JUMPING WITH JOY
Congratulations for what must go down as the journalistic scoop of the year and a milestone in the improvement of Russo-American relations (A Soviet Champion Tells His Own Story, Aug. 6). Igor Ter-Ovanesyan's autobiography should certainly shatter the belief held by many Americans that Russians are some kind of ogres or medieval barbarians. As he told of his joy in jumping over puddles in the street as a boy I am immediately reminded of American boys, such as Willie Mays, who loved to play stickball in the streets. Change the name of the author and the geographical locations and one would think the article were written by any typical American athlete. Perhaps Igor's most significant statement was that he loves sport for its "creative power" and "independence." Great job.
Since the Russian objective is to take over the world and we therefore are at war with them mentally, I protest your article on Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. It is obviously a big part of the Soviet propaganda operation. The sentence, "We agreed that our people should always walk hand in hand," is typical.
RALPH WHITEFORD CARVER
What a fine article by the Russian broad jumper, Ter-Ovanesyan. What a lovely spirit this boy has. So many people think that because the heads of other countries do not agree with our leaders and those of other allied countries, that their people are just as belligerent, just as arrogant, just as bull-headed as their leaders.
Ter-Ovanesyan, in writing this simple tale of his life, his efforts in sport, has done much to close the gap of understanding between our two countries.
From my own experience, returning from tours of Europe, I find my fellow Americans constantly asking, "What are the people over there really like?" suspecting they are different. Basically the peoples of other countries are the same everywhere. They like the same things, they love the same things and they dislike the same things.
•Fortune Gordien, former world champion discus thrower (194 feet, 6 inches) and three-time Olympic competitor(1948, 1952 and 1956), has traveled extensively during his 20-some years of competition. In 1960, at 38, Gordien gamely tried out again but placed only seventh, behind Al Oerter, now world champion.—ED.
ON THE ALLAGASH
Re Duncan Barnes' A Working Wilderness (August 6), your magazine has rendered a great service to the nation by bringing the Allagash controversy to public attention.
As a camper I know that a summer canoe trip on the Allagash in the primeval wilds of northern Maine reminds one of what dawn on the day of creation must have looked like. This region has had a profound effect upon my whole life, and, undoubtedly, scores of others. Anyone who has ridden the white water of the Allagash country and tasted of its beauty knows that a valiant effort must be made to preserve it as much as possible, for this is as good a proving ground for good Americans as exists.
BRUCE W. REISMAN
Coconut Grove, Fla.
Speaking as one who has spent two weeks on the Allagash River, I feel that to destroy this sanctuary would be one of the worst crimes ever committed. My canoe trip of last summer taught me the invaluable lessons of self-sufficiency and dependence on others to do their share. Our mollycoddled youth would benefit greatly if more of this generation had the same opportunity I had. To dam up the St. John River would rob many adolescents of the type of pleasure that can be obtained in only a few remaining strongholds of our eastern wilderness.
Robert Boyle's story (Off Year for the Chicago Orgs, Aug. 6) omits the view of the people who care the most, the loyal though impatient Cub fans of Chicago. Every year we've been hearing how much good, young talent the Cubs have and how they're finally going to crack the first division. This young talent is there, but it is being wasted by an organization that is more interested in devising and maintaining innovations for baseball than in providing a winning team.
Phil Wrigley stubbornly insists on keeping his no-manager system, yet the players need a hard-driving dictator who is out to win at all costs, not a bunch of coaches who individually hope the "coach of the hour" will falter so one of them may take over. Wrigley is still against night baseball, which must be had to allow more fans to attend the games and inspire those young kids to victory. I say that Wrigley should sell the club to a practical, win-or-else-type owner, who devotes his time to the Cubs and not to selling chewing gum.
I believe that Mr. Wrigley's coaching system is working. Evidence of this is found in the boxed statistics of BASEBALL'S WEEK in this same issue. Of the 13 classifications in which you listed the top rookie in each league, the Cubs had the best in seven. Now what could have happened to those other nine teams, five of whom did not lead in any class, with just one manager? The coaching system is not a Maris or Mays, but it does help.
Maybe the whole problem is that Robert Boyle is just jealous because Ernie Banks did not give him a pack of Wrigley's gum.
•Ernie Banks did give him a pack of Wrigley's gum—maybe the wrong flavor.—ED.
PICKING ON MANNY
In BASEBALL'S WEEK (Aug. 6) I read a very compact account of Kansas City Owner Charles O. Finley's biggest boner to date. It seems that Mr. Finley is dissatisfied with the sloppy performance of KC Rookie Manny Jimenez. (After all, he is only second in the AL in batting with 55 RBIs to boot.) To be precise, Finley doesn't think Jimenez hits enough homers. This is like saying Nelson Rockefeller isn't worth anything simply because he doesn't have many nickels. However, Mr. Finley is no fool; he has heard tales from the Big City of fans paying out tons of good money to see a few muscle-bound oafs pound baseballs into the next county. He would like a cut of that. But it is a shame he must pick on Manny. If he can't leave the managing to the manager he should trade Jimenez. I'm sure the other clubs would take him as is.
It is obvious to those of only average intelligence that Jimenez is not a power hitter. He possesses one of the most sought-after skills in baseball: that of hitting the ball where it is pitched (which is conducive to a high batting average). Jimenez is one of the few bright spots on the Kansas City baseball scene.
Finley has expressed his desire to move the A's to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Perhaps he should stop trying to stifle fan interest and attempt to build the ball club that the loyal fans of Kansas City deserve.
JAMES I. HUNTER
I would like to come to the defense of Daniel Ronald Hoffman's letter (19TH HOLE, July 23) which was blasted as "Debunked Debauchery" (19TH HOLE, Aug. 6). I am in complete agreement with Mr. Hoffman. Golf, fishing, bowling, baseball, sailing, etc. are nonathletic sports.
As an example of your "worship of pseudosports," I refer to your recent series of photographs captioned Golf is a Violent Game (July 23). You speak of golf as "an almost shocking display of brute force," as "strenuous," as "not-so-gentle activity," etc.
Golf is a pleasant and popular game enjoyed by millions of players and spectators. Yet not even the most avid golfers will tell you that the game is violent. Only SPORTS ILLUSTRATED could make such a statement. In doing so, you have lost all sense of perspective in not distinguishing between athletic and nonathletic sports.
This was exactly the sort of thing Mr. Hoffman referred to.
I suggest that a special magazine be published for people like Mr. Hoffman. It would be aptly entitled Grunt Illustrated and would cover such classic athletic endeavors as gladiator fighting, pyramid building, stone throwing, ditch digging and professional wrestling (the biggest grunt of all).
The sports that Mr. Hoffman objects to require a little intelligence. Would this be where his trouble lies?
OUT BY A FOOT
Several of us who watch major league baseball on television have noticed that often Vic Powers and other first basemen remove their feet from the base a fraction of a second before the ball arrives on a throw-out from the infield.
Isn't this against the rules?
CY LELAND JR.
•Technically, yes, but for safety's sake umpires permit it to avoid tripped runners and broken-legged first basemen.—ED.