I like your magazine very much, except for the fact that your predictions are too premature. Take, for example, the Chicago White Sox. When the Sox eked out two of three games from the "third division" Yankees you named them as the team to beat and did your best to minimize the importance of the game the Yanks won (A Different Kind of Season, June 7).
A week later the high-flying Sox came into town ready for action, and what happens? They get clobbered. In the first game Bill Stafford shuts them out for 10 innings. Although the Yanks lost in the 15th, his performance was of tremendous importance. In the second game the Yankees won 4-3. The third and fourth games weren't even games. The "weak" Yankee staff allowed the Sox six runs (one unearned) in 43 innings. The Yanks got 22 runs off "the best staff in baseball." Now who's the team to beat?
You people should put Mr. Lopez of the White Sox on your staff. He, at least, will admit that the Yankees are not dead. I think Ford, Mantle and Co. proved that in New York a couple of weekends ago. Nice try, guys, but it will take more than an article in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to keep the Bombers down.
•For further discussion of the Yankees, see page 20.—ED.
Being a student of bridge and a once-frequent tournament player, I was not appalled by the revelations of Buenos Aires (Four-finger Exercise, June 7). The fact that a personal idol, Mr. Terence Reese, was involved, is another matter.
Would an accusation of this sort be made in an international situation unless positive evidence were available? Mr. Reese's denial is, naturally, his only course of action. An admission of guilt on his part would constitute economic suicide as a bridge teacher and author.
ROBERT L. BRENT, M.D.
Bridge players seldom have idols, but if I had one it would certainly be Terence Reese. No matter what he did—play, write, edit, commentate—it had a certain amount of class and style. And now this. Say it ain't so, Terence.
J. D. MEEHAN
Allison Park, Pa.
Thank you very much for the wonderful coverage of the Clay-Liston fight (June 7). I thoroughly enjoyed the articles by Tex Maule and Jim Murray.
I was especially pleased that someone tried to report the match as he saw it and didn't try to do a lot of second-guessing. The reason for all the protest was the supposed invincibility of Liston. Let's face it, he was a slow and plodding fighter, and Floyd Patterson, although a nice guy, was dumb (at least in those two fights).
Come on, let's give credit where it's due. Cassius Clay fought two darn good fights.
May I congratulate SI and Tex Maule on exceptional coverage of the Clay-Liston fight? I was one of the fortunate ones to see the "punch," as I had a 10th-row seat. But, try as I might, I could not convince anyone else of what you finally proved in your excellent sequence of photos.
Jim Murray's appraisal of the Clay-Liston debacle (The Drubbing, June 7) is spicy and in keeping with his highly entertaining manner of reporting sports events. Murray could have mentioned the fact that Liston lost the Miami event sitting down, the Lewiston affair on his back, and the only new way he can lose a big match—assuming he ever gets another chance—is to fail to show up.
WADE H. RAMSEY
El Centro, Calif.
Jack Dempsey, in 81 matches, won 49 by knockouts. Gene Tunney, in 76 matches, lost only once. Joe Louis successfully defended his title seven times in one year, winning all but one by knockouts and fighting a total of 55 rounds. We have seen seven rounds of Muhammad Ali in two years, and those rounds have left many unanswered questions. Yet Tex Maule states, "Clay may be now—and certainly can be in time—the best heavyweight ever." With that statement he throws sportsmanship and hard work right out the window.
Never before in the history of sport have so many paid so much for so little.
The recent one-act play involving Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay has discouraged this faithful fan from ever again spending money to see a heavyweight championship fight.
When we buy a ticket to an Eagles game we are promised 60 minutes of football, no matter what; the quality may vary but the quantity is certain. Win or lose, racehorses are expected to go the route. Boxing guarantees only that the principals will appear in the ring and will stay there for at least 10 seconds after the opening bell. Floyd Patterson lingered for some two minutes in his first fight with Liston and made more money than the average workingman does in a lifetime. Yet I submit to you, he did not "earn" it. He did the same thing on the second occasion, and we paid him again. Liston ended his maiden affair with Clay in a somewhat more wakeful posture (sitting), and he remained in the ring for a respectable time. But even this dubious improvement was short-lived. On the night of May 25 Liston made the ticket-buying public look more foolish than Patterson had at his worst.
Let me urge that this folly end here by making one very practical proposal: a losing boxer who does not finish a bout should be paid only for the rounds he has fought in, i.e., he should receive but a fraction of the normal purse. The fraction should be based on the round when the fight actually ended (numerator) over the projected term of the fight (denominator). For example, Liston would be thus entitled to only Ms of the purse he will in fact receive. Who can say he earned more?
I feel that one-round world heavyweight championship fights are unfair, not only to boxing patrons, but to the participants as well. I would like to suggest the possibility that, during the early stages of a fight of such importance, following many months of arduous training and anticipation, the fighters may be so overcome with emotion that they are near the point of collapse and that, under such conditions, just a light tap to the jaw would be sufficient to drop them to the floor. Perhaps a medical study might verify this hypothesis and, if so, the boxing officials should be urged to consider means to reduce the probability of a knockout until the boxers have had sufficient time to work through this initial emotional state. One suggestion which comes immediately to mind is that during the first two or three rounds the boxers be required to wear heavy gloves and /or headgear and then, later, switch to the usual championship gloves.
It was with a great deal of interest that I read your recent article on the life and times of Arnold (Red) Auerbach, coach of the Boston Celtics basketball team (They All Boo When Red Sift Down, April 5). However, it occurs to me that your readers might also be interested in a few additional comments about Red from his high school basketball coach.
I should say first that Red needed very little coaching. He was bred in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, which was then a hotbed of basketball, and thus became a keen student of the finer points of the game.
In those early days as coach at Brooklyn's Eastern District High School (about 900 boys) my main concern was coaching track daily in the gym, while the basketball team, such as it was, more or less coached itself. It was not until the early 1930s, when Red was there, that I started coaching basketball with a great deal of enthusiasm—as any new teacher would.
Auerbach and I began to discuss basketball every day in order to improve our lot. It is my recollection that we were the first team in Brooklyn to use a roving-zone defense. It started as a 2-1-2 and shifted with the offense planned by our opponents. By then Arnold was the center of our zone, and I give him full credit for planning the play as the game progressed. Red was a great feeder, a good shot and was great at the legal block—either with or without the ball. He had great maneuverability and was usually several thoughts ahead of his opponent. We took advantage of our small court, and we were soon beating Boys' High School, Thomas Jefferson High School and finishing near the top every year.
Prior to this time my boys had never received athletic scholarships to colleges, since few colleges had even heard of us. With the advent of Auerbach and better teams, I was able to get some of our players to LIU, St. Francis, NYU, and Red to Seth Low Junior College, at the time coached by Gordon Ridings. From Seth Low, Red went to George Washington University where Bill Reinhart was coaching. Now I get a terrific kick out of watching Red on TV as he coaches the Celtics.
I had to retire five years ago when arthritis caught up with me, and I get around very little nowadays. I only regret that I've lost all contact with my players, and I sometimes wonder whether it was worth the effort.