CASHING IN ON OFF-TRACK CACHE
Thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and to the finding of Newsboy Moriarty's millions (The Honest Bookie Who Didn't Like Banks, July 16), a proposal to legalize off-track betting and place it under state supervision now has a chance of clearing legislative hurdles in New Jersey.
On June 21, speaking before the State Tax Policy Commission, I presented figures from your recent article, Tracks that Are Paved with Gold (May 28), which showed that in one 24-hour period Americans bet $26 million at the tracks and an estimated three to five times that amount off track with illegal bookmakers.
Twelve days later, on July 3, the first Moriarty cache was uncovered (to the tune of $2.4 million), and people everywhere—legislators included—began to think about the health and educational benefits to be derived from legalized off-track betting and a state lottery.
There are about 50,000 bookies around the country like Newsboy Moriarty who, because of more and more stringent laws against accepting bets, hide their money and don't pay any taxes
I will wager that every one of these bookmakers would be happy to live like a human being and pay his just share of taxes, if only our hypocritical lawmakers at all levels would give him a chance.
Why can't we profit from the lesson that Prohibition taught us?
NOT SO BRAVE FANS
Let's analyze some of the reasons listed by Walt Bingham for the decline in the Milwaukee Braves' attendance (No More Joy in Beertown, July 23):
1) Trading of Billy Bruton. This trade brought All-Star Second Baseman Frank Boiling; only Schoendienst was a greater favorite of the fans.
2) Braves are too old. No team in the league has had a greater percentage of total playing time by first-and second-year players; and for what team's right fielder, third baseman and catcher would Bingham trade such graybeards as Hank Aaron (28), Eddie Mathews (30) and Del Crandall (32)?
3) Young players have failed. The rookie fielders aren't ready, but can Bingham name a more promising group of rookie pitchers than the Braves' Hendley, Lemaster, Butler, Fischer, Cloninger and Raymond?
The most plausible reason for the attendance decline is a natural and understandable fan reaction to a second-division team after the best overall nine-year record in the league.
DONALD K. MUNDT
There's nothing wrong with the Milwaukee Braves that a few trades won't cure. Send Birdie Tebbetts back to Cincinnati for Joey Jay, and John McHale back to Detroit for either Billy Bruton or Bob Scheffing.
They could serve free beer at the Braves games today and still not fill the stadium.
DAVID M. PLANNING
THE REDS WILL REMAIN
I have no intention of moving the Cincinnati Reds anywhere. In his story No More Joy in Beertown, Walter Bingham states that I want to move the club. This is completely false.
I sent the Crosley Foundation a signed statement indicating my determination to keep the Reds in Cincinnati. This was widely publicized, as were my repeated statements to the press that the "Reds will remain in Cincinnati." I can't make it any plainer.
WILLIAM O. DEWITT
President, Cincinnati Reds, Inc.
After reading Mr. Daniel Ronald Hoffman's inspiring letter (19TH HOLE, July 23) denouncing baseball, golf, bowling, fishing, sailing, etc., as "physical debauchery" sports, I decided to do something about it.
It was a ridiculously simple matter to persuade 21 of my 35-to 50-year-old neighbors to join me in taking up football again. We practice two hours every evening in full equipment, and the sweet sound of leather cracking leather now echoes through the neighborhood.
We seriously plan to challenge the Packers and Giants to exhibition games, proceeds from which will go toward the establishment of the "Daniel Ronald Hoffman home for Debauched Athletes" to take care of such physical degenerates as Arnold Palmer, Stan Musial, Jack Nicklaus and Warren Spahn.
J. L. GRAY
Perhaps Reader Hoffman should publish his own magazine and devote its pages to "strength, speed, coordination, endurance, stamina and moral fiber." He might even call his magazine Push-ups Illustrated or some other equally catchy title.
Of course, if Reader Hoffman doesn't care to go into the publishing business, maybe he could have a congressional committee investigate the "pseudosports" which are featured in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. The committee might change the rules to make them more athletic and strenuous. For example, horse races in which the jockeys carry the horses (with appropriate weight allowance of course). Or golf played with 20-pound sledges and an iron ball (the penalty for a shot out of bounds—50 laps around the green).
What is Mr. Hoffman's sport? Hunting out of season?
BIG BOY, BOB CERV
In your July 16 BASEBALL'S WEEK, it was stated that Bob Cerv of Houston has "massive 48-inch thighs." I'll have to agree that they are massive, but I doubt their size.
If his thighs are 48 inches in girth, this would mean that his waist would be around 75 inches and his chest about 90 inches.
It seems that they would have to do more than rip the seams of a regulation uniform and restitch them. They would have to have a new uniform especially made for Cerv by the nearest tent company.
Of course, the statement might be taken to mean that his thighs are 48 inches in length which would mean that Cerv is about 18 feet tall.
But since neither is very likely, it was probably a typographical error.
•It sure was.—ED.