As baseball wheels into its final month the question is: Which National League team will fade the least (It's That Time Again, Aug. 30)? Instead of "Here Come the Cubs," your cover headline should have read "Down Go the Pirates." The NL must be pretty bad if no one can catch a couple of .580 percentage "powerhouses." It seems all a National League team has to do is play .500 ball to have a shot at the pennant, while Detroit and Boston, each playing better than .500 ball in the American League East, are completely out of it.
It is becoming apparent that the Orioles are a dynasty of the Yankee mold, while the only thing close to a dynasty in the National League is San Diego. The Padres may have full control of last place for the next 10 years.
I enjoyed your excellent articles by William Leggett and Ron Fimrite concerning the pennant races in the National League, but I would like to dispute a statement made by Mr. Fimrite in his portion of the story. He said that Richie Allen was a problem athlete in both Philadelphia and St. Louis. True, Richie had his differences with the Phillies' management and fans and even with his teammates. This, coupled with his flamboyant but solitary life-style, resulted in his finding himself a member of the Cardinals. But the Redbirds accepted Allen even if they did not exactly welcome him. After all, had they not traded away their incumbent catcher, Tim McCarver? In any event, Allen collected 34 homers and 101 RBIs for the Cards while being injured a good part of the time. He was subsequently peddled to Los Angeles because the Cards needed Ted Size-more to bolster their infield, which consisted of an aging Julian Javier and a good-field, no-hit shortstop named Dal Maxvill.
We Dodger fans love Richie, and he tries to supply the game with the necessary excitement. If you will notice, a number of his home runs this season have been booming shots over the center-field wall. You can bet that we are glad he's a Dodger.
Santa Monica, Calif.
Bill Grabarkewitz says in your article that the Giants don't have any fans, but he is wrong. The Dodgers may have better attendance than the Giants, but let's not forget that the Bay Area houses two professional baseball teams, the Giants and the A's. The A's, who are going to draw at least a million fans, have Vida Blue to show off. The Giants will draw over a million fans, too. The Giants lost ground to the Dodgers, but they always jump out ahead, and this time they'll stay ahead!
Thank you, William Leggett, and thank you, SI, for giving some overdue publicity to one of baseball's premier pitchers, Ferguson Jenkins.
Thank you for the write-up we Cub fans have been longing to read. Maybe the Cubs can win their first pennant since 1945!
Since you printed an article on the Pirates in the Aug. 2 issue, it was only fair of you to print another article on the miraculous comeback of the Cubs and Cards 28 days later. I'm sure that the latter article struck a hopeful note in the downtrodden hearts of the people in Chicago and St. Louis. However, as a Pirate rooter, I am not worried. As far as I'm concerned, the Bucs are going all the way.
RICHARD E. CARRAWAY
I beg to differ with you concerning Joe Jares' article New Bats and Arms in the Box Score (Aug. 30). He says that Henry Aaron and Earl Williams are the best 1-2 power package in either league. As of Aug. 30, Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell, major league leader in home runs (42) and RBIs (112), and Bob Robertson (26 HRs, 65 RBIs) were ahead of their Atlanta counterparts in both power categories.
NOEL J. TOPPER
As of Aug. 27 Willie Stargell and Bob Robertson of the Pirates had hit a total of 39 doubles, topping the output of 29 by Williams and Aaron. Williams and Aaron did have a 10-point advantage in batting average and they had hit a total of three triples to only one for Stargell/ Robertson, but neither of these categories is a power yardstick. What is important is that the Pirate pair had hit 68 home runs to 64 for the Braves" duo. Stargell and Robertson had also produced 177 RBIs, 11 more than Williams/Aaron.
While these statistics will continue to change, the ratios have been about the same all season. So let's call Stargell and Robertson the best 1-2 power package in either league.
Gwilym S. Brown's article on John Mackey ("I'm Going to Punish Them for Last Year" Aug. 30) reveals an intelligent person who happens to make a living at playing football. At a time when the struggle for power in society—any part of society—brings to the surface many and varied personalities, it is refreshing to see a level-headed, sincere person such as John Mackey step forward. The owners would be smart to meet Mackey at least halfway. He might be their only hope.
John Mackey, you are all right.
W. C. JONES
El Cerrito, Calif.
Your article on Canadian football (Dodging the Draft in Canada, Aug. 23) was an excellent one. However, I would like to dispute one point that author Mark Mulvoy brings up. He states that the combination of three downs and a larger field "force Canadian teams to play a wide-open, go-for-the-bomb style, rather than the ball-control, patterned attack employed by many U.S. pro teams." I would like to point out that in the Calgary Stampeder-B.C. Lion game of Aug. 24 two Stampeder backs each rushed for over 100 yards. The Calgary attack gained a total of 307 yards on the ground. Every year there are five or six backs in the CFL who carry the ball for more than 1,000 yards. Our game is not quite as wide open as implied.
With the arrival of more All-America talent in Canada, we are sure to see an improvement in the caliber of the Canadian game. If top-ranked U.S. college players continue to come north, I can foresee, in the not-too-distant future, Canadian football being on a par with that of the U.S. Who knows? Maybe within the next few decades the Super Bowl will be a tightly fought battle between the Miami Dolphins and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Undoubtedly the current American products are grateful for the sizable contracts and glory they are receiving in Canada, but more important, we, the CFL spectators, are very grateful for the contributions these U.S. boys are making to our game.
Thanks for the inside report that Jim Stillwagon has a Canadian flag tattooed on his derriere. That's getting to the bottom of a story! Stillwagon deserves a swift kick in the pants: but that, I presume, would now be considered unpatriotic.
Radio Station CKOY
I would like to add my thanks for the article on Canadian football. It has settled a lot of arguments concerning the ability of our college idols such as Jim Stillwagon and Joe Theismann. Now wouldn't it be great if we could watch our boys in Canada on an American TV station?
RICHARD J. LOWE
Chula Vista, Calif.
According to Ralmar Sports Productions, Inc. (Ralph Kiner, president), live telecasts of both the Nov. 20 CFL Eastern Conference playoff game and the Grey Cup game on Nov. 28 will be carried over some 200 TV stations to audiences in 90% of the U.S.—ED.
SHOT IN THE DARK
Pat Putnam's report on the Great Skunk Ape of South Florida (He's Big! He's Bashful! He Smells Bad! Aug. 30) is a fine expose of the shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality. It would seem that man's IQ works in inverse proportion to the caliber of the gun carried.
As a student of unexplained phenomena, and of man's reaction to them, I find that "aiming the .38 into the inky night and touching it off" is the reaction to be expected whenever the unknown is confronted. The piece was aptly placed in the NATURE category—nature of man, that is.
After reading about the work of some rather ambitious mathematicians who, in recent issues, have endeavored to provide readers with equations to compute the distance that home runs such as Reggie Jackson's would hypothetically travel, I have come to the only logical conclusion to which one could be led. Clearly, what every armchair fan needs is a formula that does include such variables as air resistance, the earth's rotation, the ball park's latitude, wind and air currents, the rotation of the ball and any other "significant" factors. Then each fan would be able to compute, beyond any doubt, the exact distance that each home run travels. In fact, if our armchair baseball fan is fast enough with figures, he might also catch the rest of the game action by the bottom of the ninth inning.
The equation offered by Dr. Simeon M. Berman (PEOPLE, Aug. 16) for determining how far a batted ball would travel if it were not obstructed was good. The equation submitted by Laurence Taff (19TH HOLE, Aug. 30) was better. But Casey Stengel's equation is best:
HT/DB+O/O+T/P = HR
For those weak in equations it translates, "Hit the damn ball out of the park." Incidentally, Casey is the only one of the three who made the Hall of Fame.
ROBERT L. CAHILL
East Hampton, N.Y.
TRAIL OF THE BLAZER
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S story on the blazer (SPORTING LOOK, Aug. 23) was a fine treatment of a fashion favorite, but your version of the origin of the blazer is open to question.
Many men's-wear experts, including those at the Men's Fashion Association, believe the blazer actually originated in Queen Victoria's navy when the chief officer of the H.M.S. Blazon designed a jacket for his officers to wear on shore. Made of blue flannel navy-uniform cloth with brass buttons, three patch pockets and a minimum of construction, they were called "blazers" after the name of the ship.
Blazers were later adopted by boating, cricket and tennis clubs, and were sometimes made in a particular club's colors, such as red blazer with white piping or blazer with stripes.
Though its origin may be in question, there is no disputing the fact that the blazer has become the symbol of versatility in a man's wardrobe.
Men's Fashion Association of America
New York City
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