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Wild West - June 2013 - Letters From Readers

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: March 31, 2013 
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Wild West Born in 1988
I have a few Western history magazines from the 1960s—Real West, True Frontier, Big West, Westerner, True West and one Wild West. The Wild West issue is dated October 1969, but it is published by Century Distributors Inc. in California. Is there a connection between this Wild West and your magazine published by Weider History Group in Leesburg, Va.?

Dennis Stockton
Boulder City, Nev.

Editor responds: There is no connection except the name. The earlier Wild West was published by Century Distributors of Sepulveda, Calif., from June 1969 to March 1971 and then by Cadre Publishing Co. of New York from September 1971 to September 1972. Only 16 regular issues and one annual issue were produced. The current Wild West started in June 1988 and is still going strong 25 years later (owned in turn by Empire Press, Cowles, Primedia and, since 2006, Weider). The June 2013 issue, the one you are holding, is our 151st regular issue. See this month's "Letter From Wild West" for more on our 25th anniversary.

Baseball in Colorado
I read with great interest "Baseball in the West" [by Gregory Lalire, June 2011]. It brought back memories of baseball in the coal camps in southern Colorado. Baseball in these camps was extremely popular, and every camp had at least one team. Mine companies, private businesses or the camps themselves sponsored the teams.

In 1920, when I was 9, my father Giuseppe (Joseph) Bonacquista immigrated to the United States from Italy. He, his brother, mother and father found a home in the coal camp of El Agua, 20 miles north and west of Trinidad, Colo. This camp was a scant few miles west of the infamous Ludlow Massacre site. As a young boy he watched the thriving sport of baseball and began learning to play. By the time he turned 16, he was playing with the teams comprised of adult men.

Every weekend in the spring and summer the camps would play against each other, and eventually leagues formed. The coal camp teams would also successfully play against the big-city teams. The most prestigious tournament, sponsored by The Denver Post, was referred to as the Post Tournament. Dad became a stalwart pitcher. Most of the other coal-mining men on the teams were immigrants or sons of immigrants from Italy, Yugoslavia and Mexico. These men also played against the national traveling teams like the House of David and the Kansas City Monarchs. Dad pitched against Satchel Paige (Negro leagues star who made the Baseball Hall of Fame). I am very proud of the accomplishments of these poor, hardworking men who created a baseball dynasty in Colorado.

Richard Bonacquista
Gulnare, Colo.

Dragoon Drama
As is my practice, I read the December 2012 issue of Wild West from cover to cover on the day it hit my mailbox. I was gratified to see the article on the U.S. dragoons and the Republic of Texas by John and Will Gorenfeld. The 1830s through the 1850s is a period of development I'm hoping your magazine will present more about. The Gorenfelds also have a website, where they share the results of their impeccable research. It is a fantastic site. I love the post–Civil War history of the American West as much as the next guy, but the dragoon period is a new frontier for me. Thanks.

Dan Strohm
Torrance, Calif.

The editor responds: You're welcome. You might be interested in the following historical tidbit that appears in Gregory Michno's article "Everything You Know About the Indian Wars Is Wrong": "Overall, the unit with the most battles (208) and the most casualties inflicted (1,225) was the 1st Dragoons, redesignated the 1st Cavalry in 1861."

James D. Horan Books
I read with much interest "Fatal Mix-up on Fremont Street," by Roger Jay, in the October 2012 issue. The 1881 Tombstone showdown was certainly the gunfight of the century. Thank you for publishing that and all the other articles in your magazine. In the December 2012 issue I enjoyed Gary Roberts' Top 10 list of women in the lives of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. I have in my personal library the three books in The Authentic Wild West series by the late great author James D. Horan (1914–81): The Gunfighters, The Outlaws and The Lawmen. The last one, which I've read many times, has the Earps leaving Tombstone unbloodied, cavaliers in a town long ruled by the forces of evil. What do you think of Horan's work?

Tony M. Stabo
Milwaukee, Wis.

The editor responds: Longtime New York newspaperman Horan published some 40 books. His trilogy appeared in the late 1970s. Earlier he wrote such books as Desperate Men (1949), about the James Gang and the Wild Bunch, and Pictorial History of the Wild West (1954). Horan was one of the first writers to seriously approach the history of gunfighters and outlaws, using original documents, eyewitness accounts and newspaper reports to relate the Wild West era better than many of his peers.

Send letters to Wild West, 19300 Promenade Dr., Leesburg, VA 20176 or by e-mail.



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