SI Vault
September 19, 1955
THE TEST OF A CHAMPION Sirs: America's racing fans, who seem to number millions, finally had their match race. The upshot is controversy, a feeling that nothing was settled and a nagging sense that Swaps either was physically unfit or should never have been matched against Nashua in the first place. This is not surprising. No match race has ever proved anything with certainty. No match race has ever satisfied anyone completely. And, surprisingly, only a few have ever represented a real duel.
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September 19, 1955

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Charles (Mile-a-Minute) Murphy (SI, Sept. 5) ranks among the greats of bicycling, but his record of 60 mph has been beaten—by Alfred LeTourner, who rode 108.92 miles per hour at Bakersfield, Calif. in 1941. LeTourner was paced by Ronney Householder in a racer on a concrete highway, riding at a speed of one mile in 35 seconds on a 2% upgrade. It required three miles to get up speed, four miles to stop after the record was made. The rear wheel on the bicycle turned 22� times per second, carrying the rider a distance of 159 feet per second.

The bicycle was a stock product fitted with an oversized chain-wheel sprocket and a very small rear sprocket. The racer was equipped with a shield to permit LeTourner to ride with the minimum wind resistance. This feat is possible only when the bicyclist is able to sustain pedalling sufficiently long to reach maximum rpm and probably represents something near the practical gearing that can be obtained in a bicycle.
Moscow, Idaho

I read with much interest the Sept. 5 article on Cecil Smith, which rates him as the finest polo player who ever played, with the possible exception of Hitchcock....

Polo is naturally the most difficult of all games to play, for not only must a man be a good horseman and a steady hitter (at the full gallop and at all angles) of fast moving balls often bouncing high off the ground but he must have the rare faculty of being able to size up any situation in a fraction of a second and to place himself in the most favorable position either on offense or defense. It is fair to state that the 10-goal man is one who can think of 10 elements at a time and coordinate his action accordingly, while the one-goal man can think of only one thing, trying to get to the ball.

The player must know the ability of each player on the field, the relative speed of the ponies, the position of those who are in or may get into the radius of play, who can get to the ball first, how far the various players can drive the ball, how likely they are to miss the ball, what the chances are of losing a goal if an action fails, whether his partner can ride the dangerous opponent off the ball, if it is better to play a long drive or to shorten the distance while waiting for his partner to get further ahead of his opponent, and 50 other things interrelated with these....

I had the good fortune to play from 1897 to 1917, the heyday of polo, playing in big polo with and against all the best players, including the Big Four, and also those in England.

Hitchcock is probably the best No. 3 who has played. Milburn stands out as a fine No. 4, but only when he had a No. 3 who could take care of the openings he was so prone to leave....

If I were asked to give my opinion as to who is or was the best polo player in the world, I would say that Larry Waterbury is the man. He could and did play every position in the highest class play, and he and he alone could hold his own against the best man in the world at any position, under all circumstances.

He was a hard rider but not a rough one. He had all the strokes. But more than all he had that finesse which so many of the top men failed in, that finesse which is far better than rough riding....
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Being an avid polo fan, I enjoyed the Cecil Smith story better than anything in your magazine to date. I came to know Cecil when he started to teach my brother polo and through the Open games when they played on the Hurricane teams with Stephen Sanford, Peter Perkins and Roberto Cavanaugh.... The one additional thing that should have been mentioned in regard to George Miller, Cecil's early benefactor, is the sign he had painted on the stables at Miller Field in San Antonio: "Don't want nothing but a good polo pony...Signed, Geo. Miller."

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