I'm glad your "transom" was big enough to accommodate Gerard W. O'Connor. His essay, Yes, Darling, but Who Was on Third? (April 24), evoked pangs of delight, nostalgia—and frustration. Who did tackle Phil Colella?
RICHARD A. RANCATORE
Gerard O'Connor is apparently a camp dilettante, one who possesses a sound knowledge of many sports but cannot settle on any one in particular. Although baseball crops up most often in his article he has exhibited a terrible lack of discrimination in his choices. For example, anybody who knows baseball and is familiar with camp can tell you about Harry Steinfeldt. A real camp baseball fan would be able to recall how many double plays Tinker, Evers and Chance completed during their best year. (It was only one-fourth of the total turned in by any decent double-play combination nowadays.) He would also be able to discourse on the lack of rapport between Evers and Chance, and remark on Tinker's fantastic hitting ability against Christy Mathewson. Any camp fan would know that Clarence Mitchell, a Dodger pitcher, was the victim of Wambsganss' triple play, but the fascinating feature of this incident (from a camp point of view) was that Mitchell hit into a double play on his next trip to the plate, thus accounting for five outs in two at bats.
For some camp questions to separate the men from the boys, consider these two:
1) In the seventh inning of the seventh game of the 1952 World Series, Billy Martin of the Yankees made a last-second catch of an infield pop-up hit by Jackie Robinson to erase the final Dodger threat of the Series. Everyone remembers Martin and Robinson, but who was the pitcher who made it possible? Here's a clue. It was his only appearance of the Series, but that wasn't surprising because he had done the same thing the year before against the Giants when he made his only appearance in the ninth inning of the sixth and final game and retired Sal Yvars for the last out when Hank Bauer made a sitting catch in right field.
2) In the 1948 Series Bob Feller faced Johnny Sain in the opener. Everyone remembers that Feller and Boudreau picked a Brave cleanly off second (as pictures in papers around the country showed the next day), only to have the umpire call him safe. The runner scored shortly after for the only run of the game and Feller never came that close to winning a World Series game again. Who was the base runner?
Anybody who can answer these two questions deserves to be called a camp expert.
•Answers for noncampers: Bob Kuzava pitched to Jackie Robinson in the 1952 Series. Phil Masi, running for Catcher Bill Salkeld, scored the winning run in the 1948 opener.—ED.
Yes, everybody does know who Billy Wambsganss is. Lots of people know it was Clarence Mitchell on the other end of that liner, and I bet quite a few even know that his teammates on base were Miller and Kilduff. What is camp is knowing that Wambsganss led the American League that year in most errors by a second baseman!
PETER A. BERKOWSKY
Would it be pure Camp to know who the quarterback was on the first All-America?
HITS AND ERRORS
Congratulations on the pictures and the article by William Leggett about Roger Maris (A Roar for Roger, April 24). They combine to capture exactly the sentiments of the St. Louis fans and the extra effort given by Roger to please them. It is about time someone realized the potential of a player who hits 61 home runs in a season.
JOHN F. RICE
Your William Leggett reveals a touch of pretentious pseudoeducated snobbery in quoting Roger Maris as saying, "There must of been a reason for it." Practically every native speaker of standard English makes for that unstressed have a sound that can be represented by the spelling of (phonetically ov). The fault lies not in saying it but in writing it. Likewise, it is doubtful that the late prizefight manager Joe Jacobs' famous remark, "I should of stood in bed," represents what was really said, which is rather difficult to pronounce, although it is often written that way.
PHILIP B. GOVE
G. & C. Merriam Company
•Leggett should of known better.—ED.
In his article The Fans Get the Booby Prize (April 24), Frank Deford criticized the fans in Boston, Philadelphia and St. Louis, but he neglected to mention the fact that no eggs, Snickers bars, rocks or cigarette lighters were thrown in St. Louis until after the egg was thrown in San Francisco. The Warrior fans also showered the court with coins, paper, rubbish and other debris each time the officials made a call against the home team, no matter how obvious the infractions were. It was the San Francisco fans and Barry himself who inspired the reaction from the St. Louis crowd. Their actions cannot be condoned, but if you were going to criticize the spectators you should not have omitted San Francisco.
I can understand why the fans were irate. Rick Barry said that the St. Louis fans were for the birds and then he twice showed up late for the games in St. Louis just to draw attention to himself. And as for the egg throwing, it all started in San Francisco.
The recent rejection by the International Track & Field Federation of Jim Ryun's 1:44.9 half mile as a world record because of the failure of the AAU to sign the application strongly suggests blatant stupidity on the part of the AAU and incredibly inflexible bureaucracy on the part of the ITFF, and/or further petty and immature hanky-panky in the struggle for supremacy between so-called governing bodies of track and field.
In either event, it would seem that no existing group is mature enough to have jurisdiction over the activities of athletes who themselves ceased to behave like children when they left grammar school. There is little hope for self-improvement; the Federal Government, too, has failed to straighten out the situation. It is obviously up to the interested public to act before other serious consequences result—like the fouling-up of our Olympic effort. Perhaps SI or its readers can generate some worthwhile suggestions.
Whitney Tower's report on the Grand National at Aintree (Disaster at a Thorny Barricade, April 17) was excellent and should do much to stimulate American interest in what is certainly the world's greatest steeplechase. It is the constant recurrence of the unexpected that has made the Grand National what it is, and we had the full measure of that this year.
Since time is a big factor in most U.S. races, it is interesting to note how Foinavon fared on that score. This obscure outsider returned a time three seconds faster than the 1966 winner, Anglo, who had a trouble-free run. Quite a creditable performance for a 100-to-1 shot.
On Saturday, April 8, Redwood High School in Marin County, Calif. held its recently established John F. Kennedy Memorial 50-mile hike. One of the high finishers was my 14-year-old brother, Stuart, who came in third out of 67. Part of the credit goes to a diet he discovered in SI. After reading about Swimmer Steve Rerych's unusual concoction (He's a Long Drink of Clop, March 27), Stuart started taking a dose of glop every night.
Even though my brother has not grown much yet, his success in the hike has caused a great deal of excitement. Other potential athletes around here are beginning to take glop, too.
Mill Valley, Calif.
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
Congratulations on your fine report on the world ice hockey championships in Vienna (No Red Guard in Vienna, April 10). As a Swedish fan, I enjoyed reading the story but not finding out that the world title is regarded with "kindly tolerance" by the NHL.
I've had the opportunity to watch both this year's NHL winner, the Chicago Black Hawks, and the Russian national team, and I'm not quite as sure as the NHL people seem to be about the outcome of a game or a series of games between these two teams.
The Russians are excellent hockey players, with superb skating, very smart stickhandling, good body checking and passes and combinations that are out of this world. Their power plays are not quite as good—but just wait a few years.
The Soviet team has run out of competition in the amateur hockey world. It both needs and ought to get a chance against a professional team. Otherwise the Russians might stop improving and even Sweden could catch up with them.