BIG BUSTED MACHINE
Yes, The Big Red Machine is now The Big Dead Machine and no, they will not win a third world championship in a row (The Reds Are Singing the Blues, Aug. 22). But remember this: long after the current Dodger team and all the other pennant contenders of 1977 have been forgotten, people who know baseball will still be talking about the awesome Cincinnati teams of the '70s. They'll talk of the greatest catcher of all time, the greatest switch hitter and the greatest all-round second baseman the game has ever known. Wait till next year: wait till forever.
Santa Monica, Calif.
So what if Lou Brock breaks Ty Cobb's stolen-base record (Make Way for the Sultan of Swipes, Aug. 22)? He'll still have to steal 46 more bases to pass the record holder for the most stolen bases in the major leagues, Billy Hamilton with 937. Hall-of-Famer Hamilton played in the National League for 14 years (1888-1901) and batted .344 lifetime.
•During most of Hamilton's career, until 1896, a runner was awarded a stolen base if he advanced on an out or, say, stretched a single into a double.—ED.
Why should Ty Cobb, the unchallenged premier baseball player in history, be attacked by Ron Fimrite as "a racist, truculent, profane, suspicious, humorless bully"? Blackening Cobb does not enhance Lou Brock's image. Surely Brock's breaking of the stolen-base record is an event to be acclaimed, but not to the extent of degrading one of the best, if not the best, baseball players ever. As a great follower of Ty Cobb, I may be a bit biased, but you see, families never die. They continue to grow.
New York City
Two years ago when Lou Brock ran in the Super Stars 100-yard dash with speedsters like Paul Blair, I was intrigued by his leg motion. While the others were scrambling, bowlegged, burning up energy. Brock seemed to be floating along, knees pumping almost above the waist, legs together. And I was reminded of Jesse Owens and his incomparable stride. Now Ron Fimrite tells me that Jesse actually coached Lou in his early days...and a light dawns.
Key Biscayne, Fla.
As a fellow native of Richmond I was overjoyed to see Lanny Wadkins regain his form and win the PGA (The Battle of the Ages, Aug. 22). However, to say that Nicklaus is in a "slump" is ludicrous. I hope that I will be able to make more than $250,000 in an off year.
Dan Jenkins credits both Littler and Wadkins with having played the second playoff hole perfectly with matching birdies.
But after getting a free drop from an "earth crack," Wadkins proceeded to hit his worst shot in 74 holes of play—a long, strong-boy, hacker hook. He was actually slamming his club into the ground in disgust when the ball suddenly emerged from trees and tiger country and bounded onto the green.
Gene Littler played the hole perfectly, but Lanny didn't and would be the first to admit it. It proves that sometimes in golf the important thing is not how but how many.
FORBES K. WILSON
My compliments to Virginia Kraft on her article on hocker (A Game Any Number Can Play, Aug. 22), but she could have included something about the first "city" hocker league, which was founded in 1966, its games being played under the lights in the P.S. 26 schoolyard in Queens, N.Y. by this writer and a few friends. We called the game "sockey" (clever, huh?). It was played with a goalie, one defenseman and two forwards. Anything went—as did a section or two of fence. We played two 15-minute halves. Many people came out to watch, and many teams were formed. I believe the Rangers won the first championship with Barry Block in goal, myself at the defensive slot, and Charlie Luigga and my brother Michael at forward. The league was disbanded the next year because a few of the lights burned out and the city never replaced them.
I respectfully disagree with Virginia Kraft (If You Call Him Old Folks, Be Prepared to Duck, Aug. 8) when she considers the International Clay Pigeon Championship of America to be the most prestigious title in trap-shooting. I think that most, if not all, serious shooters would rank the Grand American Handicap, the North American Clay Target Singles Championship and the North American Clay Target Doubles Championship far superior. The number of participants in each event alone would substantiate this. Moreover, the International Clay Pigeon Championship of America is not considered in computing the season's high overall winner.
I certainly mean no disrespect to Mr. Gates, who is indeed an outstanding trapshooter.
RONALD B. JANES
There are more plausible reasons for an apparent decrease in the number of porpoises killed in the tuna nets than superintelligence or the preposterous overnight evolutionary changes suggested in your SCORECARD item of Aug. 15.
The most obvious explanation would be that very few animals have survived the porpoise program of the American tuna fleet; that the Pacific Ocean spinner dolphins, on which nets are set, have been reduced to the brink of extinction.
A happier explanation would be that tuna men, because of pressure from conservationists that has led to stricter regulation, are fishing with greater circumspection and using new equipment and techniques that save porpoise lives.
One can only hope that the latter is true.
Editor, Audubon Magazine
New York City
I would like to know how Joel (Cowboy) Parrish suddenly became a guard for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL (SCORECARD, Aug. 8) when just two nights ago he was in uniform for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, when they defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Although Joel Parrish was drafted by the Bengals, he was signed by the Argonauts. He and Mike Wilson make up the "Georgia Connection" of the Argos' offensive line, and if all goes well, they will be here for many years.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.