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19TH HOLE: The readers take over


I would like to nominate not a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Sportsman of the Year, but rather the Sportsmen of the Year, the amazing Los Angeles Dodgers.
Los Angeles

I thought that possibly this news item might have escaped your staff:

Los Angeles, Oct. 8. Walter O'Malley of the victorious L.A. Dodgers tonight electrified the sports world with the statement that the Dodgers would not play in Memorial Coliseum next year, even though their new stadium will not be anywhere near ready. Reading from a prepared statement, the ebullient O'Malley spoke as follows: "We are naturally tremendously pleased with our victory and with the support that the loyal Los Angeles fans gave the team throughout the season, the playoff and the Series itself. Their continued trips through our turnstiles have certainly put this club way into the black. As everyone knows, although we are, of course, interested in making money, we prize more highly the game itself. We all know it is a monstrous fraud to play major league ball in the Coliseum. Therefore, although at some financial loss to ourselves, but in the interest of preserving the high tradition of a fine game, we are going to play the 1960 season in the properly proportioned Wrigley Field. We know that the parking situation is bad, the number of seats is limited and the location is bad, but there are covered seats for day games and we will televise locally all games at home so that those who are unable to squeeze in the park will be able to watch on the tube and, by thunder, what they will see will be real baseball!"

The standing ovation which greeted this announcement lasted for one full hour. Telegrams poured in from all over the world. Prince Rainier bid for the left field screen as a submarine net for his little harbor. The custodian of the Hall of Fame started rearranging things in preparation for a new star and the local mayor asked that the name be changed from Cooperstown to O'Malleyville.

I am typing this clipping from memory as I seem to have misplaced my copy of it. Fact is, none of my friends saw it in the paper, but I'm sure I didn't dream it. Or did I?
Newport Beach, Calif.

Mr. Ed Slattery's letter complaining of O'Malley's commercialism (19TH HOLE, Oct. 5) can and should be labeled sour grapes. Since the Dodgers came to our fair city Mr. O'Malley has conducted himself and his team in the best interests of baseball and the fans of Los Angeles. Is Mr. O'Malley to be condemned because some of the members of the city council and our mayor wish to make him a present of the controversial Chavez Ravine? Is there another major league owner who would not accept the same gift from the taxpayers of Los Angeles if it were offered? I think not. However, let us consider the baseball we have had here in the last two years. It goes without saying that the L.A. Coliseum is not a good place for baseball. It was the only stadium available with a large seating capacity, so the Dodgers used it. Contrary to the predictions of the "experts," all home run records were not shattered or even approached. When the Dodgers first arrived, most eastern publications (including SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) were dead set against us. However, most of them (especially SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) have evaluated the change and now seem to think the change was for the better. If one can read between the lines in your coverage of the Dodgers this year, one can come to the conclusion that you are happy to see them in L.A.

If Mr. Slattery does not want to see the Dodgers play ball, this is his affair. However, after two years of residence in Los Angeles, the Dodgers have won the support of 99% of the baseball fans and the support of 100% of the people who were not fans before. We Angelenos do not have anything to gripe about.
Northridge, Calif.

While others fall asleep musing on small, pleasant bits of football gossip about Oklahoma's center Jim (Double Dip) Davis kicking the ice cream habit and reporting to football practice at a slim 210 pounds (A Slight Case of Murder, SI, Oct. 5), we lie awake wondering why Double Dip had to kick the ice cream habit to lose this weight. Our roommate, Lance (Scoops) Farnsworth, center for the Dartmouth basketball team, finds that an intensive ice cream diet has no ill effects on his weight.

Six-foot eight-inch Lance was nicknamed Scoops by his teammates because he persisted in devouring extra scoops of ice cream at the training table. "True," says Scoops, "I can't shake the sherbet habit."

What we can't understand is why Double Dip has a weight problem when Scoops, a pint-a-night man, stays a trim 215 in and out of season. Speaking in terms of bulk, Scoops consumes 36 gallons of ice cream a year. This bulk figure not only includes his daily consumption, but an occasional weekend bout with a quart or a half gallon.

When asked how he maintained his lean and hungry look, he answered by saying, "I always try to avoid peach and banana."
Hanover, N.H.

Concerning Mervin Hyman's remark (FOOTBALL'S 2ND WEEK, Oct. 5) that Pitt's Ivan Toncic in the Southern California game "came close to being the first football player to be trampled to death," if my memory doesn't fail me, I recall that John Trice, tackle for Iowa State, was literally trampled to death in the Minnesota game of 1923. He died shortly after the game as the result of injuries sustained in attempting to break through interference on off-tackle play.

Concerning Reader Willis Foster's letter (19TH HOLE, Oct. 5) about a more equitable system of rating pitchers by comparing their won-lost averages with that of their team, such a system of rating pitchers was given in great detail in a series of booklets, Kings of the Mound, issued annually for several years during the late '30s and early '40s. Walter Johnson rated very high. Eddie Rommel had an extremely high rating for a couple of years in the '20s, when he was a "winning" pitcher with the last-place A's.
University Park, N. Mex.

Your college football preview was excellent, but what are the outlooks for the teams from our two newest states?

How do things look for the U. of Alaska and the U. of Hawaii?
Bay City, Mich.

•The University of Alaska last fielded a football team in 1956, dropped the sport because of lack of competition but may resume in 1961, with Alaska Methodist University at Anchorage hopefully also getting on the field. The University of Hawaii at Honolulu plays an intercollegiate schedule against Southern Oregon, Idaho State, San Jose State, College of the Pacific, Los Angeles State, Fresno State, Arizona State and Utah State. The last five games are home games.—ED.

In regard to Bill Stead's "It's never been done before" (THEY SAID IT, Oct. 5), I think if Bill will think back he will recall that Lou Fageol driving the Slo-Mo-Shun V in competition did a complete back somersault at more than 160 mph and the boat came down on its sponsons to a halt. This was caught on film and is a spectacular shot, to say the least.

•Stead was the first to stay with the boat; Fageol flipped clear and was injured.—ED.