How could Joe Namath have won the College All-Star Game (The Rookies Give It a Shot, Aug. 11)? The official who made the bad call took a lot off Joe's shoulders. And how does Pat Putnam know Namath will be as good this year as he was last year?
"Joe Is Back—But the Rookies Scare Him." That is a ridiculous headline for the cover of SI's Aug. 11 edition. I think Namath showed last season that he isn't afraid of very many veterans of pro football, much less a bunch of College All-Stars who have yet to play a game with any professional team. Pat Putnam's superb article showed that after a six-month layoff and only two weeks of training, Joe could still move the ball. Even after the six-month layoff, Joe still draws crowds, even if they are the type that clap when he is intercepted. But any way you look at it, 74,000 fans at a traditional "60-minute exercise of boredom" isn't bad.
I agree with Mr. Putnam's closing thought. Anyone who was pleased that Joe Namath didn't look as good as he did in the Super Bowl would be wise to check on him again when the season starts.
Who says Joe Namath is afraid of the rookies? Namath is a pro in every sense of the word. He has been decked by everyone from Ben Davidson to George Webster—Namath and company have beaten better defensive backs than Jim Marsalis, too. Do the rookies really scare Joe Namath? No, and neither do the veterans. Maybe, just maybe, Pete Rozelle does.
WORDS AND DEEDS
To be able to travel across Scotland, starting on the West Coast—visiting Heather, Whin, Bracken & Broom on the way—and ending up on the East Coast in The Old Course Hotel overlooking the Valley of Sin and The Road Hole was a most memorable vicarious experience.
Dan Jenkins' feature, You'll Not Do That Here, Laddie (Aug. 11), was in my opinion the finest single presentation that has ever graced the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Thank you very much.
WILLIAM M. JONES, D.D.S.
Twin Falls, Idaho
Dan Jenkins' story about his playing the six Scottish golf courses was most interesting to me, for I have also played them all and came away with the same feelings he expressed.
His mention of Peter Neil, his caddie at Troon, brought back memories of my having Peter caddie for me in 1962, the week following the Open. Peter informed me on the 11th tee that Jack Nicklaus had taken a 10 the previous week and that he would have me par the hole with no questions from me as to club selection. Using a four-iron from the tee, I arrived on the green in 3, then holed a 10' putt for a very proud 4. Peter signed my card then and there and told me to bring it home so that I could brag about the feat, which, of course, I have done ever since.
Those Scottish caddies are without doubt the best ever.
Having made the same trek, save Muirfield, as Mr. Jenkins, I can attest to the validity of his reporting of the courses and of the emotions they arouse. Golf, in Scotland, is unlike golf anywhere else in the world. It is golf.
It is a function of writers to provide the unknowing with the words for the feelings they have but can't express. Mr. Jenkins does it admirably.
PITCHERS AND PINCH HITTERS
For my part, I would not appreciate William Leggett's prescription for baseball—the Designated Hitter (Rx: A DH Factor for Baseball Ills, Aug. 11). Part of the game's fascination for me comes from the balance of individuals created by the fact that each player is forced to field and hit. The shortstop is less important, relatively, than the outfielder at the plate, because the opposite is true in the field. This equality breaks down slightly with the pitcher, since he dominates the defense on any given day. The pitcher is reduced to normal size only because he cannot play every game and because, when he does play, he is an offensive weakness. The pitcher problem does not bother me, though, nearly as much as the idea of the Designated Hitter. This will develop a new breed of men who will never have to learn a defensive skill: the platooned hitters. Besides, to see a pitcher hit well is a little extra thrill. I remember very well the day Tony Cloninger hit two grand-slam homers, the only National Leaguer ever to do it.
Obviously, we could have higher quality baseball by having nine hitters who never fielded and nine fielders who never came to bat—but I don't like it.
JOHN AGER JR.
I must disagree. Baseball was made for the all-round player, not for specialists as in football. In basketball the best foul shooter does not take all the foul shots. Likewise, the weak-hitting pitcher should not be replaced, but should take his turn at bat just like everyone else. A player should play the whole game of baseball, not just half of it.
Long Island City, N.Y.
Ted Williams once said, "If I were a manager, my pitchers would get hitting practice. And my hitters would get plenty of hitting practice" (SI, July 8, 1968). This is a realistic view by a knowledgeable fellow.
In regard to the International League's Designated Hitter experiment, I would like to offer a somewhat different idea with the same goal: more offense. Instead of replacing the pitcher at the plate, why not eliminate the pitcher completely from the batting order? The eight regulars would then hit in rotation. This would allow the likes of a Willie McCovey or a Frank Howard to thrill the fans by coming to bat up to 15% more often.
LLOYD V. MCKINNEY JR.
Your article on the Designated Hitter in the International League, Rx for Baseball Ills, reminds me that it is also being tried in the American Association, where the official box score title is Designated Pinch Hitter (DPH). As in the International League, it is popular. There are more complete games by pitchers, who are removed only if they are ineffective on the mound, and more solid hitting.
But unlike the practice in the International, where the Designated Hitter takes the pitcher's ninth batting slot, American Association managers are getting the good hitters up in the batting order. On a typical night (Friday, Aug. 8) the six teams used the DPH in the following slots: third (Tulsa), second (Omaha), seventh (Oklahoma City), fifth (Indianapolis) and cleanup (Denver). The DPH's combined production in four games (one doubleheader) was 23 at bats, 11 hits and eight runs batted in. Compare that with what the pitchers would have produced and you can see why the fans like the change.
BASEBALL—LOVING RED SPRINGS
It was with great pride and excitement that we in Red Springs awaited the article on baseball in our town (A Bonanza in Red Springs, July 28). However, after reading the article we were disappointed in the image of our community that Peter Carry portrayed to his readers. Red Springs, though located in a highly rural area, is not, as he implied, lacking in educated people. The average level of education attainment is higher than in North Carolina generally, even including the state's urban areas. This is due primarily to the existence of Flora Macdonald College in the community from 1896 until 1961, when it merged with Presbyterian Junior College in Maxton. In 1964 Vardell Hall, a junior college and preparatory school, was opened on the Flora Macdonald campus and has been contributing to the cultural life of the community since.
The town maintains three playgrounds throughout the community during the summer months. Each has facilities for tennis, badminton, box hockey, basketball, table tennis and other games. Bowling, golf, swimming and fishing are all available within a short drive from Red Springs. Red Springs has a long history of being a baseball-loving community. We hope the players, their families and management will come to appreciate the friendly, easygoing life of the community, and view it as a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the city to which most of them are accustomed.
W. RAY LILES
Red Springs Chamber of Commerce
Red Springs, N.C
CONGRESS AND DRUGS
In reference to your recent series by Bil Gilbert on drug use in sports (Problems in a Turned-on World, June 23 et seq.), Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey, has called on the Nixon administration for a plan of action against the use of drugs by athletes. How's that for fast action?
Buena Park, Calif.
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.