FAIR PLAY FOR SONNY
I am flabbergasted at both your SCORECARD editorial and article, No Fight for Sonny (May 7). There is no sense of fair play or giving a man a break in your reporting or the "holier than thou" action of the New York Commission.
In one breath you say a man should get a chance to go straight and make an honest living at the thing he can do best. In Liston's case that is boxing. Then you and the commission turn around and say, "No, you can't fight and make a living." Some fun eh???
You mention Liston's contacts and how bad they are. Do you include Father Murphy, Jack Nilon, George Katz and Morton Witkin in this blanket indictment? Do you also imply that the Illinois and Pennsylvania commissions are crooked? I believed in you for a long time, but after this, well, I've had it with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. You were the same do-gooders who smiled and thought it O.K. for Patterson to slaughter a poor hapless boob like Tom McNeeley, instead of a ranking fighter. Shame on you and the commission. It is you, not the New York Daily News, who should get the low-blow award. I'll wager one thing, you'll be right there at Soldier Field in Chicago when the fight comes off, watching the whole thing.
Or would you prefer that Patterson give that clean-living champion Pete Rademacher a second chance?
A. R. (RUSS) BISSITT
Culver City, Calif.
Liston paid his debt; give him a chance.
As for the N.Y. State Athletic Commission—it should be of grave concern to every American when a responsible body of men makes a decision based upon the "strong suspicion" that gangsters still control Liston. If decisions were often based upon suspicions, we would all be in danger. The issue seems clear enough. If Liston and his associates are involved in illegal activities, they should be prosecuted. If not, let them alone.
There is a principle involved in all this that is bigger than Sonny Liston, and it affects us all. Americans are in danger when they allow such addleheaded decisions to pass by without concern. A man's freedom to make a living is being jeopardized.
KENNETH S. MCELROY
It has interested me to discover, after listening to my 14-year-old son and his friends talk, what a vastly different attitude there seems to be toward the boxers of today from the high esteem in which we held them in other days. Dempsey, Tunney, Louis were thought of as great heroes in much the same way as were the Budges, Hagens, Hogans, DiMaggios, Ruffings and Hubbells.
My impression is that the average teenager of today has much less interest in boxing and is much less inclined, on the whole, to view boxing champions as "heroes" in the same way as present-day stars in golf, tennis, baseball, football, etc.
RICHARD T. O'REILLY
Your Derby Preview (May 7) presented an accurate analysis of this year's Derby, before the horses even reached the track. Except for Author Tower's preoccupation with Ridan, it was all there—strategy, record time, etc.
WILLIAM F. DOVE
The trouble with Sunrise County is: he thinks he's a ship, and he navigates like one.
Now as we all know, the stern of a ship, whence comes the propulsion, shifts in turning in the opposite direction from the bow.
Sunrise's propellors are his churning hindquarters. He merely steers with his forelegs. By whipping him on his right flank his jockey forces his hindquarters left and his forelegs right! Whipping him on the right, then, increases the drift, if it doesn't cause it.
My suggestion: whip him on the left and possibly try blinkers with the left cup removed. He will not steer toward what he cannot see.
New York City
SPORT OR ART?
The best part of the May 7 issue was Always Room for One More. Good photography. The worst: The Kentucky Derby. If I want art, I will get an art magazine.
Re your article, What the Horns Couldn't Do (April 23): the officers, directors and membership of Los Aficionados de la Fiesta Brava wish to go on record as objecting to this article, although very well written and in very good taste, appearing in a sports magazine. Being admirers of the fiesta brava, we object solely on the following basis: that the fiesta brava is considered an art and not a sport.
Los Aficionados de la
The article by Raymond Tinsley (Here Come Our Feathered Enemies! April 30) was a curious, oddball sort of item for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I am quite sure that a large proportion of your readership must have read this antibird article with considerable feeling of protest.
Anyone interested in athletic ability in any form cannot help but admire these capable creatures that make such incredible journeys and are so perfectly adapted to a very demanding life. Birds are the greatest natural athletes. We might say that practically every individual is made of Olympic champion stuff. Those that do not measure up don't survive.
The author cannot be a young man because such clichés as "our feathered friends" and the "elderly females" who defend them indicate that he is a generation or two behind the times. Today most ardent birders are males, and this includes a number of sports reporters of my acquaintance.
ROGER TORY PETERSON
Old Lyme, Conn.
•As author of the famed Field Guides to the bird world, Ornithologist Peterson can spot an anachronous cliché as quick as a prothonotary warbler.—ED.
What's the difference between an ornithologist and an ornerythologist?
New York City
I read with great interest the article on boys' baseball books by Robert Cantwell (A Sneering Laugh with the Bases Loaded, April 23). There is one important correction, however, that I should like to make.
The first baseball novel, as well as the first piece of baseball fiction to appear in print, was The Fairport Nine, a clothbound work written by Noah Brooks and published by Charles Scribner's Sons in New York in 1880. Its narrative described in some detail two games played between the team of Fairport, Me. and their rowdy crosstown rivals, the White Bears. The remainder of the book was devoted to the various adventures and misadventures of the Fairport boys.
ANTON GROBANI, D.D.S.
Silver Spring, Md.
•Baseball Writer Brooks narrowly missed being present at a fateful final inning in U.S. history. A close friend of Abraham Lincoln, he became the President's personal secretary at the end of the Civil War. On an afternoon in April of 1865, Lincoln casually suggested that his old friend and aide join him at Ford's theater for an evening of relaxation. Because he had a cold, Brooks declined the invitation. Lincoln found other companions to join him at the show from which he never returned.—ED.
As a boy I read probably all of Barbour's and Heyliger's stories and enjoyed them very much. I think they probably influenced my decision to become a coach and to continue on in the field of physical education and athletics.