ALL WRONG, ALREADY
Earnshaw Cook is entitled to his opinion (Baseball Is Played All Wrong, March 23), but anybody who thought the Yankees could have beat the Dodgers last fall had better get his adding machine checked. The Dodgers, Giants and Cards all could have beaten the Yankees in the last World Series. That's obvious! And anybody who thinks that the Dodgers would have finished fourth in the garbage league (AL) had better hire a bodyguard if he ever ventures into Dodgerland. You can't codify the game of baseball as coldly as he does.
North Kamloops, B.C.
Let's say that I'm Alvin Dark and I'm going to manage the Giants using Cook's ideas. I lead off Mays, of course, because his scoring index is highest. McCovey bats second and Cepeda is third. Now every time McCovey gets on we are going to hit and run as per instructions. Naturally, we will disregard the fact that Cepeda misses a rather large percentage of the pitches at which he swings and this will probably cause McCovey to be thrown out stealing around 75 times this season and me to have to pay to see the Giants after about April 20. And we will rotate our pitchers. So what if Marichal is breezing with a shutout after three innings? The 1963 season proved we have a number of bullpen artists who can clear up that situation quicker than you can say "Bye bye baby." So we'll bring in Pregenzer or Stanek or some other of our flamethrowers.
We won't sacrifice, we'll steal and hit-and-run like crazy. I repeat—like crazy. We will also stay pretty well back in the shadows of the dugout so as not to present the best target for snipers.
With all the right formulas, statistics and indexes at the ready, we will send our heroes into the breach. But that dark-looking fellow waiting for us out there on the mound is Sandy Koufax and now, Mr. Cook, what are we going to do?
ROBERT H. BESTOR JR.
•Wait three innings, Mr. Dark, they'll rotate Koufax right out again.—ED.
One of the best articles I have read on baseball in a long time, but I must disagree with Cook's idea of platooning pitchers. If he had his way games might be faster but I doubt if they would be more interesting.
Baseball would come alive once more under Mr. Cook's scientific system. Let the Mets be the first experimental team. The clowns of baseball may become the world champions.
BOSTON TO MONTREAL
Being a hockey stalwart, I enjoyed your article The Champions Who Had No Chance (March 30). Even though I'm a Boston fan, Montreal players like Beliveau, Geoffrion and young Charlie Hodge get and deserve all my praise. But it is too bad when a player like Terry Harper is classed with them. "A rawboned rookie who doesn't like to hurt people," you say? The only person he doesn't like to hurt is himself. Harper must be the fastest 197-pounder on skates when trouble is approaching.
North Quincy, Mass.
Boston College Hockey Coach Snooks Kelley has done a fine job (SCORECARD, March 23).
However, we here in Minnesota are proud of the contributions this state has made to hockey. This would not be possible without topflight hockey being played in many high schools here. The University of Minnesota, for example, does a more than commendable job competing in the tough Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which includes Denver and North Dakota, among others. The latter teams have been composed essentially of Canadians who not only are more experienced but, generally, a year or two older. It would be very simple for John Mariucci, Minnesota coach, to load up with Canadians to make it easier for his team to compete in this "Canadian League," but, like Kelley, he has maintained an "Americans first" policy. To carry this argument one step further, how many players on the last two American Olympic teams were from Minnesota? About 4/5 of them, including Jack McCartan of the victorious 1960 U.S. Olympic team. And many of them got their training at the University of Minnesota under John Mariucci.
CLIFFORD M. PHIBBS JR., M.D.
Congratulations to Hugh Whall and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for providing It Was Snakebite Day at Sebring (March 30), because it sure was a snakebite to the Ferraris. As proved at Daytona and at Sebring, the Ford-engined Cobras are on the upswing^ and will overtake the Ferraris in the near future. Not one Cobra dropped out of the Sebring race because of mechanical troubles. This fact alone proves that the Cobras are becoming capable and have stamina that is equal to if not greater than that of the Ferraris.
INTO THE POOL
Your article on James Counsilman (A Doctor Who Makes Agony and Fun Pay Off, March 23) was well done. As a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association (of which Dr. Counsilman is president), I would like to see more such articles. Some 100,000 AAU Age Group swimmers, and thousands of high school and college swimmers, their families and coaches, make a big audience.
H. C. ALLEN
Fort Bragg, N.C.
Dr. Counsilman has given swimming a tremendous lift at Indiana University. It is too bad that he has had to suffer because of poor football policies at his school. My hat is off to a man who never gives up.
We at Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. read with interest your justly deserved praise for Peekskill Military Academy's swimming team (SCORECARD, March 16). Since you pointed out that Peekskill has not lost to prep-school opposition in the last two years, it is likely that their last such loss was to the Pine Crest boys' team in the 1962 Eastern Interscholastics. That year Pine Crest had eight prep-school All-Americas and was recognized as the top prep-school team in the nation.
Also, our girls' swimming team recently won 109 consecutive dual meets and seven straight class A state championships in a period of seven years. Nationally-known girl swimmers whom we have had at least a share in developing include Joel Lenzi, Sharon Finneran, Mary Burbach and Pam Swart.
Your recognition of this area of athletic achievement will stimulate the desire for self-improvement not only of our swimmers but probably of those in many prep schools throughout the country.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
HOME SWEET HOME
John Underwood says Kansas City is "unequipped for too much excitement." After three years of Charlie Finley, maybe we're out of the hormones that can produce excitement. But what other cities of under 500,000 can profitably support a major league baseball team, a professional football team, furnish great hordes of fans to the universities of Missouri and Kansas, support the NAIA Champs (Rockhurst) and fill the auditorium to overflowing for teams from 1,500 miles away?
Overland Park, Kans.
We in the Kansas City area will welcome the NCAA finals again but not John.
Overland Park, Kans.
The letter from Mr. A. R. Shuman (19TH HOLE, March 30) advocating the playing of NCAA basketball regionals at a neutral site has some surface merit, but the won-lost record for this year does not seem to bear him out for the home-team advantage theory. Seattle defeated Oregon State in Eugene, Kansas State defeated Wichita in Wichita and then finished last in the finals in nearby Kansas City and Connecticut won the game he mentioned in Philadelphia. Moreover, teams which won, such as Loyola over Murray State in Evanston and Duke over the others in Raleigh, would likely have won over those teams wherever the game had been played. I believe that at the top level of competition the home-court advantage is not too significant.
E. MERVIN ALTMAN
Being a stalwart Eagle fan I was both shocked and angered to find out about the trading of Tommy McDonald to the Dallas Cowboys (SCORECARD, March 30). This guy has to be one of the greatest flankers in NFL history (Football's Best Hands, Oct. 8, 1962). It doesn't make much sense to trade away your bread and butter for a bunch of stale crackers (Lynn Hoyem, John Meyers, Sam Baker), especially when you are at the bottom of the heap in the won-and-lost column.
Sam Baker has almost reached the end of the road as far as his playing days go, and as for Hoyem and Meyers, not much is really known. I'm sure Tommy will knock 'em dead in his new home town, and I hope when he comes back to Philly to play the Eagles he'll catch about five TD passes.