SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
How any sane observer of the world of sport could select Ingemar Johansson as the Sportsman of the Year (SI, Jan. 4) is far removed from my comprehension. Undoubtedly, he has a terrific right-handed punch, but Mr. Floyd Patterson gave vivid testimony to this some seven months ago. My suggestion to you would be that a representative committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution could probably come up with a better selection for this coveted award.
Your article entitled A Bore Watchers' Guide by Stephen Birmingham was exceptionally well done.
HOWARD E. MOHR
New Haven, Conn.
Your choice was a fine one. And your recognition of the men and women who were outstanding in their particular fields this past year was excellent.
Why don't you have a representative from college basketball in your annual Sportsman of the Year article? You have a representative from college football, and it seems to me that basketball is as important and popular as football.
•Our nominee would have been Pete Newell (see page 46).—ED.
I was shocked to find that Tommy Kono, our present world middleweight weight-lifting champion, was not even mentioned. Here is a young man who has won about every medal and trophy in his chosen sport that he can. He won this year's senior nationals at York, Pa. and was again a champion at the Pan American Games and most recently in the world championships in Warsaw, Poland. Practically every athlete trains at some time or other with weight-resistance exercises.
In your fine tribute to Sportsman of the Year Ingemar Johansson you said, "He has made a movie, too, which will enhance his personal appeal."
The movie, All the Young Men, in which Ingo will be seen with such film pros as Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier, may do more than that. Upon its completion, Producer-Director Hall Bartlett said, "He's a natural actor. Sincere, charming and disarming. He's a pro."
New York City
MAN'S BEST FRIEND
Friends from all over the country have expressed interest in your EVENTS & DISCOVERIES report on a state dog for Pennsylvania, which mentioned me as a booster (SI, Nov. 9).
I thought other readers also might like to know this move is part of a nationwide one suggested by the magazine Our Dumb Animals in the late 1940s, the idea being to pay tribute to the many valuable services performed by all dogs for man.
According to a 1949 letter from the governor's office in Maryland, Governor William Preston Lane Jr. officially designated the Chesapeake Bay retriever for that state. Later I read another state had chosen the Brittany spaniel, and similar bills had been introduced in the legislatures of several others. Based on some particular connection with the state or its founders, rather than on popularity, which is a sometime thing, suggestions have included: the Boston terrier for Massachusetts, Chinook for Maine, foxhound for Virginia, beagle for Georgia, Chihuahua for Texas, dachshund for Wisconsin and collie for Wyoming.
Owners of all breeds throughout Pennsylvania who have fostered the great Dane as our state dog see nothing silly in honoring man's best friend in the manner already accomplished for tree, bird, flower and wild animal!
YEAR-END ISSUE: COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
I guess we are all mightily pleased that our old buddy, Pug Lund, made your Silver Anniversary team (SI, Dec. 21).
The three football players of 25 years ago mentioned in your writeup of Lund are all quite old friends of mine and, speaking of success, maybe we could update your report of the Minnesota-Pitt game of 1934 as follows:
"Insurance executive Lund took a lateral from Vice-President Glenn Seidel (Minneapolis-Honeywell) on a razzle-dazzle play and fired 18 yards to Dr. Bob Tenner (prominent Minneapolis surgeon), who crashed into the end zone."
Many times George Svendson, who also played on the same ball club, has commented that there was never one dud, be it either in a professional or business way, on this 1934 squad. Nobody, so far in these 25 years, has gone wrong, and each man is most successful.
One small note and I will quit boring you. Do you know the story of that missing little finger, left hand, shown in the picture of Pug?
J. RAYMOND NELSON
•Francis (Pug) Lund, "a fierce competitor who could do everything," found his left little finger, crippled from repeated breaks in football play, interfered with his ball handling, had it amputated before the 1934 Season.—ED.
YEAR-END ISSUE: RODEO
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED HAS EARNED ITSELF EVEN MORE DISTINCTION WITH ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT REPORTING FIRST. YOUR ARTICLE ON HOW TO WATCH A RODEO (SI, Dec. 21) IS THE CLEAREST AND MOST COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF THE STANDARD EVENTS OF THE COWBOY SPORT EVER TO APPEAR IN PRINT. FROM THE CONTESTANTS, A SINCERE "THANKS" AND A FERVENT "WELL DONE."
Secretary-Treasurer, Rodeo Cowboys Association, Inc.
YEAR-END ISSUE; 25 YEARS AGO
In your Silver Anniversary All-America article (SI, Dec. 21) you show a picture entitled "Glenn Cunningham in stunning 4:06.7 at Princeton for a world record."
The time and the place are right, but the winner of this famous mile race was Jack Lovelock of New Zealand, with Princeton's great Bill Bonthron a bare 9/10 second behind, also under the then-existing world record. The occasion was the Oxford-Cambridge vs. Princeton-Cornell meet, and Cunningham was not a competitor that day.
WILLIAM F. MANN
•Reader Mann is wrong. The Princeton mile race which Jack Lovelock won (in 4:07.6) took place in 1933, one year earlier.—ED.
YEAR-END ISSUE: THE BABE
In reading the feature on Babe Ruth (The Babe Ruth Papers, SI, Dec. 21), I noticed a check that was reproduced, dated May 31, and the cancellation mark by the bank from which it was paid was dated May 29. Can you tell me how this is possible?
New York City
•The check was dated May 31 by Colonel Ruppert. The Chemical National Bank stamp on the back shows it was cashed by Ruth on June 2. But the perforated date on the check is an error, probably because May 30, Memorial Day, fell on a Friday in 1930 and someone forgot to change the machine after the long weekend.
Incidentally, a retired officer of the Yorkville branch, Manufacturers Trust Company recalls that Colonel Ruppert occasionally borrowed the bank's board room for contract discussions with Ruth in the belief that the dignified surroundings would have a soothing effect on the Babe.—ED.
The article covering the Babe was fine, as well as the photographs. I was just wondering, though, why no coverage was included of Christy. I can't recall his first name or initials. This fellow, however, was a powerful influence in the Babe's life, in his financial affairs and other personal matters as well.
CLARENCE P. WOODBURY
•Reader Woodbury is no doubt thinking of Christy Walsh, sportswriter and promoter, who as his friend and manager did indeed watch over Ruth and saw to it that he did not spend his every cent, as the Babe was inclined to do.—ED.
I was entertained and much amused by Deems Taylor's article Sport for Art's Sake (SI, Dec. 14). Since it was obviously intended as humor, Mr. Taylor can perhaps be pardoned for stretching facts a little. For instance, in Tristan und Isolde we do know exactly why King Marke's night hunt was organized, even if we are not told what the supposed quarry was. Wolves, perhaps? The real quarry, of course, was Tristan and Isolde. Mr. Taylor also remarks that in William Tell, when Gessler asks Tell why he had the second arrow, if Tell had any sense he would reply, "Oh, just a spare," or something like that. But that answer wouldn't have done him a bit of good. In Schiller's play of William Tell, on which the opera is based, Tell does give substantially that answer. He says, "It is a custom with all archers." But Gessler doesn't fall for it. In the play the arrow does not drop from Tell's coat; Gessler notices that he has hidden it there before the apple shot takes place. And he says to Tell that he will not be put off with that specious answer; he must give him the truth, and he guarantees that Tell's life will be safe whatever that truth may be. But Gessler condemns Tell to a dungeon when he learns it.
CLIFFORD H. BISSELL
PRO FOOTBALL: COOPERATIVE DRAFT?
I am writing in regard to the new American Football League that is being formed and am wondering why the AFL and the NFL cannot cooperate with each other concerning the drafting of players.
Although competition is considered good in most fields, I feel that in this case it will hurt the quality of football. By both leagues drafting the same players, one of the leagues will gain and the other will lose, usually depending on which one has the most money. The only sure way of making money in football is to have a winning football team. To get a winning football team one has to get good players and to get good players one has to go to the draft.
I'm all for expansion—but within procedures set up by one football body. In this way one league would not gain superiority over the other. Each team would take its turn in drafting a player no other team in either league could touch, according to rules set up by the NFL and AFL jointly. There would be greater equality in each league. Each league would improve without the other suffering to any great extent. In other words, the over-all quality of football rivalry would be what it now is in the NFL alone. Don't you agree?
CORBIN M. WRIGHT
Kew Gardens, N.Y.
SKIING: NEW TERRAIN
Congratulations on the articles by Willy Schaeffler and Mort Lund on Sprungwedeln (SI, Nov. 30 and Dec. 7). Naturally I was pleased to receive mention as author of the system presented to U.S. skiers modified and extended by Mr. Schaeffler. Schaeffler's modifications were instructive for me, too. You have opened new terrain in the world of ski instruction. I have only one amendment: I am currently teaching at Mad River Glen, rather than at Sugarbush as stated.