HENRY AND AL
The question in my mind was not who would be on the cover of your April 15 issue but, rather, how you were going to picture him. When my copy arrived, I was not disappointed. The photograph of Henry Aaron has to be rated as one of the best covers in SI history. In that split-second click of the camera your photographer captured an image of all the hard work, the joys, the aims and the rewards of a tremendous athlete and wonderful human being. I doubt that I will ever admire a man for sheer talent as much as I admire Henry Aaron.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
Ron Fimrite hit a home run with his fine article (End of the Glorious Ordeal, April 15). He portrayed Henry Aaron as he truly is, a humble human being and a great baseball player. The Braves management did not overdo the historic event with the balloons and fireworks, etc. It is not every night that a man surpasses a legend.
Wood ridge, Ill.
Henry Aaron for Sportsman of the Year! Throughout the hoopla of ridiculous questions in countless press interviews, the actions of a somewhat confused commissioner, and those of misguided bigots exposing their true color—which I would guess to be green—he has remained a sportsman and a gentleman.
Henry Aaron is one of the finest ballplayers of all times. I also expect he would be at the pinnacle of his profession if he were a chemist, an accountant, a salesman or a college professor.
April 28, 1974
You write in your article on Henry Aaron's 715th home run that Dodger Pitcher Al Downing will "join a company of victims" including Tom Zachary, who pitched the ball that Babe Ruth hit for his 60th home run of the season, and Guy Bush, who was on the wrong end of the pitch that the Babe hit out for his record of 714 career round-trippers. I notice, though, that you failed to mention the two hurlers who served up the pitches for Ruth's first record-breaking home runs, i.e., his 28th homer of the 1919 season, which broke Edward Nagle Williamson's record of 27, and his 137th lifetime homer in 1921, which broke Roger Connor's career record of 136. The pitchers were Bob Shawkey of the Yankees and Dixie Davis of the St. Louis Browns.
Ruth broke the seasonal mark several times, yet none of the ill-fated hurlers who threw the pitches for those homers are remembered, except by baseball trivia buffs.
Neither the 715th homer nor Al Downing will be remembered. What will go down in baseball history, as both Downing and Hammerin' Henry have stated, will be the last home run of Henry's illustrious career and the unfortunate pitcher who happens to be opposing him that day.
With the recent signing of Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield by the Toronto Northmen (It's No Longer Such a Small World, April 15), the new World Football League has put its feet on the ground. The most interesting part, though, was not the WFL's signing of three established NFL veterans, but rather Dolphin Owner Joe Robbie's ranting and raving about foul play. Wasn't it Robbie who lured away Don Shula, under contract to the Baltimore Colts at the time, by offering him half of Florida?
Congratulations to Gary Davidson and the owners of the WFL; they will succeed where Bowie Kuhn has failed. By seriously diluting the level of talent throughout professional football, they will ensure that baseball once again is established as our national pastime.
It is incredible that a Philadelphia team has made it twice in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. After a fine article about the Hound and the Hammer (Jan. 28), I really appreciate Mark Mulvoy's most recent write-up (Philly Takes a Flyer on the Cup, April 15). Nobody seems to believe it but the Hammer, the Hound, Mr. Zero, the Flyer from Flin Flon, Moose, Rabbit. Cowboy, Big Bird and the rest of Shero's Heroes are going all the way.
CHRISTOPHER J. HARDWICK
LITTLE LEAGUE LASSES (CONT.)
After reading the letter from the two girls who want to participate in Little League baseball (April 15) I feel it is my duty to the high school and township teams that I play for to stand up for the sport of girls' softball. My town has had a girls' softball league for 12-to 18-year-olds for as long as I can remember, and teams are being added almost every season. With the onset of the New Jersey court battles concerning girls playing baseball (Now Georgy-Porgy Runs Away, April 22), a second softball program was established for those girls who were previously excluded—the 8-to 11-year-olds—and more than 100 little girls turned out for the program. Every high school has its own girls' softball team, and there are numerous other high school age and women's teams in our area.
I don't know about Farwell, Mich., but if you were to ask around the South Jersey area I doubt that you would find that "most girls can't stand using a softball." The sport is easily as exciting to watch as baseball, the rules being almost exactly the same, and any girl using a glove that has been broken in with a softball will find playing the game as challenging and fun as any baseball game. It's the same as any other sport, girls, you get out of it whatever you put into it.
PAULA M. KREBS
There is a simple solution to the problem of whether or not girls should play Little League baseball with the boys. Instead of setting up a separate softball program for the girls, why not set up a separate hardball program just like the one the boys have? Then, when they get established, maybe a merger can take place.
El Cerrito, Calif.
I have followed the recent issue of girls' involvement in Little League baseball. I have seen many good arguments on both sides of the ledger, but I'm afraid that everyone seems to be missing the point.
To my way of thinking, the whole issue here is allowing the girls to play, period. All the talk of allowing girls to play with boys is interesting, but what about those girls who are not good enough to play with the boys? Do they get to play anything? No one has thought of them. It is nice to let the greatly talented girls play with the boys; however, will there be any sports program for the remaining 98% of the girls to participate in?
The real issue is the freedom of all girls to compete at their own level of ability in programs comparable to the boys' programs. Let's forget all of this subterfuge and get down to the true task of fairly revising our sports and recreational opportunities.
Elementary P.E. Teacher
NAMES TO REMEMBER
Stoner Creek Stud deserves SI's accolade (SCORECARD, April 8) for its imaginative and clever naming of its colts and fillies. And not only do some of them win, they are among the best in harness racing.
Pacing and trotting stars from Stoner Creek in recent seasons have included the world champion pacer Albatross, winner of $1,201,470; last year's filly pacing champion Handle With Care, undefeated in 17 starts and winner of $141,124; the pacing Triple Crown champion, Most Happy Fella, winner of $419,033 and syndicated for $1 million; and his brother, the $210,000 yearling Good Humor Man, both out of Laughing Girl. There are also Smog, winner of the $101,242 Cane Futurity, and his high-class stakes-winning half-sister and brother Sprinkle and Trenchcoat, all out of Gray Sky; another champion filly, Hope Diamond, out of Kimberly Rodney; and Porterhouse, out of Filet Mignon and sire of last year's Harness Horse of the Year, Sir Dalrae.
Norman Woolworth and David Johnston, co-owners of Stoner Creek Stud, are not only ingenious but prophetic. After Porterhouse won $367,584 they named his half-brother Scraps. He won $397.
STANLEY F. BERGSTEIN
That was an interesting note you had on the naming of racehorses. The best-named horse of all time was owned by George Widener and enjoyed a fine career about 30 years ago. His name was Who Goes There. Challenger II was his sire and his dam was After Dark. Not even any of Mrs. Payson's fine names could ever top that one.
St. Charles, Mo.
Your SCORECARD article "Twist on a Twist" (March 25) brings to mind the Andover coed pro-am versatile varsity that competes in many sports throughout the world. In their Far East swing they meet the Madras Sport Coat, Seoul Food, the Taipei Type B, the Manila Envelope and the Hong Kong Flu. On their way back they compete with the Alaskan Pipeline (Leaks) and Hawaiian Punch, then on to meet the Reno Divorce, the Denver Sandwich and the Athens (Ga.) Grease. In a short home stand they meet the Lawrence Welk (Bubbles) and the Boston Tea Party (a baseball team known as the Bags). The name of the Andover team? Andover Again, of course.
EUGENE H. BALLARD
In his article Only You, Frank Darling (April 1), Frank Deford quotes Bill Currie, Pittsburgh sportscaster, as stating that no one among 100 people he interviewed in a street survey even knew what a post pattern was. That speaks more about the stupidity of fans in Pittsburgh than the authenticity of Mr. Currie's conclusion.
Deford further quotes Currie as contending that TV news audiences don't care who won or lost, what the score was, etc. Phooey!
If, as Currie contends, sports is the weakest part of a television news show the reasons are clear. It is spewed out by fast-talking so-called sportscasters with insufficient time for proper reporting, much less articulate commentary. Sport usually comes at the tail end of a broadcast and the viewer has to sit through often uninteresting trivia to get to it. Last, but most significantly, I wonder if Currie and Deford ever realized that maybe most television sportscasts are badly done because they are done by men.
Keith Power's article on the renaissance of American billiards (Playing Like an Amateur, March 25) was excellent and enlightening in that he clearly defined the differential between three-cushion and pocket billiards (or pool, as we know it today).
He states that Willie Hoppe, Welker Cochran, Jake Schaefer Jr. "and a handful of other Americans no one else in the world seemed able to beat" became the legendary cue masters in the golden era of the '20s and '30s. This is true, with one small exception.
On March 11, 1926 Erich Hagenlocher of Stuttgart, Germany, in a match that is still regarded as one of the billiard classics of all time, dethroned Jake Schaefer Jr. of Chicago 1,500 to 1,344 to win the world 18.2 balk-line billiard championship at Philadelphia.
The honor of playing Schaefer for the world title came to Hagenlocher following his challenge-round match-play eliminations of Willie Hoppe, Welker Cochran and the Japanese champion, Tamara Suzuki.
WELKER ERICH HAGENLOCHER
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