ROAD TO THE TRACK
I thought that I was finally going to see a good article in your magazine about the great veterans of the "500," such as Rodger Ward, A. J. Foyt and Jim Rathmann, instead of the two-page biography of Dan Gurney (The "500" Under Attack, May 27). Although Gurney may be a fine driver, it was foolish to compare the talents of a road racer who had driven only 93 race laps at the Speedway to Ward, the alltime USAC point leader.
Instead of going to New York or California to get material for your magazine, why not go to Terre Haute, Ind. and watch a sprint-car race? Or watch Roger McCluskey or Jim Hurtubise broadside through a turn on a half-mile dirt track? After that, if you can still honestly call Dan Gurney a daring driver, I will take it all back.
My thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Tom Brody for your article on Columbia crew and me (The Laughing Lion, June 3). I hesitate to take issue with Cornell Coach Stork Sanford, but if I really have the "sound technical knowledge" he credits me with, I learned it all from him. However, the fact of the matter is that the secret of the Lion's new roar lies in the hands and backs, the minds and hearts of the fine, determined young men who make up the Columbia crews this year. It is their efforts, dedication and desire that have realized this goal of beginning another winning rowing tradition at Columbia.
CARL F. ULLRICH
New York City
If ever I saw a distorted picture in print, the letter of one Harry L. Guss (19TH HOLE, May 27) is it. To imply that our loss of the Davis Cup in 1955 was even remotely due to any dereliction on the part of Captain Bill Talbert is fantastic. Your own magazine carried a color picture of the shoulder injury incurred by Tony Trabert that year. It was diagnosed by the medicos as a muscle tear, which he sustained at Southampton against Eddie Moylan. You highlighted his enforced absence from all play for weeks prior to the Challenge Round. Trabert understandably played very poorly against Hoad and not much better in the doubles, and was benched on the third day's singles, being replaced by Ham Richardson.
As for Vic Seixas, Rosewall was always his nemesis. Ken beat Vic in 1952 at Forest Hills when in his teens, though Mulloy beat Ken next day. Vic lost to Ken in every meeting except the 1954 Challenge Round, and it was Captain Talbert's superb strategy that alone made that possible. Vic won Wimbledon in 1953 because Nielsen beat Rosewall, and Vic won Forest Hills in 1954 because Hartwig beat Rosewall.
LOVE CALL FOR CURLY
Just recently I ran across an old SPORTS ILLUSTRATED series on how to train your retriever (SI, July 13, 1959), and it is on that basis that I am taking the liberty of writing to you with what may seem a strange request. If when you look at the enclosed photograph of my retriever, Chilliwack, you ask, "What is it?" it may be that you have never seen a curly-coated retriever (below right). Up until a year ago, neither had I. Like most hunting dogs, this is a made breed that undoubtedly claims the German poodle, the Irish water spaniel, the Gordon setter, the Newfoundland and the English water spaniel as ancestors. I got Chilliwack in Canada from the owners of the only registered pair of curly-coats in that country.
And this brings me to my request. Chilliwack will be a year old tomorrow and eligible to be a sire, according to AKC and CKC rules, but, outside of his three sisters, I can find no mate for him. I want to raise some of these magnificent dogs, but I badly need a female. Maybe some of your readers would know where Chilliwack and I can find one?
If anything, William S. Baring-Gould has been too modest in his boasts of Sherlock Holmes's athletic prowess (Sherlock Holmes, Sportsman, May 27). As a cyclist, I doubt that Holmes could have been beaten by any harness racer. And who among our modern campers could have rested so effortlessly on Devon moor? What precision and strength must be needed for any man to fracture a bust of Napoleon with his hunting crop to reveal so dramatically "the black pearl of the Borgias." Mr. Baring-Gould has demonstrated remarkable restraint.
Even more engaging than the words of the article, however, are the etchings that accompany it. I cannot believe that Artist Thomas B. Allen and his technical assistant Chaim Koppelman are only bystanders but feel that they, too, must be Baker Street Irregulars. If they are not members I think they deserve honorary membership. Certainly their representation of the phantom Hound of the Baskervilles could never be equaled.
LEE WEATHERBEE, M.D.
As a footnote to Mr. William S. Baring-Gould's scholarly essay on Sherlock Holmes as athlete and sportsman, may I offer an explanation of Holmes's baffling reference to "baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling," which enabled him to hurl Professor Moriarty to his death in the Reichenbach Falls. In point of fact, the word baritsu does not exist in the Japanese language; its misuse in the Holmes story is simply another of Dr. Watson's numerous errors as reporter. I quote from a paper prepared by the late Count Makino, elder Japanese statesman, and read at the initial meeting in Tokyo in 1948 of the Baritsu Chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars, of which Count Makino was a founding member:
"The confusion with jujitsu is of course obvious," said the Japanese scholar. "The word should have been bujitsu. What Holmes actually said was, 'I have some knowledge of bujitsu, which includes the Japanese system of wrestling,' or perhaps, 'I have some knowledge of bujitsu, including especially the Japanese system of wrestling.' Bujitsu is the generic Japanese word for the martial arts, which in addition to jujitsu, embrace the study of archery, fencing, spearmanship, pike-thrusting, long and short swordsmanship, military fortifications and the firing of cannon, muskets and small arms.
"Sherlock Holmes's proficiency in all these highly specialized arts is well known. We know his weakness for pockmarking the walls of his apartment with patriotic initials; his knowledge of air-guns was at least equal to that of Colonel Sebastian Moran; we have a glimpse of his acquaintance with pike and spear in The Adventure of Black Peter, in which he attempts to harpoon the dead pig in Allardyce's butcher-shop. We know also that he was 'a bit of a single-stick expert,' while some of his early adventures among the medieval moats, turrets and drawbridges of the English aristocracy would naturally have attracted him to a study of military fortifications.
"Only in Japan," concluded Count Makino, "do we find one comprehensive system of sport, art and science which includes all these studies. Only in Sherlock Holmes do we find a Westerner who combines a notable skill in all of them. For us Japanese there is intense satisfaction in the foundation of this first Tokyo Chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars, under a name perpetuating that complex and subtle Japanese art of self-defense which saved the hero of the West and of the East for further unforgettable adventures!"
The minutes of the Baritsu Chapter's initial meeting record that the reading of the count's eloquent paper was followed by "prolonged applause, cries of 'Banzai!' 'Bravo!' and 'Open another case of sake!' "
Chief Banto, Baritsu Chapter of Baker Street Irregulars
Your article, The True Crisis (May 20), says Paul Hornung's mistake was not a criminal act, it was an irresponsible one. "Naively, perhaps unwittingly..." etc.
In my opinion, irresponsibility is the crime. It is nice and easy to blame others, but it does not absolve a man of guilt.
Let's not leave the press entirely out of this. How do Saturday's heroes become heroes? How do they begin believing they are suddenly in a position to make a little side money? When do the promoters realize a man is a big draw at the gate? This all must come about through the press, radio and TV. Let's all do a little soul-searching.
I read with great interest your short article on Ernie Davis (A Man of Courage, May 27), and this brought out some thoughts on the moral crisis in sport that I would like to express. It is time that all of us in athletics take the offensive position instead of always being on the defensive. When sport has produced such people as Ernie Davis, Doak Walker, Kyle Rote and many, many others of years gone by, I do not believe that we have to take a backseat while the other professions toot their horns.
I agree that there are aspects in athletics that are not good and need to be cleaned up, but the good far overshadows the bad. It is time we took pride and courage in our convictions.
That was certainly an interesting article you fellows had on spitball pitchers (The Spitter Is Back, June 3). I myself am bedridden, so I can't get out to the ball park to examine the situation with the naked eye. I do notice, however, that when Whitey Ford is pitching the television cameras always cut him off at the shoulders, and they never show a closeup of him while he is getting ready to deliver the ball. I don't know about these things, but could it be that the Yankees have control of the broadcasts and don't want us to see what Whitey is doing to the ball? It's the only conclusion I can come to, because they always show closeups of their opponents' pitchers.
New York City
PAT AND JACK
Subscribing in Norway and presently living in France it takes me awhile to get your magazine. But although a little late I would like to add a few comments to your article on Pat (and Jack) Duane in the April 22 issue (The Flying Lady of the Flying Dutchman).
In the World Flying Dutchman Week Regatta in St. Petersburg, Fla. in March 1962, Ben Verhagen of Holland was the winner until his spinnaker was measured after the last race. It proved to be a little too big, and Verhagen was disqualified. Pat and Jack, who thought they had finished second, were told they were the winners after all. I am sure that both Pat and Jack thought Ben Verhagen was the best in the regatta, and they felt so sad about what happened that they were very reluctant to receive the first prize and, had it been up to them, the ruling would have been reversed. To us who were there this was just another proof of the Duanes' great sportsmanship.