BIG LEAGUE SECRETS: CAUSE AND EFFECT
As an avid baseball fan, to whom the pitcher has always been the most interesting player on the team (I married one who gave it up to study medicine), I want you to know how much Sal Maglie's fine article (SI, March 17) will increase my enjoyment of the game.
Maglie's three points, control, confidence and knowledge, so perfectly explained, give me a much deeper insight into the game.
THREE SKETCHES OF BASEBALL IN THE MARCH 17 ISSUE SHOW IMPOSSIBLE BASEBALL STITCHING. SUCH A BALL REALLY WOULD DO TRICKS FOR SAL MAGLIE. SORRY RAVIELLI. A COMMON ERROR.
WALTER F. O'MALLEY
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
•Right. The stitching on regulation baseball runs continuously so that a ball viewed head-on has its V stitches running down one side but up the other.—ED.
I found the issue that included batting tips from Roy Sievers (SI, March 31) in my locker. Later I was told that Frank Lane put it there. Anyway, I read it and stopped short when Sievers mentioned watching the ball. I discovered I had not been following the ball all the way to the plate, which may well account for my batting slump in spring training. At any rate, things are looking much better now in this department.
To me a photograph will never compare with an illustration.
I am a baseball fan, and I shall get much more from the game because of your articles, and Mr. Riger's drawings (SI, March 31) are—well, let's just say they are perfection.
As a baseball coach of 35 years standing, with a son in the Milwaukee system, I can say this about Big League Secrets: you have hit a home run with me.
NORMAN H. MACCONNELL
SPARSE: ALGERINE CLARIFIED
The following quotation is from Sparse Grey Hackle's excellent article on Penn's Creek (SI, April 7): "No one but a real 'algerine' would even try to follow a fish over those boulders...and that brings us to a fascinating and curious word which is not merely local to the area but apparently dying out. Its derivation is a mystery...but its present meaning is, approximately: a native, an oldtimer; a hard-case hunter or fisherman whose passion for the sport drives him to any lengths...."
I would be most interested, having fished Penn's, to know more about the origin of this word. Perhaps Sparse would oblige?
•Sparse Grey Hackle shot his bolt with the surmise that "algerine" may recall "the fierce-bearded Algerian pirates whom the U.S. Navy trounced off 'the shores of Tripoli' in 1804." So the matter was put in the hands of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's antiquities reporter. Aware that the greenest memories are often tended by native sons uprooted to some foreign shore, he searched out two former Pennsylvania back-country boys: Mr. Ralph Kirk, a consulting mineral engineer now of Birmingham, Ala., and Captain George Raring, USN, of Washington.
Having read Sparse Grey Hackle on Penn's Creek with admiration and nostalgia, both were ready. "First of all," said Mr. Kirk, "it's Algierene and not algerine, and when I was a boy the word was applied to one who was considered a river pirate. Now, this piracy consisted of stealing logs from the drives en route to the sawmills on the spring freshets. They used to saw off the ends of the logs on which the rightful owner's brand was stamped and put on their own 'pirate' brand. Of course, this peculiar form of private enterprise was dealt with as summarily, when detected, as was cattle rustling in the West.
"Right," said Captain Raring across his desk at the Pentagon, "they were tough cookies, timber pirates during the years between 1865 and 1900 when the virgin white pine on the watershed of the West Branch of the Susquehanna were lumbered off. Let me tell you how they got the name. It was postulated by my elders when I was a boy that these lumber rustlers appropriated the term from an elite Zouave regiment raised during the Civil War. These volunteers, at their own expense, outfitted themselves in the picturesque uniforms of the French Algerian Zouaves. They even adopted their close drill. The U.S. Zouaves distinguished themselves in the early Civil War battles and captured the imagination of the North. So it was reasonably assumed in central Pennsylvania that these lumber rustling gangs, which flourished shortly after the Civil War, adopted their name like the present-day juvenile gangs adopt high-sounding names for themselves."—ED.
AUTO SHOW: WHICH ONE?
My wife and I recently returned from the New York auto show (The European Car Invasion, SI, March 31) with our arms full of literature and our heads aswim with dual carburetors, leather upholstery and bucket seats. We are actively toying with the idea of buying a foreign car; the problem is: which one. What, in your informed opinion, were the best buys at the auto show?
CLARKE P. BALDWIN
•Only a fool or an editor would stick his neck out on a question like that. But here goes. First of all, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin must make up their minds whether they want a sports car for driving fun or a utility car for shopping, short errands and the pickup and delivery of children. Meanwhile, here are some candidates for the six best values and the six outstanding new cars at the show. For value we pick the Hillman Husky ($1,639) as a utility car; the Volkswagen Camper ($2,786 fully equipped) for a special-purpose vehicle; the Peugeot sedan ($2,175) as a family sedan; the Aston Martin DB Mark III ($8,005) as a custom sports car; the MGA sports coupe ($2,785 with wire wheels) as a reasonably priced sports car; and the Mercedes-Benz 220S ($5,100 fully equipped) as a family car. Six outstanding new cars at the show: the Berkeley 3-cylinder roadster ($1,595); the Ferrari 250GT roadster ($13,600); the DKW Monza sports coupe ($3,800); the Alfa Romeo 2-liter roadster ($4,998); the Jaguar XK 150 "S" roadster ($4,500); and the Citroen DS 19 family sedan ($2,833). The most interesting new contender among the Detroit-sponsored imports is Ford's German-made Taunus, which does not yet have a price tag.—ED.