Happy Chandler's article (How I Jumpea from Clean Politics into Dirty Baseball, April 26 and May 3) was of real interest to me. I have followed baseball for more than 50 years and I can agree with several of his conjectures about the future of the game.
He might be correct in his statement that if Denny McLain had been privately disciplined before his troubles became public knowledge, the fellow might not have become involved to the extent that he did. However, there is another thing to consider. Some people, unfortunately, think that they cannot fit into any logical operation of rules and regulations. They want to set their own rules and do as they see fit and forget about baseball or anyone affected other than themselves.
I do agree that baseball has suffered from a lack of strong leadership and that, probably, management has swung an ax over the commissioner's office. I agree that Ford Frick was a total washout. The worst possible choice was Bowie Kuhn, a New York corporation lawyer with no record of administrative ability, a man who would probably ask a consensus vote if he were asked the time of day. In fact, as a baseball commissioner he is simply impossible.
Since I am so smart, you might ask me who I think would qualify for the job. One man I have in mind would probably be superior: Bill Veeck. He knows baseball. He has been on both sides of the desk, and I think he is absolutely honest and fearless. He would be a strong commissioner and not a yes man.
May 9, 1971
His chances? Absolutely none. Baseball is sort of like government bureaucracy. If you want a job done, pick out the most inept individual, give him a big salary and tell him to keep his mouth shut.
Thank for you publishing A. B. (Happy) Chandler's account of himself. It has taught me the true meaning of sour grapes.
WILLIAM O. DANNEVIG
I didn't know that God was ever commissioner of baseball. My condolences to the martyred Mr. Chandler.
You have got to be kidding! The best way to appreciate the "cleanliness" of Kentucky politics is to live here for a year—Mayor Daley would look like a saint.
THOMAS J. GREENLESE
Chandler is critical of baseball because "money is favored above all else." Do I detect a bit of hypocrisy when Chandler gives as one of his reasons for taking the job of commissioner the $40,000 difference in salary over that of a U.S. Senator?
Concerning the breaking of the color line in baseball, I wonder what Chandler's reasons were for such statements as, "Robinson didn't always help much because he had a little bit of a chip on his shoulder," and "Robinson never had a disposition for humbleness." And what was his reasoning behind the threat of taking Robinson out of the lineup in a World Series game just because he criticized a strike call by the umpire? I wonder how many other players were treated in the same manner. Or did no one else ever criticize an umpire's decision while Chandler was commissioner?
RICHARD T. HOGAN
Congratulations! The article by and about Happy Chandler was very informative at all levels. It sounds like Mr. Chandler has no respect for the do-nothing czars before and after his reign.
Chandler did help the underpaid umpires of that era, and he tried to protect all aspects of baseball.
Your article Hot Pants? Right Next to the Hockey Sticks (April 26) gives evidence that the women's liberation movement is quickly invading the previously masculine sports world. It also proves to all girl watchers that any woman looks sexier in sports shorts than Wilt Chamberlain, Jim Ryun or any other male participant, except maybe for Pete Maravich of the Atlanta Hawks. (Pistol has to be tops in something, especially after losing the NBA Rookie of the Year award to two no-names.) Anyway, your article was very informative and enjoyable, even in its brief form.
STEPHEN J. KOCHIS
I must take exception to the statement in Virginia Kraft's article On the Horns of a Dilemma (April 26) that taxidermist-guide Gary Swanson's hunting clients, being respected members of their communities, would normally no more consider cheating in sport than they would in their business and professional lives.
I suggest that sports activities reflect the true character of a man, especially in this case where the men involved obviously felt that no one would be the wiser. My advice to people who do business with the likes of Swanson's "respected members of their communities" is beware!
IVAN P. COLBURN
Newport Beach, Calif.
I believe I have a solution to the problem of big-game-hunter creditability that should also serve to curtail the current murders of the best and biggest specimens of threatened species. Simply add a 27th species to the list of American big game, namely, the big-game hunter himself. These sports could then hunt one another.
The hunters' names could be added to a list of trophies according to one of two criteria: 1) the number of the big-game animals they have killed; or 2) the number of times they have been found guilty of poaching threatened species. Just to keep it interesting, the successful hunter could be credited with all of his victim's big kills.
The prestige of being able to point to the stuffed and mounted head of a rival hanging over the fireplace ought to more than make up for any small inconveniences entailed in the implementation of my suggestion.
PUBLIC LAND LODE
First, I would like to thank you for your continuing support in the fight to preserve our environment. I was especially impressed with your latest contribution (When a Law Fights a Law, April 26).
The problem of allowing mining interests to exploit our public lands is also prevalent in California. A friend of mine, who is a ranger in the Emigrant Basin Primitive Area (north of Yosemite National Park), has told me that many of the mining claims on which cabins are located are used more for summer recreation than actual mining purposes. In the John Muir Wilderness Area, where I am a wilderness ranger during the summer, roads are built in a few areas to provide access to mining claims.
According to the Wilderness Act of 1964, mining claims will continue to be allowed in Wilderness Areas until 1983. This, however, will not affect the lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that are not included in the Wilderness System.
We must not close off all of our public land to mineral exploration and mining; this would not be practical. However, lands with high recreational appeal and/or potential should not be cluttered with mining claims. The same reasoning applies to wildlife refuges. The Mining Law of 1872 is archaic. I hope your readers will join with me in writing our Congressmen in support of Morris Udall's bill to revise it.
JON W. SERING
Long Beach, Calif.
As an individual who is directly involved in mineral exploration for various mining companies and one who is also concerned with environmental conservation, I believe Bil Gilbert's criticisms of the mining laws and their resulting evils are highly exaggerated. The mining laws are in no way perfect, nor have all past mining operations been conducted in a manner conducive to the preservation of natural features. But I think most of the excesses described by Mr. Gilbert are prevented either by the allegedly "soft" mining laws or by simple economics.
As Gilbert pointed out, an annual expenditure of $100 (on valid exploration work) is required to hold each 20-acre mining claim. It is therefore prohibitively expensive to hold large numbers of claims for long periods of time, unless there is economic ore in the ground. Most companies will carry out the minimum amount of work (geological mapping, geophysical surveys, drilling, etc.) to prove or disprove an economic mineral deposit, and will relinquish their claims as soon as a negative test is made. Such preliminary exploration is not likely to despoil the areas.
Also, because of the extremely large investments necessary to initiate most mining operations, mining companies would not, as a normal practice, initiate production without first securing patents, which is not easy. Economic mineralization must first be proven, and economic mineral deposits are extremely rare.
In the rare instances when commercial mineral deposits are proven and patents secured there is undoubtedly some danger of environmental despoliation when actual exploitation is initiated. But even then the despoliation would be restricted to small areas since mineral deposits do not generally occupy vast areas. Furthermore, it has been my experience that most major mining concerns will do their best to preserve an area's ecological balance.
Concerning the use of claims for real-estate development or other devious purposes, there have undoubtedly been isolated cases of this type, but in the many thousands of mining claims I have examined throughout the Western U.S., I have never encountered one.
Mr. Gilbert did mention one interesting point, the fact that South American nations have been shutting off their mineral deposits to U.S. companies. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the U.S. is going to have to depend more and more on domestic supplies of metals as well as energy sources. I can say with authority that sufficient supplies of these critical materials are going to be extremely difficult to discover, and if we are prevented from developing our domestic mineral supplies, it will be impossible to maintain our civilization as we know it. In my opinion it is highly unlikely that a large population such as ours could survive in a primitive civilization.
M. A. KAUFMAN
Perry, Knox, Kaufman, Inc.
Congratulations. Articles such as this meet the urgent need for specific information about environmental abuses, as opposed to the platitudes normally encountered. The sooner the citizens of this country realize that the federal agencies are usually the servants of large corporations, the sooner it may be possible to actually do something in the environmental area.
JOHN H. DAVIDSON JR.
Chevy Chase, Md.
I was astounded to read your SCORECARD item ("Signals Over," April 19) concerning the 1971 University of Nebraska football team. We do have 14 returning starters, but what you have failed to realize is that the Cornhuskers have two great starting quarterbacks but use only one at a time—depending on their performance records and Coach Bob Devaney's intuition. It would be misleading, however, to claim both on a platoon at the same time, and it is for this reason that we list six offensive starters and seven defensive starters.
We realize that this is confusing, and we do plead guilty to practicing some new math. After all, in 1970 the Cornhuskers proved that 11+0+1 = 1, and everyone from Coach Devaney to the student manager is figuring that 6+7 = 14 = 1 will prove out in 1971.
Sports Information Director
University of Nebraska
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