SI Vault
March 16, 1959
Our Inning
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March 16, 1959

Events & Discoveries

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Our Inning

Some weeks ago we took refuge in a baseball metaphor to phrase our admiration and envy at the Soviet Union's lunar space shot. We said, in essence, that since the ball was knocked clean out of the park we wished one of our boys had been at bat.

In recent weeks, as the crack of real hickory on real horsehide began to resound in training camps not too far from the spacemen's Cape Canaveral, the baseball analogy has become even more valid to the missile game.

There were at first several quite satisfactory infield hits as the missile-men tested their less spectacular weapons on earth's own surfaces. Then, with the Air Force up, there was a tremendous clout which rose straight up toward the North Pole. As the men on the field, like so many bewildered catchers, dashed about in circles shouting "Where'd it go?" alternate cries of "Fair ball!" and "Foul!" arose from the stands.

The last official ruling, we understand, is that the Air Force hit a fair ball, now successfully in orbit from north to south.

But the best part was still to come. With a lunar batting average of 0 for 4 against us, the Army stepped up to the plate for its last official time at bat (the civilians will be taking over in space from now on) and, after one tentative swing, hauled off and clouted a beautiful solar home run.

Once again the ball had sailed clean over earth's center-field fence, and this time our boys were the ones who sent it.

How They Play

One hoped-for benefit of the increasing spread of international athletic competition is a corresponding spread of international good will. During the past few weeks, however, this worthy aim has taken a considerable licking as U.S. and Canadian amateur hockey teams played in Europe for the world championships. Unlike its European counterpart, which is largely a stick-handling game, North American hockey is a free-swinging, head-butting, body-checking brawl that is not readily adaptable to good public relations practice. As a result, in the five weeks spent warming up for this week's playoffs in Prague, both North American teams have generated somewhat more friction than friendship in the Old World.

The U.S. Nationals got their worst lumps and their worst notoriety in Stockholm in an outdoor game during a snowstorm, which hid most of the action from the referee. In consequence, there was plenty of elbowing, tripping and hooking on both sides. At one point a 210-pound Swede cross-checked Michigan's smallish Weldon Olson, knocked out two of his teeth, split his lip and broke both of his cheekbones. The resulting fight was interrupted only now and then to continue the game. Earlier, at Sundsvall, two U.S. players sentenced to the penalty box were set upon by Swedish spectators. A small riot followed. Police laid about indiscriminately with rubber truncheons and even managed to swat both the defending Americans.

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