Your March 6 cover is very misleading. What about spring training? What about the rookies, the new teams, the new managers and predictions for coming season? Instead of giving us useful information you write a lot of gobbledy-goop about Leo Durocher (The Return of Leo Durocher). I'm very mad.
BOB MacNAMARA JR.
Getting Durocher this winter is the best move the Dodgers have made since the one that got them out of that bandbox in Brooklyn. To use Leo's all-purpose descriptive, he is one hell of a guy to have on our side.
You captured some great expressions in those pictures.
Nevada City, Calif.
HANG THE BONNIES
Congratulations to Niagara for keeping their effigy off the Bonnies' hanging tree (St. Bonaventure is Second Best, March 6).
March 20, 1961
I am well aware that Ray Cave's original purpose was to write a spread on St. Bonaventure's 100th home game victory. It was just too bad for him that they lost. But I say give credit where credit is due. Niagara didn't win because the Bonnies were tired, because their All-America, Tom Stith, had lost 15 pounds or because their defenses were lagging. We won because we broke through those so-called "impregnable defenses" and played a better game.
St. Bonaventure didn't throw the ball away; we took it.
JOHN P. CASSIDY
Niagara University, N.Y.
If you would kindly begin soaking the letter from Mr. Thomas Tobin on Carry Back (19TH HOLE, March 6) in some tenderizer, I will pay the bill, because he is going to have to eat it just as he promised when Olden Times wins the Kentucky Derby.
I wonder if this fine fellow has ever heard of a nag called Swaps. Well, in case he hasn't, he better take another look, for Swaps is kinfolks to Olden Times. What's more, Olden Times will be ridden by Willie Shoemaker.
LEON M. JACOBS
IN THE SWIM
I lost all hope when I saw the picture of Thompson Mann of the North Carolina freshmen receiving credit (SCORECARD, March 6) for marks that were set three weeks before by Butch Schimmel of SMU.
Schimmel has done 57 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke and 2:08 in the 200. (In the southwestern AAU meet he also clocked a 56.9 in the 100 and a 2:05 in the 200, but these marks do not count as freshman records.)
Princeton freshman Jed Graef holds the 200-yard record, and Mann did no more than tie Graef's 100-yard mark of 57.
Swimming against the Harvard freshmen on February 18, Graef did the 200-yard backstroke in 2:04.6. Mann's time was 2:08.3. The remarkable thing about Graef's effort is that he has never been pushed. In setting the 200-yard record Graef won by more than 25 yards.
•Many new swim records have been set by college freshmen this year—including the three above. Perhaps the hardest to beat is Indiana freshman Tom Stock's sub-two-minute (1:59.9) 200-yard backstroke set on February 13 (FOR THE RECORD, Feb. 27). The AAU has announced that it is considering the creation of a special cup award for anyone breaking two minutes in this event.—ED.
FUN OR MONEY
As a quarter-miler, eager to run my guts out for a college letterman's sweater 25 years ago, I've been waiting a long time for Phil Coleman's Idea of an Amateur (March 6).
The popularity of professional sports is not a license for the unscrupulous promoter of amateur sports to make "athlete" synonymous with "prostitute."
As a longtime devotee of amateurism and amateur sports, I cannot adequately express my personal appreciation to Phil Coleman for his truly gentlemanly attitude toward his particular amateur sport, track.
Every day in city parks, in schoolyards, in Y's of all denominations, millions of our boys and girls are learning to enjoy competitive sports. Very few, however skillful they may become, ever have the opportunity of competing in areas where the box office, if in existence at all, is sufficiently attractive even to tempt an unscrupulous promoter to pay an athlete to "hold up" for under-the-table or illegitimate expense money.
We in amateur sports respect openly professional athletes. They don't need our help. We have nothing but disgust for petty grafters and their fellow conspirators who pretend to be amateurs but, like rats, keep gnawing at all which is decent in amateur sports, and then lull themselves into trying to believe that everybody else is crooked too!
HARRY D. HENSHEL
New York City
The article is beautifully written. However, I believe neither Coleman nor Mike Agostini to be right or wrong. One was rewarded materially, the other by inner pride. As a fan, I love watching the excitement and thrills produced by the athletes. I am not in the least concerned about what motivates them.
Incidentally, I am writing this letter on my own typewriter.
MARC L. SPECTER
PLAYOFF AND PODOLOFF
You say that Podoloff thinks the playoffs are necessary because the fans like them (SCORECARD, March 6). Podoloff is wrong. I and many of my friends are definitely against the playoffs and agree with Cousy that they are a farce. The players work all season merely to cut one team out of the championship scramble. Why can't basketball follow baseball's pattern and have a true world series between the two regular-season division champions? This, I feel, would be much more popular with the fans than the current system.
Being prejudiced and a Cousy fan since his Crusader days, I am inclined to agree with his statement on pushing pro players through prolonged playoffs.
Soon the NBA's process of elimination will be so lengthy we (the spectators) will be following playoffs instead of baseball's spring training!
D. A. HAYES
West Hartford, Conn.
I would like to thank you people for saving my life—or perhaps three lives.
Last Saturday afternoon as I was driving home from work, by some twist of fate a truck suddenly appeared at my left at an intersection of the state highway. If it hadn't been for your illustration (Safe Driving, Jan. 30) showing this very situation coupled with the text explaining, "Your best bet is to swerve sharply to right, reducing the impact angle," I would have followed my nervous female driver instinct to blow my horn, brake hard and hit the pickup truck broadside. Instead, thanks to you, I got off with one dented fender.
Corpus Christi, Texas
I started to read the article by George Weiss (The Man of Silence Speaks, March 6) but came to an abrupt halt when he started talking about, how lucky the Pirates were in the 1960 World Series.
I only hope the Yankees are "lucky" enough to get into the 1961 World Series, because the Pirates will be there waiting to give them another World Series defeat.
Ellwood City, Pa.
George Weiss states that Frank Lane traded Roger Maris from Cleveland because Maris had a tendency to slump and get hurt. Why doesn't Weiss mention that Cleveland, in exchange for Maris, got Vic Power, an All-Star first baseman, and Woodie Held, who hits twice as many homers as any other AL shortstop and has the strongest arm of AL infielders?
Contrast that to Weiss's so-called fair trade for Maris: Hank Bauer, an over-the-hill outfielder, Don Larsen, a washed-up pitcher, Marv Throneberry, a minor league first baseman, and Norm Siebern, a fair hitter but poor fielder.
Fort Lee, N.J.
Even though I'm only 14, I have enough sense to know that the Yankees have had it.
I was appalled at the statement George Weiss made that records are the backbone of baseball!
How can a man who held such a responsible position doubt that players and the excitement of a close pennant race are the only reasons baseball survives. This guy should have been a bean counter.
PAUL R. GREEN