Skip to main content
Original Issue

19TH HOLE: The readers take over

Concerning your editorial, Alliance at the Summit (SI, April 20). You are there, it's June, 1959; Ike and Nick are meeting in Geneva for a summit conference. Both men have brought their golf clubs. By chance they meet on the first tee of the local golf course, Ike flanked by Secret Service agents, Nick by the KGB. Their meeting goes something like this:

Nick, smartly dressed in his scotch-plaid plus fours, approaches Ike who is swinging his driver back and forth in pendulum fashion. Ike is wearing his lightweight Wash'n Wears, a Ben Hogan cap, a black glove and a full-sleeved cardigan sweater. Nick speaks: "Say, Ike, I didn't know you were going to play today."

"Yes," returns Ike. "The way things are going I don't plan on being here much longer so I thought I'd take advantage of the nice weather we're having."

"Ah," says Nick, "I know what you mean. It really is a beautiful day." He pauses and then adds, "Are you playing by yourself or do you have a game?"

"No, I'm playing by myself. My friends," he continues, indicating the Secret Service men, "don't play."

"Now isn't that funny," replies Nicky, "my friends don't either."

"Well, if you are by yourself, Nick, I'd be glad to have you join me. Of course I'm kinda rusty; however, if you don't mind playing with a hacker you're welcome to come along."

"Well, that is mighty comradely of you—no offense intended. I would certainly deem it a pleasure to play with you, and even though I play pretty poorly I will try not to slow you up."

"Slow me up?" questions Ike, wryly. "Who do you think you're kidding, Nick? I heard about that 85 you shot at the East Berlin Country Club last week."

"Eighty-five!" screams Khrushchev. "Who the hell spread that lousy rumor? Listen," he went on, "the day I shoot 85, Mao Tse-tung will come steaming up the Volga River in a Chinese junk leading the People's navy."

"Amen!" mumbles Ike. "Listen," he continues briskly, "my intelligence reports tell me that you've been a 13 handicap for the past four months. Now why don't you admit it?"

"A 13 handicap!" Khrushchev cries in anguish. "Lies, lies! Listen, Ike, do I look like a 13 handicap?"

Ike's eyes narrow to little slits, and he peers intently at Khrushchev's bald head and 44 waist. "Looks can be deceiving," Ike says cryptically. Then looking casually in the direction of his Secret Service agents he adds, "Besides, some of my boys tell me that you've been secretly reading Ben Hogan's Five Lessons on the Modern Fundamentals of Golf."

"I beg your pardon," says Nick, icily. "The book to which you allude was written by the People's Golfer, Haganovitch. I've never heard of anybody named Hogan. But enough. Let us go ahead and play, and at the same time make, say, a small wager?"

"Name your own poison," cautions Ike.

"How about," says Nick, casually casting his eyes heavenward, "the moon?"

As enthusiastic original subscribers, we feel that perhaps you might be interested in our comments pursuant to the 1959 Special Baseball Issue.

First: We feel that the cover should remain consistent. Much as we respect Willie Mays, and much as we enjoyed the article concerning him, we liked your cover format of the previous three years.

Second: Perhaps there are some unreconstructed Americans who are not interested in our national pastime, but they can take their reading pleasures in the remaining 51 weeks. This issue should be 100% baseball. Remember that true baseball fans have been fasting since October.

Third: In the synopsis of each team, we would like to see reinstated the profiles of managers and announcers. Managers do change...they can't all be Casey Stengels.

Fourth: Please give back the ballot space for our individual preseason prognostications of each club's finishing order...and though your subtle placement of the teams' finishing order this year caught our attention, we would like to have your guesses presented in a bolder fashion, as last year.

Fifth: As age creeps up on us, memories fail, so we urge that you include the preceding four seasons' finishing order for each league.
Portland, Ore.

•Here is the consensus of 24 editors, writers, reporters and secretaries compiled one week before the season opened:

American League

New York
Kansas City

National League

San Francisco
Los Angeles
St. Louis

All praises to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Joe David Brown for "The Onliest Way I Know." Unshackling sports figures such as Willie Mays from the pressagent's mythology is a real service to both player and fan.

The night that I first saw Willie in the Polo Grounds he hit a home run, stole a base, fielded spectacularly and took with nonchalant chin retraction several tight pitches that would send any other player into the dirt. But to me his finest moment came on his only error of the game. Taking a line single in mid-centerfield he had a play at the plate. Ignoring the cutoff man, his attempted strike sailed over the catcher and hit the backstop screen 10 feet above the ground. That any human could throw a ball that far was certain testimony to his greatness.

The color spread of the brown trout (The Perfect Angler, SI, April 6), will have made your readers impatient to get to their favorite streams. Congratulations.

The Perfect Angler by Sparse Grey Hackle prompts me to make an observation that borders on heresy to him, I suppose. It is my opinion that one can catch bigger trout in streams, especially brown trout, on weird artificial lures than on faithful insect imitations. Note that I said bigger trout, not more trout.

As you might imagine, I have had some heated discussions over this opinion. Also I fail to understand why deceiving a fish into striking something which is a good imitation of what he is eating is as sporting as catching him on something he has never seen before.

It is difficult to agree with S.G.H. that a fisherman's sharp eyesight is such a trout-fishing gift. Good sight is needed, but would it not be more accurate to say that understanding what you see is more important?

One more dissident thought. When I see a spot which I think holds an outsize fish I try to slap the lure onto the water so as to create a disturbance. Perhaps the fish strikes at the disturbance without stopping to see if it is edible and, if this is true, then there is little need for sneaking up on the fish. Of course, it could be that all the fish I catch are the dumb ones but a lot of them have been dumb quite a few years.

•"Mr. Black's opinions are by no means heresy," says Sparse Grey Hackle, "but I don't quite see that his approach is as radical as he thinks. Fish do not choose their food by eye alone. A fish's feeding reflex can be triggered by a good many things, an artfully tied fly, a 'weird artificial lure' or the hard slap on the water by a big, clumsy June bug at night, for example. But as far as the fisherman is concerned, I don't think you can separate good eyesight from his ability to judge the water. If there are no fish to be taken, keen eyes can save an otherwise fruitless day."—ED.

In February my husband and I were in Fort-de-France, Martinique in the French West Indies. We ate at L'Europa and were served a tray of cheeses for dessert. The most delightful looked like your picture of grappe (FOOD, SI, April 13), and I have never seen it before or since. It was packed in grape seeds, and I'm sure yours is, too, according to the picture.

Could you help a couple of desperate cheese gourmets and put us on the track of this most delicious variety?

•Grappe cheese, which comes from the Savoy region of France, can be obtained from Cheese Unlimited, 1263 Lexington Avenue, New York 28. The price per pound is $1.98 plus 25¢ shipping charge.—ED.

Billy Talbert (The Billy Talbert Story, SI, April 20, et seq.) has done a great deal for the game (and still does). Tennis simply does not have enough like him. I will never forget the incident at the Dallas Invitational one spring when a policeman chased away several youngsters trying to peek through the fence covering. Mr. Talbert started to intervene but only remarked with a sigh something to the effect that it was no wonder tennis was not more popular than it was.

Another pronouncement in your magazine left me with less elation. This concerns the failure of the California interests to gain the next challenge round in Davis Cup play (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, April 13). I simply cannot work up a tear for them. I got my first taste of being a non-Californian during my first trip to Culver in 1940; it was amplified in 1942. I was not actually discriminated against in any way, but it was impressed upon us by officials and other persons that we were from the wrong part of the country. This sort of treatment, largely indirect and subtle, would not bother an older player but leaves a mark on the confidence of younger boys as I realized later. We just weren't expected to do any more than provide first-round cannon fodder for the chosen ones. I trust this has been altered since the tournament has left Culver.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is an excellent publication; I miss very few copies. As for myself, I recommend for the tennis world: 1) an open tournament between amateurs and professionals for charity to enliven the interest of the public, and 2) a standard world surface, such as Grasstex or Corkturf (or something between clay and concrete in playing qualities) to help standardize the game.