Robert Creamer's The Transistor Kid (May 4) was a wonderful article about a truly great baseball announcer, Vin Scully. In San Diego we are so well entertained by Scully's broadcasts that if Vinny sent us a bill at the end of the year I think we would pay it.
DAN S. KENNEY
Two things happened when I was trying to play ball at Fordham that have always left me leary of the printed word. One concerned the only home run I ever hit—which was in truth a misjudged fly ball. It was in a college game, and a photographer for the Bronx Home News was present. I gave it the real home run trot and even tried to hang in midair over the home plate so that he could take the proper picture. The next day I went out eager to buy every paper I could get my hands on. The first one I bought featured a picture on the sports page which showed a blurred figure who could not possibly have been recognized by blood relatives, and the caption: "JIM TULLY scoring on his home run."
The other shock to my system was administered by Lou Effrat of The New York Times. He covered a game that was probably the only one in my career in which I got three hits in four times at bat. The other time I had struck out. We won the game and, since I had contributed to the victory, I eagerly purchased the Times the following morning to read Effrat's glowing report of my contribution. The only time my name was mentioned was at the head of the third paragraph, which began, "After Scully fanned..."
This is a long preamble to tell you all that has been washed away. Everyone connected with the Scully family wishes to thank you and Robert Creamer for as nice a write-up as a man could ever wish to have.
Boosting Vin Scully in New England is as popular as putting tomatoes in clam chowder, but I have been his great admirer for many years.
I lived for a time in both New York and Philadelphia, and most of my life near Boston, so I have heard, at length, seven broadcasting teams from these cities. Day in and day out there is no one better to listen to than Scully, regardless of which team you are rooting for. The Barber, Desmond, Scully threesome is without equal in the history of baseball on radio.
Until I inadvertently tuned in his "pleasantly nasal baritone" one Sunday afternoon two years ago, I utterly abhorred baseball. As an English teacher, I am generally offended by the grammar employed by announcers. Not so with Vinny. He is both grammatically correct and colorful.
Some of my fellow baseball fans don't root for the Dodgers the way I do now, but "everybody" is for Vinny out here.
SHEILA W. HARKER
Santa Ana, Calif.
Robert Creamer's article on Vin Scully was excellent, but one very important factor was not covered. There are thousands of violent Dodger haters in southern California, and as far as the great majority of us is concerned, the one good thing about the Dodgers, the one thing to be really admired, is Vin Scully.
He never antagonizes us. We have only to listen to any other baseball announcer in either league to fully appreciate how superior Scully is.
Long Beach, Calif.
Never did like the Dodgers when they, and I, were residents of the New York area, but it was always a pleasure to hear Vin Scully describe the misfortunes of the Brooklyns. When the Dodgers left the Big Town, the only salvation for this Yankee fan was to root for the Dodgers in the National League—so Vin could share the World Series broadcast assignment.
I'm sure that Scully's creative descriptions of the baseball games served to foster my own interest in a broadcasting career. Thanks for Robert Creamer's colorful story on the best play-by-play announcer in the business, bar none.
DONALD W. ROSSELET
Since moving from southern California to the San Francisco area, we have found that Giant fans won't concede that the Dodgers have anything more than luck. But they will acknowledge there is only one announcer—Vin Scully.
MRS. WALTER L. SPICER
When the Giants are playing in Los Angeles, it's common practice here in the Bay Area to turn off the television sound in order to watch the picture accompanied by Vin Scully's radio play-by-play.
NELSON P. KEMPSKY
Vin's colleague, Jerry Doggett, is also an excellent announcer and, together, they make the best pair of baseball announcers on the air.
PETER W. MATHER
Vin Scully is good but haven't you ever heard of Harry Caray? No one can describe a home run quite like him.
WILLIAM H. BROWN
How about doing a profile on the most knowledgeable of all baseball announcers, ex-Yankee Waite Hoyt, Cincinnati Red broadcaster for a quarter of a century?
ROBERT L. BUTLER
Jack Brickhouse, who does the announcing for the Cubs and Sox games, can make the dullest game seem like a cliffhanger.
One other man must be rated at the top of the list with Scully—Jack Quinlan, who broadcasts the Chicago Cub games.
Our Red Sox broadcaster, Curt Gowdy, is in Scully's league: the complete pro who recognizes his obligation to report the game, not add cheap luster to his own personal image or make demigods out of the ballplayers.
North Attleboro, Mass.
I hope I'm the first of the great Jewish enthusiasts to cheer the last of the great Jewish linebackers—Gilbert Rogin. His piece on the Texas hair-spray Olympics (Flamin' Mamie's Bouffant Belles, April 20) was matched only by his Confessions of a Stoop Ball Champion. He gets three cheers, two gold medals and one fond warning to please stay out of Texas. We need him.
We Iowa track buffs request equal time for our four Iowa high school girls running under the banner of the Iowa Track Club. Our Iowa corn-fed girls defeated the previously unbeaten Texas Track Club in the 440-yard relay at the Drake Relays held in Des Moines, April 24-25, before a sellout crowd of over 18,000 track fans. Now, perhaps our Iowa young ladies do not go to the beauty parlor previous to every meet, do not wear dazzling uniforms, nor are they covered with elaborate makeup—but when these wholesome young lassies compete they win.
Thank you for the series on how to "Harmon-ize" the golf swing (Let Me Help Your Game, April 27 and May 4). It emphasizes that golf requires a high order of consistency in the "action relationships" of ball to club, club to hands, hands to arms, arms to body, and body to terrain. It also reveals that golf requires a stern discipline.
Claude Harmon has scored high enough to be placed on the "dean's list." In fact, there may be a few golfing deans who would like to be on Harmon's list.
Stevens Point, Wis.
It is interesting you should mention that L.B.J. White House tennis team in your PEOPLE column. In a recent Administration more famous for golfing than for tennis, the White House had a tennis team that could probably beat the current group of footfaulters even without Ted Sorensen.
On the Eisenhower White House staff were Dr. Charles F. Masterson, nationally ranked for 15 years and currently the Eastern senior tennis champion; Stan Rum-bough, who, with Masterson, was ranked No. 3 in the East, No. 1 in doubles in Washington; Bryce Harlow, who is still in Washington and a very tough competitor; and Clarence B. Randall, a real dark horse.
CHARLES F. MASTERSON
New York City
SMOKE AND SHAME
It was with immense interest and pleasure that I read Bil Gilbert's article, Exaltation at the Smokehole (April 27). My interest was spurred by the similarities between Mr. Gilbert's experience and mine on the James River in Virginia last summer. In our two-week, 220-mile trip we passed over countless "cross-stream dikes," saw deserted houses and the unblemished grandeur of nature. We even had our own keyhole experience (we lost all of our food and part of our gear). The most exciting experience of our trip, however, was passing through Balcony Falls. Here, in cutting through the backbone of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the James falls off some 200 feet in four miles.
My sincere appreciation to Mr. Gilbert whose vivid account of his experience helped me to relive my own.
R. MICHAEL TUGGLE
If I could write as beautifully and diaphanously as Bil Gilbert did in his Smokehole article, I could express my sheer enjoyment in reading it.
The white-water descriptions were spinetingling and his sympathetic treatment of the abandoned homes and their contents was superb.
FREDERICK W. PULVER JR.
Our state commission for the promotion of tourism has worked for years to accomplish what you and Bil Gilbert have done in a few pages.
West Virginia is being advertised far and wide as a poverty-stricken, depressed area. We are in a state of change here, and I personally want to thank SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for its contribution toward dispelling the image of tar-paper shacks, hillbillies and welfare checks generally associated with the Mountain State.
The word of West Virginia is spreading. More and more people are realizing that West Virginia is stretching her boot straps, trying to pull herself out of shame.
That article on the bugs that live under mossed-over, slimy, wet, dark rocks really shook me (Out from under a Rock, May 4).
Inside of two paragraphs I felt long, creeping, crawling, fast little animals, with needles coming out from under their eyes, shuffling about under my chair ready to leap and let me have one right on the tender side of my Achilles tendon—or ready to emit some poisonous gas which would drift up alongside of me and freeze me like marble.
As I was writing this I had my legs neatly tucked up underneath me. It was a pretty interesting article, though.