10 to 1 at
Eisenhower's promotion of Rear Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to the rank of
vice-admiral one day last week hardly came as a surprise; without Rickover the
U.S. might not yet have an atomic sub, and, in race track talk, it figured.
That is why the
behavior of the assorted form-and-hunch players at Belmont horse park in New
York the day before is so hard to explain. In the fifth race, a handicap
business of one mile, they gave heavy backing to a couple named Strong Bay
(2-1) and Amerigo (2½-1). Well, Strong Bay finished second and Amerigo finished
eighth, and who do you guess won? A bay named Rickover (by Crafty Admiral out
of Sweet Caprice), and $2 would have got you $20.50.
Ambassador to Mexico had a rather subtle diplomatic chore to assign to just the
right group of men and was casting about to find them. Who filled the bill?
Why, three big league ballplayers, naturally.
The problem was
that the U.S. part of Mexico's International Film Festival was going badly.
From a balcony of the National Auditorium, where the festival was held, a
Communist claque hissed and whistled not only at American films, but at
American flags as well. Others in the huge auditorium (capacity: 13,000) were
taking up the hissing, and the result was an anti-U.S. demonstration.
All this changed,
though, when The Defiant Ones was shown, the third U.S. offering in the
eight-nation festival. It is a moving plea for racial tolerance, and it brought
frequent bursts of applause from the Mexican audience. When it ended,
Ambassador Robert C. Hill and his pretty wife went from their ambassadorial box
to the stage. With them were the three ballplayers to whom the Ambassador had
turned for help: Roy Sievers of the Washington Senators, Bobby A Vila of the
Cleveland Indians and Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants.
Avila, a native
of Mexico, spends his winters there and enjoys the status of a national hero.
Sievers and Mays happened to be in Mexico playing winter baseball. They had
watched the movie as guests of Ambassador and Mrs. Hill. On the stage, only
Avila made a little speech, in Spanish. The other two just stood there: Willie
Mays, a Negro boy from Westfield, Ala., and Roy Sievers, a white boy from St.
Louis, side by side with Bobby Avila, who grew up in Veracruz, Mexico; and all
three of them stars in big league baseball. Up in the balcony the Communist
claque hissed and whistled. But it couldn't make itself heard because there was
too much applause.
centuries chess has been praised or blamed for almost everything, but nobody
has ever claimed that this ancient and sedentary game made people strong.
Nobody, that is, before the Russians. In Munich for the 13th Chess Olympiad
(see page 28), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's correspondent, John Mulliken, hearing
stories of rigorous training, decided to look into the whole question of the
relation of chess to physical fitness.