With all that is being said on the prospect of having a permanent warm-weather site for the NFL championship game I'd like to introduce a factor not commonly considered—the effect of a partisan audience. The home crowd can affect, no matter how slightly, the play of the home team and possibly the play of the visiting team. If the title game were to be played at a neutral site, crowd influence would be eliminated.
JACK C. KOENIG
The two nationally televised football games on January 5 (Chargers vs. Patriots in San Diego and Packers vs. Browns in Miami) provided abundant support for the proposal to play the NFL championship game on a field where weather does not prohibit the teams from performing to their fullest capabilities.
In each game the score was lopsided, yet each was more interesting to watch than the Bears vs. Giants contest. The individual excellence of the pros and the explosive nature of their game, when not played under freezing weather conditions, is bound to engender spectator interest.
Don't cry, SI,
Take heart, Ivy lads,
Your Giants are still champs—
Of the shaving ads.
January 20, 1964
In addition to the award of a Grecian urn, emblematic of sportsmanship, which you are presenting to Alvin Ray (Pete) Rozelle (Sportsman of the Year, Jan. 6), I would be more than happy to include one unused ticket to the New York Giants-St. Louis Cardinals football game which was played on a Sunday when most sports loving Americans were otherwise occupied examining their own as well as the nation's conscience.
J. J. SCOLLAY
New York City
Congratulations on your choice of Pete Rozelle. He is devoted to the prosperity of pro football and dedicated to its advancement. He has done a great job and should be applauded for the work he has done in giving his league a good name.
If Koufax wins 30 games in 1964, if Howard belts 60 home runs and the Dodgers win the pennant by the 4th of July and the Series again in four, can we expect Walter O'Malley on your cover a year from now? Or if Pennel goes 18 feet, the inventor of the glass pole?
PETER L. PLAGENS
Would a true Sportsman of the Year turn down a legitimate challenge? Pete Rozelle has done this. What matter the score in an AFL-NFL game? There have been several lopsided scores in the NFL championship game, but has anyone suggested discontinuing it?
ROBERT L. MYERS
Sportsman of the Year—No!
Businessman of the Year—Yes!
HOWARD N. GORNEY
Heartiest congratulations! I can think of no more worthy recipient of such an honor than the man who, in the very best tradition of the great American free enterprise system, decided that the making of a buck was more important than a tangible indication of sympathy and gave the order that the National Football League would conduct business as usual within 48 hours of the assassination of the President of the United States of America, when the rest of the nation was in deep mourning. Never in the history of athletics has there been such a demonstration of real "sportsmanship."
J. J. SHERLOCK
I hail your choice of the Sportsman of the Year. However, I must chide you for omitting Gordie Howe from your list of Champions Who Gave the Year Its Flavor (Jan. 6). In 1963 he surpassed Rocket Richard's 544 career goals, won the league's scoring championship and the Most Valuable Player award. A real champion, wouldn't you say?
JOHN B. MacKENZIE
I enjoyed your article on Olin Stephens (To Keep the Cup, Get a Man Who Knows How, Jan. 6) but I hate to see you belittle my love of so many years—Baruna. Baruna has probably won as many races as any other boat built under the Cruising Club rules, if not more. Throughout the seasons of 1938, 1939 and 1940, she won many Sound races in the extremely active handicap class of those years, including one or more Larchmont Race Week series. In 1938 she won the Bermuda race. In 1940 she won the Mt. Desert race, which was the substitute for the Bermuda race. In those three years she won any number of squadron runs in the New York Yacht Club cruise. After extensive repairs due to the 1944 hurricane, she resumed racing in 1946 and won many more races including the King's Cup. In the spring of 1953 Baruna went to the West Coast and continued to win races in the San Francisco area in spite of her handicap.
I consider Olin Stephens the top designer of racing boats. However, I feel that he has never designed better hulls than those he designed in 1937 and 1938, namely, Ranger, Baruna, Vim and Goose.
HENRY C. TAYLOR
New York City
You have been too critical of Charles Finley and have failed to give credit where credit is due (SCORECARD, Jan. 6). I'm no supporter of Mr. Finley, but his plans and ideas are often worthy of attention. Mr. Finley has advocated night All-Star and World Series games, which would give the working man a chance to view them. He is also a strong supporter of more equitable division of baseball's television revenue—which SI seems to be also. He adds color to a game that sorely needs it; for evidence just look at the changes made at Municipal Stadium since he took over the A's.
On the other hand I feel Mr. Finley's dealings with Kansas City and its fans are deplorable. Kansas City has supported its team well—for instance, last year the A's finished eighth in the standings but seventh in attendance. It would be a great injustice to Kansas City fans and the baseball world if American League owners approve Mr. Finley's effort to move. It might be better if the owners concentrate on his ideas, especially the television plan, then perhaps financial conditions which foster the threat of moving franchises would not arise in the future.
DORANE R. STROUSE
According to The Sporting News, orange baseballs have been tested by the National Baseball Congress and found to be good for night ball games.
It seems only fair that if New York can have the Mets, Charles O. Finley should be allowed to have all the green bats, green sheep and pretty baseball players that his heart desires. It is my personal opinion, in fact, if the Mets win less than 60 games in 1964 Charles Finley should be permitted to spray-paint Kansas City baseball fans green if he wishes.
STRAW IN THE WIND
After being named the No. 1 college team in the country, after marching unchallenged and undefeated through nine consecutive opponents, after winning the Kentucky Invitational tournament, and after staging one of the most inspiring comebacks of all time to win the Sugar Bowl tournament against powerful Duke, do you feel that Kentucky is "still just a little, good team with a big, bad schedule" not deserving of a spot in the top 20 teams in the country?
Next year I suggest drawing straws for your selections.
Last year you were kind enough to give Texas Western College the basketball recognition it deserves. This year you were kind enough to mention them when they beat Wichita. Once again, however, you are failing to give them a completely fair shake.
The UPI poll now has TWC listed 14th in the nation, and the AP poll has them in the second 10 somewhere.
TWC's record to date is 14 wins and one loss. They have won 13 consecutive games. They are averaging 76 points per game, while their opponents are averaging 55. Jim Barnes, the 6-foot-8 center, is sixth in the nation's scoring.
R. J. MILLER
Here is how it should be: No. 1 Loyola, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Kentucky.
I think the top five teams should be Kentucky, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Davidson, Michigan.