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Original Issue


For the past 25 years it has been my privilege to be a member of the Oregon State Racing Commission and, though I am now retired, I am still a member of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners and a member of the national committee on information and public relations.

The recently expressed opinions of Alfred Vanderbilt, presented by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Vanderbilt vs. Racing's Establishment, Aug. 12), are exactly in accord with reports which I hope to help formulate for submission at the 1964 convention to be held in Chicago.
Eugene, Ore.

Congratulations to Jack Olsen for an excellent article on the Tiger-Fullmer fight and the Nigerian way of life (A Smile on the Face of the Tiger, Aug. 19). Having spent last summer working at a school not far from Ibadan with a team of American students under the sponsorship of Operations Crossroads Africa, I can attest to the accuracy of his reporting. It was so easy to imagine myself driving along Murder Road again with my heart in my mouth as the mammy wagons hurtled by, or to recall the arguments and bargaining tactics that must be used in nearly every transaction if one is not to get fleeced.

It is refreshing to read an article about Africa that is concerned with the pleasures and activities of the people and does not dwell on the lack of modern material goods, low health standards, inadequate education or political instability. Too many Americans still think of Africa in terms of jungles, cannibal tribes and missionaries. Mr. Olsen's article has done a great deal in presenting a picture of what life in one part of Africa really is like.
Tallahassee, Fla.

The superbly written story of the Tiger-Fullmer fight carries the interesting item about Chief Johnson pouring a few drops of whisky on the floor for his ancestors. This is a time-honored custom that antedates the Nigerians; in fact, it antedates the Romans. In the first book of Virgil's Aeneid, Dido, entertaining Aeneas and his fellow refugees from Troy, at dinner fills a cup (patera) with wine and pours out on the table an offering of the liquid: "et in mensam laticum libavit honorem." The purpose of this is precisely that of the chief—an offering to ancestors.

We can be grateful to and for sports—in my view they are the only honest element left in society.
Milton, Mass.

Your article on the largemouth bass (This Is the Fish You Can't Catch Too Many Of, Aug. 19) is 1) entertaining, 2) scientific, 3) informative, 4) correct in every detail, 5) hopelessly out of date.

The state of Ohio has known and practiced the theory of "too many fish rather than too few" for the last 10 years under the radical and highly unorthodox liberalized fishing plan where the angler may take any fish of any size at any time with a hook and line.

With all due respect to the erudite Dr. Bennett, we, here in Ohio, have watched the Ohio Division of Wildlife practice the elimination of stunted fish in overpopulated lakes for many years. To my knowledge, no other state in the Union has dared follow the lead of Ohio in this matter.

The Buckeye fishermen have enthusiastically supported liberalized fishing, and we can truthfully say that, after you buy a license in Ohio, the only job left for the game warden is to point out the nearest hot fishing spot and wish you well.

For 20 years I have written an outdoor column for the local daily. That article on bass fishing is about the best thing I have ever read on that particular game fish. And it is timely—lures, methods and all. Thank you, and applause to Robert H. Boyle.
Findlay, Ohio

Loved your article on the VW (The Beetle Does Float, Aug. 19), but you forgot to mention the most important reason for owning a Bug or Bus—the Bug is fun to drive and the Bus is fun to ride. Having just returned from a 1,000-mile trip in our Volksbuggen Bus, we say you haven't lived until you've opened that sunroof and, from the back seat, looked up at the Golden Gate bridge or felt the fog sting your cheeks if you are brave enough to stick your neck out.

Although it's like mounting a horse to get into the Bus, and the windows don't open the right way for the collie to get a good sniff, we wouldn't trade our two Volksies for all the chrome in Flint.

Furthermore, sunroofs always wave!

From the woman who has everything—four cats, one dog, six kids and Bus driver husband.
Los Altos, Calif.

About the Beetle: Why all the speculation by Writer Huston Horn on who owns the VW and why? It's simple. The New Breed want transportation, not status symbols. What is the best transportation available for the money? Well, it doesn't take an executive to figure it out (as Polk learned). And even the decreasing number of status-conscious car owners must come to the ultimate conclusion. There is only one car in the world that best answers the basic need of transportation—the Volkswagen.

Sure, I own a Bug. But I no longer have to defend its virtues. My friends don't ask me why I bought it. They know why. They're waiting for theirs.

What took me so long to decide that VW was the car for me? Truthfully, I don't know. Maybe I'm a slow learner. Maybe the unique advertisements. Or, then again, maybe I fell in love. My wife does admit a little jealousy.

I believe Mr. Horn overlooked the people attending college as a large group of Volkswagen owners. I think that most of us going to college now are thinking about the future more than the present, and the only way to attain those future goals is to live economically. It is tough to go to school and be married, with a family to support at the same time. Transportation is necessary, and it must be cheap.
Athens, Ohio

Your article on the Volkswagen, its reputation and attributes, gave me, a Triumph TR3 owner, almost as much pleasure as it probably gave those one million VW owners.

I must take exception, however, to one indirectly related point. Sales facts notwithstanding, Mr. Horn's presupposition that the "spiffy" Karmann Ghia is a sports car remains quite inaccurate. The actual definition of a sports car would be very long and diverse (although not vague at all). But if there is one thing that will never be a sports car it is a Volkswagen or even a low-slung version of this very fine machine.

Sports car owners continue to salute each others' presence on the road, from the $8,000 Jaguar to the slight Sprite. But, as a matter of fact, never has the driver of a Karmann Ghia been so misinformed as to brazenly include his VW in the sports car category by waving at my TR.
St. Louis

Wait a minute! Let's take another look at the "dead" ball analysis that Tom Brody accepts so readily from the test lab (Is the Ball Deader? Hitters Are Dying, Aug. 12). Dropping the baseball from the relatively low height of 26 feet 8 inches does not necessarily prove anything—except that at that contact velocity the '61 ball bounced higher than the '63 ball. What really counts is the rate of rebound of the ball itself. This is not a constant, straight-line ratio for all contact velocities. For a true evaluation, the ball must strike the surface at a velocity the same, or very nearly the same, as would be the case if it were struck with the bat so that it will have a rebound velocity of 120 mph. To do this the ball must be dropped from a height of about 500 feet.

Most golfers know that they can drop two golf balls from three or four feet, and a known "deader," less expensive ball may frequently rebound as high as (sometimes higher than) a known top-pro fast ball. You simply cannot compare baseballs, golf balls, and, I suspect, tennis balls, for life or bounce in actual play by dropping them from very low (comparatively) heights.
Millbrae, Calif.

May we commend you on the fine article on Ron VanderKelen (An Accomplished but Doubting Dutchman, Aug. 19). We are looking forward to a great year for the Minnesota Vikings with VanderKelen and Fran Tarkenton leading the way.

However, some of our members have commented on the statement where you indicate VanderKelen and Flatley "flew to Minneapolis." We in St. Paul feel this is an impossible thing to do if the trip was made by commercial airliner. The airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is located in St. Paul. It carries a St. Paul ZIP code number, and the firms located there use the St. Paul return address.

Residents of both cities realize that this area could not have grown as strong as it has without full cooperation between them. We would prefer that you refer to someone flying to the Twin Cities or use the accurate title of the airport.
Executive vice-president
St. Paul Chamber of Commerce
St. Paul