I have just read the first part of Bill Veeck's The Hustler's Handbook (May 17) and find it indeed a pleasure to see him in literary action again. There will, undoubtedly, be letters flooding your office condemning such seemingly libelous reporting, but this is a letter from one who is hopeful that you will continue giving the public, which is more than mildly interested in executive moves in sport, further articles of this nature.
The present day finds the NCAA-AAU squabble, the television encroachment on baseball and the control of major league hockey ample reasons for a strong, clear voice on this subject. Your magazine is about all we have, so don't stop now.
Hurrah three times for Bill Veeck's scalpel job on Gussie Busch and Ralph Houk, with an added nod to collaborator Ed Linn. If The Hustler's Handbook is only 60% accurate, it still exposes Messrs. Busch and Houk for what they are rather than what their cliques portray them to be. While reading Veeck's delicious exposé of last year's post-World Series misadventures, I could recall Houk's unctuous explanation of why Berra was being replaced while he devoutly defended the entire New York Yankee front office.
If I had a vote in selecting the next commissioner of baseball, it would go without hesitation to Bill Veeck, who would bring more freshness and fun to this disintegrating sport than all the current candidates combined. Just think how the stuffed shirts of baseball would revolve in their own orbits if Mr. Veeck were sitting in the driver's seat! But I keep forgetting that baseball is a sport and not a business. Sure it is!
ROBERT G. ERVIN
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
May 30, 1965
In 1962, when Bill Veeck wrote his first book, people treated it in the same fashion they treated Buck Rogers.
It now seems that everything Mr. Veeck wrote is coming true. If people had listened to him then baseball would not have the problems it is having today.
With all Mr. Veeck knows about baseball and its promotion, I for one think he would be the ideal choice for commissioner of baseball.
Low comedy and high intrigue.
Part 1 of The Hustler's Handbook by Bill Veeck—great.
Eagerly awaiting the rest. Congratulations!
S. M. ZEBROWSKI
Las Cruces, N. Mex.
I really feel sorry for William Veeck because baseball does not want him, and I agree with them 100%. Just today the boys in my office were talking about his article in this week's SI and were saying, "Remember the time when Veeck was in charge of the St. Louis Browns of the American League and he brought in a midget to play ball one day in a regular scheduled game." We thought it was stupid. I have been a baseball fan for about 55 years and I am not saying that professional baseball owners are all saints, but I do believe they do what they think is best for baseball. I would like you to know that I believe I made a mistake when I subscribed to SI.
R. C. CARRIERE
To heck with Veeck (as in wreck).
T. R. SLOANE
In the article The World Champion Is Refused a Meal (May 17), George Plimpton has told a blow-by-blow story in a most touching and understanding way. He portrays Mr. Bundini Brown as a man whose qualities should be recognized and pointed out to all the world. Our so-called world champion might take note: his trainer is truly a champion's Champ.
Mr. Plimpton's article on the bus-ride travails of Messrs. Cassius Clay and Bundini Brown was both sensitive and beautifully written. It demonstrates how great journalistic art can lend its own high significance to the poignant efforts of these two strong, different personalities to express their own human dignity and worth.
PAUL E. KLINGENSMITH
May I say, in reference to your story, that Bundini Brown is fighting for a real championship. I congratulate him. He is welcome to eat at my table anytime.
As a former lacrosse defenseman who faced Johns Hopkins University four times on the playing field as a University of Maryland player, once as a Mount Washington Lacrosse Club player, and twice, vicariously when I sent Loyola College teams onto the field while an assistant coach there, I am delighted to see an article featuring a great sport as played by a fine university (Hopkins Lost a Title and Maybe a Tradition, May 17). I don't concur, though, in your reporter's judgment as to the meaning of this particular game and its outcome. Lacrosse is growing stronger not only in our Maryland institutions but all over the United States. It is one of the few great team sports where a good little man still has an opportunity to play first string, and can still occasionally make the good big man look not quite as skillful as he should be, perhaps.
JOSEPH D. TYDINGS
Lacrosse has been and always will be a tradition at Hopkins. Hopkins' loss to Navy will never affect the lacrosse tradition at Hopkins. Navy has fielded superior teams in recent years only because of their stepped-up recruiting. Over the years many Navy teams have fallen victim to Hopkins teams, and they will again.
GEORGE M. S. RIEPE
Navy has been a national champion for five years. It appears quite obvious, therefore, that the tradition was broken five years ago, not on May 8, 1965.
M. A. FRITZ
P. J. SHEEDY
We at the University of Arizona are very proud of our lacrosse team, too. The Wildcats, in their first year of recognized competition, compiled an unbelievable record of 11 wins and no defeats. Included in their first season were two wins over the Air Force Academy and the championship of the Western Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S fine story about the Navy-Johns Hopkins lacrosse game mentioned the dedication of Hopkins' new athletic center named for Newton H. White. I think your readers might like to know that this career Navy man was one of the Navy's early aviators and later became the commissioning captain of one of our first real aircraft carriers, U.S.S. Enterprise. Before his death in 1958, good fortune and astute management of his affairs enabled Captain White to endow four scholarships at Hopkins.
DEAN HILL JR.
New York City
Congratulations on Joe Jares' fine coverage of the National Volleyball Championships in Omaha (Wising Up to a Down Game, May 17). Although volleyball is 70 years old, the U.S. is still far behind other countries. In the majority of school physical education programs, volleyball rules are not taught at all and if rules are used they are usually made up by the instructor. I doubt if 20% of the physical education teachers in the nation's institutions, public, private and voluntary, know the official United States Volleyball Association's rules, or even that official rules exist for volleyball. There is no excuse for the present level of play when you consider the cost factor—you can teach 100 youngsters volleyball for what it would cost you to outfit one football player.
DONALD L. DEAL
La Grange, Ill.
In the average high school the varsity basketball team may use only 10 to 16 of a total male enrollment of 200 to 600. I think it can be safely surmised that this does not include the total number of individuals available that could pass the physical requirements for volleyball. The uniforms worn are the same as in basketball, and nets and balls are generally standard—although little used—equipment at most high schools. Volleyball would not be a burden on the athletic budget of most high schools and could offer varsity sport participation to a larger number of students. A greater national interest in this worldwide and Olympic sport must originate from an expanded base in our high schools.
RICHARD C. HALL
Palo Alto, Calif.
Maybe this article—and hopefully more like it in the future—will change the naive stereotype that many people, outside the beach culture, have of this sport as a "sissy" game.