I would like to take this opportunity to commend SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and John Underwood for an excellent story, Best Kept Secrets (June 12). This article was unquestionably one of the best in-depth stories on the decathlon that I have ever read.
I would also like to comment on another story on the national AAU track and field meet held in Bakersfield, Calif., which is located in the center of the congressional district I represent (See You Later, Jim Ryun, July 3). The author, Pete Axthelm, described Bakersfield in some rather uncomplimentary terms and has aroused some concerned citizens in this great city. Bakersfield is a fine, growing community. I doubt that very many people who visit Bakersfield remember it for its hard-visaged waitresses. Perhaps in the author's effort to color his story he spent too much time behind his typewriter and not enough out meeting the friendly people and enjoying the wonderful hospitality of this gracious community.
REPRESENTATIVE BOB MATHIAS
The article by Herman Weiskopf on the spitball (The Infamous Spitter, July 31) was very informative and entertaining. Apparently the repeal-vs.-enforce controversy will go on, but I would like to comment on the supposed nonenforceability of the rule. It seems to me that Cal Hubbard and the umpires are merely evading the issue by saying that it is impossible to prove that a pitcher is throwing a True, but so what? Neither is it possible to prove that a runner is tagged out on a close play, but spitter. the umpire makes a decision just the same, and no proof is involved. More to the point, the umpire can hardly prove that a pitcher is throwing a beanball, but fines are assessed not infrequently. Certainly an interpretation of the rules is involved, but any such interpretation must be preceded by a judgment on the part of the umpire that a given rule must be applied in the first place.
Thus the umpire's traditional plea that the rule cannot be enforced is woefully weak. It can and should be enforced the same as any other rule of the game—as long as it remains a rule, which isn't long. I hope.
ROGERS W. REDDING
Once again you have succeeded in reminding your female subscribers that understanding the realm of baseball takes not only a brave heart but a strong stomach as well.
DIANE H. BASSOTTI
I found The Infamous Spitter quite interesting. But I was somewhat amused by the mention of Gil Hodges and his letter to League President Joe Cronin.
I remember Preacher Roe and the article concerning him (SI, July 4, 1955). I was an avid Brooklyn fan and, if my memory is correct, the article stated that Preacher Roe often had Gil Hodges load up the ball for him. I wonder why Mr. Hodges had such a change of heart.
WILLIAM M. SETEK JR.
•It was not Hodges but Pee Wee Reese. But Roe did say in the same article that Hodges was on the receiving end of some wet throws to first.—ED.
For the first time in my seven-year career as a Senator fan a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer has been complimentary (BASEBALL'S WEEK, July 31). As I write this the Nats are winning the 16th of 21 games that took them from last to sixth (no, it just ended, Nats 3, Angels 2, making two nights in a row over the red-hot Angels). The Senators don't hammer out, steal or bomb the opposition to get their runs. How they do it is beyond the power of research and observation. The team batting average is a little over .220, the leading hitter is at .261 and the only representative to the All-Star Game (Casanova) did not play. True, Frank Howard is a leader in the home-run department, but he has hit all but a couple of his titanic blasts with no one on base. There are many things wrong with the Senators, but an inability to outscore the other team is not one of them. Fans are aching for attention in this time of civic glory. Do we get it?
Summer Surfers Invade Hawaii (July 24) is the first magazine article that has ever provoked me enough to retaliate. I'm sure the author enjoyed visiting Hawaii to find the In crowd, but the group that Dan Jenkins described can be found every warm summer day at the California beaches. And at many—like T Street in San Clemente, or at the Huntington cliffs or Malibu—there are few 40-year-old tourists to spoil things with their umbrellas and beach balls and rubber rafts. How come Mr. Jenkins surfaced in Hawaii instead of any of these other places? And his In language—man, it was Out when "Kookie" Byrnes left 77 Sunset Strip.
NOT "CARGANDO LA SUERTE"
Olé for the article by un aficionado serio—John McCormick (Ten Toreros in Need of a Bull, July 24). One reads so much nonsense on bullfighting—usually ignorant praise of El Cordobés—that it is welcome indeed to find something so well-written and knowledgeable. Mr. McCormick put his linger on the main trouble with modern bullfighting—lack of the toro bravo—and made very accurate estimates of most of the toreros en activo today.
We subscribe completely to Mr. McCormick's nomination of both Paco Camino and Antonio Ordó√±ez as No. 1s. But the ayudado par alto being executed by Ordó√±ez in the picture is not a good example. He is miles away from the bull and not cargando la suerte. We would have welcomed a stronger condemnation of El Cordobés, but our only quarrel with McCormick's estimate of toreros is his view of Santiago Martín (El Viti). He need never smile, as far as we're concerned, to be the honrado torero and first-rate killer that he is. His technique is not degenerating, and he fights no more Salamanca sheep than any of the other top boys. We have seen him fight excellently with bulls of great casta, as well as getting faenas out of mansos de solemnidad.
JOHN AND ELEANOR McCLUSKEY
CASH ON DELIVERY
The recent squabble between the touring golf professionals and their own organization, the PGA (SCORECARD, July 31), impels this disillusioned golfing buff to seek some clarification on one point. The public generally understands that those who are qualified for appearance on the tour have the option of skipping tournaments. For several years now Messrs. Palmer, Nicklaus and Player have bypassed our annual 500 tournament despite the fact that Owner Tony Hulman has invested untold thousands in a complete redesigning and beefing up of the local Speedway Golf Club layout, where the 500 is played. Every professional in this year's 500 signed a plaque praising Mr. Hulman for having provided one of the most challenging courses in the country.
Cooperation of the PGA, the owners of golf courses where tournaments are held, television sponsors and millions of golfing nuts built the tour to its present height. Is it out of place to suggest that Messrs. Palmer, Nicklaus and Player have acquired an aura of public property? And that enlightened self-interest demands that they "show" at all points on the official tour at least once every other year? Any other course of action is unfair to local tournament committees (including our own) that are subjected to apparently cavalier treatment.
Don't these gentlemen realize they're throwing rotten eggs back at the geese who lay the golden ones?
JOHN S. BLEECKER JR.
DONS AND DENVER
In my opinion Alfred Wright's article on the PGA championship (Two Dons in Quest of a Title, July 31) sounds condescending, to say the least, to the field, to the top two finishers and to the PGA members. The PGA championship field must be considered the best of the four major golf events. It is composed of the finest professional golfers and the finest golf professionals.
How can either Don January or Don Massengale be classed as a nonentity? Massengale won two events on the 1966 tour. In 1967, prior to the championship, January had won more than $33,000, including a third place at the U.S. Open. And at Columbine both were playing the same golf course under the same conditions as the superstars.
Behind every one of the "white shoe brigade" stands at least one PGA member as full or part-time instructor. These "leathery, put-upon characters" have been the past pioneers of the present multimillion-dollar tour. Today they are responsible for the PGA School for Approved Tournament Players and, thereby, for the superstars of tomorrow—in case Nicklaus, Palmer and Casper don't last forever.
I was very disappointed that some scribes are still trying to sell Denver short as a sports city. Despite flash floods that in summer occasionally wash away sizable chunks of the western states, searing heat, hailstones the size of golf balls and gun-toting spectators (really members of the Arapahoe County sheriff's posse), the 49th PGA golf tournament was a record show at Denver.
Although apparently not worthy of mention, the tournament grossed $800,000. The opening-day attendance of 17,000 and the second day crowd of 17,250 set new PGA records. Weekend crowds of 18,785 and 22,390 were also new attendance figures. Even the Monday gallery of 7,500 was the largest ever to watch a PGA playoff.
Columbine Country Club's course also proved worthy of the top pro golfers. Don January's and Don Massengale's low 72-hole totals of 281 tied a record high score for a PGA meet since the event was changed from match to medal play in 1958.
William Negley states that "A bow hunter who is willing to take the gamble is more courageous than most men" (With Only a Bow and Bold Belief, July 31). It seems that his type of superfluous courage is out of place in our troubled society. John Steinbeck, talking of this same unnecessary courage in bullfighting, said (SI, Dec. 20, 1965): "I have yet to hear of a bullfighter who has taken a dangerous political stand, who has fought a moral battle unless its horns were shaved." What does it matter if a man is courageous enough to kill a wild animal with only a primitive weapon? What docs matter is if a man is courageous enough to help another man.
JOHN M. GARTLAND
For Pete's sake, six and a half hours to kill a rhinoceros! I couldn't finish Mr. Negley's story, but I assume that killing the elephant took 30 days.
LEO L. LANNING
I was upset after reading in SCORECARD (July 24) that the musk ox might be hunted as a trophy. I cannot see how an animal that won't move if you walk up to it can be called a trophy when dead.
•Canadian officials agree. Last week Dr. J.S. Tener, deputy director of the Canadian Wildlife Service and an authority on the animals, said: "There is absolutely no sport aspect to shooting a musk ox." Canceled was a trip to Ellesmere Island of a party of hunters and photographers. They were to shoot two musk oxen for a biologist who had permission to take them for scientific study. Also the Northwest Territories Council, the Canadian government agency involved, has postponed action on the proposal to permit hunters to kill 32 musk oxen from the herds on Ellesmere Island and at Resolute Bay following nationwide protests.—ED.