Statistics and analyses are undeniably at the heart of baseball. However, I also relish those intimate vignettes that bring into focus the very essential human quality of the game. Thank you for giving us both in your Special Issue (April 9).
I commend you and thank you for printing the absolute truth about the greatest team in baseball: the World Champion New York Yankees. I agree with everything you said.
DALE R. HANSON
How can the Giants win the National League pennant?
1) Put Harvey Kuenn on second base and leave him there.
2) Put Cepeda back on first and leave him there.
3) Sell Horace Stoneham.
Los Altos, Calif.
You said Nellie Fox of the White Sox must rely on his "memory, hustle and luck." Hustle is the only thing right in that sentence. He is a great ballplayer, and luck is no part of it. You also said that the White Sox could challenge the Tigers for second place. Sure they will, but what about first? The Tigers are the team that actually will beat the Yankees.
You are poor little lambs who have lost your way. I'll bet you a two-year subscription to your magazine that the Chicago Cubs will climb from the depths to within four places of the pearly gates of a championship this season.
WILLIAM C. LAVERY
Your recognition of my son Roy Saari's swimming performances (FACES IN THE CROWD, April 2; Youth Puts the U.S. in Front, April 16) was greatly appreciated. However, even though I can't always be sure myself, I think the FACE you pictured is that of Steve Clark, American freestyle champion.
El Segundo, Calif.
•Coach Saari is right; for a photographic comparison, see below.—ED.
PROS AND KHANS
Re your story about Pakistan's squash-playing Khan family (Kings of Squash, April 2), Rex Lardner insinuates they're unbeatable. Such is not so. U.S. players who have beaten the Khans handily include my husband, Henri Salaun, who has defeated three of them; G. Diehl Mateer, who defeated two of them in consecutive matches in one day; Charles Ufford; and Teaching Professional Al Chassard, who is the current No. 1 squash pro.
The forte of the professional Khans' playing is that they do little else, whereas the Americans only eke out good competitive play on weekends, between lawn-mowing, baby-tending and house-mending.
HOW HARD THE PUNCH
I think I have a reasonable, if nonprofessional, explanation for the death of Benny Paret and the very similar injury to Tunney Hunsaker.
Since only a cursory search of sporting records will show new marks set in nearly every sport, we can assume that today's athletes are just plain stronger than their predecessors. Young men are running faster and farther, jumping higher, throwing harder and swimming faster than ever before. Is it not just as possible that the young men who are professional boxers are hitting harder than they used to?
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED sponsored a scientific study some months ago to prove that today's baseball has more rabbit in it than years ago. How about a study to find the punching quotient of today's boxers, and then a campaign to put protective headgear on every fighter?
MARJORIE A. FROSCH
Fort Wayne, Ind.
My idea, partly taken from boxing's own past, is simply to end a round as soon as a fighter has been knocked down, and automatically award the round to his opponent. Of course, the three-minute round would apply if there were no knockdown, and a count of 10 after a knockdown would still result in victory. I see no "sport" in one fighter hammering another to submission after knocking him groggy with what may have been a lucky punch. But there would be a certain measure of glory in being able to continue to outwit, outbox or outslug his adversary after he had recovered his senses and equilibrium as a result of the enforced round-ending.
JOSEPH C. GRIMALDI