A great article on Billy Martin (SI, April 23). His fiery personality jumped right off the pages. The best story I've ever read and I've read many. You really made the man live—terrific job!
So Billy Martin thinks that perhaps the reason he has not followed in Lou Gehrig's footsteps as the captain of the Yankees is the reluctance of the Yankee management to part with an extra $500 per season. The "take-charge guy" indeed! Such wonderful ballplayers and fine gentlemen as Gehrig, Rolfe, Henrich, DiMaggio, Keller, Dickey, Rizzuto, Berra have been take-charge guys, too. Baseball is still a game that pays off in runs, and the guy that can dent home plate with his spikes is still the superior of the fellow who dents his opponent's chin with a fist. The above could do on the field of play the things that Stengel's darling talks about to the press.
When young Mr. Martin learns that one World' Series does not a Yankee make, perhaps he might settle down and show that he is worthy of the uniform of champions.
Captain of the Yankees, Billy? My boy, when cows give beer you will have it made.
May 6, 1956
Martin is no credit to any sport; he is an arrogant, poor loser! You also forgot to mention that he once slammed the ball into Courtney's face on the base paths, while the then St. Louis catcher was wearing glasses!
L. S. THORNWALD
MY BIG BANG
Paul O'Neil deserves orchids for his very fine story, The Damndest Yankee of Them All, but I can't bring myself to concede that the same goes for all sides of the so-called hero.
Billy Martin makes much of the action of his draft board and consciously, I opine, imitates another ballplayer, a truly great one, who recently popped off about draft boards also. But in the case of Ted Williams I think it was called for and unselfish.
Billy Martin chortles in quotes "I had three cars when I went into the Army," and he still presumes to wonder why the draft board and the general public thought it was pure chiseling on his part to bring up the matter of "dependents."
As far as I'm concerned, if the Yankees pay him $20,000, I think he's overpaid, and come hell or high water I'll always get a big bang out of witnessing Billy Martin being stopped cold at home plate by the gutty play of a superb Roy Campanella.
GOOD TO THE LAST WORD
Congratulations on The Damndest Yankee of Them All. In my book Billy Martin is tops. Your piece caught the flavor.
JOHN T. CROLY
A MATTER OF OPINION
The recent HOTBOX (April 23), in which the wives of big league managers expressed their opinions as to who will win in their leagues, was a revealing article.
Some of these women, especially Mrs. Dressen, are very optimistic. It seems as if the opinions of women are counting for something in sports. No doubt that is as it should be.
F. J. MILLER
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
In reading your special baseball issue (SI, April 9), I came across the poem, Casey at the Bat. I enjoyed it very much, but I noticed this sentence: "And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake." Should not "cake" be "fake"?
Was it part of the poem, or was it a typographical error?
JOHN CLARKE JR.
•Cake it is, he being a "silly fellow...of very soft dough and not well baked."—ED.
In your 19TH HOLE section a Mr. J. B. Crawford made reference to a game possibly forfeited by the New York Giants about 50 years ago.
The game was the Opening Day game of the 1907 season and was forfeited to the Phillies, if I remember correctly.
I discovered this fact several years ago while doing research on my hobby which is collecting scores and information on the New York Giants.
•This April 11 opener was declared to be forfeited by Bill Klem, the celebrated umpire, when a rowdy, cushion-throwing crowd disrupted the ninth inning by swarming over the field. The Phillies, who were leading 3-0, were awarded the game.—ED.
THE REASON WHY
SI is in error (19TH HOLE, April 23) when it states that Ferdie Schupp was not eligible for the earned-run title in 1916 with an 0.90 ERA because he had pitched fewer than 154 innings. That rule on 154 innings has only been in effect since 1951; previously the ERA leader was based on 10 complete games. Schupp pitched in 30 games in 1916 but did not have 10 complete ones, and that is the reason he did not qualify.
As to your question on forfeited major league games, a Phillies-Giants game in Philadelphia in 1949 was forfeited to the Giants because the home town fans were throwing bottles on the field.
•Mr. Sutton is correct on both counts. As a result of that 1949 game the sale of bottled drinks is banned in Connie Mack Stadium.—ED.
THE DAYS OF CAP ANSON
I am an old Chicago boy and memory takes me back to the early days of Cap Anson and his great team, Pfeffer, Williamson, Billy Sunday and Clarkson and Kelly, et al.
I remember well when the Colts sold their prize battery, Clarkson and Kelly, to Boston for $10,000 and the Chicago Tribune had a big scare head marveling at the huge sum paid for these players.
Heck, a good bat boy can almost get that amount today. My uncle was one of the greatest ball fiends I have ever met. He always had a season ticket and as he traveled quite a bit he always gave me his ticket when out of town. I was a pupil at the Skinner School, about 10 blocks away from the ball grounds and as soon as school was out I broke every sprinting record to get to the grounds and arrived just as the umpire shouted: "Batter up." Those were the good days and old Cap Anson had a real team. We were always happy when they licked the pants off the Giants.
Keep up your good work especially in your fight to clean up dirty boxing.
WM. J. FELDKAMP
A CHANCE FOR THE DOGS
I have a suggestion. The major leagues should play three 50-game series per year in each league. Then the first-and second-place teams of each series should have playoffs for their league title, after which the league winners play for the World Series championship. This would give the "dog" teams a chance. Pittsburgh last season might have won the last 50-game series. At least it would prevent some games played to crowds of 500 people at the tail end of the season by the cellar clubs.
If it weren't for one of my sports-minded neighbors I would not have known that my picture appeared in your magazine. It seems she mentioned it nonchalantly to my mother, not knowing of course that if the Pacific Coast League were made the third major league my mother still would know nothing about it.
The picture is part of April 9 SPECTACLE. That's me, selling those two children a frankfurter. Imagine that, two children and but one hot dog!
My mother owns a small ice cream parlor, and right after she put my picture in one of the showcases I have been deluged by requests for autographs. The demand has been so overwhelming that I might be forced to quit my job as a draftsman and devote all my time to autographing the pictures and putting mustaches on the two children.
RAYMOND G. TRABULSI
ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE
We would like to register a howl of protest in regard to Senator Butler of Maryland's "ban the Russians" plan as reported in EVENTS & DISCOVERIES, April 16.
What, could anyone possibly hope to gain by banning the Russians from the Olympics at Melbourne? Granted, there is a heated controversy over the amateur status of the Russian athletes, and they will offer the strongest competition to the U.S., but excluding them is no solution.
Such "cry-baby attitudes" and cure-all solutions seem to persist throughout history when one team seems to be too strong for the opposition to handle. The cry used to be, "Break up the New York Yankees!"
In our opinion Senator Butler is speaking from inexperience: Avery Brundage, who served as head of the U.S. Olympic Committee for 24 years and can speak with authority, is of an entirely different opinion. We think that most Americans believe as Mr. Brundage does that the U.S. has the best material, the best facilities and the best coaches in the world. If our athletes apply themselves, there will be victories. If we do not win, it will be due to our own lack of interest and support of the Olympic program, not the Russian competition.
The answer to the Russians' strength, as Mr. Brundage says, lies not in crying about it, but in letting the Russian successes spur us on to correct our weaknesses and capitalize on our advantages to grow strong in the future. We should forget such negative attitudes as Senator Butler's and concentrate on developing a very "positive" Olympic team.
K.O. OR ELSE
I have just witnessed the Bobby Boyd-Holly Mims fight (SI, April 30), and surely the stench resulting from that totally unbelievable decision was never matched by the Chicago stockyards. Fighters like Mims and Basilio don't have any more of a chance of winning a decision than does the timekeeper. It has become quite obvious that a visiting fighter must no less than K.O. his opponent in order to win, and if things continue at their present rate soon that may not even be sufficient. The decision tonight was clearly a masterpiece of mental stagnation.
Would it be possible for SI to arrange for Lou Radzienda to take a few tutoring lessons from Julius Helfand?
A sincerely fed-up boxing fan,
I enjoy your enthusiasm on the cleaning up of boxing. However, I think it should start with an investigation of the Holly Mims-Bobby Boyd fight. If this wasn't the rawest decision ever given to a fighter this year! I am an ardent boxing fan and I myself won the lightweight championship at the high school I attend. All those who were present for this fight at our house had Mims ahead on points, although it was slim.
If this continues much longer you will find a smaller number of people watching "the fights and a diminutive gate at large attractions.
San Mateo, Calif.
As a longtime track and field nut who has covered both the Olympics and Pan-American Games, may I first convey appreciation for your fine coverage of the sport. Apparently you intend to do a comprehensive job on this year's events at Melbourne, just as you did with the Winter Games.
But please don't let SCOREBOARD say Bill Nieder's shotput of 60 feet 3 inches "bettered own NCAA mark set week earlier" (SI, April 23).
Remember, an NCAA record can be broken only in the NCAA championship meet.... Parry O'Brien still holds the NCAA record at 59 feet 2¼ inches.
•There are both NCAA records and NCAA Championship records. An NCAA record can be set in any varsity intercollegiate competition whereas an NCAA Championship record can only be set in the NCAA championship meet which is held once a year. Bill Nieder did indeed post a new NCAA record by bettering Parry O'Brien's aid mark.—ED.
A FRIENDLY WARNING
In SI, April 23, there appeared an article on bullfighting. This letter is written in a most friendly spirit, not only because I like your publication but also because you may not realize how Americans feel about bullfighting. They do not consider it a sport nor do they want any part of it!
I have had considerable experience with animal lovers and I can assure you that if for one moment they felt that your magazine was helping to start bullfighting in this country, you would hear from them in no uncertain terms.
WILLIAM FELLOWES MORGAN JR.
A WARM FRIEND
As a group we take pleasure in writing to congratulate you on your magnificent articles on bullfighting. We are an officially organized club" with a membership of 154 to date and still growing. The purpose of Club Ole is to bring together those who are interested in fostering the understanding and appreciation of tauromachy, which includes the language, art, culture, background and history that exist in any locality of the world which fosters bullfighting.
OUTDOOR WEEK (April 23) reported on deer-chasing dogs.
Under pristine law the removal of excess deer by hordes of wolves and other predators was an important conservation effect. Otherwise the species would have become extinct through starvation as did many others long before the arrival of hunters, either white or red....
Each state you mention spends thousands on deer research. Often the recommendations of scientists are ignored and laws that force starvation on the deer are enacted. Under these conditions dog predation is beneficial but seldom sufficient.
The presence of weak, or moribund, deer engenders renegade dogs. Their atrocities are prevalent only during the time when deer distress is most acute.
Here in the northeastern section of the country the March blizzards have taken terrible toll on overbrowsed deer ranges but only the dogs make headlines.
Northeast Harbor, Me.
•See To Save the Herd: Shoot More Deer (SI, Nov. 21) for a detailed report on the controversial practice of an open season on both bucks and does to protect the herd from off-season starvation.—ED.