This is really an open letter to Mr. Ford Frick: Recently Maury Wills failed to break a record solely because of an artificially imposed game limit set by you. This is the most unfair and illogical dictum that has ever come out of your office.
Baseball has long been the national sport of America, but such unpopular and irrational rules and regulations imposed by yourself and the owners are steadily lessening the ranks of fans. Records are part of every sport, but in no sport, save baseball, are they so sacrosanct that they cannot be taken on their face value.
Football has increased the length of its season, but do the records of passes, completions, catches, yardage, points carry asterisks for the increase of games? What about basketball and points scored? Do track records show the fact of better equipment and fields on broken records? Baseball isn't even consistent with existing records. Why doesn't the strikeout record show how many innings Feller pitched and demand that the record be broken in the same number? This is ridiculous? Why? You consider the whole season? Then why not in stolen bases?
Even Ty Cobb's record should be carrying an asterisk. He didn't set the record, Mr. Frick, in 154 games, but in 156, as you well know, but no one has bothered to worry about it before because it was the season that counted! Then, please, why isn't the whole season considered here?
October 7, 1962
Records are the result of stellar performances on the part of athletes in a game, series or season of any sport. The tingling tension of such effort should come strictly from the record itself, and not from the artificial barriers erected by men who have nothing to do with the unfolding drama.
Mr. Frick, I recognize your authority in presenting an orderly program of games for the enjoyment of the public, but neither you nor I nor anyone has anything to say about Ty Cobb's record. Only one little, amazing man, inching off first base, holds the final word on that record. Watch him intently with the rest of us, Mr. Frick, and don't say anything unless you want to join with us in yelling: "Go, Go, Go, Maury!"
FR. MICHEL GAGNON, OFM
O.K.! Now that that fiasco in Chicago is over let's cut out all of these silly stories like: How I Love To Smell Violets, by Primo Camera. Next time around, let's talk about the fighter and his capabilities, not about his inner tensions and whether or not he was disliked by his first-grade teacher.
F. N. HOWE
THAT'S MY BOY
I am a senior in high school now. And have played football for three years. I was reading your 19th Hole (Sept. 17) when I came across a reply from a man in Toledo.
I must say that he is entirely right about parents and football supporters who have sons on the team. Parents are always pressing the football players to win. And pretty soon it won't be a game at all.
It's getting to the point that a father will be ashamed of his son for something his son has done in a "pressure football game."
LOVE THAT WOODY
When Woody Hayes (You Love Woody or Hate Him, Sept. 24) first came to Ohio State, I was a senior there and I well remember the reaction on campus when he lost his first game: by the time we walked from the stadium to Fraternity Row on Fifteenth Avenue, someone had erected on a temporarily vacant lot a huge tombstone bearing this epitaph:
Here Lies Woody
At the time I was heartily in accord with the sentiment, because of Hayes's determination to force his style upon the lettermen returning from a magnificent single-wing team, headed by Vic Janowicz. Roy Terrell is correct in saying that Woody hasn't changed, but people around him have, and I am happy to cast my vote with Woody's growing host of admirers.
NORMAN C. ROETTGER
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
An article on the greatest college football players of all time (Sept. 24) that does not include George Wilson of the University of Washington (1922-1925) is like an article of the greatest baseball players of all time that does not include Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth.
Ernie Nevers might possibly have been the greatest but, if so, his margin over George Wilson was very, very slight. This is not hearsay. I played against them.
ROBERT T. MAUTZ
•This magazine welcomes an opinion from a former Oregon right end who is a pretty fair candidate for football, immortality himself.—ED.
Upon reading the University of Michigan corner in your college football issue (Sept, 24) I was deeply humiliated at being called a "Spartan," but amazed at your inaccuracy in an area you should know well, namely the Big Ten. In case it has somehow slipped your collective minds, our not too friendly neighbors to the north—Michigan State—are known as Spartans in most sections of this land and we here in Ann Arbor pride ourselves in being Wolverines.
The Michigan Daily
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Wolverines—God bless us every one!
BARBARA KRAUSE BUNBURY
A wolverine, according to my Webster's, is a "stocky flesh-eating mammal with thick fur, and closely related to the European glutton." In addition it is becoming quite rare in the State of Michigan—almost extinct, you might say, around here anyway.
THOMAS A. DUTCH
East Lansing, Mich.
I have never missed reading your fine magazine but one thing has got to stop!
Each year you write heavily of the 500-mile grind at the brickyard at "Indy." Never does anyone in Indianapolis use the term "Indy."
Now you've done it again! The new minor league football team doesn't have an entry in "Indy." There ain't no such place!
Regarding the article The Big Golf Secret (Sept. 24), one comment, I believe, is worth putting on paper. It concerns only a sudden-death playoff. The paying customer has already seen 72 holes of golf which he paid for. An extra hole is an added climax which he can witness without paying any extra money. Therefore I do not feel consideration of the public reaction is a primary factor.
HARRY L. ROBINSON
Let's get one thing straight: professional golf is not a game, but a business to which a great many men devote their time and energies to earn a livelihood. When two or more players can wind up with exactly the same number of strokes for 72 holes of golf they have won the first-and second-place money, and how they dispose of it is nobody's business but their own. The playoff is solely for the sake of determining who will take the title and carry home whatever pieces of bric-a-brac go with it.
The proof of this is that no playoff is required on ties for third or fourth place or any other position in the tournament. When three players are tied for third place the third-, fourth-and fifth-place money is pooled and divided equally among the three players even though these three players might have just one stroke more than the players tied for first place. I don't hear any screams of anguish or sec any crocodile tears shed over this accepted practice, so why should the splitting of first-and second-place money be any different? Let's be consistent and demand no splitting of prize money and require that all ties be played off even if it is only for 35th position.
So far as the sudden-death playoff is concerned, they might just as well flip a coin or draw cards to determine the winner, because the final outcome is determined by luck—either good or bad.
OLE MISS BARS
I fully realize that special issues of your magazine are set up in advance, so that at the time the Sept. 24 cover was planned you did not know of the trouble that would occur at the University of Mississippi. However, by using a bit of prudence you might have assumed that there would be some trouble when a Negro would try to enroll at some segregated southern college. In the past your magazine has been fair in the handling of news in the sports field. I can only suppose that you selected this cover to make amends for a recent article about Ole Miss in which you criticized the school—and rightly so—for their anti-Negro feeling.
Sports are not above morals or politics, and national publicity should not be given the Confederate flag. Even if you're only showing Mississippi cheerleaders, millions of Americans are offended by the display of Stars and Bars on your Sept. 24 cover.