Your article, Home Run Heaven (May 18), plays on a subject close to my heart. I have contended for a long time that the major league schedules are not played "with all things being equal." And I don't think that the best team always comes out with the pennant. Something should be done to require all clubs to tailor their parks to be identical.
Why do the San Francisco Giants hit so many home runs at home and win so many games at home? Why is the Pirate home run "total so low every year? Take Felipe Alou and Ed Bailey (who hit home runs at Candlestick Park) to County Stadium—and no more home runs! Take Dick Stuart out of vast Forbes Field and place him in Fenway Park and he practically leads the league.
Of course there are many other variables, but at least give us some uniformity by making all parks the same in dimensions. Or give the Pirates a six-game handicap at the start of the season.
J. D. DONATELLI
Laws are made to apply to everyone, and it should also be true of the laws of professional baseball. When the additions to Rule 1.04 were adopted, which said that no park may be constructed after June 1, 1958 with foul lines less than 325 feet and no present park lessened to within 325 feet, no mention was made about the parks already built with shorter foul lines. Charles O. Finley's recent protest to this, in the form of the Kansas City Pennant Porch, was a direct violation of this rule, but he did succeed in pointing out the advantage the Yankees have in this respect over the rest of the American League. The only other team, besides the Yankees, with such a short foul line is Boston, which has it guarded by a 50-foot fence in left field. The 44-inch wall in Yankee Stadium has allowed dozens of cheap home runs, impossible in any other park. Since the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium nine times more than any other team in the American League, they can develop their team to take advantage of the wall (such as lefty hitters and pitchers), and while they might not win all of their games with home runs to right field, the wall, by just being there, gives them a psychological edge over their opponents. A 30- or 40-foot fence in right field would certainly help to even out the usually lopsided American League pennant race.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
May 31, 1964
Seems to me that we have heard enough about home run porches!
Why doesn't Mr. Finley face the facts? Kansas City finished eighth in team standings, eighth in team batting, eighth in earned run averages and who knows where in team fielding. His best hitter's BA was a tremendous .280, and I doubt if the great slugger Wayne Causey could hit a ball 296 feet! Does Finley really think he could end "Yankee dominance" with that bunch of humpty-dumpties just by putting up a 296-foot fence?
Why doesn't Finley try to beat the Yanks like the Dodgers did—with bat and glove, instead of talk and porches?
WORDS TO THE WISE
Thank you for your suggested additions of surfing terminology to Webster's Third New International Dictionary (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, May 18). We are glad to have the words gremmie, hot-dogger, beach bunny, wahine and woody called to our attention and glad to put them in our files. We would have to have a lot of evidence of widespread general usage before putting them in any of our dictionaries, except, of course, wahine in its earlier sense. The word surfing is, as you say, here to stay, and we are glad to have evidence of such variations on it as surf (noun), meaning "dance," and surfer, meaning "trunks" as well as "person who surfs." Perhaps you will be interested to know that we are even more interested to find examples of blue-jeaned, beachside, suitmaker and palaka in SPORTING LOOK Editor Fred Smith's article on surfing fashions (High Surfdom).
P. B. GOVE
Editor in Chief, G. & C. Merriam Company Springfield, Mass.
It ain't so. Eric Ridder's entire crew from me on down has not jumped ship from Constellation to Columbia. I refer, of course, to the sentence in Carleton Mitchell's otherwise excellent article (A Heaping Cupful of Twelves, May 18) on America's Cup preparations in which I and the rest of Eric's crew are identified as sailing on Columbia. Mitch, of course, knows better, but somewhere down the line is a proofreader who doesn't. I, Dun Gifford, Buddy Bombard, Larry Scheu, Steve Van Dyck, Dick Goennel and Bob Connell are still very much on Constellation and wouldn't be anywhere else.
I know most of your readers will realize this was unintentional. Maybe you will find a way to mention the three other regular members of our crew, George F. (Fenny) Johnson, Don Wakeman and Fred Kulicke.
ROBERT N. BAVIER JR.
New York City
•Apologies to a gallant crew inadvertently shanghaied by a New York press gang—ED.
No wonder Florida A&M Sprinter Bob Hayes is "the fastest man alive" (May 18). The pictures showing him running the 100 would lead one to think that his feet never touch the ground!
Your caption beneath the start says he's "a slow beginner," but it must be only because his right foot is on the ground at the start, not sailing three inches above it.
We Dallas Cowboy fans can't wait until he joins our team. I'm willing to predict that Sonny Gibbs and Bob Hayes will establish new NFL longest-completion records in two or three years!
After reading your article and watching the Coliseum Relays (Aannnnghhh! May 25) the same evening, I have only this to say: if Bob Hayes is the fastest human, Henry Carr is superhuman.
I was much impressed by a brief item in SCORECARD (April 27) noting the recent increase in the number of deer killed by automobiles on highways.
While the national figure, 70,000, does not seem out of line, the estimate of 24,000 deer killed on the roads of New York State alone is surely excessive. That would be one deer every 20-odd minutes, day and night, every day throughout the year.
A recent newspaper report quoting the New York State Bureau of Game's latest survey-estimate (1958) stated that the white-tailed deer population of the state was estimated at 350,000. The legal kill was 66,469 deer. It was estimated that 77,154 died from other causes (starvation 15.1%, etc.), with highway accidents accounting for 17% of the total of 143,623, i.e., 66,469 plus 77,154. Since 17% of 143,623 comes to about 24,000, I wonder if this could be the source of the estimate of 24,000 given in your article.
An article in The New York Times (May 20, 1956) only a few years ago expressed alarm that 698 deer-car collisions had been reported in 1955. The increase to 24,000 in less than a decade must be among the most remarkable phenomena in natural history.
I note also a comment by Edmund Gilligan, the outdoor writer, in the New York Herald Tribune, June 2, 1955: "There are no dependable figures on the deer hunt in New York State. There never have been and it is unlikely that there ever will be."
•No actual count of deer-car collisions is kept in New York, mainly because state law does not require that collisions with wild animals be reported. The State Thruway Authority, which does keep its own figures, reported 353 deer killed on the Thruway in 1963, as opposed to the high of 653 killed in 1958. The drop in highway kills, the Authority feels, can be attributed to the fact that deer are getting smarter. The New York Department of Conservation, however, insists that its 1958 estimates, quoted by reader Stolz, are as sound today as they were six years ago and that the figure of 24,000 deer killed annually by automobiles is a reasonable one.—ED.
THE GIFT HE GIVES
In the second installment of his diary (The Life I Lead, May 11 et seq.), Jack Nicklaus writes that I gave him a painting. This is true, but what Jack did not mention is that he sent a generous check to Chicago's Crusade of Mercy, to which all proceeds of my exhibit were donated.
Thank you for writing of me in your PEOPLE column (April 27).
I am sure your fine magazine leaves an impression on many young people; therefore, on the outside chance that one of the youngsters may have misinterpreted your article, I would like to impress upon them that quitting schools, as I did out of necessity, is unwise, and any youngster thinking that he can become a success without an education is barking up the wrong tree.
Of the many ingredients necessary to achieve success, I believe an education is the most important.