May 03, 1970

All honors to Tex Maule for one of the best articles on British football written by an American (Chelsea Almost Won the Cup, April 20). However, judging by the facts that Leeds Goalkeeper Gary Sprake was injured on the Wednesday after the Final and that another Chelsea star, 18-year-old "child prodigy" Alan Hudson, will play in the replay after missing the Final, Revie and Cocker would be best off coming to the replay without any wardrobe at all!

Despite your fine look at the foreign football fan(atic), there was a major fact missing. Although Chelsea has never triumphed in the Cup, despite two Final appearances, it was overlooked that Leeds has never won the prize either. And though Chelsea's background is more appealing than that of Leeds (where the leaves are black from industrial waste, as a French writer puts it) Revie's club was a joke in the early '60s. I was also rather surprised to see that there was an interview with a pensioner but no mention of the popular Chelsea nickname. The Pensioners.

Nevertheless, I'm glad to see that this game of Association football, the most intriguing in the world, has gotten a good write-up by a "native." I hope there will be a sequel.
New York City

Jerry Kirshenbaum's article on the House of David baseball team (The Hairiest Team of All, April 13) recalled for me a forgotten era when baseball was unchallenged as America's No. 1 sport. The man who booked the House of David was Nat Strong, who maintained an office in the Pulitzer Building, home of the old New York World in lower Manhattan. Semipro ball in the metropolitan area drew large crowds, even though the fans had the Giants, Yankees and Dodgers in their backyards and over in Jersey City and Newark they had the International League clubs.

The House of David was under contract to Strong, who matched them with the leading semipro clubs that played twilight ball on Wednesdays, on Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons as well as Sunday mornings. The home clubs had to guarantee 40% of the total gate with a minimum of $450. It was rumored that Strong paid the players after every game out of the total receipts.

Semipro ball in those days was on a par with the minor leagues. Most of the players were capable of playing in the minors but were better off keeping their jobs and playing weekends. The caliber of baseball was so good that many went directly to the big leagues. Specs Toporcer of the Cardinals, Herbert Thormahlen of the Yankees, Frankie Frisch of the Giants and Milton Gaston of the Yankees all went directly into the majors.

Again many thanks to Jerry Kirshenbaum for a very fine article.
West Hartford, Conn.

I was certainly interested in the story about the House of David. The reason is that in Florida in 1931 my mother took a picture of me and the Babe the day he wore the whiskers. I thought you might be interested to see it.
Lock Haven, Pa.

In his splendidly written story of the 1970 Masters (All Yours, Billy Boy, April 20), Dan Jenkins stated that Takaaki Kono, in the second round, tied for the day's low with a 68 "despite his pairing with Sam Snead and the tracks Snead made through Kono's putting lines on the greens." This is an old trick of Snead's, it seems. I first observed him doing it to annoy Ralph Guldahl in a tournament some years ago. The gallery, of which I was one, finally made quite a fuss about it and he eventually ceased doing it.

While there is no expressed rule in golf prohibiting such actions by a player, nevertheless it is a despicable trick and most unsportsmanlike, to say the least, and should be beneath Snead's dignity.
San Diego

Pat Ryan's article on the Greater Greensboro Open (Golf, Ruffles and Flourishes, April 13) was a writing classic. Her capture of Sam Snead's personality and the details of Arnie's visit to the White House had me chuckling throughout.

Larry Evans' interesting report of the recent meeting of the 10 best Russian chess players against 10 of the best from the world at large (The Rest of the World Sort of Strikes Back, April 20) serves to demonstrate anew the preeminent place of Russia in the world of chess—even though the result was a near tie. But the meeting also served to reaffirm the eminence of our Bobby Fischer in that world, and to emphasize his position as a potential world champion. However, the present qualifying system is so weighted in favor of the Russians, due both to numbers and ability, as to make it almost impossible for a non-Russian to qualify. So perhaps a title match could be arranged between the next world champion and Bobby Fischer, a match that could conceivably be an outstanding event in the chess world.
New York City

In your article of April 13 entitled The Sun Didn't Rise Overnight we again heard the wail of gymnastics coaches about our failure against foreign competition. I am sure there are many who agree with me: let's cut out the griping and get down to a constructive program. We hear this same story after the Olympic Games and other international meets and it is always followed by a "total commitment to change" which never takes place.

I believe that Yoshi Hayasaki of Japan hit the nerve when he made statements about the lack of dedication on the part of the gymnasts but I, for one, don't believe it is their fault. What do we have to offer the individual gymnast other than a program in high school of approximately four months or a college program of about six months? During the summer there is no meet for the gymnast to compete in which would encourage him to be dedicated the year round. The exceptions are the gymnastics meet on the Fourth of July and the Santa Monica (Calif.) Gymfest on Labor Day, which is open to all comers and sponsored by The Modern Gymnast Magazine. This is fine, but how many boys and girls can get to Southern California?

It was stated that there are not enough scholarships given to gymnasts in college, but the emphasis in most college athletic scholarship programs is on winning teams in the major sports. One school that does have an outstanding gym program is San Fernando Valley State College in Northbridge, Calif., which has turned out such outstanding stars as Richard Grigsby, Rusty Rock and Bob Diamond. There the gym team is the winning team.

The recent death of Maurice Stokes brings to mind the thought that there should be a special award for men like Jack Twyman. Twyman has shown America what the word brotherhood means. For 12 years he did all that was humanly possible to insure Maurice Stokes' well-being with the barest minimum of fanfare. My vote goes to Jack Twyman for Sportsman of the Year.
Natick, Mass.

There should be some type of award for Jack Twyman—not because he needs it, but because we need it. We need to realize that there are sportsmen like Twyman, even though admittedly few in number, at a time when professional sports are increasingly concerned with million-dollar contracts and deals of all sorts designed to turn a profit. Twyman represents the ideal in human values.
San Francisco

Your April 6 issue offers insight into two of my favorite recreational activities, tennis and squash. Dr. DeNiord's defense of the game (19TH HOLE) to the contrary, squash apparently has snob appeal at the national level. To wit: my experience in New York City in March 1967. I read in the Sunday Times that a national squash tourney was being held at an East Side club. I went there around noon expecting to view the finals. A uniformed attendant at the front desk stopped me and said only members and guests were to be admitted. I told him of my great interest in squash, of having won an area tournament, however insignificant, the week before, and of having served as our club president, but this cut no ice. He told me to leave. So I crossed town to the more democratic Garden to catch the Knicks and 76ers.

Your tennis article (Confusion in the Back-court) also hit home. The USLTA does absolutely nothing at the grass roots—if you so define our outpost in far northwest Wisconsin. I had been a card-carrying USLTA member for years and even enrolled my son a week after his birth. The fee kept climbing, apparently to feed the appetites of USLTA tournament promoters and officials rather than to foster a broad-based amateur program. So last year the renewal letter went into the wastebasket. I wrote to the USLTA last year outlining our club program (we serve 96 players, including 74 of college age or younger in an area of 15,000 population, with almost all expenses borne by the adults) and asked what the USLTA might do to bolster our efforts. I neither expected nor received a reply.

The quality of play in our squash and tennis programs is low key, as evidenced by frequent drubbings by teams and players from more sophisticated clubs from far larger communities. We are pleased, however, with the degree of involvement. We derive satisfaction from watching grade and high school age boys and girls chase a rubber ball on the squash court or whack a tennis ball and travel to other cities, meeting other young people and generally having a heck of a good time.

To us, this is grass-roots squash and tennis, and we get along fine, thank you, without the snobbishness of the Eastern squash Establishment and the greedy USLTA.
Washburn, Wis.

I am compelled by my deep respect for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to answer a letter written (19TH HOLE, March 30) by the officers of the AAU (Amateur Applecrushing Union). I would like to warn the AAU, which claims jurisdiction over "all types of mutilations of any of the various fruits and vegetables commonly used in amateur competition," that it could be encroaching on the rights and jurisdictions of the ABA (American Berry Annihilators), the NBA (National Banana Assassins), the IOC and USOC (International and U.S. Orange Crushers), the NHL (Nihilists of Hulled Legumes) and the USLTA (United Smashers of Lemons, Tomatoes and Artichokes).
San Diego


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