Mis felicitaciónes on your excellent article on the finest left-hander ever to throw a béisbol on either side of the border (El Spahnie of Los Tigres, July 4). It should be noted, however, that Warren Spahn, winner of 363 major league games, earned his first Mexican League victory just before the article appeared. He led Poza Rica, 11-1, before retiring in the seventh inning, which, to borrow a phrase from the Sandy Koufax boosters, is not bad for a guy with no spring training.
We who believe that Spahn still belongs in the major leagues (he could have won a dozen games last year with better support) can only hope that some bilingual general manager will remember that he was a 23-game winner with the Milwaukee Braves just three years ago. El Halcón—the Hawk—could bring some vitally needed wins to any American or National League pennant contender in the last half of the season.
I had the privilege of watching Spahn pitch a complete game four-hitter against St. Louis last year in Candlestick Park. He allowed two earned runs and lost as Bob Purkey shut out the Giants, but couldn't the Giants use a guy this year who throws four-hitters?
Couldn't everybody use a guy this year who throws four-hitters?
Santa Monica, Calif.
July 24, 1966
Myron Cope's excellent piece showed what a great reputation was willing to do just for the chance to pitch in the game he loved so very much.
Le Center, Minn.
Congratulations on a fine article on one of the truly alltime great pitchers of baseball.
Delighted as I am to see a story on our illustrious roadrunncr (SCORECARD, July 11), it pains me to point out that my favorite artist, Bill Charmatz, has portrayed that peerless paisano with three of his toes pointing forward on each foot.
One of the distinctive characteristics of the roadrunner is the fact that he has two toes pointing forward and two backward, so that his tracks resemble the letter X. Thus, when you try to follow a roadrunner's trail in the dust, you can't tell whether he went thisaway or thataway. Some of the local Indians have decorated infants' cradle-boards with symbols of roadrunner tracks to confuse evil spirits.
I won't even comment on the way you drew the paisano's tail. The Democrats and the Republicans of New Mexico started arguing about the angle of the tilt of the tail four years ago, and the controversy still continues.
Would you sort of run over that part again about how Ralph Houk made that immense improvement in the CBS Yankees (The Big Yankee Turnabout, June 20)? They sure have improved. Why, I recall when Ralph took over they were only 4-16 and all of 12 games back. Now they are 40-49 and only 18½ games back.
I imagine that dodo manager they fired, Johnny Keane, is wearing a smile about two feet wide. Psychology and pats on the back sure are wonderful. If this improvement keeps up, they might reach .500 by October. Ah, this is what we old charter-member Yankee-haters have lived and breathed for for 30 years. I hope the Yankees have to wait as long as we did to get back to the top of the heap.
JOHN E. HERZOG
Mr. Koppett's profound analysis of the psychological effects Ralph Houk had on the Yankees after he replaced Johnny Keane was most enjoyable. We are looking forward to other masterpieces and suggest that the far-seeing author regale us with a piece perhaps entitled "Why the Yankees Are Happier Losing for Houk Than They Were Losing for Johnny Keane."
ROY S. JAMES
St. Petersburg, Fla.
I commend you on your article about slow play in golf (Perils of Paralysis, July 11), but you skimmed over some points which deserve more attention. All players should cooperate 100%; with others in their group in keeping their eyes on balls hit astray. A group effort in looking at a shot headed toward the rough, for instance, can do much to cut down looking time. The same is true for balls hit out of bounds or in hazards.
Jack Nicklaus does not need to apologize for his showing in the USGA Open Championship (Stopwatches Are Not the Answer, July 11), and I am sure this was not his intention, but his approach to the problem of slow play is not convincing. Jack admits he falls in the class of slow players and argues that to change his tempo would be unfair. Yet he admonishes amateurs to play briskly because by doing so their scores will be lower. He tries to draw a distinction between professional and amateur play. The incentives to win at amateur golf are just as great as in professional golf. The view that money makes a difference is erroneous.
Nicklaus has had a distinguished career and has contributed much to golf in many ways, including constant study of the Rules; but I think he would add to this contribution by following his own advice to amateurs of which group he is one of the outstanding graduates.
New York City
Someone should wise the slowpokes up that it is a great deal more pleasurable to play several rounds a day at a faster pace, and get more chances at a good score.
B. H. SANDS
I hope your article has some effect on your many golfing readers, because I'll never break 80 if I have to play at 6 a.m. on Wednesday on the toughest public course in the county just to beat the crowds.
ROBERT J. HUSSON
I have yet to see a weekend golfer take 2½ minutes for one putt. I think amateur golfers should be allowed to play at their own speed to really enjoy the game.
Maple Glenn, Pa.
In your letters column of June 6, Bruce Montgomery of East Lansing, Mich. states, "As far as the actual length of a round of golf goes, I think it is important that the individual golfer play at the speed most comfortable for him."
I have never been to East Lansing, but apparently there is a golf club there with starting times which only permit people to tee off about an hour apart. Otherwise, the slowest and most selfish golfer at East Lansing, as on every golf course, will force everyone on the entire 18 holes to ultimately play at his speed. It is just not possible to have the individual play at the speed most comfortable to him.
It is not, however, the slow, deliberate player who keeps his mind on the game and maybe takes an extra practice swing or two that really holds up people on a golf course. It is the thoughtless and rude people who park their bags on the wrong side of the green, who stand on the green while they tally a scorecard after everyone has putted, who haggle over bets when they should be hitting off the tee, and who otherwise waste time without benefit to their game or anyone else's who must be dealt with if the game is to be speeded up for everyone's enjoyment.
Golf on the average course could be sped up by at least an hour per 18-hole round if everyone simply remembered their manners. It would not be necessary for a deliberate golfer to make a single shot in haste in order for this to be accomplished.
MORRISON M. BUMP
Body Johnson's story of the Dempsey-Gibbons fight (The Fight That Won't Stay Dead, July 4) intrigued me and brought back many memories. I was co-publisher of the Shelby Promoter at the time, writing and even setting type. Fight day, I left the arena at the 13th round when it became apparent Dempsey would win on points. I went to the shop, set the story directly on the linotype keyboard, 2 col., 12 pt., headed it DEMPSEY WINS and met the crowd returning downtown with the paper, really "hot off the press." We printed 7,000 copies, sold all but a very few. Newsboys were there from Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, and they had a field day, getting as much as $1 a copy as the supply neared an end.
We had the safe full of nickels, dimes and quarters that night, and it's good we did, for shortly afterward the First State Bank, the First National Bank of Shelby, and the Stanton Trust and Savings Bank of Great Falls failed to open. Our bank accounts were frozen, and we had to pay off the help mostly in small change.
On the day of the fight we had seven people working at the paper. Next morning there were two—my father, John F. Kavanagh, and myself. We struggled through two bad years, but in 1925 the town came back and the Shelby Promoter celebrated by printing 10,000 copies of an "Achievement Edition," which contained 40 pages. The town today has more than 4,000 people, and the publisher of the Shelby Promoter is my nephew, another John F. Kavanagh. His father, W. C. Kavanagh, is the owner.
C. T. KAVANAGH