In your article and editorial on the basketball fixes you refer to "a tremendous amount of betting on all sports" (The Facts About the Fixes, March 27).
One fact that I think contributes tremendously to the betting volume is the obvious availability of betting facilities. Even a newspaper as respectable as the New York Herald Tribune has carried on its sports pages for the past year or so an item entitled "Betting Line." Here for everybody to see and think about are the point spreads on the college invitation basketball games, the professional basketball playoffs, etc., etc.
I consider it somewhat sickening that newspapers should wring their hands editorially about fixes and then publicize information to encourage betting, which is the basic reason for a fix.
JOHN R. HOWELL
HAVOC AND HOUSTON
Zany Zinsser is a yawper and a yelper (The Fan Cries Havoc, March 20).
Who is he to tell us that baseball should never be played big league except in the East? Who is he to say that no one, ever again, can become attached to a certain ballplayer or team? Who is he to say that this great game should not be played in Minneapolis, San Francisco or Houston?
The facts are that we in the Midwest are ready for big-league ball, and we will show him just how much when the season is finished.
ERNEST A. SILBER
Baseball must make room for all the great new young talent and, most important of all, for all the new people who want to see it.
For years I have survived on box scores and statistics based on two eight-team leagues.
Alas! What now?
D. R. DANIELS
Alas, only the best of our loyal baseball aggregation know how well Mr. Zinsser hit the nail on the head. Indeed, our national pastime has become a financial farce.
I just read the Troubles of a Prosperous Sport (Feb. 13, March 20) and think you did a fine job. On May 13 last year I wrote George Widener a letter which said in part, "As an inevitable result of adding a ninth race to the program at Belmont Park, an order went out on the opening day to eliminate the walking ring except for the feature race. To your everlasting credit you were a part of rescinding that order. Other tracks have eliminated the walking ring because they wished to put on extra races. Others have not even bothered to put in a walking ring because business was so good. I believe this has alienated many real friends of racing...."
I send this letter along to you because I think you are barking up the right tree.
BAYARD TUCKERMAN JR.
In the story Pot Shots and Mayhem (March 20), you say that the action portrayed in the pictures is "indoor handball"...and that it "resembles hockey played with a volleyball on a basketball court."
Pictorially you may be correct, but in sports coverage you are way off base. The story, interesting if it were accurate, should actually state the fact that it is a revised version of soccer, played indoors, using hands instead of feet.
Jack Olsen's article The Pool Hustlers (March 20) brought to my mind memories of another class of hustlers. They were the professional foot racers that flourished around the turn of the century.
In those years, about every town of any size at all had a local foot racer, a hundred yards being the regular distance run. Every summer matches were made with the champions of the nearby towns and quite a lot of money would usually change hands.
The touring professional would drop into a town (he usually had a trade that would enable him to get a job) and, before long, by some means work up a match with the local boy, beat him and then proceed to a match with the best man at one of the neighboring towns. Those fellows, or most of them, could really run, kept themselves in top shape but did not always win. They had a lot of ways of getting beat and nearly always were on the end where the money was.
BRUCE E. NOWLEN
I cannot recollect when I have read an article so entertaining in its subtle humor and recitation of petty chicanery. It is evident that the author did much research. In fact, the story is written so well that I suspect the writer's involvement—possibly as the mark or, more accurately, the "pigeon."
THOMAS W. HUGHES
As I was reading the story, I came across my father's name, spelled wrong as Willes. I'd sure thank you if you would print his name correctly. It's Willis, and he's from Canton, Ohio, not Cleveland.
I enjoyed most of the story, but I have to disagree with a lot of it. For a person "one step higher than a pickpocket" my father supported a wife and six children pretty damn well. I don't know what your ideas of a hustler are, but he's a damn good man. I feel that I have a right to be proud of him.
PFC. DON WILLIS JR.
Fort Bliss, Texas
If I am not mistaken, the player sitting in front of George Weiss in the photograph of the New Haven club of 1922 (Man of Silence Speaks, March 13) is Jimmy Wilson. He went to the Philadelphia club in 1923 and wound up in Cincinnati in 1940, and there, in the World Series, surprisingly, stole the only base. (They gave it to him to take home and treasure.)
Others who went to the majors in 1923 were Harry Riconda, who played for Connie Mack, and William (Pinky) Hargrave, who went to Washington. Donovan, the manager, was Wild Bill, a great Detroit pitcher (25-4 in 1907), who was at or near the top from 1898 to 1918. He died in a wreck near Erie, Pa. on December 9, 1923, the first bad wreck the 20th Century Limited ever had.
CONRAD G. KEITH
Thank you for giving some much-deserved recognition to a group of dedicated sportsmen (Fast Pass at 5,000 Feet, March 20).
The world championships of sky diving are to be held in this country for the first time at Orange, Mass. in 1962. The success of this event will insure a greater popularity and hence a higher caliber of competition in jumping for future international meets.
LIEUT. LUDLOW O. CLEMENTS, USAF
I am also 14, and I think Elliot Holin is missing some of his "sense" (19TH HOLE, March 20). I will be betting on the Yankees more than ever because the younger material they have makes them a real heads-up ball team.
From one 14-year-old to another, I think Elliot should start to read the record book.
St. Francis, Wis.
Why doesn't Mr. Schoenknecht (Vermont's Phenomenal Snowman, March 20) invest some of the $75 million he expects to have poured into his "second to none" ski area within the next 25 years and improve his chair lifts?
Mechanical failures are a too-frequent occurrence and sometimes result in as much as a 45-minute wait on a lift line.
For a man who claims to possess "an uncanny knack for sensing what skiers want and the resolute drive to produce it" he spends an awful lot of money providing for nonskiers. While his sumptuous swimming pool, ice skating rink and Hollywood movies are excellent sales gimmicks and time consumers for social skiers, they do not ease the pain of his nonoperating chair lifts.
ARTICLE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. NOW REBUILDING LIFTS.
WEST DOVER. VT