I have read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ever since it was published and I can't remember ever having enjoyed an article so much as the one by Jimmy Breslin on the New York Mets (Worst Team Ever, Aug. 13).
HARRY F. KLINEFELTER JR.
Very funny reading, but the fact that it's true makes it sad.
Jefferson City, Mo.
The most hilarious story I've ever read in your magazine! The photographs were very revealing, too, particularly the one which shows a Bromo-Seltzer sign on the fence that seems to be speaking especially to Casey Stengel—"stomach upset...headache..." It is gratifying to read about a team worse than our Cubs.
The story not only symbolized the Mets, it echoed Von Steuben drilling stupid farm-boys at Valley Forge, President Grant being told of the chicanery of his colleagues in the executive department, General MacArthur being told by an ex-haberdasher that the war we are fighting is not to be won, and Billie Sol Estes being told he may not have an autographed picture of Thomas Jefferson for his office wall.
Make no mistake about the matter, I loathe the Mets, for this travesty of a ball team tramples the greensward over which strode such majestic and unerring figures as Larry Doyle ("It's great to be young and a Giant"), Dave (Beauty) Bancroft, Ross Young, Mel Ott and the incomparable Willie Mays. May the Lord be blessed for the building of that stadium in Flushing Meadow (a name which bears in it the fulfillment of the Mets). In fact, I am only thankful that their existence allowed me to view a few more times that esteemed personage mentioned above as "incomparable."
ROBERT L. KIMMERLE
I am a member of what Breslin called the "New Breed" and I am proud of it. Give the Mets a chance and they will be the best team in baseball in five or six years.
RICHARD P. WEBER
Queens Village, N.Y.
How can Casey Stengel be looking so tragic in connection with the Mets when he is wearing a New York Yankee cap?
M. J. O'CONNELL
•It's a Met cap. As a Yankee, Manager Stengel wore a slightly different monogram—and a slightly different expression (see below).—ED.
My blood is just about boiling. Mr. Breslin mentions that in the second game of a doubleheader in St. Louis Roger Craig, the Mets' starter, gave up so many runs so quickly in the seventh inning that Casey didn't even have time to warm up a reliever. This may indeed be true, but what about all the games in which Craig pitched well, some of which he lost?
To answer Bill Veeck's query, "How many Mets do you think are going to be around even two years from now?", I'd like to answer: Frank Thomas, Roger Craig, Jay Hook, Al Jackson, Charlie Neal and Rod Kanehl, all major-league-caliber players with many playing years still stretching ahead of them.
To answer Pat Hastings' remark about batters, I first would like to mention some Met players who can "hurt you with the bat pretty good": Frank Thomas, Richie Ashburn and Charlie Neal. About fielders, I would like to ask Mr. Hastings if he has ever seen Jim Hickman in the outfield or Gil Hodges at first base.
Furthermore the Mets are becoming adept at being spoilers, beating the Pirates, Reds and Giants when it hurt them most. New York's new National League ball team may not be good, but it is not the "worst baseball team ever."
I have just read a story by your Mr. Jimmy Breslin knocking the Mets and Marvelous Marv. I don't think Breslin ever saw a ball game in his life or ever found out how the Mets were organized. Breslin, the Mets got all the has-beens of the league and were told to play ball. Last year all you sports-writers were knocking the Angels. Now look at them.
The Bronx, N.Y.
A FOR AMOS
After reading your article Amos Stagg: A Century of Honesty (August 13) I wonder what Mr. Stagg would say to those boys caught in the basketball scandals.
We Americans become so entangled in the web of dollar signs that we have lost the ability to play the game for fun.
I take my hat off to this tall, tall man and say, "If I had to choose someone to mold my son, let it be Amos Alonzo Stagg."
Amos Alonzo Stagg is truly one of the great men of our times.
Santa Ana, Calif.
Congratulations to John Underwood on a fine article about a truly remarkable man, Amos Alonzo Stagg.
Being a teacher and coach I would consider myself a success if I could contribute only a minute fraction of what this man has done in a lifetime.
I consider the letter from Mr. Stagg to his son as just about the most inspirational piece of writing I have ever read. I only wish it were possible for every youth in America to have a copy of it.
Ingemar Johansson's prediction on the Liston-Patterson fight (Liston Is Too Slow, Aug. 13) should have been run under the caption: "Laugh of the Week." At least Ingo gave Liston credit for a good left jab, which is really not too surprising, inasmuch as Johansson's jab resembles nothing so much as a tentative beau-repulsing effort by a high school girl who doesn't really mean it. Johansson is a run-of-the-mill heavyweight totally devoid of boxing ability and handicapped by an inability (and perhaps a disinclination) to take punishment. It is to be hoped that Ingo never rights Liston, since the Vulnerable Viking ought to be allowed to live long enough to enjoy his considerable wealth, so zealously protected from the tax men on several continents.
JAMES M. MORAN
It is Johansson's contention that Sonny Liston's relative lack of speed will be his downfall. What he overlooks is the fact that Messrs. Roy Harris and Pete Rademacher have each managed in previous bouts to score heavily to Patterson's chin. Rademacher, in fact, is credited with a knockdown. Yet neither of these pugilistic nondescripts possesses Liston's fistic power.
Your comments about the loss to our Olympic track team of Messrs. Davis, Norton, Budd and Tarr brings to mind a feeling of many years that we discriminate against our athletes in almost all avenues. If an attorney or even a certified public accountant or butcher works for a living, he is allowed to participate in athletics and maintain his "cherished" amateur standing. However, in the event that a track star has to engage in life's lowly activities which require earning money and turns to another field of sports as a professional, he loses his amateur standing. It would seem to me that under the interpretation of our amateur code, an athlete could become the owner of a major league baseball team and retain his amateur standing. Why should a track star be lost to our Olympic team if he has to earn a living and turns to a field in which he has some accomplishment?
Concerning the displeasure of that Pecos, Texas boy Wendell Faulkner at being taken for Arnold Palmer (Palmer? My Name's Faulkner, August 13), I suggest you tell Mr. Faulkner that his problem could be worse. He could look like Billie Sol Estes.
MELVIN (CHICK) HARBERT
Fort Pierce, Fla.