BEAT 'EM BUCS
You devoted most of On the Lam with the Three Rivers Gang (Aug. 2) to Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell and seemed to overlook the Pirate bench. True, Clemente and Stargell are good copy, but players like Jose Pagan, Gene Clines, Milt May, Vic Davalillo and Bill Mazeroski are the reinforcements a ball club needs when September rolls around. Right now the Pirates seem to be in excellent position to take it all this year. Some people will say that October is way off in the future, but as far as I am concerned you can start on your World Series issue right now.
The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to have captured that attitude of superiority and feeling of greatness which are so necessary for a club to attain the highest levels of achievement. It is one for all and all for one, a stance that produces a hatred of the losing way; indeed, it is a togetherness which reminds one of the Boston Celtics in their most fabled years. But do not at any time let the specter of the Baltimore Orioles pass from mind. All they do, with little comment or due glory, is win and win, again and again.
JOHN R. HESTER
After witnessing the San Francisco Giants' recent four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates to give them a nine-out-of-12 margin in their season series, it seems reasonable to say that the Giants will not only stop them at the pass but won't even let them on their horses. The Giants completely outslugged the Pirates, scoring 39 runs to the BUGS' 23. Best of all, the Giants unveiled a great young first baseman in 6'6" Dave Kingman, who hit three home runs (one a grand slam) in his first four major league games. What a combination—Willie McCovey and Kingman!
From the looks of it, the Giants haven't got much to worry about in their division, or anyone else's. So the baseball world had better get ready for a cross-Bay World Series, because the Orioles still can't get past Vida Blue and Chuck Dobson.
San Lorenzo, Calif.
August 15, 1971
The comments on the extreme difficulty of popping home runs out of Forbes Field indirectly praise Ralph Kiner, who was an exception. From 1946 through 1952, he had seasons of 23, 51, 40, 54, 47, 42 and 37 home runs for the Pirates (leading the National League all seven times), despite playing half his games in that bad park and having mediocre hitters surrounding him in the lineup.
SARAH JANE GASTON
I feel it is mandatory to point out some misrepresentations in the article, New Breed, New Ideas, New Taxes (June 7). One would be led to believe that the owners of the two farms that are featured are the sole saviors and pioneers of good thoroughbred blood in California in spite of taxation. I have been a director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association for 10 years and am presently the vice-president and treasurer of that association. In 1966, when it became apparent that the assessment practices of county assessors in California were inconsistent with the future of the breeding industry, a few directors of the CTBA initiated action to deal with the problem. It took several years to gain adequate support among the breeders. Last year the CTBA attempted to have introduced on the floor of the state assembly a bill that would alleviate part of the inequities. This year another bill is pending action by the legislature.
The article also states that I moved all of my horses to Kentucky. This is not true. I have been breeding and racing thoroughbreds over 12 years in California, and for the past five years have maintained a small broodmare band in Kentucky for the specific purpose of breeding to stallions of Kentucky syndicates in which I have purchased shares. Moreover, Los Cerritos has been instrumental in moving to its farm in California stallions that were well-bred, that are highly qualified in the stud and are of the type that I believe will propagate their top-class racing ability to their foals. It is the intention of Los Cerritos to be a continuing quality thoroughbred breeding establishment in California, with the large majority of the breeding stock being based there, irrespective of the problems of taxation.
W. T. PASCOE III
Rancho Los Cerritos
Odds against Bobby Fischer's winning 12 in a row are nowhere near 1,000 to 1, as claimed by Max Euwe (Maybe You Can Win Them All, Aug. 2). Playing against a near equal, Fischer could be expected to draw 59%, lose 6% and win 35% (very roughly), making 12 in a row a 300,000-to-1 chance. Nineteen in a row would be about half a billion to 1. The only conclusion I can draw is that he has improved several hundred points over his last published rating, thereby outclassing the rest of the world.
If winning 19 consecutive chess games is comparable to pitching 19 consecutive no-hitters, is it fair to assume that winning one chess game is the equivalent of one no-hitter?
G. L. SHELTIE
You have given the sport of chess a boost by pointing out to your readers Bobby Fischer's feat of 19 wins in a row. But for a fluke, however, his record would now stand at an even more impressive 20 straight.
After taking seven games in the qualifying round at Palma de Mallorca (a match with Dragoljub Minic was played later than scheduled due to an illness, but was counted among the seven), Fischer sat down to play his final game against Oscar Panno. The clock started and Fischer made his first move. With that, Panno resigned, and Fischer moved on to his series with Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen. I think it is reasonable to assume that Fischer could have defeated Panno had the game been played.
New York City
George Blanda (That Impossible Season, Aug. 2) won my respect for his heroics last season, but I think you picked the wrong "old man" to do a feature about. In Detroit there is 43-year-old Gordie Howe, the world's greatest hockey player who plays a sport which is much more active and exciting than football. Blanda comes off the bench and performs in spot situations for only a few seconds when he kicks a field goal, or for a few minutes when he takes over at quarterback, whereas Howe is in the midst of fierce competition for 40 minutes a game. Now that Gordie is bothered by a painful wrist and on the verge of retiring, I think you could take the courtesy to honor him in your magazine, for it may be a long time before you see someone compete for 25 super years as he has.
CANDY IS DANDY—SOMETIMES
Regarding the statement in BASEBALL'S WEEK (Aug. 2) that Ron Santo "keeps candy bars in the dugout in case he feels threatened by a diabetic coma," you should have said "threatened by a low blood-sugar reaction to insulin." Diabetes is a very complex subject, and more is being learned about it all the time. But basically insulin is required to help the body utilize glucose, which brings blood sugar down toward normal, avoiding diabetic coma. The candy bars mentioned, or any other sugar source, are used to elevate very low blood sugar—or insulin reaction—if such hypoglycemia occurs following insulin injection.
It is really not surprising that your writer, dealing with the unfamiliar jargon, just got it backwards. I've seen that done in print before. But for the sake of diabetics who just might get the wrong handling in emergencies by well-meaning friends, I think you should clarify this for your readers.
MAURICE M. HEFFRON, M.D.
Bismarck, N. Dak.
Having been a hurdler myself, I was greatly interested in Bill Bowerman's article The Secrets of Speed (Aug. 2), which had a number of very good concepts scientifically applied to running. I was somewhat amused, however, by the description of the three running phases and the muscles involved. The forward swing, as described by Bowerman, cannot be achieved by contraction of the quadriceps as a whole because this powerful muscle group serves chiefly as the knee extensor. The thigh is flexed at the hip in the forward swing primarily by the ilio-psoas muscles in the pelvis and the knee is flexed also in the forward swing by the hamstrings.
In the backward swing the hamstring group must relax on the already flexed knee and allow it to be extended by the quadriceps. At the hip, leg extension is achieved also by the powerful gluteus maximus muscle in the buttock. The gluteus maximus, quadriceps and gastrocnemius (calf muscle) all combine at lift-off to produce a push-and-pull extension of the leg. To concentrate on deliberately using the muscles described could only result in a few cinders in the teeth.
GREG GATES, M.D.
IRON MIKE STRIKES
Ray Snader's qualifications may be impressive (19TH HOLE, Aug. 2), but I'm sure Pirate Shortstop Gene Alley will take exception to his statement that "the chances of being hit by Iron Mike are nil." Gene was hit on the wrist by Iron Mike on the first day of spring training this year, missed the entire exhibition season and didn't start to play until the second week of the regular season. His bat has been productive the last four weeks, but he got off to a woefully slow start. I'm sure he'd tell you that Iron Mike had at least a little bit to do with that.
BAN THE MUTTON
In SCORECARD (July 26) you mentioned the Wyoming sheep rancher who got some publicity, a minimum fine and a pat on the back for poisoning some eagles and otherwise breaking the laws protecting wildlife. It would appear that two viewpoints are on a collision course in regard to this matter of indiscriminate poisoning of the West.
On the one hand are the Western sheepmen and the Division of Wildlife Services, who seem determined to poison every meat-eating wild bird and animal if that is what it will take to "save" the sheep industry. On the other hand are the rest of the 200 million-plus U.S. citizens, who are being made aware of this massive wildlife poisoning and its incalculable consequences.
There is a strong possibility that what a certain segment of the Western sheepmen are really doing is poisoning the whole sheep industry in the mind of the rest of the nation. Might not the wool-buying, mutton-eating American public finally sit back and say, "Do I want to pay this high a price for wool and mutton? Might I not better go with synthetics and imports or do without?"
As for the Division of Wildlife Services, when enough people put the heat on their Congressmen to cut off the funds of this poison-spreading outfit it finally will come to its senses.
It seems evident that the sheep industry people had better think this thing through, and quickly. They had better work toward finding the correct solution and get off this indiscriminate poisoning kick. They have too much at stake to say of any industry boycott, "It can't happen here." Get any significant part of our nation's citizenry upset over some industry destroying forever a valuable part of our national heritage and wildlife resource, and plenty can happen. And will.
JAMES E. HALFERTY
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