Publish date:

19TH HOLE: The readers take over


As a sports magazine you will surely not hesitate to follow your own prescription from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, Aug. 3): "As Confucius say, 'A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake.' "

From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, July 6): "In the weeks since we first reported and commented here on the IOC's self-styled 'nonpolitical' decision to outlaw Nationalist China and declare Mao Tse-tung's China the legal overlords of all Chinese athletes (SI, June 8, et seq.), that decision and Brundage's defense of it have earned the condemnation of"—etc., etc.

This statement includes several mistakes:

1) The IOC never "outlawed Nationalist China."

2) The IOC never "declared Mao Tse-tung's China the legal overlords of all Chinese athletes."

3) Brundage never defended these actions because they never occurred.

4) The condemnation was of something that was never done.

The IOC action was based on the fact that the Olympic Committee in Taiwan called itself "Chinese National Olympic Committee" and was listed under the heading "CHINA," thus implying that it controlled sport in all of China. As requested by the IOC, it has now changed and adopted the name by which its country is generally known and it admits that it does not pretend to control sport in China.

•We remain glad that Mr. Brundage, after a period of soul-searching, decided to support the re-entry of the Nationalist Chinese under the name of Republic of China. The name China is precious to the Nationalist Chinese—among other things as the name under which they retain permanent membership in the U.N.'s Security Council. The "advice" to reapply as Formosa or Taiwan amounted to a conscious or unconscious intervention by the International Olympic Committee in international politics. We trust that Mr. Brundage will be able to persuade the rest of the IOC to accept the Republic of China at their meeting in February 1960.—ED.

I am wondering if there is anything you could do to let people know about the situation of my 16-year-old son Bobby Fischer, the U.S. chess champion. Although he is the official U.S. representative to the Candidates Tournament, to be held in Yugoslavia Sept. 6 to Oct. 31, he has not yet been provided with any funds at all to cover his expenses. He has already poured his own prize winnings, and my money, into essential preparations for this tournament. With another $2,000, half for his expense, half to pay for a second, Bobby could be sure of being able to take part in this event.

The winner of this eight-man competition will become the new challenger in 1960 for the world championship title held by Russia's Mikhail Botvinnik. Four of the eight candidates are Russians, well provided with seconds, physical trainers, money and every moral and financial backing. Bobby must rely entirely on his own efforts and winnings and actually pays for the privilege of representing the U.S.

He is the only American who has played abroad at all so far this year. From March to June he represented the United States at strong international events in Argentina, Chile and Switzerland. Their players, many of them substantial professional men, all receive their expenses as a matter of course.

Bobby's finances and mine cannot stand up under this terrific drain. Bobby is sacrificing his schooling trying to compete and at the same time earn his own financial backing. Bobby wants to win for the U.S. and has been doing it, but the effort of doing it singlehanded is ruinous.

I wish something could be done to assure his participation in this coming tournament and also in the other top-flight events in which he hopes to play and win.

•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is happy to be able to give some financial assistance to Bobby Fischer, who at 16 is indeed the U.S. Champion, so that he may compete abroad in a game which commands a great deal of international respect and attention. Readers who wish to assist Bobby should send their contributions to Bobby Fischer at the U.S. Chess Federation, 80 East 11th Street, New York 3. All money received, says Mrs. Fischer, will be acknowledged and publicly accounted for, and any sums in excess of those actually needed by Bobby in this tournament will be used for the promotion of chess in America through the federation.—ED.

A three-league World Series (19th HOLE, Aug. 3), not only is feasible, but it would be interesting.

Why not have the team with the best won-lost record in the three leagues draw a bye? The other two would play a best-of-five series with the won-lost leader having the home game advantage, with three of five possible games in his park.

The winner would meet with the third team in a best-of-seven series with the team that had already played having the home advantage as compensation.

Not only would this give the public more World Series for their money, but it would make the entire season more interesting because the leading team would be trying even harder to win more games so that they might draw the bye.
Harmony, Me.

I am immensely interested in the proposal of Sterling Quinlan, vice-president of Chicago's WBKB-TV, to bring videotaped bullfights into United States living rooms (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, July 20).

First of all, I believe it would help promote better international understanding among the Latin American countries and ourselves.

Those people who might be against such a proposal, due to so-called humane reasons, probably have never seen a bullfight. Before passing judgment on a sport, one should at least see it for oneself.

Even though the bullfights might not be of the highest quality at first, I believe that they will be of interest to the televiewer.
Kew Gardens, N.Y.

It is really disgusting to see a double standard of justice in our national pastime of baseball. I am referring to the recent actions of American League President Joe Cronin relating to the two recent incidents in Boston, the first involving Yankees Ryne Duren and Yogi Berra, the second Indian Manager Joe Gordon and Outfielder Minnie Minoso.

Mr. Cronin was reported as saying that it would be unfair to suspend the Yankee stars in the heat of the pennant race. Yet he not only suspended Gordon and Minoso for three days but also fined each $200.

Apparently Mr. Cronin must not consider Cleveland, Chicago and Baltimore as being in the heat of the pennant race, or is it Boston, Kansas City and New York in the fight for the pennant?
Norfolk, Va.

I would just like to show a few facts to the reader who said New York is a dead sports town (19th HOLE, July 20): Yankee attendance up 25%, with largest major league crowd, 68,680; last year Roosevelt and Yonkers raceways attract over 5 million fans; Giants professional football netted alltime high; Knicks draw alltime record crowd at Garden; Rangers play at the Garden to largest afternoon crowd ever; Millrose (track) Games sold out; wrestling packs Garden to capacity.

So, you see, Mr. Umlaut, the Big Town is far from dead. I'd say it's just been born.
New York City

Between you and me, Sirs, if those 48 pictures on seven pages (WONDERFUL WORLD, July 27) of an overstuffed, coat-tail-clutching fame-seeker are sports, our country should, indeed, be concerned over the health and mental fiber of our society. Our kids are going to continue believing that it isn't who you are, who you know, what you wear or can afford to pay on sporting activities that stimulate a sportsman's attitude in life.
Newark, Ohio

It was with amazement that I read the article "Shades of Brooklyn" (EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, July 27) which purported to describe a soccer match between Real Madrid of Spain and Graz of Austria at Ebbets Field but actually amounted to no more than maudlin sentimentality about some vanished baseball outfit.

Strangely enough, this match offered the finest opportunity for what should have been a fascinating report. For example, Real Madrid is four-time winner in four years of the Cup of European Champions. This means that they are not the best of 16 clubs but of some 300 professional clubs from 16 countries containing a population far larger than that of the United States.

Real Madrid is probably the richest soccer club in the world. Their stadium has a seating capacity of 135,000 spectators. They fill this stadium most of the time; they fill any other stadium in the world (except in the United States); and there is not the least danger that they will ever have to move to Zaragoza for lack of public support, competition from TV, bullfighting or any other reason.

Now to the players (I shall limit myself to the forward line). The right wing is Kopa, who was acquired from France some years ago at the preinflationary price of $75,000. Kopa is the idol of every kid in France. A soda pop, shirts, sports equipment (among others) have been named after him, and he was largely responsible for France's excellent showing in the 1958 Soccer World Cup. Inside right is Puskas, the captain of Hungary's "wonder team" (1952 to 1956). When the Hungarian revolt broke out, Puskas and his teammates of the Honved Club were abroad and refused to return home. Pressure, promises and cajoling made some of them change their minds, but Puskas remained firm, was suspended by the international soccer organization (FIFA) for two years and then bought by Real Madrid. Di Stefano, the center forward, was acquired from Argentina via Colombia for a sum that must have been well above $200,000. When the Franco government made some difficulties about his naturalization (which would allow him to play for the Spanish National Team), popular pressure became so strong that the matter was straightened out in record time.

I have nothing sensational to report about inside left, Rial, except that he is a magnificent player. Left wing Gento (transfer value about $200,000) is one of the most fantastic wizards in soccer. Fast, tricky, flashy, a pure delight to watch, matched only by such incomparable wingers as Brazil's Garrincha and England's (Sir) Stanley Matthews.

In summary, these men are kings in the king of sports who honored us (I am using the word deliberately, for their average fee per game is $25,000, and they must have reduced this sum considerably for the New York encounter) with their visit. Was your reporter unable to appreciate the consummate artistry of these masters? Did the sentimental tears about past ungentlemanly behavior of baseball celebrities prevent him from seeing the spectacle which drew 200,000 in Rio? Surely, sirs, your reporter resembles a man who has before him a bottle of the most exquisite wine and keeps bawling about the Coca-Cola he would like to drink.
Palo Alto, Calif.