Congratulations to SI and Mark Mulvoy for giving due recognition to Lou Brock (A Nice Place to Visit, July 22). After reading numerous articles about pitchers with flashy won-lost records or newly found home-run hitters, it is a pleasure to find one about a consistent ballplayer such as Brock. Base running is still the most exciting part of baseball and provides the entertainment we fans are often deprived of.
Lou Brock earns his paycheck; he is truly an asset to the game of baseball. Undoubtedly he will lead the Cardinals to the National League pennant, while at the same time breaking Maury Wills' record for stolen bases.
An item you overlooked, though, was that St. Louis also has a good pitching staff. With Lynn McGlothen already having won 12 games, John Curtis coming around and Bob Gibson off to another terrible start (which means he'll have another fine year), how can the Cards lose?
Lou Brock is not only a thief on the base paths, he is a thief in the field. In a recent Monday night game, two out, men on second and third, he robbed Johnny Bench of at least a double with a brilliant leaping catch off the wall. In the next inning Brock, the leadoff batter, singled up the middle. After dancing around at first, he broke for second base. But then Bench evened the score, nailing Brock with a perfect peg.
August 4, 1974
Lou Brock is without a doubt the premier base stealer in the majors. His goal of overtaking Maury Wills' 12-year-old record of 104 stolen bases in 165 games is very impressive. But in the Class A Northwest League, Reggie Thomas of the Portland Mavericks reigns as the supreme swiper of them all. In 1973 Reggie set a league record of 71 thefts in only 66 games, 27 more than the previous record for a short season.
In our first 27 games this year Reggie has stolen 32 bases and been thrown out only eight times. Unlike Brock, who steals only off the pitcher, Reggie steals off the pitcher, the catcher, the second baseman and the shortstop. Everyone on the field knows he's going, which eliminates the element of surprise. Thomas has stated that not only will he break his own league record of 71, he is shooting for a world record of 120 thefts in our 84-game season.
After reading J. D. Reed's article about the Superdome (The Louisiana Purchase, July 22), I think the answer to the question, "Where did it come from?" is fairly obvious. It was conceived and seemingly forced upon the people of Louisiana by a handful of egomaniacs. The name should be changed from Superdome to Super Ripoff.
North Charleston, S.C.
It's too bad that the Superdome Commission could not be renamed the New Orleans Power Commission and the Superdome turned into a generating station for electricity (approximate cost, $160 million) to provide cheap power for the city of Mardi Gras for the next century. That would be of benefit to all, not just the idle affluent.
ROBERT C. SERVICE
Why not dome over the entire state of Louisiana? Central air conditioning could be provided by Dave Dixon. All that lip-flapping provides a nice breeze.
Santa Clara, Calif.
Taking an educated guess, I would say that the New Orleans Superdome will be a sure success. Since almost anything can be played under the one roof and assuming some 200 events or more a year, it shouldn't be hard to pay back the $163 million cost.
Congratulations to Buster Curtis, Dave Dixon and all the other backers of a wonder in its own time.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
I take offense at the description of Boston's Fenway Park as a "misshapen slattern of a stadium" (Rising to the Grand Old Occasion, July 15). As a transplanted Bostonian, I have attended games at more modern stadiums. It seems they were built for everyone but the fans. Even in the best seats you'd be closer to the action sitting on the moon. Long live comfy, cozy, natural, neat and lovable Fenway!
New York City
It is truly sad when a fine writer's effort is wasted on a meaningless event. Such was the case with Curry Kirkpatrick (Judged in the World's Court, July 22).
The world amateur basketball championships, like other so-called amateur international competitions (including the Olympics), were plagued by politics, poor officiating and a great number of athletes about as amateur as Jack Nicklaus.
Until the United States is allowed to send its best athletes (i.e., the pros), or closer restrictions are put on foreign participants (i.e., the Russians), the United States should stay out of international competition and Mr. Kirkpatrick should direct his considerable talents toward more worthy subjects.
JAMES P. JOHNSTON
Joe Marshall's article Ball that Glitters May Be Gold (July 22) is myopic, to say the least. He mentions that six games were played but describes only five of them. He complains about low scoring but doesn't mention the Memphis-Detroit game in which the most points were scored (Memphis won 34-15).
Most Memphians would agree that Birmingham has a good team and can only get better with more NFL stand outs joining next year. But don't overlook the Southmen—they also have some good NFL players signed for next year.
DON W. KORTE JR.
DUTCH OR DEUTSCHE
Much as I appreciated your extensive coverage of World Cup 1974, particularly the magnificent photography, I take exception to your analysis of the Dutch demise (The Orange Clockwork Stops, July 22). I, too, was captivated by Holland and wore orange on soccer's Super Sunday. Nevertheless, a Netherlands lean is detected in your neglect of a fine West German team. German Manager Helmut Sch√∂n invented total football. Not to even mention Hans Vogts' defense of Cruyff was bad enough, but calling Gerhard M√ºller obsolescent was outrageous in view of Der Bomber's clutch of crucial goals. Hoep Holland! is well deserved. So is Deutschland ja! ja! ja!
Because the article tended to sing the praises of the defeated Dutch and to neglect the heroics of the victorious West Germans, you may be overwhelmed with protest letters. But I thank you for looking out for the little guy—Holland, in this case.
Little guys seldom achieve the limelight. Merely reaching the World Cup final was a herculean feat for the Dutch, although it didn't surprise me that much. For two years—1971-1973—I lived in The Netherlands. In 1971 a Dutch club won the Europe Cup. That was a fine hour for the country. Another came in 1972 at the Olympics with speed-skating gold medals.
So let the irate letters go unnoticed. The West Germans, after all, won. Any who are Dutch, any who know the Dutch, must thank Clive Gammon for capturing the high hopes of a gallant little guy.
Clive Gammon is to be congratulated on his fine articles on the World Cup. I found it disappointing that the final match was not televised in the U.S. Except for closed-circuit TV (TV/RADIO, July 8) or occasional brief replays on the evening news programs, people in the U.S. were unable to see the most popular sporting event in the world. As I sat in a crowded theater watching the final match along with more than 2,000 other enthusiastic fans, I became convinced that soccer and television are not as incompatible as our major networks seem to think. Americans are sports fans and they certainly would have appreciated the splendid performances of the Holland and West German teams. Johan Cruyff is every bit the charismatic athlete that Bobby Orr or Joe Namath is.
Congratulations to SI and Barry McDermott for the fast and interesting coverage of the Hang Ten U.S. Moto-Cross Grand Prix in Carlsbad, Calif. (It's Easier to Get Hurt than to the Top, July 22). I waited all week to find out the results of this race, and SI was the first place I saw them.
HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
Re SCORECARD (July 8), you went into great detail describing the 115th running of the Queen's Plate on a rainswept Saturday. True, the day turned out to be a dismal one for the Queen Mother. However, I find it hard to believe that this horse race is "the most famous sporting event in Canada." If any red-blooded Canadian were asked, his answer would undoubtedly be the Grey Cup, which involves not only Toronto's elite (as does the "oldest horse race in North America") but is a spectacle that embraces a whole nation. Unfortunately, no horse race can accomplish nearly as much.
After Gary Player's magnificent performance in winning his third British Open Championship (Gary Player's Expo, July 22), it is time the world of sport recognized this extraordinary athlete for what he is: the finest golfer the game has ever produced.
Few have excelled in their chosen profession to the extent that Mr. Player has. With all due respect to the talents of both men, Bobby Jones won his titles before the game reached its present level of competitiveness and sophistication, and Jack Nicklaus has used his formidable physical attributes to overpower the game. Since Big Jack is a relatively young man, it would seem a bit premature to label him the best ever, despite his incredible 14 major victories.
Success will not spoil Gary Player. He paid his dues on the less glamorous European tour and is now fully realizing the rewards of many years of sacrifice. I am convinced that sometime in the not-too-distant future he will surpass the achievements of both Nicklaus and Jones. He has too much dedication, competitive spirit and self-discipline to fall short.
Although it is a bit early, I nominate Gary Player as Sportsman of the Year. He has more than amply proven himself an outstanding athlete, one to be envied for his skill and admired for his hard work and dedication. He has been a fair competitor and, as his televised remarks after the British Open prove, a fair and concerned man. He not only says what he believes is right, he practices those beliefs, which is not always an easy thing to do. Gary Player is a sportsman in every sense of the word.
DEBORAH L. DEAN
In the recent article Traps in an Open Field (June 10), Dan Jenkins discussed at some length Sam Snead's failure ever to win the U.S. Open. He dealt especially with the 1939 tournament, in which Sam made an eight on the last hole, and just mentioned very briefly the name of Bud Ward. This is an injustice to one of the best players the game of golf has seen. Bud Ward probably would have won the 1939 Open had he not made two double-bogey fives on the last nine holes, one of them when his ball hit a spectator and bounced into a nearly unplayable lie in a sand trap.
Ward won the Amateur in 1939 and 1941. He was twice a member of the Walker Cup team and while still an amateur defeated Ben Hogan and Lawson Little on the same day in the 1940 San Francisco Match Play tournament.
By the way, the 285 he shot in the 1939 Open was the lowest score by an amateur in that tournament, a record that remained intact until Jack Nicklaus broke it at Cherry Hills in 1960.
In short, my father, Marvin (Bud) Ward, was considered by golf authorities one of the three or four finest players in the world from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. To only casually pass over his name when discussing the 1939 Open is a very serious oversight.
MARVIN F. (BILL) WARD
Foster City, Calif.
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
Re the item in SCORECARD (July 8) concerning Henry Lawrence, the Oakland Raiders' 1974 first draft choice, contributing $1,000 to Florida A&M's athletic department, please be advised that Ray Guy, All-America, subsequently All-Pro as a rookie and the Raiders' first-round pick in 1973, donated $5,000 of his bonus to the University Foundation and Century Club of his alma mater, Southern Mississippi.
Ray is remembered by the USM faithful not only as a great athlete—he was a starting safety, backup quarterback, a fantastic punter and placekicker and the greatest right-handed pitcher in USM baseball history—but as one of the finest young men ever to walk the campus.
Tennessee State University produced several top draft choices this year and three of them gave money to the university. These fellows were members of the College Division team ranked No. 1 last year.
In short, a number of college athletes are giving money to their schools.
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