Congratulations on Jack Olsen's excellent article on Al Kaline (The Torments of Excellence, May 11), a man who deserves a better team than the Tigers. Say, the Yankees.
Bay City, Mich.
If San Francisco got sick of Willie Mays, if Los Angeles got sick of Sandy Koufax and if Milwaukee got sick of Hank Aaron the way Detroit got fed up with Kaline, the National League would be as dull as the American. If Detroit can't bear him, the Orioles can always use him.
The part about Kaline's youth in Baltimore was ridiculous. After all, how many major leaguers didn't make sacrifices as youngsters and play in three or four games each weekend? As for the Detroit fans, they don't have any reason to be disenchanted with Kaline. Any team that has traded away is many good players and had as many manager changes as the Tigers have had over the past decade can't expect many winners.
Al Kaline is one of those outstanding ballplayers, like Robin Roberts and Ernie Banks to name only two, who happen to have the misfortune of being stuck on nothing better than a mediocre team. Trade Kaline to a contending team, give him an opportunity it a World Series and watch how fast his present views on spring training, the owners and fans and the physical and emotional trains disappear.
KENNETH D. DRYDEN
May 24, 1964
General Manager Jim Campbell of the Tigers ought to have his head examined. If he isn't willing to accept Mays, Marichal and Cepeda for Kaline, the Tigers ought to trade Mr. Campbell for Horace Stoneham. If Stoneham were in Campbell's shoes he would probably be inclined to trade the whole Detroit ball club in exchange for Willie Mays—and the way Mays is hitting, the Tigers would be getting the better of it.
If the Detroit fans dislike Al Kaline so much they can just give him a one-way airline ticket to Cincinnati.
The Al Kaline story can be easily compared with the Roger Maris story. I'm sure that plenty of people thought that Maris was another Joe DiMaggio when he hit his 61 home runs. And look at Maris now! Same thing, isn't it?
It was a shock to me to hear that the people of Detroit had given up on Kaline. I can't help but feel that those people who have been booing him are just former Rocky Colavito fans who are sore over the fact that their superstar didn't make it with the Tigers. And now they are taking their disappointment out on the real star—Al Kaline. I'm glad to see that at least you people know what it takes to be a great ballplayer.
R. DUNCAN MacDONALD
Notre Dame, Ind.
Only a nitwit could boo such a champion.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
After reading The Dancer Dazzles Old Kentucky (May 11), I have come to the conclusion that you Americans just can't take a beating from a Canadian, even a horse. You aren't as prejudiced as other American publications I have read, but you still had to make excuses for Hill Rise. Since you say that the Dancer ran a terrific race, why can't you just simply say, "He won"?
Once again Whitney Tower proved a Thoroughbred of the sportswriters. Not once did he brag about picking the winner of the Derby.
I like Mr. Tower, but my bookie hates him.
Just out of curiosity I compared Tower's story of the Derby with his rating of the 2-year-olds last fall (Oct. 21). It is interesting to note that only five of the 26 horses he rated then ran in the Kentucky Derby and five ran in the Flamingo. It goes to show that a great 2-year-old will not necessarily become a great 3-year-old.
STACY B. RANKIN
Yellow Springs, Ohio
TWO AND TWO ARE THREE
I need some help in settling an argument over the age of the Kentucky Derby winner. My roommate says Northern Dancer is only 2 years old. I say he has to be 3 years old, because a 2-year-old can't run in the Derby. Who is right?
•Actually there were two "2-year-olds" in this year's Derby running: Northern Dancer (see page 26) and Roman Brother. Both were foaled May 27, 1961, unusually late in the year for Thoroughbreds. Thus at Derby time each was 25 days short of his actual third birthday. But since the official birthday of every racehorse is January 1, both rated as 3-year-olds. Only one other "2-year-old" can claim a Derby victory in the last 30 years: Belair Stud's Johnstown, who won by eight lengths on May 6, 1939, which was 16 days before he reached the actual age of 3 years. Triple Crown Winner War Admiral was also a May foal, but he won the 1937 Derby six days after his third birthday.—ED.
ON THE TABLE
The article Champ of the Chop and Loop (May 11) was very much appreciated here and received quite a bit of mention at our local table tennis club. Table tennis definitely does have followers, and I believe you will have to agree that they far exceed the "2,000 registered players" mentioned in the article. One indication was a tournament for junior players sponsored by a TV station in New York City. Witnesses say that more than 500 players participated, while many others were rejected.
I was fortunate enough to attend another tournament in Greenville, S.C. about six weeks ago. As I did not know anyone there I questioned some of the players to see if they were members of the national U.S. Table Tennis Association. They looked at me quite puzzled and said, "I never knew there was one!" This is amazing. Table tennis players from six or seven states were in attendance, the event was being held in a large, well-lighted YMCA gymnasium, playing conditions were excellent and a generally above-average caliber of play prevailed.
Good table tennis is something most people have never seen. Thanks to your recent recognition of it, the game may now get more of the spectators and players that it justly deserves.
BOWIE G. MARTIN
Barbara La Fontaine has outperformed all our expectations. Her article on the U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships isn't just good; as a player, I can tell you it is excellent.
J. RUFFORD HARRISON
U.S. Table Tennis Assoc.
Possibly the best player in the U.S. was not at the tournament. Houshang Bozorgzadeh, an Iranian student at the State College of Iowa, could not attend the Open because of lack of funds.
Houshang has at times beaten all of America's best. He showed his table tennis prowess at the 1961 men's National Team Tournament in Detroit, where he had a perfect record of 10 wins and no losses to lead the individual competition. Recently, at the Great Plains Open in St. Louis, he beat the U.S. seventh-and ninth-ranking players in spite of the fact that he had not touched a racket in four months.
Iowa City, Iowa
As a longtime supporter of the game, I was happy to read Barbara La Fontaine's informative summary of table tennis in the U.S. It might be even more helpful for enthusiasts of the sport if you published the address of the Table Tennis Association and some details on how to become a member of this organization.
VICTOR A. SNIECKUS
•Write USTTA Membership Chairman Graham B. Steenhoven, 5319 Cadieux Road, Detroit 24, Mich.—ED.
This may be a belated comment on your article Who Says You Can't Win 'Em All? (April 13), but unfortunately your prediction was a bit premature.
I have just witnessed the most humiliating defeat of a U.S. basketball team ever to play on foreign soil and, of all places, in Moscow! The team consisted mainly of members of the AAU and called themselves the U.S. National Team. Five members of this team will be on the Olympic team. The Moscow scores were 82-65 and 79-60. One Moscow newspaper ran a headline on the games that read: WE KNEW WE WOULD WIN BUT WE DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD BE SO EASY!
JACQUE D. KINKADE