As I turned my radio on that Tuesday night I was confused about what to expect in the fight. I fostered some suspicion that Clay was a very good fighter, but in the face of the ill will shown him by the public and by most news media I had my doubts. When the fight ended and I read the newspapers the next day I was convinced the fight was a fluke. Then I read your excellent coverage (June 7). The article by Tex Maule and the excerpts from Jim Murray's column were refreshingly convincing amidst most of the other accounts supplied to the public by the press. The photography proves your points conclusively: Champion Muhammad Ali is a very good fighter; the punch was one of the quickest and hardest ever seen (or not seen) by boxing audiences.
Thank you very much.
THE REV. FORREST SHUE
Now that SI's readers have been persuaded that Liston was knocked out with a "perfectly valid, stunning right-hand punch," what next? I suggest the building of an invincible, Joe Louis-type image around Clay. This could last for at least 10 years!
Or maybe we should just abandon the whole stunning mess that boxing is in and concede that there is more honor, if not money, in simply running old movies of real champs like Dempsey, Tunney and Louis.
A. G. WEEKS
June 13, 1965
Your follow-up article on the Lewiston fight was the very first intelligent discussion in a week of what can only be described as national hysteria. It is ironic that those who view this supposed "hoax" as the death knell of a "rapidly fading sport" themselves represent the true threat to boxing. You are to be commended on your calm, in the face of a "national crisis."
Have you heard there is a new drink on the market? It is called Phantom Punch. It is served in an empty glass.
FREEMAN P. FOUNTAIN, M.D.
Thank you for Virginia Kraft's article Goodby, Kangaroos (May 31). Although I am only 17 years old and do not remember when our game was really plentiful, the stories I have heard and read about slaughter in our own past have made me aware of the tragedy of animal extinction. Even now, if the Australians do something about the kangaroos, they will be doing not only themselves, but the entire world, a great favor.
C. E. GILL
Miss Kraft's article on what the Aussies are doing to their Kangas, their Roos and their Pooh Bears (koalas) is enough to turn every gentle Winnie the Pooh fan from here to Queensland into a snarling, bloodthirsty beast of prey. Sic 'em, Piglet! Kick 'em, Eeyore! Get in there and cut 'em down, Christopher Robin!
New York City
As a recent visitor to Australia and as a member of the livestock industry, I found your article not only infuriating but, in places, a misrepresentation.
While I am sure Virginia Kraft was very disappointed not to be able to hunt kangaroo, the fact is that the kangaroo, in parts of Australia, is still numerous and in direct competition with cattle and sheep for the limited feed that exists.
As Miss Kraft mentioned in her article, a parallel can be seen in our own history: the buffalo. Consider what would have happened if someone had written an article, Goodby, Buffalo, and Congress had passed legislation that protected the buffalo. One probable result would have been that when you went to the Stork Club you would be eating tough, stringy, buffalo instead of a marbled, juicy and tender porterhouse steak.
JOHN C. SCHWARZ
Big Sandy, Mont.
Your magazine has done irreparable damage to the American Guild of Kangaroo Tanners, the fine quality manufacturers of athletic goods, and also to many of this country's great retail outlets.
Your writer quotes a report of 10 million animals killed a year. Never has the kill been more than one million; it has generally been between 750,000 and one million. This kill has been going on for 20 years and has not yet diminished the kangaroo population in any way.
Kangaroo leather has been used in this country for more than 50 years and has been the mainstay of all the best-quality athletic footwear. For many years it was also the mainstay of men's and women's soft-leather comfort shoes. The only thing that has changed in kangaroo leather is the use of the hide and the manner in which it is tanned. When the market for comfort shoes disappeared, it was necessary to find new markets. These new markets were, for example, kangaroo golf bags, golf gloves, golf shoes, head covers, carryall bags. Rather than tear down this industry with an inflammatory article you should have given it a pat on the back.
Director, American Guild of Kangaroo Tanners
When the author stated that "it is relatively easy to eliminate a species but impossible to bring it back," she summed up all the arguments on this controversial topic.
CHEAPER BY TWO DOZEN
Hurrah and congratulations on your fine May 31 article, The New National Football League (?). Dan Jenkins' proposal probably made Pete Rozelle regurgitate, but I'm sure it drew praise from the football public.
A new league, a merger, a common draft and/or further expansion are highly possible if not inevitable. Football would benefit from truly national competition, and the fruits of such competition would be keen public enthusiasm.
My twofold hope is that some imaginative thought and positive action may ensue and that Pete Rozelle takes a hint from a restless public.
If eliminating "losers" is Mr. Jenkins' main objective why not put each of his 24 "New NFL" teams into 24 separate divisions, each playing intrasquad games? That way every team would be a winner.
ROBERT K. ROSKA
Come off it! Why not have the Brooklyn Centipedes in the East with Ed Kranepool at quarterback and in the West have the Hollywood Hi-Jackers, with James Bond as fullback?
Your proposed four-division merger for pro football was beautiful. It has only one flaw. It's logical. This same flaw applies to baseball, which desperately needs a two-league, four-division setup also. Ten-team leagues are too unwieldy—and produce too many distant also-rans. Why can't baseball go forward for a change?
The Bill Veeck series is simply great, but he errs in Part 3 (For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, May 31) when he says that the Giants got Pitchers Billy Pierce and Don Larsen from the White Sox in 1961 for four players nobody ever heard of.
Three of the players were nonentities, it's true, but the fourth is a player named Eddie Fisher, who has become one of the best relievers in the game and who has almost singlehandedly knuckled the Chisox into pennant contention with his superb bullpen work.
Considering that Fisher is still a young man and that Pierce and Larsen contributed very little to the Giants after 1962 (Pierce, of course, is now out of baseball, and Larsen has himself become a nonentity), Horace Stoneham didn't get off so easily in that particular trade as Veeck would have us believe.
Bill Veeck himself was absolutely the worst guy for making a deal. Anybody, I mean anybody, could "take" him. Before his departure for the Maryland shore he had dealt away the cream of the White Sox farm system. I think you have helped Bill Veeck find his niche in baseball—the Louella Parsons of the game. All the rifts and gossip could be his to report and in this way he could continue to serve so well the game in which he has made his money.
ALLEN E. ELIOT
The article about Horace Stoneham hit below the belt. I am more inclined to believe that Bill Veeck is the person suffering from intoxication.
Three cheers for The Hustler's Handbook. The nearest to the style and punch of West-brook Pegler I have seen.
W. L. HOFFMAN
Charleston, W. Va.