Thank you for the delightfully wholesome face of Ski Champion Francine Bréaud on the cover of your Special Holiday Issue and for all the lovely ladies pictured inside (Dec. 25). So far, my skiing ability has enabled me to just barely keep up with the size 12½ painted ladies in the size 8 stretch pants on the beginners' bunny run. However, the likes of your cover girl is enough to make any bumbledebum skier improve his techniques, if only to just get a better look at the flashier set as they go wedelning by.
Any story on The World's Loveliest Sportswomen that ignores Mary Helen De Angelis, an accomplished horsewoman with a trainer's license, who has raced in Pimlico's famous Powder Puff Derby, fails to be complete. To prove it, I am enclosing a photograph taken by Marx Kaufman (a local advertising man) and myself last spring.
NEVER THE TWAIN
There's no doubt that Heisman Trophy Winner Ernie Davis (FOR THE RECORD, Dec. 11) is a terrific ballplayer but, since its beginning 27 years ago, the Heisman Trophy, presumably awarded each year to the best football player in the country, has consistently been denied to any player in the West. Most West Coast fans submit that sometime during the past quarter century the "law of averages" would have found that, at least once, the outstanding player was from the western states.
Does anyone seriously believe that a conference producing Hugh McElhenny and, say, Norm Van Brocklin, could not, in 27 years, have had college ball's outstanding player? What about Jon Arnett, Bob Waterfield, John Brodie, Bill Kilmer, Arnie Weinmeister, Gail Cogdill, Don Paul, Norman Standlee, Les Richter, Dean Derby, Don Heinrich, Frankie Albert and Frank Gifford, to name but a few who went from the Coast to pro ball? What about Ollie Matson, Joe (Jet) Perry, Dick Bass, Eddie LeBaron, Sam Baker, or, turning the clock back, Byron (Whizzer) White?
The answer is an old one, well known to West Coast residents. The overwhelming majority of the voters for the Heisman Trophy (like so many voters, incidentally, for All-America teams) live in the eastern half of the country, see eastern teams and vote their players as Heisman Trophy winners year after year after year.
•Of the 27 Heisman Trophy winners, eight have been from the East, 14 from the Midwest (five from Notre Dame), three from the Southwest and two from the South.—ED.
For weeks before the East-West Shrine football game, I'd been reading in the papers about this year's awesome East squad, almost all of them picked on someone's All-America team. The West just didn't have a chance.
I got to feeling awful sorry for these western boys and figured they better stay home except they could get a free trip to Frisco.
Well, I should've known better. Now what I want to know is why these second-raters seem to win so much of the time. Maybe it's because most of the experts who pick All-Americas live in the East and have never been west of the Mississippi and don't know there are good footballers out here too. Or could it be that the boys on the eastern squad have to travel so far it saps their strength?
Here are a few facts and figures that might interest readers who argue about which state produces the best high school football. Of the nation's 5,117 major college football players, 731 come from Pennsylvania according to figures derived from the brochures of 112 major colleges. This is 14% of the total and more than any other state (Texas is second). Some 583 of these 731 players have been recruited and play for out-of-state schools. And in case anyone is questioning quality four of this year's Consensus All-America team are from Pennsylvania, while no other state has more than one on the roster. Sandy Stephens is from Uniontown, Alex Kroll from Leechburg, Bill Miller from McKeesport and Gary Collins from Williamstown.
Rego Park, N.Y.
Bravo for Alexander Eliot's The Water Tamer (Dec. 25).
It matters not if the purists dispute the author's way of relating the labors of Heracles, because this approach to the labors is refreshing. Having had to write a couple of term papers dealing with mythology, I regret only that I didn't have this as a source.
Congratulations to Roy Terrell on The Gold Rush That Failed (Dec. 25). I have hoped for a considerable time that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would tackle the subject of the current sports dollar grab.
BEATTYS AND BOATS
To Robert Coughlan's excellent article on Ronald Tree, the distinguished "proprietor" of Sandy Lane on Barbados (Tory Prince of A Balmy Isle, Dec. 25), you appended a Barbados Travel Facts section, which presumed the only way a reader would go to this enchanting spot is by air.
They should know that it has been a regular port of call for many years for Moore-McCormack cruises. The two newest American cruise ships afloat, the S.S. Brasil and S.S. Argentina, make frequent departures from New York and Port Everglades bound for Barbados and other Caribbean ports, as well as South America.
W. WARE LYNCH
New York City
I feel that you have unwittingly dealt harshly with Ronald Tree's mother.
As you say, in 1901 Mrs. Tree and her husband were divorced and she married David Beatty. In those times it was inevitable that this act should create a scandal. Beatty was a glamorous and conspicuous naval officer, and she was a great heiress. London was rather stunned and excited.
Yet their obvious love for one another, his great ability and force and her charm and her wealth shortly overcame all obstacles, and they were accepted and welcomed for themselves. Then came the war, and later Jutland. In this battle, Beatty was not the commander in chief, as you imply, but commanding the Battle Cruiser squadron. He gallantly engaged the Germans, found to his dismay that he was outgunned and suffered appalling damage before Jellicoe came up with the Grand Fleet. The battle ended inconclusively, as far as the British were concerned, and for years since the controversy has continued.
It may be of interest to you to know that during the battle Lady Beatty was called to the phone several times by one of the great banking houses who sought to learn the outcome of the battle, knowing that Beatty, in his love for her, might let her know at once the outcome of the battle upon which so much depended. This sort of pressure must have been, in various forms, a constant element in their lives and must surely have contributed to a sense of strain upon them both.
The marriage cannot have been easy for either Beatty or his wife, and I am very sure they both suffered from public overexposure. But I am inclined to believe that they both served England well.
CYRIL H. JONES