Being an avid Dodger fan, I want to thank you for your article (An Urgent Matter of One Index Finger, March 4) on Sandy Koufax. Robert Creamer did an excellent job of covering this great pitching star. He even managed to include some humor about that finger, something true Dodger fans don't even like to talk about. Most Angelenos have a quiet confidence that Sandy will continue his amazing career and that they can forget about that temporarily hated finger.
Van Nuys, Calif.
The implication that Koufax's finger injury cost the Dodgers the pennant last year is ridiculous. True, he is a pitcher of magnificent talent, but injuries play as great a part in the breaks of baseball as a Texas leaguer does. The champion Giants were themselves plagued by injuries throughout the season. Pitching aces Billy Pierce and Juan Marichal were each lost for a month, not to mention the off-and-on ailments of Jim Davenport and Felipe Alou. To top it off, there was Willie Mays's illness near the season's finish, and the tragic loss of budding star Mike McCormick's pitching effectiveness.
It seems to me this offsets any excuse for the Dodgers not winning the pennant.
I realize that every year about this time you receive numerous letters from biased ball fans arguing how great their home team is. But I was amazed to see that the odds were 1,000 to 1 against Boston's winning the American League title (FOR THE RECORD, March 11). I was more surprised to see that they were placed on equal basis with Kansas City and Washington.
When New Englanders start talking about their team during spring training (or any time, for that matter) something's up. Boston finally has a pennant contender. Somebody has apparently mistaken the Red Sox for the Bruins. They're not!
The odds against the Phillies winning the pennant are 300 to 1. These are also the odds for Chicago, Houston and New York. How can you even compare these other teams with the Phillies? After all, who changed from a record losing streak to a winning season? And what team's manager was voted Manager of the Year? I feel this is all unfair.
"Cincinnati will win the NCAA?" Lay off, you guys. For two years straight you "favored" Ohio State, and now you're gunning for the Bearcats. Cincy can do it again, but without your help. Hands off—please.
In the past you have picked us Ohio Buckeyes. This year when the chips are down, you desert us! You'll be sorry.
In your March 11 issue you rate Cincinnati, Ohio State and Loyola of Chicago the three best teams in the Midwest. Wichita has beaten all three of these teams. In the Southwest, you rate Arizona State first and Texas Western third. Wichita has beaten both of these teams also. In the national polls Wichita is rated sixth although they have beaten everybody in the top five except Duke, and they haven't played Duke. In four games with Western Athletic Conference members Wichita has won four. In four games with Big Ten members Wichita has won, by an average of 20 points, four games. In short it seems Wichita isn't the best team in the nation, it only beats the best.
FREDDIE L. MARRS
Three cheers to President Colvard and Coach McCarthy of Mississippi State University for bringing their Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament. Win, lose or draw, they will give everyone in the country a chance to see the caliber of teams in the Southeastern Conference.
For years we have heard about these big, powerful football teams of the SEC, but by whose standards? They never (or seldom) play outside of their conference. How do we know if they could hold their own in the Mid-American Conference? Well, at last we will get a chance to see what their basketball champs can do at East Lansing.
CARL E. RETZKE
ROCK OF AGES
The article by Huston Horn on the 11 men behind Cassius Clay (March 11) really gave me a good laugh. Saying that these 11 men with their "hand-me-down family money" are in this to make sure Mr. Clay doesn't get the money treatment Joe Louis got is the best joke since Silky Sullivan ran in the Kentucky Derby.
The only thing on these guys' minds is that Telstar production that Limber Lip Clay is talking about, with an $11 million purse, which would give them $1 million each. Anyway, here's one former boxing fan who wouldn't give a green stamp to watch Limber Lip, Patterson, Liston and the whole heavyweight division. The Rock, at his present age, could fight all of them on the same night and not even work up a sweat.
JAMES M. KLINE
I hope that your fascinating article on Cassius Clay did not jinx his prediction in his fight with Jones. The article was particularly interesting to me because Bill Faversham is an acquaintance of mine. The plan was formulating in his mind when he was spending a weekend down here with some mutual friends a number of years ago. During the course of an evening I mentioned that I would like a "piece" of Clay also. I doubt that I would have been let into the syndicate, but I never followed it up and I have been kicking myself ever since.
To think now that a paltry $2,800 might be worth $150,000 in the near future makes me groan.
To Cassius I say as Brutus to his namesake:
You say you are a better fighter:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well.
All the luck in the world to Cassius and his 11 men.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
Since your writers have already conceded Candy Spots the Kentucky Derby, I would like to tell them about common sense.
Candy Spots, a notorious come-from-be-hind horse, has won five races by a total of 4½ lengths and yet he is supposed to be a magnificent 3-year-old.
It would seem the fast-breaking Never Bend has the advantage in their two-horse duel come early May.
Even with his losses in the rich Sapling, Arlington-Washington Futurity and Garden State, Never Bend won more money than any 2-year-old ever did, breaking First Landing's record. It should be realized that, with the exception of these three races, Never Bend won each of his seven other 1962 starts.
Now look at Candy Spots' first 1963 outing. He narrowly beat Bonjour by a nose, definitely not exhibiting the championship form that Whitney Tower gives him credit for. Never Bend, on the other hand, easily won his prep race.
Unfortunately, the two horses may not meet until May 4, and one could hardly call the Kentucky Derby a true test of racing skill. I only hope that the two will meet again, possibly in the Belmont, so that the public can really see which horse is better in a first-rate test. For either of them to win at the Belmont's exacting distance of a mile and a half after the campaign they will probably put in up until that time will prove that we really do have a champion.
JEFFREY D. RUDNER
Congratulations on your fine article on polo in the Feb. 4 issue (Polo's New Aristocracy Moves In). It's good to see that the U.S. has progressed from playing the game as a status symbol to enjoying it for the fine sport it is. The change has given the game a much-needed shot in the arm.
Polo is and always will be the most exciting and fascinating of games because of its standing alone as the only sport where the athletic attributes of a man must be coupled with those of an animal.
I have only one difference with your writer. Polo ponies are not castoffs from the racetrack. True, they may not have the sires and dams of our racing Thoroughbreds, but the main distinction is that horses are not even started at the game until the age of 5 when many racetrack Thoroughbreds have either broken down or have been let out to pasture. The harsh physical demands of polo cannot be carried by a horse until his bone and muscle development has been completed. That, you probably know, is the great criticism of our "sport of kings"—that they race youngsters of 2 and 3 years old.
THOMAS J. BIDDLE
HIGH COST OF QUAIL
I can't agree more with the concluding statement in your article (Upland Shooting Down on Florida's Cold Coast, March 4) that this kind of hunting is giving new stature to preserve shooting. For Kellogg, Kim-berly and entourage, who can afford a fee of $1,250, that is. Meanwhile, those of us with less stature, who think state license fees are high, will content ourselves with using our guns as ornaments and getting our kicks from embellished articles such as these.
CARL G. STUMPF
Virginia Kraft states that preserve shooting is the best and she thinks that all hunters should take advantage of this. Well, I don't know about Miss Kraft, but when the temperature gets to zero here I can't hop into my private plane and zoom to the nearest southern preserve like one of the men that she mentioned in her article. Also, every time that I want to go hunting I can't shell out $35 at the least to go out and shoot eight little quail which will give me a little more than one good-size dinner. If I did have the money I wouldn't be up here in the first place.
I think that the 99% of the people who, like me, can't afford to shoot this way will just have to be happy with good old open shooting for a little over a month.
JOHN S. WHITAKER
Fairless Hills, Pa.
Congratulations to Mr. Leggett on a fine article in the Feb. 25 issue on the great Laker-Celtic rivalry (Basketball at Its Toughest). It was excellently written and very stimulating. But when I read the statements of Mr. Sandrock in the 19TH HOLE (March 11) I was stunned. Mr. Sandrock stated that Jerry West isn't enough of a basketball player to carry Oscar Robertson's traveling bag. Anyone in his right mind knows that this statement is vice versa. True, Oscar is a fine ballplayer, but he could never on his best night come near to Jerry West.
Tell Mr. Alvin Sandrock that he can have all the Oscar Robertsons in the world, I'll take Jerry West.
Glenville, W. Va.