COMMEDIA DELL' HUARTE
Your cover story (Quest for Stars, July 19) on the man who owns the Jets and "Injun Joe" Namath was most enlightening. Werblin's background is amazing. Now I understand why Alabama's leading sportswriter says Werblin doesn't care if Joe's knee makes him a 50-50 chance prospect because he's gotten his money's worth out of publicity already. But for the doubting Thomases among your readers I want to say that if Joe plays, Werblin will make millions with his star system. You say he has an "instinctive feeling that Namath will project better than Huarte." You bet. He creates excitement just looping onto the field with a cat-like slouch, and this old football fan does not believe she ever has or ever will again see anything to equal him.
FRANCES B. MATTHEWS
Anyone who would foist such garbage as Overland Trail, Treasury Men in Action, Markham, Shotgun Slade, Johnny Staccato, etc. ad infinitum on the American public must be suspected of duping the 35,000 suckers who bought season tickets.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
You stress the New York Jets and their roster of "actors," but neglect to tell us what dramatic form the conversion will take. Obviously, the farcical improvisations of the commedia dell' huarte.
JOHN O. LEVINSON
Who is Sonny Werblin trying to kid, claiming that he discovered Eddy Duchin? I remember Eddy when he played piano in Leo Reisman's band in the Egyptian Room, Hotel Brunswick, Boston, in the '20s. Werblin was just a kid at the time and living in Brooklyn.
August 1, 1965
I am writing to correct misstatements in an article by "Bill Veeck with Ed Linn" which appeared in your issue of May 24, 1965. The article dealt generally with the acquisition by CBS of the New York Yankees and undertook to review and express opinions about the propriety of my personal actions as a stockholder and Chairman of the Board of the Baltimore Orioles, as well as a stockholder of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The writers are entitled to their opinions as to the American League's wisdom in approving CBS as an owner of a major league team, but they should not have undertaken to characterize my actions and describe my part in the proceedings that anteceded that acquisition without at least checking the facts.
On page 45 the article states that Baltimore's vote in favor of CBS at the meeting of the American League owners in Boston was only made possible by my vote as Chairman of the Board of the Orioles in breaking a tie, three of the other directors having voted against the approval and three in favor. No such vote was ever cast by me as chairman nor was any such vote by me necessary. The facts are that at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Orioles held on August 17, 1964 consideration was given to the question whether the Orioles should request Mr. Cronin as President of the American League to call a meeting to discuss the approval of the CBS acquisition, which had already been given orally. On that narrow question, i.e., whether the Orioles should request Mr. Cronin to call a meeting, there were three votes in favor and three against "with Mr. Iglehart abstaining." (The quotation is from the minutes of the meeting.) The tie vote was not broken, by my vote or otherwise, and on that narrow question no action was taken.
When the meeting of the American League was called by Mr. Cronin, and the board of the Baltimore Orioles at a meeting on September 4 considered what position it should take at that meeting, the unanimous action of the board was to appoint a committee consisting of Messrs. MacPhail, Krieger and Dunn to represent Baltimore at the league meeting "with instructions to listen at the said meeting to all of the evidence and arguments in favor of, or against, approval of the said transaction, and with authority to vote on behalf of the Baltimore baseball club in such manner as a majority of the said committee might decide." It is therefore a completely erroneous statement, made in the Veeck-Linn article, that it was "his (my, Iglehart's) vote—the vote of a major stockholder of CBS—which put the deal through."
Two other matters require comment to complete and correct the picture which the Veeck-Linn article distorts. The fact is that after CBS acquired the Yankees with the league's approval, the action taken by me in putting my CBS stock in trust with the First National Bank of Baltimore as trustee was an action taken by me with the approval of and pursuant to the direction of the American League at its meeting in Clearwater, Fla. on March 29, 1965. Whether or not Mr. Veeck approves of that action is somewhat beside the point. It was the action officially directed by the American League, which I complied with.
The second point which requires explanation is that long before and quite apart from CBS' acquisition of the New York Yankees, I for some time had been unhappy with my associates in the ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. I had been attempting for some time to acquire the stock of one of the other two large stockholders, whose stock, together with the stock I already owned, would have given me control of the club. Had I been able to effect that purchase, I would have remained as the controlling stockholder of the Orioles and would have been happy to continue to serve as chairman of its board or in any other capacity that its directors would have requested. Being unsuccessful in my efforts to acquire that stock, I was forced to act pursuant to an agreement which had been made some years before between me and that other stockholder under which either of us had a right, if we received an offer for our stock from an outside person to notify the other and to give the other the opportunity either a) to buy the stock at the same price as the outside offer or b) to sell the stock at that price. I repeat that my negotiations with that other stockholder had extended for more than a year prior to the Yankee acquisition.
On May 16, 1965, nine days before the Veeck-Linn article was published in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and, accordingly, as no result of that article, I did in fact receive an offer from a third party for my stock in the Orioles and, in accordance with my agreement with the other Oriole stockholder, I notified him of that offer. He decided to exercise his option to purchase my stock and did in fact do so. I make this comment because it has been suggested that my sale of the Oriole stock was influenced by the Veeck-Linn article. This is as erroneous as was the statement in the article that my vote broke the deadlock on the Board of Directors of the Orioles.
Although it does not relate directly to the Veeck article, I cannot end this letter without referring to a statement made by Mr. Veeck as quoted in the newspapers after the announcement of my sale of my Oriole stock. Mr. Veeck was quoted as stating "Iglehart has been in direct violation of the baseball rules and this is the honorable way out." That I was not in violation of the baseball rules is evidenced by the facts already referred to that the action taken by me in continuing to own Oriole stock and act as chairman of the board of the Orioles while I placed my CBS stock in trust with the First National Bank in Baltimore was in full compliance with the directions to me by the American League. My comment in response to Mr. Veeck's statement in the newspaper was given out to a television station in Baltimore. That statement read in part:
"...At no time during any meeting of the Board of Directors of the Orioles or at any American League meeting did I ever vote in favor of the acquisition of the Yankees by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. Had I voted, I would have voted in favor of CBS buying the Yankees as I think it is a good thing for baseball...."
J. A. W. IGLEHART
•Mr. Iglehart is correct when he says that at no time did he cast a vote in favor of the acquisition of the Yankees by CBS. He is not correct when he accuses us of misstating the effect of his part in the proceedings. Mr. Veeck wrote that "it was his vote—the vote of a major stockholder of CBS—which put the deal through." He should have written: "It was his decision—the decision of a major stockholder of CBS—not to vote that helped secure the deal." When it came time for Iglehart to vote, three Oriole directors had declared in favor of asking American League President Joe Cronin to call a special meeting to investigate the sale; three had declared against such a request. Mr. Iglehart had already pronounced himself in favor of the deal. Without his vote at the Baltimore meeting, the board stood deadlocked and could take no action against it. His abstention thus was, in effect, a vote against the investigation and in favor of the CBS deal.
As for Mr. Iglehart's "other matters": 1) Mr. Veeck expressed neither approval nor disapproval of Mr. Iglehart's decision to put his CBS stock in trust. He said the league owners gave Iglehart a choice of selling his CBS stock, selling his Baltimore stock or putting his CBS stock in trust. "This," he went on, "was tantamount to giving him the choice of cutting off his right arm, cutting off his left arm or clipping his fingernails.... Iglehart decided to go for the manicure." 2) Neither SI nor Bill Veeck made any remarks whatever about Mr. Iglehart's happiness or unhappiness with his associates in the ownership of the Baltimore Orioles, and we consider his eventual decision to sell his stock in that organization as well as his decision to become a board member of the CBS Yankees his own business.
We are grateful to Mr. Iglehart for setting the record straight and for his generosity in granting our writers title to their own views. We do not, most emphatically, share his opinion of Mr. Veeck's reliability.—ED.
I really got a bang out of John Underwood's The Hardest-hitting Snead (July 5). Even if it's all true it beats anything that emerged from a liars' club convention that this writer has heard lately. Why, I'll bet he (Homer Snead) could outbox Clay, outhit Mays, outrun Wills, rewire the World's Fair and teach me to win the U.S. Open.
CARL E. COLLANDER JR.
Underwood should get an award.
MAN TO MANN
I would like to apologize for the quote attributed to me in Jack Mann's Five-way Fight for a Pennant, July 19. "Boston, Washington and Kansas City have no pitching...and hurt the race by being almost patsies." Evidently, I have a little trouble expressing myself.
Maybe someone else enjoys hitting against Richert, Daniels, McCormick, Radatz, Wilson, Monbouquette, Wyatt, Sheldon, Talbot—but I certainly haven't done too well with them this season.
The Washington "patsies" beat us four out of six last season coming down the stretch to knock us out of the World Series. The K.C. "patsies" have done pretty well against the White Sox this year also.