JOCKO, JACKIE AND TED
Jocko Conlan's story, Nobody Loves an Umpire (June 26 and July 3), is typical of someone trying to promote something. He spoke of an incident in Japan that is certainly a self-projecting story. It is so representative of Jocko, with his great ego. If you checked facts you would find that Con-Ian, while one of the better umpires, was a little man not only in stature but in actions. Check to see the incidents he provoked because the umpire's uniform gave him a little power.
His relating of the alleged incident of the baseball players winking at him and his naming the Negro players is so typical of those who don't want any tag attached to them. I'll bet Jocko cannot get either of the players to back him up.
Finally, I did not go into baseball to be liked by him or anyone else. I had other motives. I am sure Jocko preferred that I be the quiet Negro who did not speak up when wronged. Those days have long since passed, and while Jocko let it be known he disliked Jackie Robinson, the feeling is mutual. One cannot make it by doing things that everybody likes.
I did my best. Jocko's likes or dislikes are of no concern to me. I can only repeat that what I read was either an attempt to build his already overstuffed ego or to project his book. I am certain honorable people see through his selfish motives.
New York City
July 23, 1967
Hats off to Jocko Conlan for pointing out some of the real and positive things about Ted Williams. From the time I was a kid and followed baseball, I always remember how Williams was pictured as being some type of villain instead of probably the greatest baseball player of all times.
Some people forget that he was a pilot in two wars and that he is a very modest individual. The last time I saw Ted Williams was in 1953 when we just happened to be on the same plane coming back from the Korean war. There were 110 wounded veterans on this plane, and I think only two of us knew that Ted Williams was aboard. Knowing the type of man he was, we didn't bother him regarding his baseball career, and he in turn was very quiet when he walked through the plane's cabin.
CHARLES W. RAYMOND
Robert Creamer's two-part feature on Jocko Conlan was superb, but it didn't say enough about Jocko's career as a player. We saw a lot of Jocko when he was here in Montreal in the early 1930s with the International League's Montreal Royals. He was a southpaw center fielder, with good range, and a better-than-fair hitter. But what is most remembered about Jocko is his gutsy attitude; he'd never back up to anybody.
One day at the park Paul Derringer, then pitching for Rochester before he made it big with Cincinnati, was giving Conlan an awful ride from the bench. Derringer went about 220 pounds to Jocko's 160. First thing we knew Conlan was making a beeline for the Wings' dugout and, before they pulled him away from Derringer and threw him out of the game, he'd made mincemeat out of the big pitcher.
There aren't many like Jocko Conlan nowadays.
PAUL M. DAVIS
Night News Editor
The Montreal Star
THIS IS LIVING?
It was trying enough to read Bob Crozier, the Jesuit priest, on auto racing and then Bill Russell, the basketball player, on morality, but Life with the Jax Pack (July 10) really did it. What are articles and/or authors such as these doing in a magazine supposedly dedicated to sports? Next thing you know Playboy's centerfold will feature Buck-passer sans saddlecloth or that turbine car with its gears stripped.
Gentlemen, please! Back to sports.
CHARLES P. MESKELL
Not only can someone in southern California imagine a world without the Jax Pack, but the prospect alone has made me deliriously happy.
MRS. MILTON ROSENBLUM
NEGRO AND LATIN POWER
The American League may indeed have a slight edge in pitching over the National League (A Thunderation of Sluggers, July 3), but no one who studies baseball could believe it is anywhere near as large as the National League's edge in hitting. The reason for this appears to me to be obvious, and Billy Hitchcock hit it right on the nose. The National League has a tremendous edge in the number of Negro and Latin players, and there is little doubt that these ballplayers dominate hitting.
Some 24 of the National League's top 38 players are Negro or Latin. Only 11 of the top 36 in the American League are Negro or Latin. Another amazing fact is that the great hitting teams in the National League—the Pirates, Braves, Giants and Cards—depend almost entirely on Negro and Latin players for their hitting. No such situation exists in the American League.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
I deeply resent the tone and falsehoods of your SCORECARD article (July 17) concerning my senior doubles tennis match at Wimbledon with partner Gardnar Mulloy. I went on the court ill with flu, bundled in long pants, sweater and cap. I certainly did not play my best.
My tennis titles span 43 years, and I have kept net fans on three continents laughing with my assortment of spins, chops and dipsy-doodle serves. I am one of the few players in the world able to bounce the ball back over the net on serve and the only player ever to bounce the ball back under the net on serve. My strange game has amazed, intrigued and perplexed the press from coast to coast. It has excited unusual comment in Mexico City, Barranquilla, Monte Carlo, etc., but never have I been the victim of such irresponsible and humiliating reporting as that week in the London Daily Express—a story that you apparently took at face value.
I have never pretended to be a world-class player. I have played with and against the best for the past 25 years. Players and spectators alike have enjoyed my unorthodox game. Now, through erroneous reporting, I have been held up to ridicule, as a fumbling rich American banker who appeared on the courts of Wimbledon as Mulloy's partner only because I had so much influence he didn't dare refuse me.
The fact is that I am a doubles player in my own right. Mulloy, the umpire and our opponents will all testify, as would any one of the spectators, that I did not knock down Mulloy on match point, as reported. In fact, there were no collisions or falls throughout the match. What is more, both Mulloy and I lost serve to lose the first set 6-1. We both held serve through 4-all in games in the second set when Mulloy lost his, and we lost the set and match 6-4. I scored any number of points, not just one as reported.
As for Prince Rainier falling off his chair, laughing, when I played at Monte Carlo, he laughed because my unorthodox style befuddled our opponents, not because I was ridiculous, as your report intimated. We won the title there in 1960.
And as for achieving an alleged lifelong ambition to play at Wimbledon and begging Mulloy to take me there, had I had such an ambition I would have played there before. Mulloy asked me to play with him and, as any player would be, I was glad to accept. I thought Wimbledon would be an appropriate place to play my last major match. The doctors have warned me against continuing play. Whether Mulloy and I ever play together again—and we have played together many times—will depend on my bad knee.
Finally, I did not serve underhand at Wimbledon. Why? Because I was sick.
I prefer to end an entertaining and creditable—if not distinguished—career standing on the factual record.
North Webster, Ind.
•Gardnar Mulloy confirms that SI—not Mr. Shoop—was serving underhand.—ED.
It brought moisture to my eyes to read about the pros having such a tough time on the Montreal municipal course during the Canadian Open (Beating 17 Greens and a Brown, July 10). The pros collect a lot of money writing about how to play golf, but most of us who try to follow their instructions play on municipal courses instead of on the fancy ones. No wonder we have so much trouble. The pros, too, have a hard time on municipal courses.
My eyes are dry now and, instead, there is a little smile. Really, I am glad the chiefs found out how tough the Indians have it.
PARK HUFFMAN, M.D.
South Whitley, Ind.
HAIL NO. 3
In your article on the remodeled 12-meter Columbia (There's Life in the Old Girl Yet, July 10) you stated, "The original Columbia came off Olin Stephens' drawing board in 1957." Recently I found a color print in the cellar of a cottage on the coast of Maine entitled Columbia, the Old Defender. The newspapers in back of the old print were dated 1899. Was she the original Columbia?
SHIRLEY J. NORTON
South Portland, Me.
•The first Columbia, a swift center-board schooner, helped to defend the cup in 1871 against Livonia. She broke her steering gear in the third race, and Sappho resumed the defense. The second Columbia was designed by the famed Nathanial Herreshoff and successfully raced in 1899 and in 1901 against the first two of Sir Thomas Lipton's five Shamrocks.—ED.