19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

April 25, 1965

HOOPLA
Sirs:
Sports Illustrated, Wilt Chamberlain and Bob Ottum should all be commended for such a timely and worthwhile article (My Life in a Bush League, April 12). Sports fans everywhere should be genuinely interested in the straightforward manner in which Chamberlain has spoken of himself and the National Basketball Association.

As an avid reader of any story concerning the "Big Dipper," I can safely say we have not seen a previous article that has shown more profoundly the side of Chamberlain that is really little known to the public in general.
SHORTY MELANCHUK
Detroit

Sirs:
It doesn't surprise me to find that Wilt Chamberlain can talk. He has been either pouting or flaming with conceit ever since he got into the league. However, the most bush aspect of the NBA is Wilt Chamberlain himself, who is potentially the greatest player ever. What could reflect a less professional attitude than taking a week off in the middle of the season to look after outside business interests? What could be more hypocritical than calling the league bush because some owners knocked him and then on the next page knocking his own coach? Fortunately, intelligent, dignified men with keen competitive pride, like Bill Russell, are more characteristic of the league than pompous, self-centered "bushers" like Wilt Chamberlain.
MARK WOLF
New Haven, Conn.

Sirs:
Wilt Chamberlain calls the NBA a bush league because rival owners, coaches and players criticize each other in print. Yet what could possibly be more bush than for Chamberlain himself publicly to ridicule the coach for whom he was at that very moment playing in the NBA championships?

It is interesting to note that both Neil Johnston and Dolph Schayes, past and present coaches whom Wilt finds fault with, were two of the finest competitors the game has ever known. With far fewer natural gifts than Wilt, they did as players what Wilt has never done in college or the NBA—lead their teams to titles.
THOMAS N. LONGSTRETH
Lutherville, Md.

Sirs:
So Wilt is again considering retiring, since he is at the top of the game of basketball. Am I wrong in thinking Bill Russell has again won the MVP award, for the fourth time in the last five years? Wilt challenges Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing title of the world, but it becomes evident to the reader that he is actually challenging Cassius Clay as to which one is the bigger braggart.
LLOYD CARMICHAEL
Belmont, Mass.

Sirs:
I think that this article has revealed the true Wilt. Not only has he disclosed some interesting sidelights to his own world, but he has also spoken up on the critical issues concerning basketball today.
DAVID SNYDMAN
Williamstown, Mass.

Sirs:
The title should be I Love Wilt Chamberlain by Wilt Chamberlain.
J. DONATELLI
Portland, Ore.

Sirs:
Three cheers for Chamberlain! It is high time that somebody exposed the decline of basketball from a sport to a business. Boxing is a foreshadowing of what business can do to a sport. Maybe if Wilt did quit others would see the light and clean house in the ranks.

Chamberlain's play has given the fans a greater thrill than they realize. His awesome talent has proved a stimulant in every game he plays. Fans who boo a player like Wilt are a disgrace to basketball and do not know what real basketball is.
CHRIS MORRIS
Rochester, N.Y.

Sirs:
Man, people just expect too much of a giant. Wilt, baby, I'm with you.
ELLIOT HOLIN
Davis, Calif.

HOME IN A DOME
Sirs:
As a Met fan I sat down with a beer eager to read about Houston's new domed stadium (Giltfinger's Golden Dome, April 12). It is important for me to know how the Mets will react to this new park. After all, 10th place in the National League is at stake. What was worrying me was: Will Joe Christopher have any more trouble than usual finding the ball once it was hit in the air? I wanted to know about Gonder's chances of hitting a home run. What are the foul lines, the dimensions and the factor of no wind resistance? But no. I'm denied this vital information to be told about a scoreboard that goes "tilt" when the Mets hit a home run.

I'm extremely grateful that Miss Smith informed me who would be attending the opening game and what they would be wearing. And knowing what colors the seats are painted is extremely valuable. But is this a ball park or a fashion salon? I'll take Shea Stadium, the good old Mets and plain old-fashioned seats.
DON BIRMINGHAM
Los Angeles

Sirs:
I had hoped to find a mention of Atlanta's new $18-million stadium as well. How many other cities have built a beautiful, 52,000-seat stadium for baseball (57,000 for football) in an unbelievable 51 weeks?

Many said that it would be a big mistake for the Milwaukee Braves to head toward Atlanta in 1966. It is true that we only drew 106,000 fans for a three-game exhibition series between the Braves and the Detroit Tigers. But that isn't too bad when you consider that the Masters drew approximately 100,000 golf fans at Augusta National during the same weekend, and that the Atlanta International Raceway pulled in another 50,700 fans on Sunday for the Atlanta 500.

The Astrodome cost $19 million more than the "Home of the Braves," but our outfielders certainly will not have to worry about endangering their lives while going after routine fly balls.

As Mel Allen, our Atlanta Braves radio and TV announcer would say: "How about that—you all!"
DAVE FRANCO
Atlanta

•For a look at Atlanta, see page 24.—ED.

Sirs:
In her article on Giltfinger's Golden Dome, Liz Smith has reiterated that erroneous impression that has circulated since the Dome was built. Her statement calling the Astrodome the first self-enclosed, completely air-conditioned sports arena ever created is false. The Atlantic City Convention Hall has seen the confinement of traditionally outdoor sports for more than 30 years. Back in the '30s (even before Willis Carrier made his "far-sighted" prediction), Convention Hall was the site of football, Softball and dog racing. There have even been golfing exhibitions in the Hall. This past summer it was completely air-conditioned, and in December a shirtsleeves crowd watched the Liberty Bowl here. It's true that Convention Hall was not created primarily for sporting events, nor was it as expensive or spectacular as the Dome, but the fact remains that it was the first indoor stadium. Retain the other adjectives concerning the Texas showplace, but please omit the word "first."
JONATHAN FOX
Ventnor, N.J.

PUSHBUTTON PUGS
Sirs:
Edwin Shrake's article on the Pastrano-Torres fight was most interesting and scientific (Liver Trouble and High Living, April 12) except where he talked about D'Amato's "calling"' the KO punch. Come now, has Cus perfected his first pushbutton pugilist?

To say this was far-fetched would be putting it most mildly. To land an effective punch to the liver would not be less than 50 to 1 odds, Cus D'Amato's apparatus notwithstanding.

If Torres was capable of this "instant delivery" isn't it logical that his knowing manager, Cus, could have ended it in less than one round, by chanting one-two, one-two, until Willie folded? Neither can I buy "throwing five punches in [2/5] seconds." Any experienced students of boxing would tell you that it may be possible within one second, but [2/5]—now come on.
HENRY J. LEDOUX
Baton Rouge

Sirs:
I am dismayed at José Torres' attitude. Already he has challenged heavyweights and middleweights, practically ignoring the division he now rules. Among the light heavyweights are: Harold Johnson, Eddie Cotton, Gregorio Peralta and, last of all but certainly the most logical, Willie Pastrano. If the new champ can win these, he may challenge anyone he wants.
PETER SALGO
The Bronx

BIG HOCKEY
Sirs:
Many thanks for Jack Olsen's article on the expansion of the National Hockey League {Private Came: No Admittance! April 12). Expansion is certain to come because hockey, like any other business, cannot forever ignore the continuing growth of the North American continent in population, wealth and leisure time.

Spectators are more interested in keen competition than in the quality of the play. The Boston Garden has been sold out for college hockey. If the owners are worried about weak teams with little spectator appeal they need only surrender some of their better players, not merely the marginal ones. They can have a balanced league if they are prepared to be generous.
JOHN R. PACKARD
Lexington, Mass.

Sirs:
Why should the hockey fans of the six NHL cities and of all Canada be subjected to an inferior product for the sake of a relatively few others who wish to have major league hockey? The New York Mets draw well in baseball. The Los Angeles Mets would not in hockey.
JAMES HAZZARD
Sarnia, Ont.

Sirs:
My only criticism is directed at Olsen's thinly veiled displeasure with the collaboration of sports and capitalism. He puts words such as "revenue" in italics, suggesting that no sports fan should use such words in mixed company or within earshot of children under the age of 16. As long as we in America accept the principle that sports (and most other forms of enterprise) are best operated by private individuals, then we must be prepared to accept these (leave the room, children) profit-motivated entrepreneurs.

Clearly, if we want our professional sports operated by a group of Albert Schweitzer-like businessmen whose sole interest is to bring the greatest amount of sports pleasure to the greatest number of individuals and "damn the profits," then we must be prepared to subsidize sports with government grants, private donations or reverse foreign aid. Are we prepared to pay that price?
RICHARD V. PHILLIPS
Waterville, Me.

MARKED CARD
Sirs:
Contrary to Tom Brody's fine article on Ed Spiezio (Please, Please, Ed Spiezio, Won't You Please Pop Up? April 12), Spiezio did not sign a bonus contract after being voted most valuable player of the 1962 NAIA college tournament.

Spiezio came into the tournament with a .441 season batting average and hit a rousing .368 in the tourney against the best collegiate pitching in the country. He hit the tournament's first home run and wound up making the all-tourney team as well as small college All-America. It is my understanding that he received countless bonus offers, but elected instead to finish college.

Spiezio hit a more astonishing .491 the following year, and, in addition, his 114 total bases and the same number of at bats gave him the slugging average of 1,000. He came into the national tournament a marked man, managed but one hit in three games, but still made the All-America a second time.
ALLAN H. LOWENBERG
St. Joseph, Mo.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)