Being a Chicago baseball fan (Chi, Oh My! July 25) is not a pastime. It is a vocation, a way of life. At a very young age, a Cub or Sox fan learns that pennants are something other teams win. And while the meek may inherit the earth, they have a helluva time turning the double play. Frustration becomes the norm. Disappointment is the constant condition.
But then comes the summer of '77, and we find that the sun sometimes shines on those who persevere, and that some of the drops in the lake of life do sparkle, even in Chicago.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
Ten summers ago I wrote SI to extol the virtues of Eddie Stanky and his "hitless wonders." Unfortunately, the mound artistry of Joel Horlen and Gary Peters did not prove to be enough to carry the Chisox to the pennant. The '77 version of the White Sox, however, is another story. With Wilbur Wood back in form, Richie Zisk and company should have no trouble keeping up the pace through October. When the Series comes to Comiskey Park this fall, you can be sure I'll be there.
In your article you failed to mention Jack Brickhouse, the Cubs' commentator. Brickhouse sounds more colorful on TV than Harry Caray, by far.
August 7, 1977
After all, a "holy cow" feeds on "hey, hey."
Thank you for the fine article on the amazing Cubs and Sox. Thanks even more for keeping them off your cover.
Franklin Park, Ill.
Only three things are definite in America today: death, taxes and the Cubs choking.
It is nice to see teams winning that did not sign any spoiled, rich, crybaby free agents.
It's a shame Peter Gammons had to further tantalize Chicago's steadfast fans with his roseate story. The fact is, they are in for a worse letdown than 1973, only this time the perpetrators will be the Rangers and the Pirates.
At the start of the season, you guys picked the White Sox and Cubs to finish fifth in their divisions. I'm glad to see that you're willing to eat some crow.
If Chicago has a subway Series this October, watch for a World Series even more exciting than the one in 1975.
Now, if the Bears can get into the Super Bowl....
MICHAEL J. McNAMER
This is one of those "I enjoyed it, but..." letters. Peter Gammons put together a fine story about the Chicago Two. However, he has contributed to the furtherance of the anonymity of Harry Steinfeldt. Gammons mentions the entire infield of today's Cubbies and the fine infield of several years ago. In his reference to the great infield of the 1908 Cubs, though, he names only the triumvirate of Tinker, Evers and Chance, completely ignoring good ol' Harry over there holding down the hot corner.
Franklin Pierce Adams of the old New York Globe immortalized the "Trio of Bear Cubs fleeter than birds, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance." Adams, Gammons and countless writers in between have conspired to ignore Harry. In 1908, the Cubs, led by Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown's 29-9 record, won the pennant and then the World Series, beating Ty Cobb's Tigers in five games. What about Harry? During the 1908 season, Harry Steinfeldt got more hits in more games than either Evers or first baseman Chance. He had more homers than Evers. Clearly a dangerous hitter, he was a significant fourth member of an infield that had a league-leading .969 fielding average.
On this, the 101st anniversary of Harry's birth, let's not completely forget him. Give 'em hell, Harry!
You failed to mention one important fact about an intracity World Series. This year the three National League Series games are scheduled to be night games. But if the Cubs win the pennant, those games will have to be played in the afternoon, as Wrigley Field has no lights.
If, as some say, part of baseball's problem is its submission to television's commercialism, then the Cubs will have pulled the greatest upset of all.
I thought that your article on the booming Chicago baseball teams was very well done, except for one thing. You neglected to give credit in any way to Bob Lemon, the manager of the unbelievable White Sox.
J. DOHERTY DALY
Have we all gone stark raving mad ("I'll Do Anything I Can Get Away With," July 25)? Since when is there controlled violence, as Conrad Dobler terms it? Violence is violence in every sense of the word.
People don't play for the sport of the game anymore—they play to kill. Where has compassion for others gone?
Mill Hall, Pa.
Thank you for an insight into an excellent offensive lineman.
It is my opinion that Dobler should hang up his fangs and retire.
I thoroughly enjoyed Daphne Hurford's article. What pro football needs is more Conrad Doblers.
Your cover picture, headline and article about Conrad Dobler left me terribly disappointed about your editorial judgment. Why even mention a person who believes "rules are made to be broken"?
It is this ethic that has degraded pro hockey to the level of alley brawling on ice skates. With this kind of publicity, you encourage the same kind of hooliganism in pro football.
JOSEPH M. VALERIO
OPEN AND SHUT
"Their name liveth forever more."
What a magnificent and fitting close to your British Open story (A Braw Brawl For Tom and Jack, July 18).
This match of the ages linked with the past and played in the present captured the antiquity, the timelessness of golf, and displayed the drama and tension always inherent in this greatest of games.
I am sure that all golfers, fans and followers of this match must sense that a phantom inscription is now on the Turnberry stone.
I submit it includes the names of Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, as well as their chronicler Dan Jenkins.
MAURICE B. KEADY JR.
Bethel Park, Pa.
Because Dan Jenkins is one of my all-time favorite writers, I looked forward to his account of the British Open duel between Nicklaus and Watson. As he suggested, Watson has established himself as a great player who will probably win many more major championships before he trades in his wedge for a walking stick.
But Dan's "obituary" on Jack is probably premature. This isn't the first time Jack has been written off; I particularly recall the recent dominance of Johnny Miller and Lee Trevino in some majors, when everyone wondered where Jack was. Well, he's still here, and maybe the reason everyone is wondering why Jack is having such a "bad" year—second at Augusta, second at Turnberry and more than $200,000 in winnings this year—is because he expects to win every tournament, and everyone expects him to win. He's just in a class by himself.
From reading your recent article about snowless skis (Stem Turn Through the Tulips, July 25) I have come to the conclusion that if the drought keeps up, these will be the hottest items in the West. What is the price of these skis?
•It's about $110 a pair at Rolla Ski Canada, Ltd., Montreal.—ED.
Having been a sports fisherman for several years and having hooked several blue marlin but never boated one, I thoroughly enjoyed Stanley Meltzoff's informative article (Like a Neon Shadow in the Sea, July 25). However, Mr. Meltzoff failed to mention that the current world record for Atlantic blue marlin is 1,142 pounds. The record fish was caught off Oregon Inlet, which is dubbed the marlin capital of the world by many.
JOHN C. STINSON JR.
Although he is a fine painter, Stanley Meltzoff needs to do a bit more research on underwater billfish photography. His statement, "No one, as far as I know, had ever observed the blue marlin beneath the sea" is far from correct. Many photographers have.
UP AND OVER
As the world's greatest high-jump freak, I enjoyed Marsh Clark's article on Vladimir Yashchenko (Just an Old-Fashioned Lad, July 25), the 18-year-old Soviet high jumper who broke Dwight Stones' record (which was, by the way, 7'7¼", not 7'7½", as your article stated). Up until a few weeks ago, Stones' competition was, let's face it, hardly star-studded. But with Yashchenko on the scene we see a whole new picture. I just hope that at the World Cup this September in D√ºsseldorf, the Russians have enough pride in their newfound record breaker to match him against a proven champion—Stones.
Your article (Fight On! And On and On, July 25) was superb. For two men to fight barefisted for four hours is remarkable. If boxers were conditioned like that today, you would see better fights.
As a professional boxer, I must admit the article left me breathless.
Franklin Square, N.Y.
RAGE TO LIVE
Douglas Chadwick's The Grizzly's Rage to Live (July 18) was a magnificent article. I too was in the Flathead Valley during the fall of 1976, and raised many a cold one to the legend that was the Giefer Griz.
After reading the article, I was stunned at the similarity between the Giefer Grizzly and another so-called outlaw—Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé. Both were pacifists turned activists because of encroachment on their homeland. Chief Joseph was quoted as saying, "I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to live on yours." I suspect the Giefer Grizzly was trying to tell us exactly the same thing, and in so doing he made fools out of a vastly superior force of government hunters, just as Chief Joseph did.
The lure of Canadian freedom proved to be the undoing of both of these heroes. Let us hope that they did not die in vain.
GEORGE S. ENGLE
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