What does Sparky Anderson mean when he refers to the 1974 Dodgers as a "finesse team" (Beware the Dudes in the Red Hats, June 24)?
At last count, the Dodgers led the National League in practically every offensive category: home runs, team batting average, stolen bases (tied with St. Louis), hits, sacrifice flies and, by far, runs scored.
Their pitchers lead the league in shutouts and ERA; three Dodgers have more RBIs than the Cincinnati leader, and in the current All-Star balloting, Dodgers votes lead just about everywhere—or ought to. Red hats may very well be red faces come September.
Imagine! The Los Angeles Dodgers get off to their best start ever, hold a healthy 6½-game lead over the Reds, and SI has the gall to publish an article that suggests that Cincinnati will finish first in the NL West. How presumptuous! How audacious!
But how accurate! The "Dudes in the Red Hats" will win it again this year.
Thank you for your fine article on one of the best athletes of any age in the world today (So Young and So Untender, June 24). Curry Kirkpatrick said it all in his brilliant piece on the young, bright, hard-hitting tennis star Bjorn Borg of Sweden.
Eaton Rapids, Mich.
While Bjorn Borg may handle most situations with "aplomb," he handles others with a disturbing insensitivity and an altogether unhealthy arrogance. Not unlike those other two youthful darlings of the tennis set, Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors, Borg seems to think the world revolves around his booming service and well-placed backhands. Such self-absorption brings out all too well the fact that although Borg plays tennis with men, he is still a very little boy.
Your article on racquetball was great (The Game Plan Is to Avoid Getting Waffle-faced, June 17)—the best that you have ever done on court sports. However, I wish to correct one misconception. As Steve Serot's coach, I can attest to the fact that he is an excellent right-handed baseball pitcher. He plays handball with the right hand as dominant, swings a baseball bat from the right side, holds his fork in his left hand and cuts his steak with the right. His left forearm has an unusually large radial and olecranon bone formation, which gives Steve an advantage over other players when performing strokes with that arm, especially the backhand.
The flailing you speak of in Steve's game is not flailing at all, but strokes that are the result of conscious endeavor and practice and understanding. At 18, Steve is just beginning to become a mature racquetball player. There's no doubt that he will become champion and reign for many, many years.
I want to congratulate Curry Kirkpatrick on his fine coverage of and introduction to the sport of racquetball. I have been playing racquetball at college in West Virginia for three years. When people ask how I while away my idle hours after class and I reply racquetball, they look at me as if I have two heads. Maybe after reading this article people can now understand why I'm so excited about this tremendous sport. By the way, Peggy Steding might look like "the substitute waitress at a truck stop," but there's no way I ever want to step onto the same court with her!
L. ROBERT HALKOVICH
Parkersburg, W. Va.
Your article on Professor Sibley and his egg collection (The Case of the Absent Eggs, June 24) illustrates beautifully the pathetic logic of too many Americans. Sibley's statement that "taking a few eggs" would not "endanger the survival of a species" is the same as someone saying, "My beer can or piece of paper on the roadside will not be noticed." This kind of thinking makes for a dreadfully littered country, and extinct species. Congratulations to Clive Gammon for exposing such "intelligence" in a respected university.
Conversion to the metric system in the U.S. is inevitable, and Charles Maher is to be commended for his efforts to translate everyday life into the metric system (SCORECARD, June 24). After all, 28.349527 grams of prevention are worth 453.5924 grams of cure.
Penny-wise and $2.39-foolish. Sing a song of 5.975¢, a pocket full of rye.
MOMENT OF GLORY
Jim Kaplan should be charged with an error for a small mistake in BASEBALL'S WEEK (June 17). In the American League East, Boston is placed first ahead of Milwaukee. I think this should be reversed as follows: Milwaukee: 28w-231 = .5490196 win percentage, Boston: 29w-251 = .5370370 win percentage, thus giving the Brewers a .0119825 percentage point lead. Although Milwaukee will probably finish in or near the cellar, I feel the Brewers should be given their moment of glory. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I enjoyed Joe Jares' article (Attila Gives His Approval, June 3) about box lacrosse. However, I feel I must set the record straight as to previous efforts to establish the game. In 1932 my father, Bernard A. Ruge, CCNY '01, and Irving Lydecker, All-America, Syracuse '22, teamed up and fielded the Boston Shamrocks in a newly formed box lacrosse league. Their home base was Fenway Park, I believe, and I recall watching a game against a New York team at the old Polo Grounds. The public did not take to the sport, in spite of its spectacular aspects, and the league folded during its very first season. However, it was box lacrosse, or "boxla," as the Canadians call it, and the players were all well-known American college stars.
My father inaugurated lacrosse at the Pawling (N.Y.) School (now Trinity-Pawling) in 1924, and in our second season (1925) we hit our peak by defeating the Army "B" squad at West Point. Immediately afterward, the school gave up the game, thinking it all a bit queer and being more dedicated to baseball, golf and track as proper spring activities. I note with some interest that Trinity-Pawling now plays lacrosse with a vengeance, and so do a lot of other prep schools. It is, in my opinion, a far better game for boys of 13 to 18 than football; the injuries, if any, are cuts and bruises, not broken legs or necks.
RAYMOND A. RUGE
In the PEOPLE section of the June 17 issue, you said that Howard Twilley was going to open a shoe store named The Athlete's Foot. In Wisconsin, around the Oshkosh-Appleton area, there is at least one store bearing that name.
Oak Park, Ill.
I wish Howard Twilley the best of luck in his new venture. I also wish that I had received a bit of free advertising when I opened The Athlete's Foot, Inc. in Taylor, Mich. back in 1970. Since I was 23 at the time, I could have used all the goodwill available. At any rate, the idea isn't as novel as you might think.
The title of your article on the latest Bermuda Bowl competition (No Way To Beat the Blues, June 10) sums it up right. North America's Aces are bound to win the world bridge championship again, but not until all of the Blues have retired for good.
In your June 3 issue an item in SCORECARD asserted that Worcester Polytechnic Institute was the national collegiate champion in bowling. Permit me to set the record straight. There is no official national champion in bowling. However, every year the Association of College Unions-International hosts 15 regional tournaments. A total of 278 schools participated this year, but Worcester Polytechnic Institute did not enter the team event in its region, which was won by the University of Massachusetts.
However, as far as unofficial champions go, the University of Santa Clara should be selected. Its bowlers won the Region 15 tournament with a 3,015 total, the highest of any team in the country. Moreover, the fourth-and fifth-highest totals were compiled by Stanford and the University of California, Davis, two schools that Santa Clara defeated in the NorCal Intercollegiate League. Santa Clara beat Davis 23-9 (Peterson Point Scoring System) in a rolloff for the league title with a four-game total of 4,354.
Los Altos, Calif.
While the Worcester Tech keglers were winning a national collegiate bowling championship, the varsity tennis team at C.W. Post College on Long Island, N.Y. was out doing its thing. Tennis was one of three varsity team sports dropped at midyear because of budget cuts in the school's athletic program, but the tennis team's seven returning lettermen and Head Coach Vincent Sarter fought the administrative edict and were successful in having their team reinstated, provided that the program would be run on a "no-cost" basis.
With Sarter receiving no remuneration and the players paying their own expenses, including meals, travel and even equipment, the Pioneer netters registered their first winning season in seven years of varsity competition, sweeping through the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Tennis Conference with a 10-0 record. Sarter wound up as the league's Coach of the Year, and No. 1 singles player Steve Epstein concluded his career by winning 29 straight matches and 31 of 32 in three years of competition.
Who says minor sports can't survive the collegiate money crunch? All it takes is a group of dedicated athletes who are out to play the game for the pleasure of playing, minus all the frills.
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