On the sixth day of October, nineteen hundred and sixty-three, the New York Yankees rolled over and croaked—and Baseball's Babbling Brook (Mel Allen to you) ran dry!
HENRY G. JACKSON JR.
Kudos to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED! Your World Series prediction and coverage were excellent. The Dodgers performed adroitly, thanks to Messrs. Koufax, Podres, Drysdale. Now what about some of your other prognostications? The Dallas Cowboys, for instance, who are 0-4 as of this writing?
Do your readers still think it would help baseball to switch the Yankees and the Mets (19TH HOLE, Sept. 30 et seq.)?
The National League would only be giving away one second division club—and receiving another.
October 20, 1963
Reader R. Bruce Manwiller (19TH HOLE, Oct. 7) asked: "How many teams in the senior circuit possess three men who would be sure to break into the Yankee regular starting lineup?" How about Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Tommy Davis for a start? Throw in Podres and Skowron, and I'm afraid that the Yankee bench would be awfully crowded.
JACK D. CRAIG
New York City
Elston Howard, a very fine catcher, is the only Yankee that would make an all-star team in the National League.
GEORGE L. BAKER JR.
Now that the Dodgers have proved that not only the lower rungs of the American League but also the Yankees are in danger of collapsing, may I suggest one more way of equalizing talent and eliminating the have/have not situation in the major leagues?
Make it mandatory for each team to designate annually three ballplayers who have each played in at least five innings of 75 games and a pitcher who has won at least six games during the previous season for assignment to a player pool. Choices would then be made in the reverse order of the team standings at the end of the season.
It might be even more interesting to have a two-league pool to introduce new faces. The last-place team of the league whose pennant winner loses the World Series would then choose first, followed by the last-place team in the alternate league, etc.
If enough players are not yielded by this plan, then the required number of games could be increased to 100 and the pitcher's wins to eight. By experience it should become easier to set limits that will achieve good balance in both leagues with eventual profit to all concerned. Amen.
LAWRENCE A. BLAZINA, M.D.
UNFAIR TO FANS
I am upset about the possibility of making New Orleans, or any other city in the South, the permanent home of NFL championship playoffs (SCORECARD, Oct. 7).
It is a shame to think that the NFL club owners would be considering a move that would prevent most (if not all) of a team's fans from attending the playoff game. Apparently they have not considered where their life blood comes from. For several clubs the number of season-ticket holders is at a record high. In the event of a winning conference team it is the season-ticket holder who usually receives—and exercises—first choice of a seat in the championship game. Many truly loyal fans will suffer by having neither time nor money to make the southward migration.
PAUL A. HAEFNER JR.
As a Cleveland Browns fan I have been looking forward to seeing a championship game at the Cleveland Stadium.
Under the present setup of having the championship game every other year at the Eastern Conference home field, I have a 50-50 chance of seeing a championship game. But I know I cannot afford to travel to New Orleans. Well, maybe pro football is not for folks in my circumstances. If it becomes too expensive, I enjoy football enough to go back to watching high school games.
Tex Maule has entertained us for several years with excellent, comprehensive reports of NFL football, but his recent article (Big Brown Boom, Oct. 7) goes too far at the expense of the world's greatest coach.
As Brown (Paul) is drawn, mauled and quartered, Brown (Jimmy) is quoted as saying "I've always wanted to play for a coach I feel like going out and dying for." Hog-wash! How about those first golden years when Brown (J) was playing his all for Brown (P)? Could it be that Brown (P) became the ogre only after Brown's (J) fame and salary became too inflated?
I am a loyal Browns fan (Paul, Cleveland and Jimmy). All three were a team for a while, but Lady Luck failed to bless them with a championship. Then, and only then, did the Browns (Jimmy and Cleveland) desert the Brown (Paul).
The article on women's track and field (Why Can't We Beat This Girl, Sept. 30), pinpointed some problems, but unfortunately overlooked many more. The prime reason for the low level of participation and performance by women in this country is that the AAU actually discourages participation and the quest for excellence. You mentioned in the article that the professional physical educators have an attitude rooted in the 19th century. What is appalling is that the AAU has picked up the same attitude. Here are some examples from its Women's Track and Field Rules:
1) The number of events a woman may enter in one day is restricted. A man is limited only by his stamina.
2) A woman traveling overnight is required to have a chaperone. Why? If the athlete is a minor, such judgments should be made by her parents, and if she is not, it is her own business.
3) The awarding of "outstanding athlete" or "high points" prizes to women is prohibited.
4) Rule LXI-E, Section 3, (g) states: "No contestant shall permit anyone to hold her up and to support her by holding her at either side after the finish of a race." Rubbish. This is designed only to discourage a girl from really exerting herself. Every coach I have ever known keeps his runners moving around after a race until they cool down. If a runner needs support to keep walking, he or she should get it.
5) Until 1963, women were prohibited from running in a race of more than 880 yards, an absurd rule that effectively limited participation to those whose basic talent is speed, leaving out those who have stamina only. If this situation had been reversed, would we have ever heard of Wilma Rudolph? Now women are permitted to run 1½ miles crosscountry, but there are some who would like two, three or even five miles. The solution to this part of the problem is easy. Change the rules.
LAWRENCE J. BERMAN
Director, Metropolitan AC
I am 28, married and have a 3-year-old child, and I would like to find a track coach in my area who could tell me if it would be worthwhile for me to take up this rigorous sport at this point in my life. I am a college graduate (Stanford, '56) and have been interested in track since I was in high school.
I'm not sure I have what it takes to enter truly competitive sports, but I know that I would like to satisfy my latent desire—preferably without getting laughed off the field.
It is not true that "our girls dodge track and field as though it were a combined course in weightlifting and wrestling," as you stated. Last spring, when Aberdeen, S. Dak. held the first women's track meet in South Dakota history, the girls surprised everybody: there were close to 120 girls from all over the state participating in only five disciplines, some coming 200 miles to do it. More than 70 girls participated in the 60-yard dash alone! The girls enjoyed it, and sports fans liked it. All in all, it was such a great success that the Sertoma Club decided to add two more events next year. But is one track meet in a year enough?
KARLIS ZVEJNIEKS, M.D.
Leola, S. Dak.
I was delighted to read Jack Olsen's Anticosti story (Legacy of a French Noah, Oct. 7), because I believe I am the hunter mentioned in the first paragraph who got two deer with one bullet. What Olsen did not mention is that it was the first time I ever shot at a deer, and it happened 20 minutes after we left Jupiter River Camp.
ALBERT E. MAYER
A couple of weeks ago your cover featured Quarterback George Mira; that weekend his team was shut out. The next week your cover featured Whitey Ford and Al Downing; result: both were knocked out in the World Series' first two games. Then your cover featured a hunter. What happened to that poor guy? Did his gun explode on him or was he gored by that fierce deer?
JOHN M. SINASOHN
North Hollywood, Calif.
AGAIN AND AGAIN!
Hail Again the Likes of Alex Wojciechowicz (SI, Sept. 30) really rang a bell at Trenton State College. It probably hit the spot with New Jersey sportswriters, too. You see, the name Wojciechowicz is once again finding its way into the sports pages of the state's newspapers.
Richard Wojciechowicz, a nephew of the famed' Alex of Fordham greatness, is currently co-captain of the Trenton State College football team as well as the starting fullback.
ERNEST E. RYDELL
SETTING THE PACE
In reference to your dream of' The Matchless Match" between Overtrick and Speedy Scot, I would like to bring you back to harsh reality. You based your reason for the match race on the fact that Speedy Scot had trotted a 1:56[4/5] mile for his fastest time, while Overtrick had paced a 1:57[1/5] mile for his best mark, but you forgot that Speedy Scot had trotted his record mile over the one-mile oval at Lexington, Ky., while Overtrick had paced his on the half-mile track at Delaware, Ohio. On a one-mile oval a harness horse has to negotiate only two turns, but on a half-mile track he is hindered by four turns. Thus with the longer straightaways and fewer turns of the mile track the times will be faster than those recorded on a half-mile oval.
Secondly, when Overtrick paced over the same track at Lexington in the first heat of the Poplar Hill Farm Pace on Oct. 3, he was second by a nose to Meadow Skipper in the record time of 1:55[1/5]. His time over the same mile oval on which Speedy Scot had set his record was 1[3/5] seconds faster than the trotter's mark. Then Overtrick, one hour later, came back to win the second heat going away in an undistinguished 1:57⅘ but, besides cutting out the whole mile, he paced the final quarter in a scintillating 26[2/5] seconds, 2[4/5] seconds faster than the final quarter of 29[1/5] in Speedy Scot's record.
Finally, on a half-mile track Overtrick set a world record of 1:57[1/5] in winning the first heat of the Little Brown Jug. Yet the best Speedy Scot could do over a half-mile oval was a 2:00[4/5] mile under the "ideal conditions of a time trial." The difference here in the times is an overwhelming 3[3/5] seconds. In each case, the difference in the times of these two excellent horses is far greater than the fraction of a second which you suggest is the difference between a trotter and a pacer. In my opinion, the evidence is conclusive that such an interdivisional matching of trotter and pacer would be an unrealistic event and would result in a lopsided victory for the pacer.