Frank Erne is dead at 79 (SCOREBOARD, Sept. 27). He was the oldest living of the former boxing champions. Erne, born Jan. 8, 1875, was the only Switzerland-born ringman ever to win a world's pugilistic title. The late Saginaw Kid, Georgie Lavigne, lost his championship to Erne in 20 rounds, July 3, 1899, at Buffalo, N.Y. On May 12, 1902, "The Old Master," the Philadelphia (not Baltimore) born Joe Gans, won the diadem by knocking out Erne in 45 seconds. It marked the quickest knockout ever recorded in a championship fight in any division. It was an ironic defeat for Erne because in 1900 he won in 12 rounds from Gans who simply quit when the going became too tough.
At the start of 1953, James J. Jeffries was the oldest living of the boxing ex-kingpins. Three Jays, however, died March 3, 1953, just 43 days before his 78th birthday. Now, with the passing of Erne, the oldest living of the onetime divisional chieftains is the Canadian-born Tommy Burns?correct name, Noah Brusso?born in Hanover, Canada, June 17, 1881 and who will be 74 next June. Burns, incidentally, was the smallest boxer ever to win the heavyweight tiara. The Canadian, who won the crown from the late Marvin Hart in 20 rounds at Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 1906, was only 5 feet 7 inches in height.
?Frank Erne died September 17th in Manhattan. Eight years ago Erne was able to enjoy reading his own obituaries when a California chef, who had impersonated the old champion for years, was run over by an automobile, with Erne's faded newspaper clippings in his pocket.
A onetime teacher of boxing at Yale, Erne claimed to have introduced the sport to France by promoting Saturday-night bouts in Paris. But he was not the victim of the quickest knockout on record. It took Joe Gans (who indeed was born in Philadelphia) one minute and forty seconds to finish off Erne. In 1943 in Glasgow, Jackie Paterson K.O.'d Peter Kane in one minute, one second for the flyweight title. The oldest surviving ex-champion is now Jack Root, born in 1876, who outpointed Kid McCoy, April 22, 1903, for the first light-heavyweight championship.?ED.
SI, Sept. 6 contained a number of paintings by Winslow Homer. Among them was the "Adirondack Guide." I have been informed that the subject in this painting is my great-grandfather, Harvey Holt of Keene Valley, New York. Two other paintings by Homer using the same subject are in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum.
ROBERT F. HOLT
?The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, owner of the picture, recognized Mr. Holt's great-grandfather, whom SI thought might have been Old Mountain Philips, another of Homer's regular guides. See cut for another likeness of Homer's Holt?ED.
THE TRUE SPIRIT
As a young British visitor to the U.S. and an admirer from the first number of your colorful and international magazine, I was surprised to see (SI, Sept. 20) a photograph with the following caption: "RAREST SIGHT IN BASEBALL came after second game when Cleveland Indians threw taunts at the beaten Yankees as they marched off."
Do you think it is true sportsmanship to throw taunts at the team you have just beaten? In England, at Repton, my public school (in U.S. terms a prep school), when and if we beat our opponents, at say soccer, our captain gives three cheers for the losers and they respond by giving three cheers for the winners. I don't think that jeering your opponent after a well-played game on both sides is the thing to do, either here or in America, and I have never seen it done. In my mind that is not true sportsmanship. Comparatively, which is the true spirit of sportsmanship? Cheering or jeering the losers off the field?
? SI's home-grown baseball editor has rarely seen the losers jeered by anyone other than opposing fans. On the other hand, he finds it hard to imagine, say, Phil Rizzuto leading the Yanks in three hip, hip, hurrahs for the victorious Indians. What the beaten Yanks heard that day was the taunt of "choke-ups," up to then a label pinned exclusively on the hapless Indians in three consecutive pennant drives that failed.?ED.
I enjoyed the Wind story on the U.S. Amateur immensely. It is great to see a complete job done on an event of this kind, in comparison to the sketchy type of reports that we get from the papers and other periodicals. Incidentally, too, I thought Bob Bavier's story on Leggie Mertz (SI, Sept. 20) was wonderful. It was done in a very sparkly fashion, and I think would be interesting reading for anyone, let alone those with yachting interests.