Your writer Mark Kram seems to have one gigantic hang-up about Baltimore. And in the process, he seems to have forgotten about Detroit.
I read your story about the crucial Tiger-Oriole series (Armageddon for a Pennant Race, Aug. 5), expecting to see a vivid, blow-by-blow portrayal of three exciting baseball games. What I read instead was a dirgelike account of how dismal summer in Baltimore can be when the home team is losing.
Granted, your writer was apparently attempting to set the scene for the Detroit-Baltimore confrontation by elaborating on the details that brought about the change in Oriole management. But when this elaboration takes up all but the last two paragraphs of a three-page story, I think your readers are entitled to wonder why they didn't get more details on what must have been one of the best clutch performances ever by a Tiger team.
We here in Detroit have sat and watched the rest of the parade march by for 22 straight summers. Now that we have our own version of the "impossible dream" going for us this summer, you'll have to excuse us for having little patience with a writer who accuses us of daring to turn the American League race into "dreariness and mediocrity" by actually winning ball games.
LARRY P. MILLER
August 18, 1968
As one of the "alarmists" who have voiced concern for the very future of the polar bear, the National Audubon Society hopes that the assurances of white huntress Virginia Kraft that there are plenty of bears for everybody to shoot are true (A Search For Some Bear Facts, Aug. 5).
But her reverse reasoning ("Not one person...could offer factual evidence that the polar bear was actually in danger") sounds mighty familiar. It's the same old argument of the despoilers, who claim there is no evidence of the harmful effects of air pollution, that there is no evidence that pesticides are decimating wildlife populations.
In truth, so little is known of the polar bear's life and ecology that no one can say whether this great creature of the Arctic is or isn't endangered. And one might wonder whether Miss Kraft's difficulties in finding a bear to bag weaken her own arguments.
We appreciate, too, learning that abuses of laws and sportsmanship by guides and hunters are "exceptional cases." That's welcome news. But considering how few polar bear guides and hunters there are, the lawless and unsporting element in their midst is still too substantial under any head count.
CHARLES H. CALLISON
Executive Vice President
National Audubon Society
New York City
For a number of years a great deal has been said and written about the fact that baseball seems to be losing—to football—its tremendous crowd appeal. It is claimed, correctly indeed, that football packs them in every Sunday while baseball teams must reach for fans with promotions such as Cap, Bat and Ball days in order to get, say, Yankee Stadium half-filled, even on days when a doubleheader is scheduled.
I believe one of the best ways to revive interest in baseball, provide a better attraction to the paying fan and increase attendance at games would be to replace Sunday and holiday doubleheaders with two games, played between four different teams the same afternoon in the same park. The potential appeal of a Twin Game featuring, let us suppose, Detroit vs. Minnesota and Baltimore vs. New York in Yankee Stadium is fantastic and would draw a larger crowd than would the individual games played in two home cities combined. Think also of the possibility of playing one National League game and one American League game the same afternoon in the same park and of the possibilities open to choice once the leagues expand and subdivide.
I would hope that the people connected with baseball would give serious consideration to ideas along the lines of this proposal.
GUILLERMO R. SANCHEZ
South Orange, N.J.
I propose in order to brighten up the disgruntled who are statistic-minded, that we go back to the scoring rules of the 1887 National League season (no American League yet) when bases on balls counted as hits in the averages. This was the only season it was used. Just think how it would improve the averages overall and how happy many would be. Cap Anson led the league that year with a .421 average. It definitely takes as much skill to get a base on balls as it does to hit an infield "bleeder." At mid-season 1968 the American League as a whole was hitting .223. If the bases on balls are added in as hits and at bats the league would be hitting a not too fantastic .290. Each team averaged about 250 walks.
This may be just the stimulus baseball needs.
FRANCIS A. HARDING JR.
East Brunswick, N.J.
AGED TO PERFECTION
Tut, tut, Dan Jenkins, that's a "lot of junk" about young (48) Julius Boros being "the oldest man ever to win a major golf championship" (The Junkman Cools It, July 29). Julie has done more for today's middle-aged-and-older golfers than all the spoiled near-millionaires grousing their tortuous rounds over the "unfair" fairways which "bedevil" these tournaments. Quickly, quietly, graciously, modestly, Boros wends his cheery way. No charger, no dallier, no miracle man, Julius gets results that few have ever accomplished. But oldest? No, not yet. But perhaps Julius—if he is still playing 10 years from now—could do it. I would not wager against him.
In 1933 at the age of 55, Michael Scott of England won the British Amateur, a truly prestigious tournament. Although he tried many times, Bobby Jones won it just once, three years before, to register his famous 1930 grand slam. Other winners like Law-son Little, Charles Yates, Roger Wethered, Cyril Tolley, Bill Turnesa and Joe Carr are names to be remembered, but no one comes close—at least in age—to matching the feat of Scott. In that week he probably played over twice as many holes as the customary 72-hole championship. How a man of 55 could do it is impossible to comprehend.
So hats off to Boros; he's today's best influence on the game. But let's not forget Michael Scott. He may even be Julie's inspiration!
EDWARD R. HANNA
THE BLACK ATHLETE (CONT.)
One result of your series (The Black Athlete—A Shameful Story, July 1-29) has been the appointment on this campus of a joint faculty-student committee to reassess completely our entire athletic program, including, of course, the kinds of problems Mr. Olsen described. The committee, which includes Negro members, is determined to get a full and correct picture of athletics here and is resolved that, in its final report and in its recommendations, nothing will be glossed over.
University of Texas at El Paso
Another black athlete at UTEP hates conditions there so much he's recruiting his brother from New York to play basketball. This disgruntled athlete is Nate Archibald, our great soph guard of last year.
D. M. WARE
Having been a black St. Louisan for 30 years, I must say that your final installment of The Black Athlete was almost a composite description of community relations here. There are white people here who are willing to let a person rise or fall on his own merit, and some are ready to work for racial progress (this does not necessarily mean integration, because integration is not a complete or cure-all answer), but too many cannot stand up by themselves because of a severe case of "no-spine-itis." The main symptom is a fear of condemnation by other whites. This was the situation on the football Cardinals. The press here was surely aware of the racial situation before the players presented their case. Was there any mention of it? No!
The problem here and throughout the United States is that too many whites are willing to follow the racist few. Stand up, white America; the blacks have.
DE SILVER R. SMITH
Perhaps St. Louis Cardinal Coach Drulis should note that it has been said that Vince Lombardi treated all his players in the same manner—like dirt.
This is what I call fairness.
The country is full of bleeding hearts and do-gooders these days, but bush leaguers still live in flop houses, ride from town to town in rickety transportation and live on hamburgers and coffee, and, somewhere among them, is another Gehrig, Ruth or Robinson—it's part of coming up the ladder. As long as there have been contesting athletes, since the Spartans of old, the soul of the athlete has been tempered by adversity, hard knocks and falls. Let reformation come easily. We've had enough of "Give it to me or I burn it." At least, here's one reader who has.
THOMAS C. GORDON
I hope your series will lead to reforms to make the Negro athlete's life happier and advance a real equality among races. It must be done. But will reforms follow only a onesided magazine series, or can they also follow an honest, well-balanced series, which makes the bad seem even worse by showing it accurately in contrast to the good?
To me, the word liberal has always meant "free"—a mind free to follow facts and logic to wherever they lead. I feel, however, that you have started with a Liberal conclusion, then worked backward to find the facts and logic that would lead to it. Your series was Liberal but not liberal.
I believe that Negro students should be given social freedom at the schools they attend. I also believe, however, that they must not expect more of the college world, social or otherwise, than of the rest of life. The same can be said for any ethnic or other group. The result is that, if you want true conformity and acceptance, the middle-class product will go to particular schools and the socially prominent to others; whites will go to predominantly white institutions and Negroes to predominantly Negro institutions. If a student wants to break the pattern, he must be advised of the problems he will encounter and then left to his own decision. If a white boy decides to go to a Negro college, let him be prepared for the problems and take the consequences. If a Negro attends a predominantly white college, particularly in the South, it is incomprehensible to me how he could fail to expect to have social problems at the very least. To expect that colleges, or their administrators, are going to rise above the mold simply because they want to use the Negro's athletic ability is expecting more than will be delivered.
May I suggest that Mr. Olsen could do all high school athletes, and perhaps all high school students, a real favor by compiling a list of "beware" or caution points about colleges, college life, etc. that could be used as a checklist by college-bound students who are in need of assistance in determining whether a particular school really meets their requirements, whatever they might be.
NEALE F. HOOLEY
Thank you for the eye-opening series on The Black Athlete. I suggest that we black athletes, as well as the schools, rededicate and redirect our efforts.
Hopefully, soon we will find that we can no longer blame someone or something else for our failures but only ourselves, as our white counterparts must. We will no longer be able to enjoy four years of competition, social life, card playing, snap courses and irresponsibility. Damn!