Yesterday when I was having my Porsche worked over at Ecurie Von Neumann, thetalk was of the Mille Miglia. It was lamented that only the big car resultswere known and the standings of the under-1,500-cc class wouldn't likely beforthcoming until later in the month. What should appear but your May 9th issuewith a splendid and detailed account of the race and a complete tally of theresults for all classes.
We under-1,500-ccowners are as interested in the small car results as in the big cars. Just asin sailboat racing, there is as much or more interest in the small classes asthere is in the America's Cup class. It is only part of the story to tell theprowess of the big cars or big boats where other classes are racingsimultaneously. Not infrequently in a general handicap or an index ofperformance rating, the smaller vessels or cars in their respective categoriescop the overall championship. Notable examples: 22-square-meter boats at Put InBay in the past, DB Panhards at Le Mans. It is always appealing to the Americansympathy for the underdog to learn how these relatively undersized competitorshave bested much larger and more costly equipment.
NORMAN WILLIAMSON JR.
As an engineer with the Office of Naval Research, actively engaged in pilotedballoon projects, and as special adviser on ballooning matters to the NationalAeronautic Association and Federation Aeronautique Internationale, I saw withgreat pleasure your balloon pictures and article of 9 May 1955.
Since the end ofWorld War II, I have been a member of groups attempting to revive ballooning.One of our major objectives has been the revival of the Gordon BennettInternational Balloon Race in which balloonists participated from all over theworld. Distances of a thousand miles were flown in this race which receivedimmense publicity and was considered a major news event of the year. Weexpected to revive the event in 1949 with a take-off from Holland but inabilityto cross the Iron Curtain forced its cancellation. Only in America can acompletely unrestricted international race now be held.
J. GORDON VAETH
Glen Head, N.Y.
NOTHING COMPARESWITH THE THRILL
I used to balloon with Pilot Fairbanks when we flew six men in a two-man basketand had to pay the gas company in advance before they would fill the bag. Thatwas the era when Larry Bell was getting his airplane company started and henaturally participated in all forms of aircraft activity. On one such balloontrip the crew and Mr. Bell were becalmed in a fog over Lake Erie. Under suchconditions ordinary human voices have phenomenal carrying power so that theballoonists could shout down to inquire after their whereabouts and wereinformed by fishermen fishing in the fog, "Over Lake Erie." The futureairplane magnate growled, "How the hell do we get out of here?"
Few thingscompare with the thrill of being suspended alone in the vast expanse of thebig, wide, open, intangible, chill, lonesome night and wondering if the pilotof some oncoming air transport liner is going to miss the helpless, minuscule,lonesome, vital bit of isolated stuff that's you; of coming in for a landing ona beautiful, golden, calm, August stubble field at an easy 30 feet above theground and being carried miraculously straight up like a runaway kite that'sbeen let go 5,000 English feet as if by the hand of God—on an unpredictablethermal bubble of hot air.
No sir, nothing,not even the tickle of a trigger-happy Guatemalan soldier objecting tonocturnal picture taking, nor the presence of a man from the Internal Revenueobjecting to your helplessness, can compare to it for sheer thrill, suspenseand glamour.
SI has come intobeing, it is the best, and it does fill the requirements for a superlativemagazine that has become a part of the basic economy and culture of thenation.
JOHN F. ZIETLOW JR.
WE ARE ANXIOUS TOGET STARTED
The article on ballooning in SI May 9 has kindled a dormant desire to get intothis thrilling sport. I have always been fascinated by balloons, and when thisrecord article hit me, I was really hooked.
You said in thisarticle that it costs about $100 per ascent. You also mention that parachuteswere used. Can these be obtained surplus, and if so where? If you could getinformation on this for me I would be most grateful. I have two friends who aregoing to embark on this fascinating sport with me, and we are anxious to getstarted this summer.
GARRETT CABOT ROBERTS
Kable Station, Va.
•Although man hassoared in free flight for almost two centuries, each new enthusiast findshimself a lonely pioneer. The sole practical source of balloons is the U.S.Navy which occasionally in the past has released a surplus craft. Obtaining agas supply is a further problem, as is getting yourself and your balloonlicensed by the CAA. However, if you are content to make it a group effort,Tony Fairbanks (230 Rutgers Avenue, Swarthmore, Pa.) would be glad to welcomeyou as a member of the Balloon Club of America, if you are willing to pay the$20 initiation fee, dues of $5 a month and put in some hard work with theground crews before starting your instructional flights.—ED.
I have just returned from Elko, Nevada, where I was a gun at the ChesapeakeRetriever Trials. Awaiting me were three instalments of Tenzing Norgay'sautobiography in SI. I read them with fascination. It is, to my mind, one ofthe most gripping narratives ever written of a mountain climber's life andthoughts and of great expeditions.
Mr. Ullman is aconsummate architect of style. The simple, direct words give me the feelingthat he is listening to Tenzing tell his story while sitting beside the fire inhis own home. Only a man who loves mountains and knows them intimately couldhave written it with such sensitiveness and understanding.
One knows that analmost fanatical dedication to a self-appointed task drove Tenzing on. Everesthad taken complete possession of his mind and being. The idea was so dominantthat had he not been one of those who reached the summit of Everest he wouldhave considered his whole life to be a failure.
This book, Ibelieve, will have an enduring place as one of the great narratives in theliterature of exploration.
ROY CHAPMAN ANDREWS
Carmel Valley, Calif.
•Mr. Andrews,explorer, writer and former Director of the American Museum of Natural History,ought to know.—ED.
I've just finished the third Tiger of Everest article and write to congratulateyou on a fine job. How fine it is to see a real-life man shining through thepages, a real sportsman, a lover of the hills, and a man who speaks thelanguage common to sportsmen the world over. Tenzing is a very great humanbeing, and his book is a fine portrait, honest and clear. Thanks for adding itto your already impressive articles.
CHARLES S. HOUSTON
•Dr. Houston (SI,Sept. 13) is himself the author of a first-rate book about mountain climbing.His K2, The Savage Mountain, is the story of the 1953 attempt which he led onthe world's second highest mountain (28,250 feet).—ED.
Tenzing Norgay's climbing of Mt. Everest brought to mind the words of anothergreat climber and adventurer—George Leigh Mallory. Spoken some 30 years ago,they still challenge every man who has adventure in his soul:
"We expect nomercy from Everest; yet perhaps it will be as well he should not deign to takemuch notice of the little group of busy ones on the great north side, or at allevents, that he should not observe among the scattered remnants he has put toflight still existent the will, perhaps the power, to sting his nosetip."
BENNER T. CUMMINGS
I'VE STOOD INTHAT LINE
Being away from the Philadelphia area for several years meant missing the PennRelays. Your excellent picture story (SI, May 2) was the next best thing toactually being there at Franklin Field. I was particularly impressed by theshot of those kids nervously awaiting their turn to run; it possessed acandidness and a suggestion of latent action seldom captured on film. And itreally let loose the old butterflies, for I've stood in that line half a dozentimes myself. All I ever got for my trouble, however, was a spattering ofspike-flung cinders.
S/SGT. ROY FOSTER JR.
Shaw AFB, S.C.
FOUR VISITORS IN'49
Your recent story on the Penn and Drake Relays brings back pleasant memories.As track manager for Wayne University it was my pleasure to make three trips toPenn with our squad. Our 1949 visit is one that we still talk about withswelled chests around here and one which still merits attention whenevertrackmen talk about the Penn Relays.
We took only fourmen to the Relays-Lorenzo Wright, of the 1948 Olympic team, Buddy Coleman, LeonWingo and Irv Petross. This foursome took the 880-yard relay in 1:26, the440-yard relay in :41.7 while Wright and Coleman ran two-three by inches behindIndiana's Chuck Peters in the 100-yard dash, won in :09.7. Just to make the daycomplete Wright took the broad jump in 23 feet 8¼ inches to give Wayne threeoutright titles, a second and a third. The two trophies and the nine goldwatches were on display for a week in downtown Detroit.
Wright is asuccessful coach and teacher in Detroit as is Petross. Coleman and Wingo areboth on the police force now.
PAUL J. PENTECOST
ALSO IN THEMONEY
I read with interest the article by James Murray in SI, May 9 entitled Golf,Gambling, and Auctioneers. However, my curiosity over the final results of theTournament of Champions was not satisfied by the knowledge that Gene Littlerwas the winner. I would also like to know who won the other six places formoney in the tournament.
VINCENT R. IANNOTTI
•Toski, Cooperand Barber tied for second place, so their owners (F. Hudspeth, J. Blankenshipand D. Frankel) combined second, third and fourth place money and split itthree ways: each got $27,337.50. The Messrs. Gil Dye (Maxwell), R. E. Peters(Furgol) and Chick Ross (Middlecoff) all made $9,112.50 from their chattels'three-way tie for fifth place.—ED.
PAUL PUT THE CAPON
In his discussion of the early season baseball situation (SI, May 9), RobertCreamer waxes appropriately rhapsodic about the one-hitter hurled by Bob Fellerand the 16-strikeout game authored by Herb Score.
This remarkabledouble performance for the Indians on May 1, he suggests, is unparalleled inbaseball history. Not so.
When the GashouseGang represented St. Louis, Dizzy and Paul Dean combined to amaze the crowdattending a double-header between the Cards and, I believe, the Boston Braves.After Diz had subdued the Braves properly with a one-hit opener, Paul put thecap on the bottle with a no-hit effort.
In fact, it couldhave very well been a double no-hitter. Dizzy has reputedly intimated as much("If I'da known Paul was gonna throw a no-hitter, I wouldn'ta give up thatone hit in the first game").
We loyal Cardinalfans, our hopes pinned on Stanky to bring St. Louis a new supply of pennants,will concede Feller and Score second place.
•Diz pitched athree-hitter, not a one-hitter, and it was against the Dodgers. That leaves onepitching masterpiece, plus Dizzy's deathless quote ("If I'da knowed you wasgonna pitch a no-hitter, I'da th'owed one myself."). Bob Creamer repeatshis question: who can remember another double-header with two such remarkablepitching performances?—ED.
A CAUSE TO PLAYFOR
H. Allen Smith's entertaining and informative May 9 article Gone Are the Daysof the Gallus-Snapping Rube prompts me to offer this idea: let's have an annualball game between the Country Boys and the City Boys in both leagues. Thisgame, as far as I know, would be the only occasion in which players from bothleagues are intermingled. Teammate would play against teammate, yet there wouldbe a CAUSE to play for. The Country Boys must come from communities of lessthan 2,000, and the City Boys from 100,000 and over. Here is my suggestion fora line-up.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Country Slaughterwould serve as non-playing captain of the Country Boys. (His nickname qualifieshim although his home town—Roxboro, N.C.—has a population of 4,321.)
Phil Rizzuto cancaptain the City Boys because he wears suede shoes.
Stovall (pop. 410), N.C.
RETURN OF THEEGYPTIAN
I have just been reading E & D's comments (SI, April 25) on the return ofthe Egyptian house dog. Since reading the story, I have seen Connie on DaveGarroway's show and have to admit that the dog bears a strong resemblance toour dog Ralph. We have never fooled ourselves that Ralph was anything more thana purebred mongrel. However, his many friends here, who think him prettyspecial, feel there is some hope of establishing a definite category for hisbreed. His ancestry is a mystery because he moved in, leaving a neighbor'slodging in favor of ours. Since we felt we had committed a slight case ofdognaping, we never discussed his background with the neighbors in question.However, his beauty is evidence that he came from good stock, whatever it maybe. Like Mr. Heering, we have hoped to find a female facsimile and start a newbreed called Ralphs. He and Connie are alike in every respect.
White Sulphur Springs
•Too alike,unfortunately. Connie, despite the girlish lilt of the name, is also amale.—ED.
SHOOT ONE, DRINKONE
As a crow fancier of sorts—my talking, skiing pet, Old Crow, has beguiled me,movie audiences, TV fans, ski patrols, and the mahouts of a corn-squeezin'foundry—I found your report on the Baltimore slaughter horrifying (EVENTS &DISCOVERIES, SI, April 4).
Hunting crows isone thing, and as practiced by my neighbors of the Litchfield Crow Hunt it is afriendly sport. Relax in a field frequented by the black-feathered smarties;shoot one old crow; drink one; shoot one, drink one, and so on. There is amellow perfection to the marksman who stays on target after a day on a regimenlike this.
One must alsorespect a craftsman who becomes skilled in the caws of a crow. But junglesuits! masks! mesh wire! chicken feathers! Chicken, indeed! As well trap trout,with worms, in a sieve!
Let not thehunter claim that he rids his neighborhood of an unwanted pest. The hungry crowfamily, in a season, devours some 35,000 insects—mostly of types injurious toagriculture—and caterpillars. A farmer in Martha's Vineyard named GardinerHammond, who managed to rid his property of crows by setting up a privatebounty offer, lost an entire pasture crop of grass to white grubs, and wasrelieved the following year when crows returned after the bounty waswithdrawn.
For his admitteddepredations among duck and pheasant eggs, the crow repays man with hisravenous war on the despoiling insect. Let's keep crow-shooting on a sportingbasis, not on a war footing.
I read with much interest in the April 25 19TH HOLE a letter from Cliff Bobrontelling us that old-time pitcher Joe Oeschger, who pitched for Boston againstBrooklyn 26 innings to a tie 35 years ago, is still active in sports. LeonCadore, the man who that day pitched for Brooklyn, and I played ball at GonzagaCollege, now Gonzaga University, Spokane, where he attended school from 1905 to1908. Later we both pitched in the Spokane City League and semipro ball in thissection of the country. As the years passed Leon was working for one of themortgage companies here in Spokane, and I was associated with the FidelityNational Bank. He and a baseball scout came over to the bank one day andinvited me to go East with them. I was young and had a good job so declined togo with them. Perhaps I made a mistake as Leon certainly made good and Icontinued on for some twenty-four years in the banking business. Neverthelessit is good to think of the fine times we had together and the many baseballgames which we played together and against each other.
No lover ofsports should be without your magazine.
J. G. ROTCHFORD
•Banking may behumdrum, but it's steady. Since he pitched his last major league game for theGiants in '24 Cadore has traveled a wide and rocky road. He played a littlesemipro ball in Florida, sold liquor, moved out West and came back, sold airconditioners and engaged in some stock transactions which ended in agrand-larceny charge. "The indictment was squashed," Cadore remembersvaguely. In 1931 Cadore had married Mae Ebbets, one of the three daughters ofCharles H. Ebbets, millionaire president of the Brooklyn Baseball Club andgodfather of Ebbets Field. "But we didn't get much out of that,"recalls Cadore, whose wife had borrowed heavily on her bitterly disputedinheritance years before she received it. Mrs. Cadore died in 1950. He stillwants to work in baseball, "as a scout, for instance," and sees a lotof Brooklyn games on his lifetime pass. "But you can't eat a pass,"Cadore says sadly.—ED.
HE BELONGED TOYOUNG AND OLD
Luggi Foeger's tribute to Hannes Schneider was moving and richly deserved (19THHOLE, SI, May 16).
Since 1948 I havemet a lot of people on all levels of skiing. Many have welcomed me in wonderfulways. I can truthfully say, however, that never have I felt as genuinelywelcome, and felt as though the welcomer really was glad to see me, as I didevery time that I walked over to the ski-school building at Cranmore and wasgreeted by Hannes running out the door to say hello.
One of the mostimpressive evidences of the adoration and respect which Hannes carriedworld-wide was evidenced at the FIS congress in 1953. We have never beenlistened to too seriously in the FIS. The Alpine and Scandinavian countriescarry most of the weight. But in 1953 Hannes was a member (although nonvoting)of our delegation. Evidently even 50 years after his origination of the ideasthat started all this skiing business, he still carried more weight at the FISthan any other man, and more people listened when he talked. Usually pioneerspass into disfavor; but here he was an amazing combination—a man who could be apioneer and still retain admiration forever.
Hannes belongedto both the young and the old. The old-timers such as Arnold Lunn, Alice Kaier,Otto Schneibs, all consider him as one of them; but you would find that theyoung-timers like me, Brooks Dodge, and even the five-year-olds of North Conwayconsidered that he was ours, too.
Eastern Ski Association
SOLUTION TO LAST WEEK'S
THE FIRST OF MANY RALPHS