ALL AMERICAN BOYS
Thank you for your article Bruce Hardy, All American Boy (April 29). He is obviously extremely talented. However, you left an important question unanswered. Is Bruce participating in athletics for fun, as he should be, or for a pushy father?
Kansas City, Mo.
My concern, after reading your article, is that every father in America will now try to make his son into "the athlete I never was." This worked well with Bruce Hardy, but for other kids the incessant pushing of a father might alienate a boy from sports, especially if he hasn't the all-round potential of a Bruce Hardy. I have seen fathers yelling at their 12-year-old sons after they performed poorly in a Little League game, and it is disgusting. The purpose of schoolboy sports is not to prepare kids for professional athletics, but to give them a chance to have some fun. How can any boy enjoy a baseball game if he must worry about pleasing his dad every time he goes to bat?
New London, Conn.
Though hardly a star in high school, I have lettered in football, wrestling and baseball, and I am proud to say I have never had a coach—and certainly not a father—who drove me to tears over mediocre play. I have learned to take the bad with the good, and I have benefited from both experiences.
Bruce Hardy the best schoolboy athlete in the country? Maybe. But here is a challenger, Dandy Dan Williams of DuPont High School near Charleston, W. Va. Consider his achievements:
May 12, 1974
He has been called the best high school quarterback, in the country by Letterman and Kickoff magazines and named to at least five All-America teams, including two years on the Scholastic Coach team. He is the only schoolboy in West Virginia football to be twice named best player of the year. He also has won the Thorn McAn award.
In baseball Dan made All-State in his junior year with a .412 batting average. He plays shortstop and third base and pitches. His won-lost record in his sophomore and junior years was 16-3, and he is unbeaten so far this year.
In basketball Williams was a starter for a state-title contender last year, and he started again this year before being sidelined by a knee injury. He was an outstanding track man in junior high before giving up that sport for baseball. And he is a straight-A student who has never been in a fight. Can't you at least call it a draw?
Charleston, W. Va.
I would imagine there are quite a few people who claim to know who the nation's finest prep athlete really is, but I would like to mention Georgia's Stan Rome. He has been named a high school All-America in both football and basketball and is mentioned as a possible Olympian in track.
Your article on Bruce Hardy brought back many pleasant memories. Having been born and raised in Bingham Canyon (Utah) and graduated from Bingham High in 1959, I was delighted to see a fellow Miner get such recognition.
I might mention that the new head football coach at the University of Utah, Tom Lovat, is also a former Miner. Thank you for helping us Bingham fans keep in touch.
Mrs. FRED G. MORTON
I didn't think it would be possible for Ron Fimrite to top his article (End of the Glorious Ordeal, April 15) on Henry Aaron, but he certainly did it with his story on Dick Allen (Big Fish in Turbulent Waters, April 29). It was wonderful to see a sportswriter capture Allen in a fair and understanding way. Finally, someone has portrayed Allen as he is—a superstar with his own emotions and his own way of doing things. I applaud Fimrite for rising above the one-sidedness of many of his colleagues. And I applaud Dick Allen.
Ron Fimrite described Dick Allen as a misanthrope. Allen is not a hater of mankind, he is just a hater of sportswriters, and justifiably so. He's had enough badgering and razzing from them to last him for years. I think it's about time sportswriters started to judge Allen as he is rather than as they would like him to be.
In your article Chuck Tanner states that he was "shocked" at seeing a 34-year-old Warren Spahn running to meet a curfew.
Doesn't Mr. Tanner realize that everything that Warren Spahn did, on the field or off, was professional, and that his ability to follow rules, including the ones involving curfew, is what separates him from the Dick Aliens?
KENNETH J. ROY
IN THE SWIM
Congratulations on the article Into the Pool with a Seal of Approval (April 29). As a six-year veteran or "summer daughter" of Camp Ak-O-Mak in Ontario, I read about Buck Dawson's pranks with fond memories. I accompanied Buck at Expo '67, hoping to pass as Moshe Dayan's daughter Yael, and I taught Buck all of the Hebrew he knows—shalom!
Buck Dawson has done much for the young women he has guided at his summer camp, making us proud to be female athletes, giving us confidence and helping us to be more appreciative of nature. And he has done even more for the sport of swimming. Pranks aside, the Hall of Fame is finally receiving the respect it deserves. Thanks for reminding me of this dedicated man who has an unsurpassable zest for life.
NANCY (ZOOMIN') NEUMAN
TRUE FISH STORIES
Thanks to William Hjortsberg for his excellent article on fishing with salmon flies (The Big Bugs Are the Hatch to Catch, April 29). I am a Montana native transplanted to Washington, and I had given up telling my friends here about my fishing adventures in Montana, since they had some trouble believing them. Now, armed with this new evidence, I am ready to start talking again about those exciting days along the Yellowstone River from Livingston to Gardiner with my dad, my brothers and all those salmon flies.
Medical Lake, Wash.
NEW BRICKS FOR THE YARD?
I have just read the article on the dream innovations for the Indianapolis Speedway (Sprucing Up an Old Speedway, April 22), and I must say those "improvements" are the most absurd ideas anyone could think of, especially the notion of covering the track with a plastic roof. They will have to issue earplugs to everyone who comes to a race. Also, the monorail is a very unnecessary attraction. How lazy can a person get?
The underground garage area is fine, except where are they going to put the rainwater? After the infield pit is dug to 150 feet, the levels of garage could go down another 50 feet at least. I don't think that Indianapolis' sewer lines are 300 feet underground. Think about it.
As for the psychedelic track, forget it. The poor drivers are having enough trouble at 190-plus mph without trying to find their way through those colors.
MICHAEL L. ROTH
Although several of the ideas expressed were definitely improvements for better safety, most of the suggestions were repulsive. There is a certain atmosphere at Indianapolis that cannot be duplicated anywhere else. Changing the area to a circuslike environment, complete with a colored track and transparent roof, would most certainly rob much of the flavor from today's Indy. The open air, the hot black track, a trip through the old buildings of Gasoline Alley, Back Home Again in Indiana—these represent the true Indy.
DAVID C. WOLF
Jefferson City, Tenn.
William Johnson presented an interesting and historically correct background to the triple somersault in his article on Tito Gaona (The World's Greatest, April 8).
As noted in the article, Ernie Clarke first did the triple on the flying trapeze but, more importantly, Clarke turned and caught the quadruple in 1915 while performing with the Clarkonians in the Orrin Bros. Circus in Mexico City. Ernie and his brother Charlie executed the quadruple numerous times in practice, but did not include it in their regular act.
In the early 1910s Edmund Rainat and Raoul Monbar on many occasions executed the triple, not to a catcher, but bar to bar, a feat considered impossible by many present-day professionals.
Another interesting triple somersault was performed regularly by the Kremos, a German Risley (foot juggling) act. One of the Kremos did a triple feet to feet.
And for the record, the photograph on page 102 shows Antoinette Concello in the rings. The lady below is Jennie Rooney, an outstanding performer on the Roman rings and Spanish web.
FRED D. PFENING
Circus Historical Society
I thoroughly enjoyed the article on Tito Gaona. It convinced me that trapeze flyers are real athletes and not just foolish stunt men, and that the sport demands competitiveness and personal pride.
CARMEN J. GIGLIOTTI
University Park, Pa.
BABY AND THE BABE
Part 3 of And Along Came Ruth (April 1) by Robert W. Creamer begins with a reference to the Babe's suspension by Judge Landis at the start of the 1922 season, and that rings a bell. It was at about that time (give or take a year) that the Baby Ruth candy, bar was first marketed. It soon became a bestseller.
By 1948, when I was working for the Curtiss Candy Co. (the company has since been absorbed by Standard Brands), a couple of generations of American youth had grown up with the conviction that the company's principal confection honored their hero—and, indeed, that its name was spelled with an "e." It was quite common to hear small boys ask for a "Babe Ruth" as they shoved their coins across the candy counter, and, for all I know, it is so to this day.
It is very difficult to believe that the simultaneous ascendancy of Babe Ruth and Baby Ruth was simple coincidence. But the official story at Curtiss was that the company had reached back into history for the name of its candy bar. It was named after the first presidential child to be born in the White House, Ruth Cleveland. And, at the time of Babe Ruth's death in 1948, that was the story that was given by Curtiss to curious reporters.
However, the explanation understandably dissatisfied the Sultan of Swat in the 1920s. As I recall the story, he approached the candy maker with a lawyer and the modest suggestion that the spelling of Baby's name be modified in exchange for a testimonial arrangement.
Otto Schnering, the company founder, gave the proposal some thought, but he also considered the separate reputations of the Babe and the Baby. As your story relates, Babe Ruth's personal behavior was becoming less than exemplary in the mid-'20s, and, after all, Baby Ruth was chock full of pure, wholesome goodness. Schnering, so the story goes, decided that Mr. Ruth might sully his product.
Whereupon the Babe formed something called the George Herman Ruth Candy Company and prepared to market his own candy bar, presumably one with its name spelled correctly.
That was too much. Schnering took the matter to law, and the Bambino was declared out. Officially then, Baby Ruth was Ruth Cleveland and Babe Ruth was somebody else.
Oddly enough, it appears at this late date that nobody bothered to check the record. The fact is, Ruth Cleveland wasn't born in the White House at all. She was born in 1891 in New York City (appropriately on Madison Avenue), and her father wasn't even President at the time.
As it happens, the first child of a President to be born in the White House was Ruth's sister, Esther Cleveland.
A Baby Esther? Man, it would never sell.
RICHARD H. LABONTE
New York City
I enjoyed the article on The Hunky Bunch (Hawaiian Eyes on Boston, April 15). However, I was dismayed to see that once again when SI does a fine story on long-distance running it is under the heading of Track & Field.
Long-distance runners train differently, eat differently and probably even think differently from competitors in track and field. In addition there is nothing very similar about the 100-yard dash and a 10-mile road run, except that in both cases the participant is running. However, so does the ball carrier in football run.
We long-distance runners appreciate stories about us that show understanding of our sport, but we would like that recognition to extend to our getting our own billing. Track and field is a terrific sport but it's not the one I am participating in.
JEFFREY S. DARMAN
D.C. Road Runners Club
I must take issue with the SCORECARD item (April 8) in which you discuss the crossbreeding of the Appaloosa Leola with Secretariat, the "fashionable gentleman of impeccable lineage." According to your story, Secretariat's owner, Mrs. Helen Tweedy, has refused to approve the registration of her horse as the father of the Appaloosa Leola's foal. You quote Dan Miller as stating that this registration would "inject class into Appaloosa lines."
While I have great admiration for Secretariat, as an owner of the Appaloosa stallion Cody's War Man, who is the grandson of Ace Admiral and the great-grandson of the immortal Man o' War, I would say we already have a great deal of class in our Appaloosa breeding.
War Man does not look like a "sturdy, compact...cow pony" but like a 16-hand thoroughbred with spots. What is more, he also has the best possible Appaloosa characteristics, a calm disposition and great intelligence.
Perhaps if Mrs. Tweedy could see some of our Appaloosas (none of which could ever be purchased for the $300 price you mention for Leola), she would be less reluctant to allow Secretariat's name to be associated with an Appaloosa.
ELIZABETH A. INGRAM
Trail's End Ranch
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