I would like to congratulate the Pittsburgh Pirates on their sensational comeback victory over the Orioles, and I also would like to congratulate you for looking into your crystal ball and coming up with the article Pitt, the City Where They Hit in your April 9 Baseball Issue. The '79 Pirates didn't let that tradition down. Dave Parker said it all when he raised his index finger in the air on the cover of the Baseball Issue.
In your 1971 major league preview (April 17, 1971) you called the Baltimore Orioles "the best damn team in baseball." The Pirates beat them in the World Series. In this summer's Silver Anniversary Issue (Aug. 13) you moderated your stance and only called the Orioles "the best team in baseball." Again, Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in the Series. The next time you declare the Orioles the best, I shall take a second mortgage and bet the bundle on the Bucs.
Spring Valley, N.Y.
ANOTHER VOTE FOR DRYDEN
Ken Dryden's review of hockey's evolution in recent years is the most accurate account I have seen (A Game in Search of Some Contests, Oct. 8). Many athletes wish to put "something back" into the game that has done much for them. Dryden has done this with a sincere and honest insight into a great game in need of a transfusion. The NHL should monitor "Dr." Dryden's diagnosis for future cure. Better yet, the NHL should retain Dryden as its resident "physician."
University of Denver
I enjoyed the Homecoming articles in your Oct. 22 issue. I happened to be visiting the Brothers of Holy Cross at Columba Hall on the Notre Dame campus that weekend. Ray Kennedy captured perfectly the entire weekend—Friday pep rally to Sunday mass. What a pleasure to read four such entertaining and nostalgic stories.
THOMAS J. DEWITT
Rocky River, Ohio
November 5, 1979
I thoroughly enjoyed the Homecoming stories and I'm glad I read them in the order I chose: Fimrite, Underwood, Deford, Kennedy. To have finished with Deford's depressing account would have dulled my appreciation for the whole—like grounds in the last sip of a good cup of coffee.
It's too bad that the snobbery that the Big Three pass off as literate gentility is allowed to dampen the many worthwhile aspects of intercollegiate athletics. I need only look down the road to Stanford University for evidence that the Ivy League notion that arts and letters are incompatible with competitive football at the highest level is an idle one. Come on. Harvard, Yale and Princeton, I'll stack Stanford's schools of law, medicine, engineering, humanities, etc. against yours any day, and throw in a bowl game to boot!
Although I enjoyed parts of Frank Deford's homecoming—what Princeton graduate wouldn't?—he ultimately failed to convince me that he had come away from my alma mater with any "smarts." If he had graduated with an ounce of intelligence to compensate for the pounds of sarcastic but unfortunately sexist humor, he would have realized that Princeton football "has gone all to hell" not because "they let girls in the school," but because, after letting them in, they didn't let them play!
Ps AND Qs
In the 19TH HOLE section of your Oct. 22 issue, a reader suggests that Jack Quinn, who pitched for New York and Cincinnati, among other teams, holds the record for most home runs hit by a player whose name begins with the letter Q. We looked up Jack Quinn in The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball. All of the facts were correct, he did pitch for the New York team and the Cincinnati team, he did hit eight home runs in his career. But although he played under the name of John Picus Quinn, his real name turned out to be John Quinn Picus. So it appears that Jamie Quirk can relax, still holding the record for most homers hit by a person whose real name begins with Q.
I believe I may have found the true leader of the Qs. Neither Jack Quinn nor Jamie Quirk has the distinction of being the alltime home-run hitter whose last name begins with Q. Joseph J. Quinn hit a grand total of 30 homers from 1884 to 1901. He may also hold the record for most times changing teams by a "Q" person. He started with St. Louis of the Union Association, then followed with St. Louis of the National League, Boston of the NL, Boston of the Players League, Boston of the NL, St. Louis of the NL, Baltimore of the NL, St. Louis of the NL, Cleveland of the NL, St. Louis of the NL, Cincinnati of the NL and Washington of the American League. He was player/manager for St. Louis in 1895 and Cleveland in 1899. Amazingly, the Cleveland team he managed for 116 games in 1899 finished 84 games out of first with a record of 20-134! And people thought Casey's Mets had a rough time.
DOUGLAS A. COUSER
Patrick AFB, Fla.
Your SCORECARD item (Oct. 22) omitted one other Ferguson: Tom. He has won the world championship in calf roping (1974) and in steer wrestling (1977 and '78), and he has won or shared the past five world all-around titles (1974-78). His total career earnings now stand at $523,734 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
It's obviously time to brush up on Tom Ferguson, a big name in sports these days.
The title of your SCORECARD item was "Sons of Ferg." It would have been more appropriate if it had been "Sons of Fergus." In The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames it says: "Ferguson. The son of Fergus, which signifies a brave chieftain...." As for the athletes you have mentioned, would you have expected anything less from the Ferguson clan?
South Windsor, Conn.
As a fellow soccer coach and coordinator for youth soccer, I empathize with Dan Woog having to cut from his soccer team earnest and deserving young children not talented enough to make it (VIEWPOINT, Oct. 15). I don't think there is anything that can be done to make the coach's life any easier in this respect. It may be the most painful part of the job. But maybe something can be done for those youngsters who tried and didn't make it. Instead of calling just those who made the team on the final cut night, why not also call those who didn't and thank them for trying?
Woog mentioned that he wishes he could "come up with the right combination of words to let [the player who has been cut] know that I still respect and admire the way he gave his best." Maybe Woog could try harder.
Youth Soccer Coordinator
As a high school soccer and basketball coach, I couldn't help identifying with Dan Woog as he shared his feelings about "cut time." One thing, however, really surprised me, and that was Woog's method for notifying the chosen players by phone. If a youngster has the courage to put himself on the line and try out for the team, risking failure in front of his peers, I certainly owe it to him to tell him face to face what my decision is. I definitely could not let an unmade phone call give him that message.
Varsity Soccer Coach
Centennial High School
Ellicott City, Md.
In a sanctimonious way, Dan Woog gave a capsule summary of what is wrong with youth sports today. If he would spend less time worrying about international junkets for his selected, sub-teen superstars and more time trying to organize a couple of more teams for the remaining 30 kids, he would never have to go through the "agonizing" experience of telling a 12-year-old that he cannot compete in organized sports.
CRAIG M. BRANDT
Dan Woog's dilemma is summed up in his sixth paragraph, "...great trips to sunny Florida. We toured Virginia, Canada and Europe...Giants Stadium in 1977...trimming the 40 or 50 boys who show up at tryouts to a manageable squad of 18."
That's too much, too soon, for too few 12-year-old boys, and such an approach exploits the talents of the few at the expense of conducting a far less sophisticated grass-roots program that serves the needs of the many. As long as there are those who espouse this doctrine, Woog's agony (and that of a tremendous number of kids) will continue.
RALPH S. COPPA
Parks & Recreation
Dan Woog's story about having to cut a total of 40 or 50 applicants to a manageable squad of 18 soccer players is touching, but let him take heart. The American Youth Soccer Organization will take every one of his rejects, even the "eight or 10 least talented," and put them on balanced teams where everyone plays (AYSO's motto) at least half of each game, which is probably a lot more action than the last few players on Dan's squad will see during the season.
Not only that, but the players will have just as good a chance of being in a soccer movie (which has happened more than once to an AYSO team), or of performing before a large crowd or taking a cultural trip abroad or within the U.S.; and all of this without the least risk of heartbreak, however temporary. AYSO's program applies equally to boys and girls between the ages of five and 18.
American Youth Soccer Organization
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.