Skip to main content
Original Issue

19TH HOLE: The readers take over

Gerald Holland's conversation piece on Coach Horace Jasper (Boogey Man) Blenheim (The Coach, SI, Oct. 13) is a marvelously witty achievement. The little passage where Football Booster Tony La-Presta, "The Pizza King," receives his pass to secret practice and chokingly exclaims, "Only in America could it happen," is surely a satirical miniature without peer in magazine writing. And Coach Blenheim fallen on sad days is a figure deserving sympathy. If memory does not deceive me, Shakespeare said "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions." If that is not in Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book, it ought to be.

I truly found it the most entertaining reading matter I've come across in quite a while—a real TD (8-pointer)!
Boyertown, Pa.

My choice for Sportsman of the Year is Pete Dawkins of Army. And I'm all for Navy.
Pensacola, Fla.

Althea Gibson. On her semifinal play against Mrs. Fleitz she deserves a medal. What a contrast to last year!

I understand there's a fellow in Australia who runs rather well. Elliott, I think his name is.
Highland Park, N.J.

Bob Turley of the New York Yankees.
Elizabeth, N.J.

Your references to Coach Bennie Oosterbaan of Michigan (SI, Oct. 13) provide the best possible answer to this year's Sportsman of the Year search.
Dearborn, Mich.

Just a few moments ago I read Fangio's farewell (SI, Oct. 27). In these two brief pages there is the soul of sportsmanship; the essence of it, the distillation into a single burning drop of the whole spirit of, not only motor racing, but any other dangerous, bruising, exacting sport.

My feeling is that this, together with the testimony of the innumerable novices as to his unfailing courtesy, generosity and helpfulness in the very heat of competition, will stand as Fangio's monument after his records have crumbled.
New York City

I was just leafing through an old issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Jan. 23, 1956). There was an article on football, Shape of Things to Come, which evaluated the top freshman football prospects in the nation and their chances of attaining stardom. It was quite interesting to note how accurately the article foretold the headlines in the Sunday sports sections all over the country.

Dick Wallen of UCLA is an All-America; Don Long's passing upset Illinois. USC's Rex Johnston gave us a scare here at Ann Arbor with a 66-yard TD run on Sept. 27. Dick Bass of College of the Pacific may be bonus choice of the pros. Jakie Sandefer is one of Oklahoma's top ball carriers. Tommy Lorino of Auburn sparked the backfield of last year's wire service national champion. King Dixon of South Carolina is rated one of the South's finest all-round performers. Bob Reifsnyder of Navy has been called the nation's top lineman and stood out on national TV in the 1957 Army-Navy game. Pete Dawkins of Army was your back of the week (SI, Oct. 6) after his four TDs vs. South Carolina. Bill Kaliden is a top quarterback at Pitt. Jack Delveaux of Illinois is their captain and top ground-gainer. Bronco Nagurski Jr. and Bob Wetoska are being counted on by Notre Dame to lead that team to national honors.

I'd felt that Ohio State's Bob White was the finest fullback I had ever seen until I came to Michigan and saw John Herrnstein, whom you described as "...the line-plunger Michigan so badly needs." His size (215) and power are equal to White's, and his quick acceleration and breakaway speed make me feel he is better than White.

This sort of article is always interesting. I certainly would like to see you continue it this winter.
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Your much-ballyhooed America's Cup, "Top Sporting Event of 1958," had all the thrills, chills and hard-fought rivalry of a foot race between Herb Elliott and Grandma Moses.

While 5,000 curiosity-seekers milled about the opening-day starting line, a somewhat larger number of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED charter subscribers were milling in frustration through your pages, trying to find some small mention of honest-to-goodness sport.
Alturas, Calif.

•See below for another opinion from California—ED.

I feel your issue of Oct. 6 contains some of the finest sports reporting I have read in some time. Four stories in themselves are outstanding. The combination of them all in one issue of any magazine certainly deserves a compliment.

The story on the America's Cup races explains a not widely understood sporting classic. More important, this story lays full emphasis on a most pertinent point, that this is a real example of one of the few true instances of amateurism in sport left today.

The story on Y. A. Tittle is lucid to the point where I now feel I could quarterback the 49ers myself.

Your analysis of the National Football League race will contribute materially to my understanding and enjoyment of the games I will see here in Los Angeles.

The story by Whitney Tower really hits the nail on the head. Will they give Round Table a rest or will they break him down, as they did Determine?

The story on Ohio State is particularly interesting to me in that I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to watch an Ohio State-Michigan game at Ann Arbor, wherein the Buckeyes knocked Michigan out of a Rose Bowl trip.

I have one criticism—all of the issues are not up to the very high standard you have set for yourselves. Even your writers, talented as they are, cannot manufacture sports news when nothing "big" is going on.

It is human nature to be most vocal when critical. I just wanted you to know that one of your charter subscribers thinks you are doing a fine job.
La Canada, Calif.

I find myself pondering over the fact that this could be the era of the "old men."

I have observed many old men in action, and it brings to my mind how many such great "old pros" we have in this so-called sporting age. To them should go such praise and distinction as they deserve for giving the sporting fans, like myself, the enjoyment of watching their high caliber of playing.

I find myself admiring the cold courage of Sugar Ray Robinson as the old man of boxing. Robinson has shown the rest of the sporting world what skill, condition and a fighting heart can do when really put to the test. Whether the reason for his re-entrance into the spotlight was from a need of money, the feel of glory or an escape from loneliness, one will have to admit he is truly a man of courage to make the comeback he did.

In baseball, I find myself in a very difficult situation. There are many such old men in baseball, and perhaps the most famous is Ted Williams. Many would argue this point, but if there is any courage, ability and stamina in a man in baseball, the man would have to be "Thumping" Theodore. The other old men of baseball, such as Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Warren Spahn and many more, are pushing Ted, but Mr. Williams combines power, fielding and a few press clippings, which the American League badly needs. To me Ted is a symbol of what every heart of the American youth should hold.

In turning to football, and this is the more difficult because of the amount of teamwork which is involved, I have to give the nod to Lou Groza. If Paul E. Brown, coach and general manager of the Cleveland Browns, wishes to continue his winning ways, he will definitely have to scan the crops of college players when this big "Toe" decides to quit. If there is any player in the NFL who has contributed more to his team for so long a time, I have failed to locate him. This could bring many arguments into existence also, and I will have to admit there are a great many possibilities and points which can be considered.
Yeoman 3rd Class, USN
U.S.S. Orion

Personal curiosity caused me to make an analysis of point-after-touchdown attempts (see below), and it might prove to be of some interest to your readers.

The Big Ten data includes both league and non-league play. The major college data covers most of the larger independents and the Southwest and other major conferences. The small colleges are primarily those in the Mid-American Conference and several of the better small independents. The high school data covers the stronger Ohio preps.

From this data it appears that running gives the best chance, with passing second and kicking last. The data is fragmentary, of course, but it gives an indication of the trend at this early time.
Toledo, Ohio