BOWLS FOR OSU
Regarding your article 62-0 (Oct. 6): since the silliest rule in college football prevents Ohio State from playing in the Rose Bowl, how about the Super Bowl?
P. N. BROWN
While Ohio State may indeed have a fine team, no one will ever know just how good it is. for with its cream-puff schedule a 9-0 record would be meaningless. As of Oct. 5, six of OSU's first seven opponents have yet to win a game this year, showing a collective record of no wins, 17 losses and one tie. Your article referred to Minnesota as one of the "good" teams played by the Buckeyes this year. I rather imagine even the Big Ten would take exception to that, since Minnesota, in its first two outings, was bombed by Arizona State and tied by Ohio University.
Probably the best cure for Ohio State's heady complex would be to take the Buckeyes down to the Orange Bowl after they finish with their nine patsies and let the University of Alabama dribble them around the gridiron for 60 minutes.
GLEN L. BROCK
William Leggett should be ashamed of himself. His article concerning the divisional baseball playoffs (An Ideal Team in Harm's Way, Oct. 6) contains a sentence that he would never have written if he had really thought about it. He stated that Mark Belanger of the Baltimore Orioles is now the best shortstop in the American League. This just cannot be true. Have you ever heard of Rico Petrocelli?
October 19, 1969
When it comes to shortstops, Rico Petrocelli is the best. No one in either league could match his 40 home runs, 97 RBIs and .297 batting average. He also was only one off the American League record held by Phil Rizzuto for fewest errors by a shortstop in a season.
I think Mr. Leggett needs a lesson on the criteria for selecting the manager of the year. He said, "Earl Weaver and Billy Martin are top candidates in the American League." Can he really be serious? There can only be one candidate for manager of the year in the American League, and that is Ted Williams. Anyone who can take the same bunch that wore Washington uniforms in 1968 and finished 10th and lead them to an 86-76 season clearly deserves manager of the year honors. The Senators finished only one game behind the Red Sox and a mere four games out of second place. I doubt that Weaver or Martin could have done the same with the (lack of) material.
ARTHUR R. GOLDBERG
Chevy Chase, Md.
CROWNS AND THORNS
In "There She Is..." (Oct. 6), Pat Ryan has written a scintillatingly clever account of the Miss America pageants from the first through the present. She has shown why and how the current regulations governing them were formulated, with just the right sprinkling of syrup and spice to attract and to hold the attention of the reader. Of its kind, the author has produced a gem. And like a gem it sparkles.
New York City
I didn't think you'd be able to slip Miss America into a magazine dedicated to the world of sport, but, by jingo, you did it. You made it a "competitive classic," a "national sporting event"—"part contest, part pageant, part sport." Oh yes, and Sharon Kay Ritchie married two athletes.
Say, why didn't you send a staff writer to cover the unveiling of the "sporty" new 1970 automobiles or Hurricane Camille, which "sported" winds of 200 mph. And now that Jack Olsen has finished with Lew Alcindor (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, Oct. 6), perhaps he could do a serialized biography of Lester Maddox, a "spoil sport" for walking (an Olympic sport, by the way) out of the Democratic Convention. And to remain nonpartisan you could do the same on Roman Hruska, who was a "good sport" for bowing out of that thrilling contest for Senate Minority Leader.
The possibilities are without limit.
WILLIAM S. ARNETT
Each year after the baseball, football and hockey seasons are over, people write to tell you how bad you are at predicting the final standings and winners. I always felt that these people were quite unfair in their analyses, so here is mine.
These percentages are based on the predictions in your April 14 Baseball Issue. I gave you 10 points for a correct choice and five points if you missed by one position. You received four points if you missed by two positions and three points if you missed by three positions. You never missed a position by more than three so my system stops there. The results of each of your league predictions were as follows:
American League East—44/60 = 73.3%
American League West—50/60 = 83.3%
National League East—46/60 = 76.6%
National League West—48/60 = 80%
You correctly predicted 78% of the American League and 78% of the National League.
Congratulations on your article on sports philately (A Hobby to Drive You Crazy, Oct. 6). Readers wishing to know more about this exciting hobby could contact Miss Helen Long, 248 South Hemlock, Ventura, Calif. 93001 for information concerning Sports Philatelists International, its Journal of Sports Philately and other interesting aspects of its program.
ROBERT M. BRUCE
Excellent article on alligators (See You Later, Alligator, Sept. 29). It remains for people to refuse to patronize companies that offer alligator-skin articles: shoes, wallets, etc. The poachers would soon get the message, the demand would go down and they would end up going back to their real trades.
New York City
Concerning your article on the Eastern Division-winning Mets (Pitching—and an Omen—Favors the Mets, Oct. 6), let's set the record straight after 21 years. The saying really went, "Spahn and Sain and Bickford and rain."
I haven't heard Vern Bickford's name mentioned in many a year. Does anyone know his whereabouts? He may be the forgotten man of baseball.
LEWIS M. JOSEPH
•Bickford died in 1960 (of cancer at age 39). Arm trouble ended his pitching career in 1954.—ED.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your article on the NCAA-Maccabiah basketball fiasco (SCORECARD, Sept. 15). As you know, the U.S. Maccabiah basketball team lost to Israel in the finals for the first time since the games were inaugurated in 1932. This was due to the fact that the NCAA blew the whistle on seven of our boys who were under its jurisdiction.
However, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding that has grown out of one of your statements; namely, that the NCAA reneged "apparently because an AAU-approved group was the selecting agency." While it is true that the AAU does sanction the Maccabiah Games and our selection committee, we have never called upon the AAU for any assistance in making our team selections. A number of coaches misread your article and erroneously assumed that that was the reason the NCAA did not sanction our team.
I am the national basketball chairman of the U.S. Committee, Sports for Israel, which sponsors the U.S. team in the World Maccabiah Games. My committee consists of former collegiate and professional basketball players. With the able assistance of Nat Holman, Roy Rubin (coach of Long Island University) and Herb Brown (formerly of Stony Brook), we selected the 12 players who made up our squad. A total of 52 boys paid their own way to try out for the U.S. team. We feel the NCAA should give us the same consideration they give to the Olympics and Pan American Games.
Thirty countries and 1,500 athletes competed in the World Maccabiah Games, so let's give our athletes who are selected the honor that is due them.
New York City
Rod Laver's Grand Slam is the greatest sports feat of the year, if not of the decade. I ask SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to overlook the Namaths, the Russells, the Espositos and everyone else and to make Rod Laver the Sportsman of the Year.
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year is Gil Hodges, for proving conclusively—Hawk Harrelson notwithstanding—that nice guys do finish first.
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