You don't have to look any farther for a Sportsman of the Year for 1965. In the highest sense of the term, Gary Player wins the title hands down. In these days of crass commercialism, here's a man that holds honor and pride above the mighty dollar, leads a clean, exemplary life and possesses the skill and guts to win what is probably the toughest test of nerves and stamina in the sports world today. It took a rare brand of courage for him to come back brilliantly in the playoff, after blowing a three-stroke lead on the last three holes.
ARTHUR L. GROO
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Your account of Kel Nagle's penalty incident in the Open was interesting, but I would welcome a further discussion of what happened.
Rule 11-5 covers play of a second ball in case of doubt as to rights or procedure. The only doubt in Nagle's case seems to be whether or not a penalty stroke would be assessed, because he already considered the ball unplayable and would drop in any case. It would seem he would drop the ball, play it and ask for a ruling. As you tell it, he would have been able to decide how to play the second ball from the results obtained with the first one. This seems an unfair advantage. Perhaps you would clarify.
•Under rule 11-5 the first ball was played under a strict penalty for an unplayable lie. The second ball was played without penalty under the ground-under-repair rule. Since the second ball did eventually count, Nagle indeed got what amounted to a practice shot.—ED.
THE WAILING WALL
Blaming that left-field wall for Red Sox incompetence (The Great Wall, June 28) is like blaming Faneuil Hall, Old Ironsides or the Bunker Hill Monument for Boston's climate. The reason for Sahx mediocrity is obvious. They just lack vigah.
Allow me to commend Jack Mann for his penetrating analysis of the woes of the Red Sox. I have been a loyal Sox booster for some 15 years but, like fans in other cities where subpar baseball has been played over similar periods, my tolerance for lackluster performances is running out.
Though I agree that the wall is more of a hindrance than an aid to the overall record of the Sox, I would emphasize that this is due to the lack of adequate pitching more than to the detrimental effect of the "Fenway stroke" that Boston players carry with them to visiting ball parks. It is axiomatic that good pitching will overcome good hitting in the long run—and it is precisely this that kills the Red Sox year after year. To win in Comiskey Park, Municipal Stadium, Chavez Ravine or Memorial Stadium you need pitching; and because the Sox staff is dominated by right-handers to cope with Fenway Park, the team suffers from this imbalance when lefties are needed in other parks throughout the league.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Why should any Red Sox fan take Yaw-key's teams seriously? The owner himself does not. Until he does, I will continue to dream what it would be like if the Boston Red Sox, left-field wall included, won the World Series. Even in eighth place, I would rather dream than switch!
College Park, Md.
The critics of our much maligned Fenway wall all have one thing in common. They neglect to inform the stranger that the high wall has been scarred time and again over the years by balls that would have been line drive home runs in any other park in either league.
I have just finished reading James Lipscomb's breathtaking article, 72 Hours of Terror (SI, June 14). Having served as a seasonal park ranger in the Tetons for three summers, I know to some small degree the weariness, frustrations and agony the rescuers endured. The article left me completely exhausted.
Every year in the Tetons there are accidents of this nature, anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen, although this one was the most spectacular. My hat is off to Doug McLaren, the district ranger, who was the organizer of the rescue party. For more than a decade Doug has been organizing rescue parties for errant climbers and hikers. He conducts a school for new and old rangers who wish to participate in these summer occurrences. Because of Doug's knowledge and fine way with people, never has a ranger become involved in an accident during a rescue—quite an accomplishment when you consider the precarious and tedious work that must be carried on at near-exhaustion point.
EDWARD T. WILSON
It may interest your readers to learn that Leon R. (Pete) Sinclair, whose heroism is recorded in the June 21 issue, is studying for a Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington, where he ranks as one of the most successful candidates for the degree.
A. C. HAMILTON
UP THE RIVER
Congratulations for your article on the Harvard crew and Harry Parker (Never Before at Harvard or in History, June 28). I only rowed as a third-boat freshman for Harry, but I think Mr. Whall came as close as possible to describing his remarkable coaching ability.
E. JONATHAN BAYLEY
You quote Joe Burk, rowing coach at the University of Pennsylvania, as saying that this year's Harvard crew "is the greatest American crew there has ever been, college or club."
As an ex-coxswain for Vesper, my answer to that is, "Oh yeah!"
With all due respect to the fine Navy oarsmen, I would hardly call their 1-length victory at 1¾ miles over Wisconsin "beating the crew sox off" us.
The fact that neither Harvard nor Yale postponed The Boat Race so that they might enter the IRA regatta on Onondaga Lake shows just how much tradition is actually involved in this race and just how much it means to both crews to race each other over the four-mile course on the Thames, regardless of the distance between the two crews at the finish of the race.
I enjoy reading your magazine a lot, but I can't help but hope that your predictions about the Yankees, especially Mickey Mantle, are wrong.
As many people have said, "As Mantle goes, so go the Yankees." This was especially true on June 18. I had just finished reading the article Decline and Fall of a Dynasty (June 21) and your LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER in the same issue and had turned on the TV to a local station that was carrying the Yankee-Twins game, when, to my great joy, I watched Mickey Mantle step up to the plate with none out and bases loaded and hit a grand-slam home run. The game eventually turned into a 10-2 rout for the Yanks. I only hope that they can keep it up.
Let's hope that the end of Mickey Mantle's career is still a few years away.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
You listed all of the reasons why the Yankees were finished. I would like to list a few reasons why the Yanks are the team to beat this year and will be for years to come. First of all, there are Tom Tresh, Joe Pepitone and Phil Linz, all young players that are quite capable of becoming superstars. Secondly, there are Bobby Richardson, Elston Howard and Roger Maris.
And, by the way, don't retire No. 7 until he's ready.
The name of Colonel Jacob Ruppert was most conspicuous by its absence in your article, Decline and Fall of a Dynasty. Yet it was that master brewer who laid a foundation that firmly supported the vast Yankee empire for 44 years.
His purchase of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox, followed later by his acquisition of Pitcher Herb Pennock from the same club, still stands out in the minds of Bostonians as a deal equaled only by the Brink's robbery.
Jacob Ruppert was also the originator of king-size salary checks and, together with Ed Barrow, he affixed signatures to many documents that influenced the evolution not only of the Yankees but also that of baseball in general.
Future committees on selection of veterans for admission into the Hall of Fame should consider the name of a nonplayer, namely, Jacob Ruppert, for his contribution to baseball during a period when it was truly a sport and not a segment of the mass entertainment field.
RICHARD W. CANAVAN