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19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

May 02, 1977
May 02, 1977

Table of Contents
May 2, 1977

Wrong Numbers
Keeping Cool
Kendler
Baseball
Hockey
Karate
Horse Racing
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

AUGUSTA GREEN
Sir:
Give a Green Coat to Dandy Dan Jenkins for his great coverage of the Masters.
A. G. MORAN
Cincinnati

This is an article from the May 2, 1977 issue Original Layout

WHY BLAME JOE?
Sir:
Monte Clark fired himself (The Party Became a Lynching, April 18). Why blame Joe Thomas, who offered Clark an extension of his contract as well as an increase in salary?

And for Joe Marshall to quote a longtime acquaintance as saying, "Joe's frustration is that he has never been able to duplicate Al Davis" is totally without regard for Thomas' great record in the NFL. Always a winner, Joe built a team that won two Super Bowls to one for Al Davis.
HERMAN L. WEINER
Pico Rivera, Calif.

CITING A SITE
Sir:
You have recognized a true sport in Stanley Marsh (A Site for Tired Eyes, April 18). Marsh's belief that relaxation need not be a form of competition is an important message to all of us. Even more important is the fact that Marsh shows us how to do it and have fun. Isn't fun the fundamental element of sports? In this same issue Jack Nicklaus states that taking second place at the Masters was "fun, too." These men are both champions and so are we if we follow their example. And now, I plan to line my garden with my 11 broken tennis rackets.
DAN RYAN
Ypsilanti, Mich.

Sir:
I enjoyed Frank Deford's article, but I think perhaps he needs to have his eyes checked. He wrote that "art" consisted of "a yellow A, a red R and a blue T." The picture on page 87 shows, however, a red A, a yellow R and a blue T.
JEAN YAWORSKY
Auburn, N.Y.

PADDLED
Sir:
My phone started ringing shortly after your April 11 issue hit the stands with the article Forest Hills Hilton.

The calls were from irate paddle tennis players wanting to know what Mark Donovan meant by his statement that "Hilary Hilton stepped up to platform."

I must confess, I did not have the answer. "Possibly," I told them, "the fact that platform tennis is played on an elevated platform, hence, one would step up to reach the platform—or maybe, due to the generous cash prizes of Tribuno, Donovan meant she was stepping up her income."

Surely he could not mean that platform tennis was a superior or more difficult game than paddle tennis. After all, Hilary and Anabelle Lang, two of our paddle tennis AAA players, after only a few weeks of practice, won the 1975 Platform Nationals, and Hilary repeated in 1977. It is highly improbable that two platform players, after only a few weeks' practice, could win any of our paddle tennis national events.
HENRY C. DUNHAM
President
American Paddle Tennis League
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Sir:
Having always believed a "winner" must be willing to go one step further, I am about to take mine by suggesting that you retitle Mark Donovan's article.

Platform tennis is a team sport; as yet, there is no singles competition. Winning comes not merely from the combined talents of the partners, but, more importantly, their camaraderie on and off the court.

It was Louise Gengler, my partner, who got me to the championships by, more times than not, showing me a lot of heart when I couldn't hit my hat. I know it doesn't read as well, but how about The Forest Hills Gengler?
HILARY HILTON
Pacific Palisades, Calif.

PLAY IT AGAIN
Sir:
The article on Sam Pollack (Would You Buy a Used Hockey Player from This Man?, April 18) should be required reading for all sports executives. Those who feel that the way to success is through mortgaging the future for the present or by buying what appears to be an instant winner have won only a few championships. Their policies have decreased competitive balance, exorbitantly increased players' salaries and have driven ticket prices almost beyond the reach of the average fan. In other words, George Allen has never won a championship, but Sam Pollack has won eight.
MARK WEISS
Seattle

GOOD SHOW
Sir:
I would like to give you a rousing good show for your table tennis article (One for All, but Not All for One, April 18). For too long the sport of table tennis has been neglected by SI, and it's good to see some coverage for this fine sport. Here's hoping that this article will be the first of many on table tennis.

As you are doubtlessly aware, there are few sports in which pre-teen-agers, people over 70 and people of both sexes and all ages can compete in head-to-head competition. Table tennis is such a game, and the pursuit of it can lead to countless hours of enjoyment and competition. As an avid table tennis player, I'll be looking forward to future SI coverage of my favorite sport.
ROBIN K. BURR
Ardmore, Okla.

BRIDGE SCANDAL (CONT.)
Sir:
Thank you for publishing something about the Katz-Cohen affair (It Wasn't All in the Cards, April 11). The two major bridge publications in the U.S., the American Contract Bridge League's Bulletin and The Bridge World, have had very little to say about it other than that the pair withdrew and subsequently resigned from the ACBL.

As a bridge player, I know that if I were accused of improper conduct, I would fight the accusation through the highest appeals level in the ACBL and take it to court if necessary. I might not win, but I sure wouldn't roll over and play dead.
STEVEN M. TYER
Greensboro, N.C.

Sir:
It's no wonder somebody filed a $44 million lawsuit. The guy at the bottom of page 22 is holding 15 cards. Now that's an advantage!

And although it's not as easy to count, his partner seems to have one or two more than the customary 13.

Not only that, your artist failed to show how many cards the two other guys at the table are holding. This is one trial I wouldn't miss!
GARY ROLLINS
Houston

HACK AND THE HALL
Sir:
I was interested to see that Hack Wilson, via Mark Kram, in Why Ain't I in the Hall? (April 11), recalled winning the National League's Most Valuable Player award in 1930. The record books do not show this, which is just one more example of the way baseball has slighted Wilson.

For several years the leagues themselves made the MVP awards, but for some reason they dropped the practice, the American League in 1929 and 1930, the National League in 1930, before the Baseball Writers Association took over responsibility for the awards in 1931. Thus, no National League MVP appears in the books for 1930, the only gap from 1924 to the present day. Yet that year, James Crusinberry, a Chicago sportswriter, asked eight baseball writers, one from each of the cities then in the league, to vote on an MVP. Wilson won by a wide margin. But because it was an unofficial tabulation, Wilson's selection has been consistently ignored. What a shame.
R. M. GORDON
Philadelphia

Sir:
Agreed, Hack Wilson's career would seem to merit his installation in the Hall of Fame, and Mark Kram's excellent piece was mainly on the mark—and timely.

However, Mr. Kram should have noted that in 1930, the season during which Wilson compiled his most memorable offensive statistics (190 RBIs, 56 HRs, .356 batting average), including the RBI record about which Kram had Wilson quoting Babe Ruth in heaven saying, "They ain't never going to get," a new, energized baseball was introduced into major league play.

The "live" ball was introduced during that most disagreeable of Depression years to generate more offense, more runs and, presumably, more interest in baseball during a period when a pair of grandstand tickets represented a remote luxury. That the new ball was responsible for the inordinate number of offensive achievements that year is, I think, clear.

So, let's put Hack in the Hall, where he surely belongs, but also remember that his greatest season occurred in the year of an experimental ball, the single greatest offensive year in history.
DAVID L. MACARAY
Member
Society of American Baseball Research
Brea, Calif.

Sir:
Your fantasy on Hack Wilson was beautifully done, a lyrically compelling defense for his being in the Hall of Fame. Somewhere in his Valhalla, Hack is smiling and so is Joseph Pulitzer at such a monumental article.

Hack was my childhood hero, and I cried for him in 1929 and again after reading Mark Kram's masterpiece.
JOHN R. VAN KIRK
West Lafayette, Ind.

Sir:
According to Mark Kram, Hack Wilson didn't know where he got his nickname. When I was a boy I was told that "Hack" was short for George Hackenschmidt, an immensely broad champion wrestler of the early years of the century. A powerfully built catcher named George Gibson, who played for the Pirates for many years and later managed them, was sometimes referred to as Hackenschmidt Gibson (Ring Lardner called him that in one of his early baseball reports), or Hack for short. Whether Wilson was named Hack after Gibson or directly for Hackenschmidt, I don't know, but I'd bet anything that's where the nickname came from.
FRED WATTS
Vineland, N.J.

Sir:
Herman Long is a shortstop who absolutely ought to be in the Hall of Fame, but there are at least two others from that dimly remembered era who should join Long in Cooperstown. Jack Glasscock played 17 seasons in the National League from 1879 to 1895 and was the league's best shortstop throughout the 1880s. Bill Dahlen, whose career ran from 1891 to 1911, played more than 2,100 games at short and was outstanding. Tommy Corcoran, Ed McKean and George Davis were three other crackerjack shortstops of that period whose reputations were obscured and forgotten when Honus Wagner came along.
MARTIN J. COLEMAN
New York City

FIDRYCH FOR 35 Gs?
Sir:
Fans are getting fed up with constant bickering between owners and players regarding contracts and bonuses.

Why not write contracts that have a standard pay scale for all players, all contracts to be for one year only, no bonuses to be paid to any player. A rookie would be paid $20,000 for his first year, with a maximum increase of $15,000 for each year he remains with the club. When a player is traded or sold, his salary would remain the same for that season. The club to which he is traded could not increase his salary, nor could it pay a bonus to a player who has jumped his club. This pay scale would have more than enough takers and attendance would increase, as it would not be necessary to rip off the fan for a ticket.
JOSEPH J. RESING
Frankfort, Ky.

SNAKEBIT
Sir:
In your article on Gary Simmons and other professional hockey goaltenders {Reincarnation and Rituals, March 28), Simmons conjectures that the cobra strikes faster than the diamondback rattler. It is a matter of record that the rattler can, and does, strike about 10 times as fast as the cobra, which is relatively slow-moving.
ALLAN J. RYAN, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief
The Physician and Sportsmedicine
Minneapolis

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