IN A NUTSHELL
SI really goofed when it failed to include a "track nut supreme" (Some Fanatics Whose Fun Is Playing Old Records, Aug. 2). Roberto Quercetani, who is the European editor for Track & Field News, is considered by some track experts as the leading "nut" in the world. His compilation of records, both European and world, is amazing.
On the other hand, Gerald Holland did happen to mention Hugh Gardner, an Indiana "Hoosier nut," now living in San Jose, Calif. I've never met Hugh but we correspond every week, and when I say correspond it borders on "track nuttism" at its best. It's not unusual for Hugh to send me a two-or three-page typed letter—and single-spaced at that! I'll do the same. In fact, our track correspondence could be the largest in the world. I'm sure Hugh writes to many other people, perhaps some of them every week, but if those letters are any bigger or more interesting than the ones he sends me then Hugh is surely the leading "nut" in the world. In fact, I would rate him there right now.
I challenge anyone to top us "nuts."
TODD H. JONES
You failed to mention the man who surely must be the premier track nut of the world, Fred Wilt. Mr. Wilt must have the largest private track-and-field library in the nation. He collects books, magazines and films of track and field from all over the world. He also writes books on track such as, Run, Run, Run and How They Train. Besides that, he contributes to Track & Field News and is honorary editor of Track Technique.
Mr. Wilt, the U.S. 5,000-meter champion from 1949 to 1951, ran in the '48 and '52 Olympics and is still running today. He is also a coach, helping all sorts of athletes, from local high school boys to international-class runners.
Fred Wilt must be recognized as the king of the track nuts.
DOWN THE HATCH
I read with great interest your section on powerboating in the August 2 issue. However, much as I admire the Rybovich boats (The Rich Rush of a Rybo), this builder did not originate the transom door—at least to my knowledge. It is a product of Prohibition.
Transom doors first appeared on the rumrunners of that time. When the skipper of such a vessel noticed that he was being pursued, the cargo could be brought up into the cockpit and lashed together case to case. If the pursuer was identified as a government boat rather than a predatory competitor and if capture indeed seemed imminent, it was only necessary to kick the aftermost case overboard through the transom door, and it would take with it the rest of the evidence to the sea bottom.
I like to think that it was such a situation that gave rise to the classic last words of the dying rumrunner skipper: "Don't give up the shipment!"
JOHN C. REID
Sunset Beach, Calif.
THEY WERE THERE
As one of those most concerned, I would like to call your attention to some inaccuracies in James Lipscomb's account of the 1962 rescue of the Appalachian Mountain Club climbers stranded on the Grand Teton (72 Hours of Tenor, June 14 and 21). Mr. Lipscomb says, "Those below could see that [rescuers] Sinclair and Greig could never succeed alone, and yet they hesitated to go up to help them...." The fact is that McLaren, who was in charge, received a radio message from Sinclair to keep the rest of the rescue party there until further message. The party was eager to get going but obeyed McLaren's orders. At no time did we hesitate because of the risk.