Last winter I enjoyed reading from week to week the trades proposed by some self-appointed general managers to strengthen their favorite teams. So, before spring training begins, I would like to get into the act by proposing my own trades to get the Washington Senators out of the cellar.
First I would trade Chuck Stobbs, Bob Usher and Eddie FitzGerald to Cleveland for Dick Williams and Chico Carrasquel. Then I would send Eddie Yost and Roy Sievers to the Yankees for Don Larsen, Al Cicotte, Marv Throneberry, Harry Simpson, Joe Collins, Jerry Lumpe and Bobby Richardson. For a final touch Jim Lemon, Clint Courtney, Rocky Bridges and Milt Bolling to the Dodgers for Don Newcombe.
The lineup thus would be:
4) M. Throneberry
5) D. Williams
Pitchers: Newcombe, Ramos, Pascual, Larsen, Kemmerer, Cicotte, Byerly.
W. J. LEWERS
A DUNCE'S CAP FOR BIZMAC
Bizmac, the Army's giant computer (E&D, March 18, '57), predicted some 1957 individual baseball averages which, showing all due respect for this mechanical brain, were completely off the beam. The Bizmac estimates as compared with the official 1957 final averages were a follows:
Apparently, Bizmac is a flop as a baseball forecaster and should be ejected from the Hot Stove League until a visible improvement is made.
JEFFREY S. BORER
A YANKEE MANIFESTO
I am a true, diehard Yankee fan and therefore know that unless you are uncommonly lucky the Yanks are invincible.
To beat the Yankees you must break records, play way over your heads, wound Mickey Mantle and catch all bad hops in your hip pocket.
Let's examine the record. Since Casey Stengel waddled into Yankee Stadium in 1949, the Yanks have not won (we never use the word, ugh, lost) only one American League pennant. That year, 1954, they won 103 games, the alltime record number of wins for a second-place team. It was the highest win total in Stengel's regime—the only time, in fact, a Stengel team had gone over the century mark.
Casey's Yankees didn't win because Cleveland, with dirty, sneaky rats like Bobby Avila (.285 lifetime hitter who led league with .341) playing over their heads, set a league record with 111 wins.
For Brooklyn to win in 1955, Johnny Podres, a radical young left-hander who that year had had a losing record (9-10), a bad earned-run average (3.96) and had completed only five games, had to suddenly develop and allowed the Yanks only two earned runs in 18 innings while winning two crucial games. Sandy Amoros, only a fair fielder on a good day, had to make a once-in-a-lifetime catch on Yogi Berra in left field to break up a rally which eventually led to the Yanks' not winning.
It was an especially disgusting exhibition of Yankee exploitation by the Braves last year. Wes Covington, degraded all year because of his defensive shortcomings, turns out to be the fielding star of the Series, winning two games for Lew Burdette with miraculous (synonym for lucky) catches. I wouldn't have minded Covington winning them with his hitting. That would have been legitimate, because he's a good hitter (by Milwaukee standards). But fielding!
And Eddie Mathews, who before this Series was always a favorite of mine, never known for his fielding, comes up with several gems, the last of which cuts off a typical ninth-inning Yank rally in the final game. Lew Burdette, with cohort Covington, wins three games in one week for probably the first time in his life.
I could go on and on, but why give those poor Milwaukee fans guilt complexes on top of their deplorable poor taste. They'll probably rationalize by saying that their boys didn't play over their heads but rose to the occasion. We true Yankee fans know this to be a fallacy. Only the Yankees hold the franchise to occasion-rising.
LE ROY PACINI
THE BIG PAYOFF
I am quoting for your consideration The Manager's latest comment upon The Player: "Mantle needs fielding practice. Some balls are goin' straight over his head and he oughta catch 'em. He goes sideways backward...." It would seem that this god often flounders around the outfield on feet of clay.
It's pleasant to reminisce during the Hot Stove League season about how all the king's millions and all the king's men couldn't win that big payoff seventh game of the last World Series. There was Ol' Case, the brilliant strategist, with the best team money can buy—and don't try to sweet-talk me out of that fact—and there were those ignorant louts from the Midwest and—oh, well, that's the way the cooky crumbles.
This is the proper time to suggest something that has disturbed me since your first BASEBALL X-RAY.
Two outstanding additional "Hero and Goat" classifications are errors (fielding) and strikeouts (batting). These would be listed as you list "Home Run Hitters," i.e., x strikeouts per x at bats and x errors per x chances.
PHILIP E. POSEY
SHARE THE WEALTH PLAN
I have been studying the major league expansion problem, and I believe these to be the four major difficulties: more cities want major league baseball; an insufficient number of high-caliber players to form three major leagues; the high cost of weekly transcontinental travel; a saturation of baseball in one city for two or three solid weeks, and then a drought of baseball for about the same period (such as San Francisco and Los Angeles will have).
I have this proposal to offer. Let two cities—an eastern and a western city—share one existing ball club. In this way they could play a two-or three-game series with other western representative cities in the West, then fly east and repeat the setup.
My proposed league is as follows:
San Francisco-Minneapolis, Giants
Los Angeles-Brooklyn, Dodgers
Houston-St. Louis, Cards
Vancouver, B.C.-Chicago, Cubs
On January 23, with my crew from the burning Celebes, I was pulled out of the ocean by Jim Camp's yawl Escapade (SI, Feb. 3, 10). It was a surprise to find Ezra Bowen of your magazine on board, and naturally the account that might be printed was a source of some concern to me. Now I am writing to express the highest kind of approval for the results; they were, I think, exceptionally accurate and well done. Without overstating the drama which is part of such a situation, he told the story completely and clearly. Anything that can be said to commend him, and the magazine he represents, I would like to be said.
Lessons learned from this disaster are limited by the fact that the cause of the fire can never be known. Three things can be illustrated very well, however: fire-extinguisher systems should have mechanical releases as well as electric controls; life jackets should always be on deck (as ours were) and located in more than one position (as ours were not); and, most important but most difficult to arrange, have another boat nearby at the time—Escapade, for choice. Her crew, and especially her skipper, made all the difference for us from complete gloom to the excellent therapy of letting us be so busy racing with them that we had little time to feel sorry for ourselves.
J. H. HEDDEN
Let me compliment SPORTS ILLUSTRATED on Squash at Its Best (Feb. 10). It does justice to the current American florescence of a sport that has the rare merit of being not only vigorous and enjoyable, but also compatible with the workaday demands on the time of students, business and professional people.
We at Pennsylvania were especially delighted to see pictured the unique squash building for which our alumni and friends are hastening to complete the financing before its dedication in June. Thank you!
GAYLORD P. HARNWELL
University of Pennsylvania
This is just a note to congratulate you on your recent article on the University of Kansas and Kansas State basketball game at Lawrence (SI, Feb. 10).
I understand that Jeremiah Tax was at Manhattan and Lawrence for about a week, and his article was just about the best that I have ever read on a sporting event and a comparison of two systems.
W. W. FULLER
Kansas City, Mo.
DUCKS: TOO MUCH TOO SOON
My charter membership in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED notwithstanding, I thought Ed Zern's article, Sí Se√±or—Mucho Ducks (SI, Feb. 10), extremely discouraging to American smooth-bore shooters who from November to January risk family finances and flu to pursue the wild duck from dawn till dusk in an attempt to knock down a daily bag limit of four (4), hoping all the while that we may be able to report a banded duck to the Wildlife Commission so that next season we may be somewhat assured of another four birds.
If the situation is such that limits on ducks can't be controlled, let's at least set a limit on Mexican market gunners, whose daily bag I'm certain U.S. gunners would be pleased to ignore.
ROBERT W. DANIELS
JEMAIL: SENIOR ARCHERY
No, golf isn't the only sport offering healthy and moderate exercise for elderly men (HOTBOX, Jan. 27). Take the fast-growing sport of field archery, for example. Field archery is practice for big-game bow hunting, which in itself is a vast sport: last October, 55,554 Pennsylvanians bought special licenses for week-long deer season. It provides wonderful exercise and, at the same time, demands a high degree of skill.
A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY
I enjoyed your report on the French TV quiz program in which scholars and athletes participate as partners (E&D, Feb. 10).
But I am one of the millions "who had to be told" that Marshal Soult commanded Napoleon's right wing at Austerlitz, for he did nothing of the kind. On the contrary, the decisive attack against the allied position was delivered by the corps of Soult and Bernadotte from the French center. Now that your scholars muffed, your staff relay team must break 45 seconds for the 400 meters.
•The defeat Napoleon handed the allied armies of Austria and Russia on December 2,1805, one of the most masterly examples of military tactics, is called by historians of military art a planned defensive-offensive maneuver. Mr. Ringer is correct in saying the decisive French attack (led by Marshals Soult, Davout, Bernadotte and Murat) came from north of center. However, on the eve of battle Marshal Soult commanded the wing south (or to the right) of Napoleon's headquarters. The following afternoon he joined forces with Davout, bottling up the main allied forces in the south while Bernadotte moved up to attack from the rear behind Lannes. The three corps then moved with Napoleon from their own center, attackingthealliedline.Tosum up: when the battle lines were drawn Marshal Soult was in command of a right wing; we'll leave our track shoes hanging on the wall a while longer, and vive la télévision.—ED.
GOLF: TOO SIMPLE TO BE TRUE
This past season at one stretch I broke 80 on a par-74 course 11 out of 14 times. Thanks to Ernest Jones (Free Swinging on Fifth Avenue, SI, Jan. 27)! The first 12 years I couldn't break 100 consistently.
Ernest Jones added an average of 35 yards to my tee shots and his teaching may easily be the one fact that brought my 1951 average of 96.82 down to my 1957 average of 81.15.
Once when I felt the "true swing" all the way I hit the longest drive of my life—356 yards, 270 of them on the fly. The first 12 years I played I was lucky to hit 175 yards, including the roll.
This wonderful little man inspired me with personally written letters because he knew that I wanted to learn a true swing. It was much easier than I could ever believe. I felt like many others—it was too simple to be true. But now when I hear somebody call me "long hitter" I thank my lucky stars that I trusted Ernie Jones and learned what he teaches—to swing the clubhead.
MASTERY AND MYSTIQUE OF SOARING
In your roundup of world sports (The State of World Sport in 1958, SI, Feb. 3), soaring was omitted. Soaring is most highly organized in Europe, where activity is quite high. Over 80,000 hours were flown in Poland alone last year. However, the U.S. is well represented in international soaring. Dr. Paul MacCready Jr. is present world champion, and many world records are held by the U.S., such as the altitude record of 44,000 feet and the distance record of 535 miles, speed around a triangular course, and many more. Since the war the U.S. has regularly sent a team to the international competitions, financed privately through the Soaring Society of America, our national organization. This year the internationals will be held in Leszno, Poland, with the Russians competing for the first time. The last internationals had teams from 27 countries throughout the entire world.
Soaring as a sport requires much of the sailplane pilot. He must have a knowledge of his craft and of the air ocean, he must master the art of accurate maneuvering of his craft, he must exercise good judgment in his operation, he must have endurance and stamina to maintain his performance over flights which may last six hours or more, and he must be part of a team to be successful in competition. Soaring is much like sailing but it is a greater challenge to master this complicated and variable element. This is the objective of any sport, whether it be putting a ball through the hoop or racing a sloop across the ocean.
EDWIN R. MORE
But, please, why did you not list curling? I am sure far more Americans (we live in America up here too) participate in curling than do in some of the sports you listed, e.g., bobsledding, weight lifting, table tennis.