A word to commend Robert Boyle's superb piece, The Hudson River (Aug. 17). The writing is excellent, the knowledge is impressive and the organization admirable. I am no fisherman, but I am an amateur of rivers and am moved by the feeling that Mr. Boyle has for the mysteries as well as the material aspects of his subject.
His account of the pollution of this wonderful river moved me to rage and shame, and I hope his report, all the more eloquent for its quiet tone, will move others more directly concerned with the Hudson to demand reform in the care of our inland and coastal waters. It is good to see this report of earnest, devoted, patient work already going on to correct the ravages resulting from industrial and municipal indifference.
•Our thanks to Pulitzer Prize-winning (Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History) River-Writer Horgan, who has just published a new novel, Things As They Are (Farrar, Straus & Company, $4.50).—ED.
In the picture illustrating Peter Scott's line story on the British Challenge (We Mean to Take It Back, Aug. 24), it looks to me as though Sovereign, not Kurrewa, must keep clear even though she is the leeward boat. As I see it, Kurrewa is on a tack and Sovereign just going about. What say?
•Right. According to Helmsman Scott, Kurrewa had just gone from the starboard to the port tack when the picture was snapped and Scott is tacking under her stern to keep clear.—ED.
Your article on bullfighting, comparing the distinct styles of the great Paco Camino and El Cordobés, makes many valid and important points (Artistry in a Bullring Is Not Enough, Aug. 10). However, on some points I cannot agree.
For example, Author Paul Evan Ress says, "If only aficionados cast ballots, Paco Camino would be reelected n√∫mero uno." This may have been true last year, but this season that honor belongs to another matador, Santiago Martin, who is known as "El Viti." Of all active matadors today, El Viti is unquestionably the most classic, serious and artistic in his style. Where Camino is very good with the capote and the muleta, El Viti is a master. While Camino usually kills very well, he is often erratic, ruining many good faenas by bad kills. El Viti, along with Jaime Ostos, on the other hand, is the finest, cleanest killer of bulls today.
I have just returned from a summer in Spain, where I saw Camino, Viti, Murillo and others fight in Pamplona, and saw Litri, Ostos and El Cordobés fight in Valencia. As a rule, most toreros do not give their personal opinions about other matadors, but all of these toreros describe El Viti as the most classic torero in Spain today.
In 1961, I traveled throughout Spain and France in the cuadrilla of Antonio Ordó√±ez, probably the greatest bullfighter of our time. I also saw Paco Camino fight that year, and he was very good. But now, three years later, something has happened to Camino. As Mr. Ross writes, Camino seems lazy.
Of all the top matadors, the one who seems unafraid of showing up El Cordobés for what he really is—a very brave, exciting and crowd-pleasing faker—is little-Diego Puerta. Where Paco Camino seems resigned to allow El Cordobés to triumph when the two fight together, Diego Puerta has shown the people (and El Cordobés) what good, Sevillana bullfighting is. Puerta is always as eager as the greenest novillero making his first fight in Madrid. While his style differs from the cold classicism of El Viti, Puerta is nevertheless another torero who tries all the time and usually shows his art in the arena.
El Cordobés' major achievement is in having revived worldwide interest in bull-fighting, which was on the wane after the retirement of Ordó√±ez in 1962. He has given Spain a great tourist attraction, comparable to England's Beatles and our own Cassius Clay. But anyone who knows anything at all about the bulls can see that he is relatively inept with the capote, and his faenas consist of a few high passes. Moreover, he fights con pies juntos (with his feet together). His style, therefore, is unattractive, unclassical and unemotional. He never changes the direction of the bull's charge and, therefore, does not tire the animal. Thus, when it comes time for the kill, the bull's head is not lowered as it should be at this point, with the result that it is very hard to kill correctly. When El Cordobés kills, going high up over the horns, he looks more like a fisherman casting his rod than a man performing the emotional, historical climax of an age-old art. And bullfighting is an art. I think Mr. Ress should have titled his article: Since When Is Artistry in a Bullring Not Enough?
New York City
•Aficionado Lyons, the son of Columnist Leonard Lyons, speaks for several correspondents who feel that this is the year of El Viti.—ED.
The Rev. Milo L. Ernster wondered "whoever laid out the first baseball diamond" and "why he laid it out backward," that is, counterclockwise (19TH HOLE, Aug. 17). As a student of baseball, I recently finished a paper on baseball in pre-Civil War America. While researching I found this statement, which I paraphrase from Preston D. Orem's Baseball from the Newspaper Accounts: Volume I, 1845-1881: The game first got the name "base-ball" in the Boy's Book of Sports, published in New Haven in 1839. This book also contained the first counterclockwise rules. Previously bases were run in a clockwise direction.
Thus, it would seem the revolutionary idea Reverend Ernster wishes to have tested failed over a century ago.
PHILIP F. HERSH
Reverend Ernster is most assuredly right when he says that his proposed rearrangement "would make a completely different game" out of baseball; and baseball could truly use some changing.
But the Reverend's proposed change is not what baseball needs and would, in fact, make a complete farce out of the game for one simple reason. As baseball now stands, the right-handed infielders (first basemen excluded) have a distinct advantage over their left-handed counterparts. (This is simply because a right-hander can throw more easily and quicker to his left than a lefthander can.) This advantage is so important, in fact, that all infielders in the majors are now, out of necessity, right-handers.
With the Reverend's "natural approach" the situation would reverse itself, and the right-handed infielders would be at a disadvantage—therefore necessitating the rapid development of a vast number of left-handed infielders. Obviously there would not be nearly as many players to choose from as before, and the quality of play by infielders would be greatly lowered. I'm sure the Reverend can see the sound reasoning that eliminates the possibility of any serious baseball league ever adopting his system; but I'm also sure that the Reverend's system could be an enjoyable variation on baseball for some nonserious teams to experiment with.
River Vale, N.J.
WILL THE REAL TONY...?
I would like to compliment Frank De-ford for a fine article (Not Much To Do But Eat, Sleep and Play Baseball, Aug. 3) about the bright young Red Sox star Tony Conigliaro.
I thought you might be interested to know that here at the State University College, Oswego, N.Y., we have our own Tony C. That's right, Tony Conigliaro from Frankfort, N.Y. Tony graduated this past June and will be teaching and coaching basketball in Whitesboro, N.Y. this year.
But Oswego State's Tony C. certainly will not be forgotten soon by local athletic boosters. Tony won three varsity letters in basketball and one in baseball. In three varsity seasons with the Laker five, Tony tallied 822 points and capped his varsity career by being selected as the Most Valuable Player in the State Universities Conference tournament.
Hats off to the two guys named Tony C.!
Director of Sports Information
The Big Sellout (Aug. 24) refers to CBS as "mediocre show biz." And what do you call eight pages of kite-flying pictures (The Kite maker, Aug. 3) in a national sports magazine?
New Bern, N.C.
A well-deserved round of applause for your positive and courageous stand on the CBS-Yankee wheeling and dealing.
GEORGE C. TENNEY
The August 10 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was perhaps your finest effort. The combination of versatility and topnotch coverage provided by the articles on golf, baseball, swimming, bullfighting, football and the Aga Khan must have thrilled millions of sports enthusiasts.
In addition, you avoided your most frequent pitfall, that of taking an idea and sparing nothing in its defense, regardless of fact. I salute you.
JAMES L. KAPLAN