As an indiscriminate and bug-eyed spoils fan, I had the privilege of attending my first Olympic Games as a spectator in Tokyo. Having since devoured the last two issues of SI and carried your predictions with me to 25 different events in Tokyo I wish to congratulate your staff on a magnificent job well done.
Among many unforgettable memories, the following stick in my mind: Captain Jonny Laconica, Philippine boxing mentor, in full dress uniform at ringside when his country had its first boxing finalist in history; the final 100 meters of the 800-meter freestyle swimming relay, when first and second place were obvious and the vast crowd of Americans were cheering for the Japanese to get a bronze; chats with Jesse Owens and his charming wife; an East German boxing referee penalizing a Russian and costing him the gold medal; a Coke stand at the water polo 10 deep with school kids and the attendant dashing out to serve me and apologizing for the delay; the excellent Japanese starters at the track and the swimming; beers with Dawn Fraser after the swimming.
I pity the Mexicans in their job of trying to emulate the Japanese.
W. STEWART BRAUNS JR.
New York City
I was bitterly disappointed that I was not allowed to see the Games live via the Syncom 3 satellite. For months I had been anticipating it, planning to take leave from my work to stay up nights and watch. The Comsat corporation and the U.S. Government did their part to bring this historic experience to the public—and then NBC bought away our rights for $1 million. I think they made a bad blunder when they assumed our right to watch the Games live was for sale, by the Japanese or anyone else, to NBC or anyone else, for $1 million or anything else. NBC did not ask me if they could buy my right, and when they paid the $1 million, they did not pay it to me or to any other fan, whose rights they had just bought. There is no way NBC can make its blunder up to the public now. The Games are over, history has passed us by—it has passed me by, and it has passed NBC by.
November 9, 1964
Without detracting one whit from the magnificent performances of America's Don Schollander in Tokyo, your reporter might have cited the extraordinary failure of the Australian Swimming Union to nominate its finest swimmer and world record holder, Murray Rose, to defend his own title in the 400-meter event.
One American coach who had witnessed every Olympic swimming race in Tokyo gave his opinion on returning to this country that, had Rose been swimming, he would have won both the 400-meter and 1,500-meter events for Australia. Many American swimmers privately feel the same way, and "the Murray Rose blunder," as it is now called down under, will be remembered for many a year.
JOHN S. MASON
VOICES THAT CARAY
A great deal of my admiration and respect for SI was diminished last week by your curt little note in SCORECARD. I never even knew that the Cardinals existed until I happened to hear Harry Caray broadcast one of their games a few years ago. Today I am a devout Cardinal fan and to me, without a doubt, the greatest baseball announcer in the business is Harry Caray. Even though his style was cramped, because he had to sound impartial in the World Series, he was still by far the best on the four-man team. Gowdy was dull, Garagiola was (as always) silly and Rizzuto makes me sick.
You people only had to listen to Caray for seven games. How about us poor suckers here in St. Louis who have to put up with him for an entire season?
FRED W. SMALL JR.
Thanks for your comments on Messrs. Gowdy and Caray. They truly were worse than you stated.
JOHN J. NEVALS
Harry Caray is a Cardinal fan and, naturally, does not have an impartial viewpoint. This may not live up to the standards of an "ideal" broadcaster, but for us fans who want the radio to transmit the thrill of a win, or the misery of a loss, Caray is the man.
DAVID E. BERGT
You are all opinionated asses, and I'll bet you never broadcast a baseball game in your life.
P. W. SWING
HIT AND MISS
I doubt that you would allude to the National Anthem as a former English drinking song or to "My country, 'tis of thee" as a pirated foreign melody. Therefore, why throw in the gratuitous remark that a certain line from a poignant antiwar ballad is from a "pseudo folk song" (SCORECARD, Oct. 26)? It is to the credit of a popular folk group that they recorded it, and a credit to the country that it became a hit. As a music teacher, I'd be interested in learning exactly what you think makes a folk song.
The year and venue of the different Olympic Games are usually remembered by their star performers. Examples: Helsinki 1952, Zatopek; Berlin 1936, Owens. This year's star performer must undoubtedly be New Zealand's Peter Snell—I know he will emerge as your Sportsman of 1964, and I have great pleasure in nominating him for that honor.
I have in mind one whom I consider to be an ideal Sportsman of the Year. No doubt you are already considering him. Bill Bradley. Certainly an excellent basketball player, but more than that a mature, humble, hardworking student.
BUNDLE FOR BRITAIN
As one of England's few baseball fans and a keen soccer follower, I was especially interested in Jack Olsen's article Six Dreary Days—Then Saturday (Oct. 12). He caught the atmosphere of English football wonderfully, but he was rather lenient with the game on one or two points. First, of the 92 teams only a handful make a profit, the rest are subsidized by local businessmen and supporter clubs. Second, attendance overall has been dropping steadily in the last few years, and the clubs have few ideas on how to combat this. For instance, only one team, Coventry, employs a PR man and he was hired only this season.
My suggestion is that Mr. Bill Veeck, instead of wasting his time and energies on unheeding baseball owners, should come to England, where soccer is ripe for the inimitable Veeck touch. He could purchase a good franchise easily, and his gate promotion technique, which set attendance records in Cleveland and Chicago, would be an eye-opener here.
England awaits the exploding scoreboard!
In reference to your recent article on bicycle endurance runs (SCORECARD, Oct. 26), the Bulldogs have nothing on the Tar Heels. After 3¼ days of dedicated training and adherence to a strictly collegiate diet of hamburgers and beer, our man D. Saum, strapped to his velocipede, completed a run of 1,833 sprints around an elliptical track measuring 29 feet 6 inches in circumference. IRATE fans (International Racing Association of Tricycle Enthusiasts) will be happy to hear he broke the old record of 20:34.03 by more than five minutes. Saum's elapsed time for the course was 15:32.18. He would have gone for 2,000 laps, but the bell rang for his next class. Wait until he gets in shape; one Tar Heel is worth 10 Bulldogs!
W. W. TOMFORD
Chapel Hill, N.C.
In re your statement (SI, Oct. 26) that the Yankees' firing of Yogi Berra "may have been the worst blunder in public relations by any club in baseball history," you err. When it comes to Lower Slobbovian manners, no one can take the front seat from our Horace Stoneham.
His seventh-inning phone call during the final game, to the dugout, summoning Alvin Dark to his execution as manager of the Giants could not be surpassed by the Yankees—or anyone else.
KEVIN M. MCLAIN
I represent a group of long-standing Yankee fans—I go back to the Highlander days—who disagree with William Leggett in his World Series article (SI, Oct. 26) over what he writes about the dismissal of Berra as manager: "The Yankees might just as well have flogged their bat boy in public."
When the Yankees named Berra as manager we were stunned and dismayed. Stunned because, to us—and we found later to hundreds of fans—Yogi had shown no indications of managerial ability. Dismayed because we saw him almost surely foredoomed in a job unnatural to his talents.
Nevertheless, he remains one of the truly great catchers of all time.
G. M. W. KOBBÉ
New York City