CONGRATULATIONS ON ANOTHER WONDERFUL FIRST. DERBY RESULT MAKES MEMORABLE YOUR FINE PREVIEW STORY AND PHOTOS OF IRON LIEGE 1957 KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINUTES AFTER BEING FOALED.
TEX RICKARD: HE HAD IT
I met Tex Rickard (SI, April 22 et seq.) in his saloon and gambling casino in Tonopah, Nev. in 1900 or 1901 and want to tell you my story.
My instructions were exact. There was money to collect and to turn into Wells Fargo Express Money Orders. The Wells Fargo office closed at 5. On this memorable night I was late. Something had to be done. The stage did not leave until next morning and I could not sleep with that mound of gold and silver about me. So after supper I went to Rickard's saloon.
It was not hard to talk to Tex Rickard. He let you do it all and replied to my question if he'd take my cash with the word, "Sure." Reaching back he came up with a canvas bag saying, "Pour'er in." Tex wrote my name on the bag in pencil, turned and chucked it into the huge mouth of the safe. He did not count my money. He gave me no receipt. All he did was to say, "It's here when you want it."
I never had gambled but felt a slight token for his kindness was in order. At the roulette table I placed a dollar on the red, and the little ball spun around to land in a black socket. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder, and, turning, met face up with Tex Rickard. He did not smile. He did not scowl. He said less than a dozen words, but those words have followed me all these years as a lesson gospel true. What he said was this: "Boy, this is not yer game."
Men were either straight or crooked, there were no betweens, you either had it or you didn't. Tex Rickard had it.
New Braunfels, Texas
BASEBALL ISSUE: HOP, FLOAT AND JUMP
Regarding the article "Pitcher in a Jam? Call the Weatherman!" (April 15) by Rear Admiral Dan Gallery, I would like to know what effect aerodynamic theory would have on a knuckle ball. Also, some people say that when a fast-ball pitcher has an exceptionally good day, his fast ball "jumps." How does aerodynamic theory apply to this?
RICHARD DE MORE
?The knuckle ball's peculiar behavior, explains Philip Michel, aerodynamics engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft, is caused by the effect of surface air flow and pressure distribution on the ball's irregular surface, i.e., the seams. The knuckle ball "floats" up to the plate with a slight spin which causes the seam on one side to be oriented slightly differently toward the oncoming air than the seam on the opposite side. This causes asymmetrical pressure distribution on the two sides resulting in a net force perpendicular to the ball's path. Such behavior would be highly unpredictable, and it is the knuckle ball's unpredictability which makes it such an effective pitch, and one, incidentally, difficult for catchers to handle. As for a fast ball "jumping," aerodynamic engineers doubt that forces can be applied to the fast ball to make it jump or hop.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: WHAT CURVE?
Before the pitchers begin breaking their arms in attempts to throw the Admiral's curve, perhaps it should be explained just what forces are involved in shifting the position of the axis of rotation of the spinning baseball, which in this instance is a gyroscope, with inherent stable orientation.
D. F. MUNRO
?Theoretically the curve is possible because of the "lift" force, which causes the ball to break when the axis of spin is exactly perpendicular to the ball's flight path. The axis of spin can be given a small angular velocity about another axis perpendicular to the spin axis. A simple analogy would be spinning and flipping a pencil simultaneously. The pitcher, through wrist motion, spins the ball and at the same time causes the spin axis to tumble at a slow rate from a point where it is aligned with the flight direction (and where there is no lift force) to a point where it is perpendicular to the ball's flight path. At this point the lift force would be at its maximum, causing a sudden increase in flight-path curvature. In other words, the ball would "break." If all this were simpler, we would presumably have more good pitchers and, as Admiral Gallery pointed out, now is the time to put these theories to test in a wind tunnel.—ED.