WAY TO WIN
I have just finished reading William Leggett's article about Frank Howard (The Dodgers' Troubled Giant, May 25) and I must say that I was quite distressed.
What bothers me the most is the fact that Buzzie Bavasi will not let loose of one of his prized youngsters in a trade which might help the Dodgers. If I were Bavasi I would be quite willing to trade Podres, Werhas, another youngster and even cash to get a third baseman of Ron Santo's or Ed Mathews' caliber.
But, remember, dynasties don't fall easily. In the last two years the Dodgers have won more games than any other major league team. They tied once for first, and were world champs the next year. They draw more fans than any other team. The Dodgers usually find a way to win.
ERIC H. GOELD
Troubled or not, Frank Howard is the flat-footed giant who must get those fleet Dodgers running to the plate instead of running in circles.
In the Dodger Stadium right-field pavilion and lower boxes there are fans who always stand and applaud Frank when he hits one out or makes a fine play. Vin Scully describes right field as "Howardville." After Frank leaves the dugout and runs to his position in right, Scully will say, "And the fans in Howardville are giving Frank a standing ovation."
Frank finally doffed his cap to his fans and they cheered twice as loud. Frank is truly loved and admired by Angelenos. He is absolutely the most exciting, most colorful player in the game today, bar none!
HERMAN E. LOEFFLER
ON THE ALKALINE SIDE
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but the fans in Detroit don't boo Al Kaline (The Torments of Excellence, May 11). Even though Al Kaline is batting only in the low .200s now, every time he comes to bat the fans yell their heads off.
The people in Detroit like Al and they appreciate him. He is one of the greatest now.
I think if you look around a little bit you can find plenty of Al Kaline fans.
I live in Flint, Mich., and all the children talk about Al Kaline. They would be very disappointed if he was traded off. He is the best outfielder in the American League.
I was amused by your article, An Easy Row on the Road to Japan (May 25), but thought your prediction of a Harvard victory in the Olympic trials a bit premature. True, Harvard has a fine crew and did a wonderful job at the Eastern Sprints, but they have yet to test themselves against some of the seasoned eights from the private clubs.
It is entirely possible that a boatload of veteran club oarsmen might get the best of Harvard at the trials. Here at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia we arc practicing hard with just that idea in mind.
JOHN J. QUINN JR.
You say that even with a strong head wind (15 knots) which tended to favor Cornell and Yale, Harvard won the heavyweight varsity sprint "with seemingly effortless precision." Lake Quinsigamond is such that the first three inside lanes are well sheltered from any wind while the three outside lanes get the full force of it. It should be noted that Cornell was in lane 4, as opposed to Harvard in 3. Harvard did not get the wind impact that Cornell did.
Also, before deciding that Harvard is "an inevitable choice to go to Tokyo," the author might keep in mind that Cornell had only two races before the Sprints and has not had much luck with Cayuga Lake. As one Harvard crewman said following the race, "I'm surprised Cornell did so well with so little training."
A loud cheer arose from the banks of the Housatonic upon receipt of your May 25 issue. We at Yale were pleased to see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED predicting that "Harvard will win the Olympic trials." An Eli victory is now virtually assured!
ANDREW J. COMBE
JOSEPH R. DILWORTH JR.
WILLIAM S. LEAR
New Haven, Conn.
Harvard may be the crew to watch as far as the Olympics are concerned, but there is another international threat that deserves attention: the Washington-Lee High School crew, of Arlington, Va., National Schoolboy Champions for the past eight years (1957-1964). They have been (to my knowledge) the only public school from this country ever to compete in the Henley Regatta. They have gone three times—in 1958, 1960 and 1962—and each time they have made a better showing. At this moment they are already trying to raise the money to make a fourth try at winning the Henley Regatta. (Previous trips to England were financed almost entirely by the community of Arlington County.)
As a baseball fan who thinks he knows what makes the game go, I consider the hunger for home runs pictured in Minnesota (Home Run Heaven, May 18) a real hurt to the sport. The encouragement of cheap home runs by the shortening of fences is a detriment to the game. I watched some games between the Yankees and Indians in Cleveland, and I found more excitement in a routine ground ball. It was downright pathetic to see some of those large size "home run" bloops plop over the chicken wire to hit a spot 100 feet in front of the old fence.
Short fences have made the triple a real rarity. A triple gives the fan tremendous excitement—he sees the ball being run down by the outfielders, the runner straining around first, then the relay throw and the climax as the runner slides under the tag. That brings the fans to their feet. The short fences have destroyed much of the excitement and grace of outfield play. An outfielder can no longer get on his horse and really tear back for a long drive (as Mickey Mantle found out in Baltimore last spring). These cheap home runs are also a disservice to the art of pitching. What a letdown it must be for a pitcher to throw eight or nine scoreless innings and then lose on a bloop that wasn't even hit solidly!
I'm just 17, but I'll bet I care as much for the game as any owner or general manager, and, more important, I'm not blinded by the quest for money. So, for more excitement, a better game and more receipts, move back the fences. And not just five or 10 feet either.
HOT AND COLD
Recently you stated that games this year in the National Hockey League were 93.3% sold out (SCORECARD, May 11). This only goes to show, once again, that professional ice hockey ranks higher in popularity than professional basketball.
For further proof, compare the hometown attendance figures for each sport for last year. In New York the Rangers, a non-playoff team, outdrew the Knicks, another nonplayoff team, by three to two. In Boston, the Bruins, a cellar team, outdrew the world champion Celtics by nearly three to two. In Chicago, the Black Hawks averaged more than 16,500 a game while the local basketball team was forced to move to Baltimore. Moreover, the Los Angeles Blades, a minor league hockey team, outdrew basketball's major league Los Angeles Lakers by a substantial margin. Hockey also outdraws professional basketball in such heavily populated cities as San Francisco, Detroit and Baltimore. It is obvious that hockey is on the rise while basketball is on the way down.
Thanks for the story by Ellington White on Rocky Weinstein (A Place that Rocky Knows, May 25). As the author said, Rocky is far more than just another fishing guide. Nevertheless his story still didn't quite do justice to Rocky.
While it is true that he has an extraordinary skill with his seven-foot fly rod, Rocky has another characteristic that is just as impressive to most of his friends, and most of his clients become his friends after one outing. That characteristic is his interest and patience in tutoring a novice, man or woman, if he believes the beginner really wants to learn.
There is one more thing: White rather implied that Rocky's neighbors in Everglades were unenthusiastic about the man and his reputation. I wonder.
Last fall they elected him to the Everglades City Council and now Rocky spends one night a week worrying with the other city fathers about the town's plight and trying to plan its future. Meanwhile, his wife spends that evening answering his telephone and doing his bookkeeping. Whether Rocky has her tying some of his flies yet, I don't know. But I do know that over the telephone she shows her pride in his newfound political status, a pride she shares with many of us, his fishing clients and his friends, who return each year to have the privilege of fishing with him.