Your article, The Trouble with Walter (May 13), was excellent. I think the Dodger fans are mad at Alston because our Giants beat him last year. The Dodgers blew the pennant, and the fans will never forgive Alston for that. However, I think he did his best in the last week of the season and in the playoffs with what he had to work with. It was bad play by the Dodgers that gave the Giants the pennant. As the article stated, the Dodgers don't have the ballplayers they had a decade ago. That was proved when, in the last game of the playoffs, in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers blew a double play that could have won the pennant for them. Now is that Alston's fault?
San Rafael, Calif.
I believe you were wrong in your judgment of the team itself. I believe that Walter Alston is a poor manager. He has not impressed too many fans, including myself, with his judgment. I believe that Alston stays with a pitcher long enough to see him get shelled, and after the game is completely lost he decides to take the guy out. I do not believe that the injury to Koufax cost the Dodgers the pennant. In their last week of play of the 1962 season they had all so-called soft-touch teams to play. When the team started to flounder Walter could not and would not try to fire them up for fear that the pressure might be too much for the players because they were so young. When I played ball our coach didn't take that attitude and that was in high school. I am a staunch Dodger fan but I am absolutely sure that Alston could not do the job that Bill Rigney did with the Angels last year or that Gene Mauch did with the Phils. I am sure that with Walter at the helm, the Angels would have been no higher than fifth last year. I think Pete Reiser would make a good choice for manager.
You have written some prejudicial articles about this particular group of Dodgers before, but this one takes the cake. Take a look at the record. The members of this L.A. team only collected, last year, such honors as Most Valuable Player (Wills), a record stolen-base total (Wills), the majors' leading hitter and RBI producer (T. Davis), the majors' best pitcher (Drysdale), not to mention that when he was sidelined Koufax was on his way to topping Feller's strikeout record. I could go on and mention that W. Davis is, without a doubt, considered the fastest man in the game, and Roebuck and Perranoski are right at the top among relievers. The Dodgers also drew more fans than any other club in the majors. I know they didn't win the pennant but, Mr. Creamer, if they had won it, the league would have demanded they be broken up and passed around among the other teams because of their creation of a monopoly.
After reading and listening to the continual chipping at Alston over the years it is a pleasure to see in print what most competent baseball men feel to be true: that it is the ball club that loses, not the manager.
May 26, 1963
Author Creamer and the Dodgers exhibit more class and obviously more knowledge about baseball than do the fans and critics who denigrate Alston.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Just a darn minute. Who in Sam Hill has the nerve to say that the Cubs are "unwanted, unloved and unpopular" (BASEBALL'S WEEK, May 13)? If he were to take a poll he would find that Cub fans are the most devoted, loyal and faithful group associated with major league baseball.
I have been a Cub fan since I was knee high to Big Bill Lee, and they have never fallen into any one of the three classifications listed in your article. Every year since we last won the National League flag in 1945 Cub fans have been saying this will be the year! If we can stay away from injuries we are all sure that this is going to be it!
All the members of the Waupun Cub Club join with the other Cub fans across the country in hoping that your writer will choke on crow feathers come September.
JOHN O. KIRKPATRICK
Speaking as a longtime Yankee booster and fan, enduring slings and arrows of outraged foes of the Yankees, I feel that I have a certain right, nay duty, to take exception to your May 13 article concerning one Tony Kubek (A Rational Rebel in Pinstripes). Let me quote: "I don't knock the game, but you don't need to be brilliant to play it" and, "A lesser talent would have been sentenced to a Yankee dungeon long before now."
Now, in all candor, how can a guy with a .184 batting average (as of May 11) make such statements? A certain amount of bravado and criticism may be tolerated from an outstanding performer such as Ted Williams, but to suffer these same words from a .184 hitter is just too much. Please, Kubek, just hit the ball and shut up already.
L. E. BRACKEN
It is regrettable that Tony Kubek did not avail himself of a free college education; he might not be so "brilliant" now. My prediction: Tony will soon be the "clubhouse lawyer" of the Kansas City Athletics.
JOHN B. SULLIVAN
It is interesting to learn that there are a few ballplayers, at least, who are intelligent enough to view their profession in its proper perspective. I admire Kubek for speaking his mind honestly and intelligently.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
While the May 13 issue presents the usual good account of the Kentucky Derby Whitney Tower writes each year (The Derby Victory Prance), I missed the news of Whitney himself. As outgoing president of the National Turf Writers Association I should like to remind you that our organization feels we have made an excellent choice by electing Mr. Tower our new president.
The San Diego Union
Your article, The Intolerable Squeeze (May 6), was a gem. The goose that laid the golden egg is slowly being executed.
It is little wonder that more and more people are turning to sports other than horse racing for their risk entertainment. When one bets on a baseball, football or basketball game, he goes against percentages from 2% to 10%, depending on the bookie, the competition, etc. Against the confiscatory, inhuman mutuel machines, however, he is bucking from 15% to 20%, emphasizing the fact that not only must all horseplayers die broke, but they don't do too well while they are living.
A realistic solution would be off-track betting with 4% to the bookmaker and 6% divided among state, county and municipalities. The track itself would be relieved of all tax liability and would retain the full 10% take for the expenses of their own operation. If this 10% would not be enough, the track could be given 1% of all off-track betting.
May I point out that you overlooked Del Mar in referring to nonprofit tracks? The Del Mar Turf Club pays 90% of its net profits annually to Boys, Inc., a nonprofit, charitable corporation. As anyone who comes to the track can see by the breakdown of the betting dollar that appears in the Del Mar program each day. Boys, Inc. received $458,898 as its 90% share in 1961. The amount for 1962 was somewhat higher.
Assistant to the President
Del Mar Turf Club
Del Mar, Calif.
Helen Bergh said a lot that should have been said long ago (Welcome Aboard or Are You? May 13). But, contrary to what she may think or find aboard her 40-footer, all craft smaller than the Queen Mary do not take ice on in 25-pound chunks. They often take it in 50-pound glaciers.
Also, the guest who takes to chopping up these essential monster ice cubes may not be too popular if that same ice was expected to last three to five days as a sole means of refrigeration.
Skippers, beware the question, "Where's the ice pick?"
J. J. STIVES
OPEN FORUM (CONT.)
I note your comment regarding the defense of Billy Talbert and his record as Davis Cup captain during 1953-57 (SI, May 6 et seq.). In 1955 at Forest Hills, when we were the defending champions, the U.S. lost 5-0 notwithstanding the fact that the team was composed of Tony Trabert, Vic Seixas and Hamilton Richardson. Trabert that year won both Wimbledon and the U.S. championships while Seixas had previously won Wimbledon in 1953 and the U.S. in 1954.
The point that Mr. Turville was making was that Talbert had great champions on his teams while those of Freed and Kelleher were definitely composed of second-rate players. Also Talbert never had to contend with a strong Mexico, or play Interzone Finals in countries like India and Italy.
HARRY L. GUSS