What was on William Leggett's mind when he wrote A Dying Team Screams for Help (May 16)? To see how much he could run the Yankees down? With all that talk about how bad the Yankee organization is and what is in store for them in the future, I would like to remind Leggett that, regardless of what the Yanks look like now, no other team will ever attain the same high degree of year-after-year championship baseball. I hope the Yankees bounce back and cause all the other teams to cry like they used to! Then you would really have something to hack and cough about. Yankees forever!
Rio Dell, Calif.
The Yankees are down now, but don't be naive enough to count them out!
You will probably receive at least nine vituperative letters for every one that agrees with Leggett's sentiments. Yankee fans, as a breed, tend to be so emotional that they write off all opposition as mere jealousy. Any sane Yankee hater will admit some envy at the core. But it goes much deeper than that. We were nauseated that for a quarter of a century they retained that master of the myth of invincibility, Mel Allen. We despised the business image of the brass, and we just didn't take to the idea of being treated as dirt by their contemptuous ushers! Our era began on a Sunday in October 1963, when lugubrious Mel, with tears in his voice, wrapped up the fourth and final game of the World Series. Even in our finest hour, humiliated Yankee fans rebuffed our jibes with echoes of ancient glory. Now that's all they have, and we're exultant.
Hooray for Bill Leggett!
May 29, 1966
During the recently completed National Hockey League season, I thought I noticed more articles on hockey than there had been the year before, and your LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (May 16) confirmed this. I congratulate SI on its new policy, and I can assure you that television will add tremendously to the popularity of hockey throughout the country.
I must, however, disagree with your views on fights and brawls during hockey games. I think most people enjoy watching the players roughing it up and at certain times this is necessary, particularly when one player is hanging on to another and holding him and hooking him as Bryan Watson did to Bobby Hull in the Stanley Cup semifinals. As you said, as soon as Montreal had defused Superpest, he was no longer effective.
"It's bigger than bingo" (May 16), is it? It sure is, and bowling is also bigger than baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, tennis, track and field, hunting and fishing. It is much bigger than automobile racing, boating, boxing, curling, and lacrosse. Granted it doesn't draw as a spectator sport, but bowling must be about the No. 1 participant sport in the country. For countless weeks I have followed your magazine, fruitlessly seeking information on my favorite sport. At last, four whole pages. And what happens? You've made a joke of it.
Your attitude toward bowling (as reflected by Artist Marc Simont's portrayal of male bowlers as gorillas and female bowlers as kooks in stretch pants) is a gratuitous insult to the 40 million Americans who take part regularly in this fascinating and frustrating sport.
I have always found SI to be a highly entertaining, informative source of vicarious enjoyment of the fascinating world of sport and recreation. You reconfirmed my delight with your humorous spoof of bowling.
Fortunately, the world of bowling can laugh at itself, and I hope the game never loses that unique ability. Beyond their humor, the drawings brought home a bowling fact of which we in the industry are proud—that the game provides an exciting appeal and challenge to people of all ages and physical capacities.
J. F. URBANEK
President, Bowling Division,
THE BIRD IN THE BUSH
As a rabid Astro fan, I feel compelled to answer your charge that the National League should put a stop to the needling of visiting pitchers by our electric scoreboard (SCORECARD, May 16). Somehow "the thing" never seems to bother the Koufaxes, the Drysdales and the Marichals, but only losers like the Cubs' Faul, who has been known to rely on hypnosis to play baseball.
Also, you stated that Houston was bush. If this is so, the business in the bush country is booming. Four and a half million people from all over the world came to see our electrical monstrosity in 1965.
J. W. BROWN
You surely embarrassed Pitcher Bill Faul of the Cubs by making an issue out of his complaint over the glaring Astrodome scoreboard. What's next? Do you advocate ridding basketball of cheerleaders and pep squads or football of bands, sirens and blaring trumpets? Do you want the loud-voiced fan thrown out of the ball park because he screams "Kill the umpire"? Must the home fans subdue their cheers and boos because they outnumber the fans of the visiting team?
Don't let envy or provincialism blind you to the fact that Houston has something—many things—that New York has not.
THE REV. JAMES McHARDY, C.M.
I was wondering if you could define the word "bush" for me. The more I read your outstanding magazine, the more it appears that the definition of bush is "anything out of the ordinary that occurs outside of the City of New York." I have a hunch that the fine and enthusiastic New York Met fans would be called bush by many New Yorkers if the Mets were located anywhere other than in New York. I would also like to point out that there is no sound effect connected with the rhythmic clapping, and that we have not once run the scoreboard when the ball was in play or when the pitcher was preparing to pitch. The clapping is always done between batters. We believe that any fan who has attended a game in the Astrodome finds the scoreboard to be an added bonus to the enjoyment of the game.
Vice-President, Houston Astros
UP WITH DUELS
Your fine story on the UCLA-USC dual track meet (If at First You Don't Succeed, May 16) is just what this sport needs more of. The sports-page publicity glamorizing the big relay carnivals and the big invitational meets has done far too much to destroy the college dual meet. Because of it, coaches have found they can get just as many columns out of one topnotch "star" as they used to get out of a whole team. There are only a few coaches left, on the East Coast particularly, earnest and devoted enough to their sport to field an entire team for 18 separate events. Only a saint, it seems, would be willing to coach three deep in each event and thus provide a challenge for some 30 to 40 boys when he can work on one performer and grab all the headlines in a single big meet. More stories like yours on the dual meet out West will encourage those few coaches who are willing.
WILLIE AND WIMPY
I thought Jack Tobin's article, Willie Mosconi Comes out Shooting (May 2), was a bit unfair to pool and to Mr. Mosconi. The article obscures the fact that Mosconi is no longer champion. He tried to come back but lost to Joe Balsis. What's more, to imply that Mosconi and pool are synonymous is to do a great disservice to the game.
I admit Mosconi has one of the smoothest "classic" styles. Yet Irving Crane and Balsis are equally smooth and Balsis is apparently more effective. As a matter of fact, I've always felt that Mosconi has been rather sour on the game. He has never even appeared at the world championship tournament in New York since it was revived in 1963.
The pool world is a world of its own, where nerve, the gambling instinct and playing ability all count. Radio, television, the public image and publicity make very little difference. The absence of these foreign influences makes the world of pocket billiards a uniquely interesting one. Some of your past articles have captured the true atmosphere of pool and treated the game fairly. Jack Olsen's article, The Pool Hustlers (March 20, 1961), and Tom Fox's article on Luther (Wimpy) Lassiter (March 23, 1964) both did this.
Rather than write about Mosconi this year, you should have covered Wimpy's dramatic finish in the world tournament in New York. His final string of 85 balls which beat Cisero Murphy marked Lassiter as one of the greatest competitors in any sport. His exciting, hazardous style was never more evident. Despite the fact that he was very much off his game and in serious trouble on every rack, he still went on to win.
Mosconi chose to make his comeback in one of the few tournaments Wimpy didn't attend. I'm sure Lassiter would be glad to accept a challenge from Mosconi, a three-or four-day marathon, the way pool ought to be played.