REPORTS AND CONVICTIONS
I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed your scouting reports on the Dodgers and the Yankees in your World Series preview issue. As I watched the games on television I referred to the scouting report on each hitter as he came up to bat. The reports were uncanny: in almost every case, when the pitcher put the ball where you said the batter didn't like it, the pitcher got his man. When the pitcher put the ball where you said the batter did like it, the pitcher was generally in trouble; even if the batter was out, he usually hit the ball solidly.
JOHN T. ROBINSON
Congratulations on your fine World Series issue which contained the best coverage of the coming Series I have ever read. Casey in the Stretch by your Gerald Holland was one of the finest insights into the brains of the champion New York Yankees ever written.
Perhaps I am an incurable baseball bug, but I think your October 1 World Series issue was absolutely the finest and most informative piece of information on the national pastime I have ever read.
October 21, 1956
The Footloose in the National League article was positively marvelous, and I am not one addicted to throwing bouquets at other writers. Gerald Holland's Casey in the Stretch was out of this world.
JOHN J. FINNEGAN
As a loyal Yankee fan I enjoyed reading about Casey Stengel, the most valuable part of the great Yankee organization, but you couldn't possibly have been serious in your article, Series Critique. I don't know how you could have picked all three teams in the heated and tiring National League pennant race to defeat the Yankees in the World Series. The Yankees are a World Series club, and incentively rise to the occasion around October 1.
You may have outstanding sluggers on the Redlegs, great pitchers on the Braves, ageless veterans on the Dodgers, but not one of the three has the balance and team play displayed by the New York Yankees during the 1956 season.
In your article you present the facts in a pretty picture, and you can't beat the facts; but, for that matter, you can't beat the Yankees, the epitome of teamwork in professional baseball.
...You did a brilliant job of previewing the Series, but your pick of any of the National League contenders over the Yankees was absurd.
...Your best prognostication was the illustration by Marc Simont. At the end of the show it'll be Julius Stengel again chanting, "Veni, vidi, vici."
JOSEPH H. FIRMAN
I read with utter disgust your anti-Yankee Series Critique.
An apology from Creamer and Terrell will be in order upon the Series completion.
•"Baseball," William Saroyan wrote, "is caring." And no fan should ever apologize for his convictions and no fan should be without convictions.—ED.
SAROYAN'S POETIC RAPIER
Each successive issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED becomes more and more like a museum piece in its delicacies, its penetration, its selection. Poetic in its quality, Saroynn's baseball ad (SI, Oct. 8) is not only highly sensitive in its appraisal of the game itself, but rapierlike in its exposition of what baseball means to America.
ROGER POMEROY STONE
•See page 28 for Saroyan on the Series.—ED.
GARAGIOLA AT THE ORGAN
The Great Drama: Last Act was just tremendous. The highlight of the issue to me, though, was the picture of the defeated Milwaukee Braves walking off the field with the stadium organist playing Que Sera, Sera.
The organist is Audrie Garagiola, the wife of the Cardinal broadcaster and former ballplayer, Joe Garagiola, and she is famous to us for her music and humor.
When Wally Moon hit a homer, How High The Moon was the song she played. With the game going into extra innings she played I Could Have Danced All Night. During a big inning it was Runnin' Wild. For Stan (The Man) Musial, she played My Man. If the Cardinals had a bad inning, she would play Say It Isn't So.
MRS. JOHN CRITCHELL
My faith in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has been fully restored. At long last the precocious, brawling brat, pro football, is actually being recognized as the youngster most likely to succeed (SI, Sept. 24 and Oct. 8).
Two pro features already and October just begun! This is heady stuff and we're drinking deeply.
THE WOMAN WHO LED THE WAY
We Americans took Babe Didrikson Zaharias for granted for a long time.
But now she has gone, and perhaps it is time for the nation, and the world, to see this woman in retrospect in her proper place in the sports world.
In the humble opinion of this writer, she must be evaluated as the most influential sports figure of modern times.
I first saw Mildred Didrikson in 1934, when she pitched three innings for the House of David against the Kansas City Monarchs. How she fared that day is not so important as the fact that she was a lone woman engaging in a man's endeavor, and doing it well. She was, in one sense of the word, a freak, and crowds of curious people gathered to see her. In the 22 years which have passed since that day, millions of American women have become athletes, and crowds gather to see them perform, not out of curiosity but from a real appreciation of their skill, their grace and their rightful place on our playing fields.
Babe led the way. While we marveled at her records, she was busy demonstrating something far more significant: that man is the superior athlete in muscular strength alone and that our women have the dexterity and the inner spirit necessary to compete in and thoroughly enjoy participation in sports of all kinds.
Today there are millions of Babe Didriksons. Few, if any, will ever equal the original Babe's accomplishments, but every one of them has the freedom and the sanction of the American public to try.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias unlocked the gates for the American woman to enter the courts, the links and the playing fields.
THOMAS H. GALEY
ENTER A TEXAN OF FEW WORDS
Thanks for recording the rapidly toppling motorcycle speed records as they toppled (SCOREBOARD, Sept. 17), but I wish you could have explained a little more.
The Germans Herz and Mueller, plus a staff of trained engineers and a planeload of equipment, backed by the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer (NSU of Germany), flew to Utah and set a solo world's record so high (210.6 mph) that we all assumed it would stand for years (Wonderful World, Aug. 13).
Hardly had the dust cleared when Johnny Allen climbed into a Texas-built Triumph bullet and streaked off at 214.4 mph, topping the German factory team. The Triumph was put together in a Fort Worth motorcycle shop by a couple of American mechanics, designed by an imaginative airlines pilot, and ridden by a Texan with few words and plenty of guts.
A handful of American hobbyists, with a good British engine, beat the best the world's greatest manufacturer could offer. This is roughly equal to a couple of neighborhood kids, helped by an indulgent father, working in their spare time, turning out a hotter car than General Motors.
The whole performance has me gasping for breath. How about you?
•A breathless but firm Pat on the Back to Johnny Allen.—ED.
The best way to show the transformation of Sal Maglie from Brooklyn's angel of darkness (SI, June 6, 1955) into Brooklyn's angel from heaven (SI, Oct. 8) would be to reproduce Robert Riger's two fabulous drawings of "our guy Sal."
No two pictures of one man ever told two completely different stories as well.