers to allow more boys to pitch. Some of them are bound to develop into major league prospects.
EARL J. ROGERS
THE SPORTS PAGE (CONT.)
Mr. Fred Russell makes a spirited and forceful argument for sports reporters in his article An Expert Defends the Sports Page (SI, May 4).
He is in error, however, in saying that the "main allegations" made by managing editors who replied to a questionnaire circulated by the sports committee of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association included charges of:
1) "Surface writing and acceptance of publicity releases rather than digging for stories.
2) "General deterioration of sports-writing."
As the bulletin of the sports committee reporting results of this questionnaire made clear, these two charges were made only in individual comments by some of the managing editors, and a selection from such comment was appended to the bulletin. No questions were asked covering these two points. To suggest that a majority, or even a substantial minority, of the managing editors polled made such charges is inaccurate. I have written Mr. Russell telling him this.
I find it difficult, too, to follow Mr. Russell's argument that the sports committee's report was a disservice to newspaper sportswriting because the newspaper editors participating in the poll were not named.
As the report stated, 100 managing editors were polled. Of these, 78 replied, representing newspapers having a total circulation of about 17,750,000 per day, or an average of about 227,000 per paper. In an effort to assure complete candor in replies, anonymity was promised. I fail to see in what way individual anonymity reflects upon the attempt of the managing editors to appraise an important portion of their newspapers—the sports pages—-with a view to continuing to improve the reporting done on those pages.
WILLIAM B. DICKINSON
•Mr. Dickinson is the managing editor of the Philadelphia Bulletin and chairman of the sports committee of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association described in his letter.—ED.
GOLF: UNKINDEST CUT
Herbert Warren Wind's descriptions of the Masters tournament, Art Wall, the course in general and the type of play was most enjoyable (SI, April 20). But right in the middle of the winner's last round he brought out that much overworked argument: the Masters cut.
The 36-hole cut has been a topic of discussion, it seems, any time the Augusta National is mentioned. Mr. Wind, I am led to believe by his article, is in agreement with many of the oldtimers of the fairways circuit that the Masters cut is senseless.
He insinuated that many of the older pros who are dropped from the final 36-hole field would be drawing large galleries. He added that television time would be just as accurate with the entire field continuing the 72-hole tourney, although starting times would be earlier for the higher-shooting golfers. Certainly Mr. Wind must agree that more people would attend a match between the golfers in competition for the green jacket, starting at one in the afternoon, than a match between a twosome who are entirely out of the running that would begin at 8 in the morning or earlier.
In fact, your magazine tends to contradict his thoughts, by showing a picture of Art Wall, who was then thought not to be in contention, playing in the early rounds "virtually unwatched."
A POLO-LOVING TOWN
What elation! At last, polo at Cornell and, more particularly, Doc and B.J. Roberts have been given well-deserved recognition (PAT ON THE BACK, May 4). Our only disappointment is that more wasn't said in praise.
Because of Doc Roberts more than any other single person, Ithaca has become a polo-loving town. Businessmen have formed a polo league, and interfraternity broomstick polo is played (hilariously) as between-chukker entertainment at varsity games.
Interest in polo doesn't wane when players leave the area. Many graduates make yearly trips back to take a crack at the varsity.
Cornell's present fine varsity polo team of related countrymen from Hawaii, who have played polo since kids, is an exception. Many top players past and present never swung a mallet until they came out for polo under Doc Roberts' tutelage.
ED AND ELSIE PETERSON
THERE'S ALWAYS AN IRISH SIDE TO ANY STORY
It was good to see Willie Shoemaker making the winner's enclosure again on the Kentucky Derby winner.
There is an Irish side to the story of this year's winner, as it was Irish bloodstock expert Bertie Kerr who bought Tomy Lee as a foal for Fred Turner. Bertie had been commissioned to buy a certain foal. He saw another foal he liked and got the O.K. from Fred Turner to buy him, and so a future Kentucky Derby winner crossed the Atlantic.
Tudor Minstrel, the sire of Tomy Lee, is English-bred and raced in England in 1946 and 1947. He raced four times (all over five furlongs) as a 2-year-old, starting odds-on on each occasion, with Gordon Richards up. Pie won all four races by a margin of four lengths or more. There was much speculation as to whether Tudor Minstrel would stay the Derby distance. He won the Two Thousand Guineas (first of the season's classics) in 1947 by eight lengths in a common canter and as a result started at odds-on for the Derby. Many of us thought that surely this was going to be Gordon's first Derby winner. He couldn't be beaten.
One Indian arrived at Epsom with an attaché case full of ¬£5 notes, and unloaded the lot. He was quoted in the press at the time as saying that he never bet but here was a gilt-edged investment.
Well, he lost his money. Tudor Minstrel finished fourth to the French outsider Pearl Diver (40 to 1).
FINBARR M. SLATTERY
FIT IN SCARSDALE
You may recall we wrote you two years ago when our physical fitness program was established by Miss Bonnie Prudden at Our Lady of Fatima School as a pilot study. At that time, 58% failure was found on two or more of the Kraus-Weber tests. This result spurred a group of mothers to find the answer—which was lack of physical education in our school.
Eight mothers volunteered to be trained by Miss Prudden. A program, with the approval of Monsignor Madden, was established: a half hour of exercise for each class one day a week and two three-minute drills every day led by one of the students in the classroom.
This program has been carried on for two and a half years with sensational results. The children have shown vast improvement. Tumbling mats and wooden horses and ramps have been added.
The teaching mothers, of whom there are now 12, are physically fit and find their volunteer work very rewarding.
We feel schools which have no working facilities for a physical education program would be interested in a program similar to ours.
We keep in contact with Miss Prudden, whose joy is obvious in watching her pilot study at work. She inspires and teaches us to improve and enlarge our program.
ROSES TO JOE
I would just like to comment on Joe Gordon's statement (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, April 27): "They're not the greatest ball club I've ever seen, but they think they are."
I hope the Indians keep on thinking that way. A little self-confidence and desire can go a long way, and according to Joe Gordon the Tribe has found it. It could carry them right up close to the top, if not the top, of the American League next September.
And roses to Joe Gordon for keeping his head out of the clouds. If anyone can lead the Indians to that pennant, Joe can.
How could you possibly omit Enos Slaughter from your Bald-Star team (19TH HOLE, April 27)? He's been a member of that elite group for years!
JOHN R. IBUCH