Congratulations on the splendid story about Babe McCarthy, Bailey Howell and Mississippi State (Bouquets for Babe and His Bailey, SI, Feb. 23). Although a poll of the man in the street by this writer favored Mississippi State seeking the NCAA title by a 6-1 ratio, this great club, with the best won-lost record in America (24-1), must sit at home because it's election year in Mississippi and no one is going to stick his neck out.
McCarthy, courted by Texas, received a new five-figure, four-year contract and Howell won All-America recognition and will play in a pair of college all-star games in the East and the Southern AAU tournament, and the team may go to Denver for the national AAU competition, to seek another title instead of the coveted NCAA crown.
Sports Editor, Jackson State Times
CHARITY AND HORSES IN MIAMI
It appears to this humble scribe that in the hustle-bustle, television-ridden world of today the printed words that might lure the weary sojourner on this earth could possibly be the well-phrased words, the apt ones.
I find the remark that some of the horses seen in the Ninth Annual Miami Charity Horse Show (Quick Change in Florida, SI, Feb. 23) "would have been more useful in a bottle of glue" extremely distasteful. This remark was not only unkind and smart-alecky—it was untrue. The horseflesh shown was of the best in the country and was brought to the show from some of the finest stables in the U.S.; I recall none that were under par or unworthy of being shown.
The second statement which was unkind, smart-alecky and untrue was, "A good many people identified with [James D.] Norris' other interests apparently came out of friendship for Jim, whose name appeared in the program 15 times." There may have been a few people who came out of friendship for Jim Norris, but the number was indeed slight compared to the capacity crowds which attended each of the eight performances. Sunday afternoon saw 6,000 of "Jim Norris' friends" milling about.
It was also unfair and petty to single out the fact that Jim Norris' name appeared many times in the program. His name appeared each time a class was listed for which he had sponsored a trophy (those donated by him amounted to over $2,000); his name would also appear as presenter of this trophy. In addition his name naturally appeared as a member of the board of governors of the horse show and under the list of box holders.
MARJORIE LEE AKIN
The facts behind the show are: It has been held many years to raise funds for the Miami Cancer Institute. This year Mr. Norris was elected to the board of governors. The election occurred without his knowledge. He was told about it afterward. Once chosen, he accepted. He and E. E. Dale Shaffer and others interested in the war against cancer pitched in and went to work. They sponsored various classes. They gave their time, energy and money.
I just don't like smart-aleck writers who snipe, with typewriter keys dipped in vinegar, at sincere people who happen to have a little money or social prominence. The world could use a few more people with the sympathy, human kindness, money and desire to help other people shown by James D. Norris.
We had a very successful horse show here, raising in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the Cancer Institute.
This has been achieved each year by the members giving generously of their time and money; however, it seems to me that your reporter has tried to make it appear that I used a charity event to further myself in a publicity manner.
Coral Gables, Fla.
•James D. Norris certainly needs no publicity from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Horse shows are not judged by the motives of the sponsors, however worthy, but by the quality of the animals and their performances. As Alice Higgins pointed out, competition in the hunter and jumper division was so uneven this year as to be a credit to no one, while the saddle and western classes were excellent. Incidentally, Miss Higgins pronounced last year's Miami show "first-rate" (SI, March 3, 1958).—ED.
I wonder how Mr. Kerr feels after Round Table's race in the Washington's Birthday Handicap? Undoubtedly, his only feeling is one of remorse at having failed to receive $37,300, handed to him on a silver platter.
How a good horse could have been started so shortly after he had developed a quarter crack in his right front hoof is beyond my comprehension. Naturally, he now has a left front hoof injury as well.
It is not trying to run against other fine horses that is going to ruin this good and honest animal, but the quest after the almighty dollar.
What happened to the resolution to retire Round Table after he became the biggest money winner in turf history?
RENÉE H. O'DONOHUE
DEEDS AND SAILS
I have been very much impressed with the excellent coverage afforded the America's Cup races, and in particular the articles by Carleton Mitchell.
I would love to see the next defense of the America's Cup deviate from a match race to one involving perhaps six or seven boats of the 12-meter class from various countries around the world. I think that this is a truer test of the abilities and technique of both skipper and crew and would stimulate considerably more interest than there now is in America's Cup races. Unquestionably, the deed of gift would have to be changed to permit this type of racing.
An item in the February 9th article by Carleton Mitchell attracted my attention, and I quote, "I was telephoned by a member of Sceptre's afterguard, for example, that same evening and asked if I would approach John Matthews of Vim and Henry Mercer of Weatherly to see if a drifting genoa could be borrowed."
Was it borrowed?
R. E. MUNSON
•No. Between 8 a.m. the next day and 5:30 a.m. the following morning Sceptre's George Colin Ratsey produced a drifting genoa in the City Island loft of his American sailmaking brother Ernest Ratsey.—ED.
CALM NERVES AT TEXAS A&M
Anyone I have ever talked to has the utmost respect for Horton Smith, but we can't help feeling he is "underinformed" when he criticizes the use of Ripple Sole golf shoes on putting greens (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Feb. 16). Before me I have the complete report of the tests conducted by the USGA at Texas A&M. Far from deflecting a golf ball on the putting green, the report states, "when the ball was rolled toward the cup on undisturbed Bermuda-grass turf, 17 out of 25 balls went into the cup. When crossing a Ripple Sole print, 20 out of 25 went into the cup."
Presumably Mr. Smith did not get an opportunity to read the complete report. In any case it is my feeling even if slight impressions are left temporarily on the putting green they are no more distracting to a putter than indentations left by lugs or the "plowing up" of the green by feet-dragging wearers of spikes.
As far as the statement attributed to Mr. Smith that "psychologically speaking" it is "murder" for the putter to see Ripple Sole marks on the green, it might well be said that putting requires the calmest nerves in the world and no golfer worthy of the name would let a Ripple Sole get him "all shook up" any more than a lug mark would.
FREDRICK J. MCNAMARA