OUT OF THE GHETTO
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Albert King and Rodney Parker (Uneasy Rise of a Brooklyn Star, Aug. 23). It is a fabulous thing that Parker has done for basketball stars such as Jim McMillian. It's too bad there aren't more people like him to help ghetto youths. Bravo SPORTS ILLUSTRATED! Bravo Rick Telander!
The article on Albert King and Rodney Parker was one of the best inside stories that has ever found its way into your publication. Thanks.
My interest in baseball began in 1962 with Casey Stengel's New York Mets. In SCORECARD (Aug. 23) you related an anecdote in which the Ol' Perfessor referred to Pitcher Bob Miller as "Nelson," although no one (including Miller) apparently knew why Casey called him that. I think I can provide an explanation.
In that first season, the Mets carried two pitchers named Bob Miller. There was a right-handed pitcher named Robert Lane Miller and a lefthander named Robert Gerald Miller. Calling the righty "Nelson" may have been Casey's way of differentiating between the two.
HOWARD S. WOLK
September 5, 1976
•Not so, according to the real Nelson. Stengel always called Bob L. Miller "Nelson," and he always called Mets Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson "Miller." Says Nelson, "Both names had six letters, and that was close enough for Stengel."—ED.
THE 1969 METS
I enjoyed the article Begging for a Miracle (Aug. 16) on pennant winners that came from behind. But let us set the record straight on the 1969 Mets.
According to the text, "On Sept. 15 Cardinal Steve Carlton set a record by fanning 19 Mets and still lost as Ron Swoboda hit two two-run homers. Later the Mets swept a doubleheader when Pitchers Don Cardwell and Jerry Koosman helped themselves to 1-0 wins by driving in the only runs."
The doubleheader sweep wasn't "later," it was earlier. Three days earlier, on Sept. 12, to be exact. Got to keep these historic events in proper perspective.
Baseball Writers Association of America
Huntington Station, N.Y.
A MAN AND A CITY
I enjoyed talented Roger Kahn's incisive analysis of Stan Musial in Part II of the series Still a Grand Old Game (Aug. 16 et seq.). Kahn was right—right down to his criticism of the horrible statue of Musial outside St. Louis' downtown stadium—but he didn't squint closely enough at the inscription.
No one "composed" it. In ceremonies before Stan's last game on the final day of the 1963 season, Commissioner Ford Frick said that when Musial went into the Hall of Fame, he hoped the Man's plaque would not dwell on records or statistics, but instead would say: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior; here stands baseball's perfect knight." To those of us thinking about the statue, Frick's comment seemed right on. Thus the inscription, for which Frick is duly credited.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
We read the article by Roger Kahn with great interest and great amazement. To quote from Part I: "Alongside the two-lane blacktop that crosses northeast Oklahoma, the land rolls bare and poor. Outside of villages called Broken Arrow and Chouteau lie shacks and rusty house trailers where survivors of the Cherokee Nation live in poverty. This is not farming country. It is hard, red, intractable soil that we have abandoned to the Indians."
Please allow us to inform you about Broken Arrow. It is located in beautiful northeastern Oklahoma, known around the world as "Green Country." Broken Arrow is the official fastest-growing city in Oklahoma, its building permits often exceeding those of Tulsa, 12 miles northwest of us. Unemployment is less than 2% and per-family income is approximately $14,500 annually. There are a few Cherokee Indians who live in and around Broken Arrow, but they add substantially to our economy and certainly do not live in rusty trailer houses and shacks. The soil is good old black dirt, and agriculture remains, as it has for 75 years, a very profitable industry.
Broken Arrow is also the home of Jim Brewer, pitcher for the California Angels; Bill Russell, shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers; Charles Harper, former guard for the New York Giants; and other professional sports figures. I am sure that they too will be amazed at the inaccurate picture painted of their city of 24,000 people.
JACK ROSS, President
BERNARD WAGNER, Executive Director
Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Far out! I thoroughly enjoyed your article Oh, Can't You Hear the Whistle Blowing? (Aug. 23). My wife and I have hiked on railroad beds used at the turn of the century by logging trains in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia. We walked through cuts made by Italian immigrants with picks and shovels. We camped next to an abandoned logging town. There truly is something sociable about tracks. We could sense history under our feet.
We used to have a railroad in Oklahoma named the Fort Smith and Western. It never ran on time and was called the Foot Sore and Weary.
MARK F. DYKEMA
My favorite railroad trail is the one in Franklin, N.H. that leads over the abandoned sulphite railroad covered bridge across the Winnepesaukee River, once a branch of the Boston and Maine. The tracks run over the bridge, rather than through it.
Covered Bridge Topics
SIXES AND EIGHTS
Your item in SCORECARD (Aug. 23) about "eight the hard way" reminded me of a similar experience—with slightly different results. In transit from Fort Knox to my home in Dallas, I passed the dog track in West Memphis, Ark. and decided to take a break. The date was the 6th of June (the sixth month) and it happened to be the sixth race, so I put $6 on the No. 6 dog. Big winner, right? He finished sixth!
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.