I had intended to write immediately after noticing your omission of Willie Mays in the National League All-Star lineup (SI, July 1). Then I figured you would receive so many letters, I didn't bother.
However, I can't let this opportunity pass. Willie was not only named by the players to the starting lineup, he was the star of the game. Matter of fact, he was the game.
The All-Star Game has come and gone, and I still think that SI was correct in placing Vada Pinson in center field instead of Willie Mays. When you can lead all major league center fielders in five important departments, you should at least be invited to the game and be allowed to run for someone late in the game, as has been done before.
If Vada was watching the game on his television, he must have learned that it is not what you do but how you do it that counts in baseball. A good sound job is not enough. You must catch ground balls and bouncers in your bare hands instead of the glove, run out from under your cap occasionally and always tap your glove on fly balls to let the radio announcer know that everything's under control. You must ignore the cutoff man and throw to the bases on a fly, even if it allows a runner to advance. This gives the fans a little kick. You should always back into a fence if there's one handy on routine fly balls and be sure to limp into the infield afterwards. This makes baseball writers wonder how badly you are hurt and gives them a few more lines to write. If you're fooled on an inside fast ball be sure to hit the deck, throwing your bat and feet into the air. This gives your own pitcher an excuse for braining his opponent.
This is all called color, Vada, and if you can get it you'll be able to start an All-Star Game after Willie retires in seven or eight years. One other thing, Vada, get out to the park early and, before the umpires arrive, do a little handshaking, backslapping and kidding around with the opposition. These are the guys that vote.
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
I was very much disappointed in Alvin Dark, manager of the National League All-Stars, for not pitching Warren Spahn. This was the 14th year that he was selected to the All-Star team, and I thought it fitting that he should pitch at least one inning.
On the 38th floor of 515 Madison Avenue, there are four young ladies who would love to meet Mr. Gerald Holland. Their boss has just been publicly described as "unfailingly good-humored" (A Young Blood in a Lively Old Tradition, July 15). Obviously, they had not been consulted.
"Norman is the best loser I've ever seen," says Dave Johnston. Well, I ought to be. I don't know anyone who has had more practice. Losing The Hambletonian with Egyptian Princess was child's play compared to my weekly battles on the Wee Burn links with Darien Fats and Irving (Whiskey Wrists) Nicklaus. As a matter of fact, I have so perfected the art of losing that both Fats and Whiskey Wrists have been able to take around-the-world trips, courtesy of Old Smiley.
As for that "young blood," you must have someone else in mind. A well-known tennis pro was once overheard to say, "Woolworth, you have almost everything, every shot in the books, power, touch, ideal temperament, cunning and guile. The only thing you lack is talent." Well, to that you can add "young blood."
Seriously, I thought the article was wonderful. My compliments.
NORMAN S. WOOLWORTH
New York City
In reading your 19TH HOLE part of the magazine in the July 8th issue, I noticed a lot of letters from Dick Radatz fans. So may I ask them a question? Since when does a reliever become the best reliever in baseball in half a season? I'd advise Radatz fans to wait a few seasons to see if he keeps on baffling American League hitters before they start calling him the best reliever in baseball.
Of course, I agree: Mr. Face is no longer the "Baron of the Bullpen." But a man who once compiled an 18-1 record (Radatz would have to be 10-0 to equal that, during the second half of the season) should be respected.
I object to the race between Radatz and Face for the title of baseball's best reliever. They are both inferior to Ron Perranoski of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Roy Face still is baseball's best relief pitcher and will be as long as he continues playing.
I wouldn't trade the Bucs' bat boy for Radatz!
STILL IN THERE
It has been duly noted in these quarters that for the past several seasons the great racing name of Calumet has been dormant.
This regular SI reader was wondering if the farm that produced Whirlaway, Citation and Tim Tarn, just to name a few, is no longer racing on the big-time "circuit." If not, why?
•Stables, like baseball clubs, have their ups and downs, and Calumet Farm, which has been the leading money winner a record 12 times (1941, 1943-44, 1946-49, 1952, 1956-58, and 1961), is no exception. Though no longer on top, the devil-red and blue silks are still racing, placing 17th in the country last year with earnings of $337,667. As of May 31, 1963, Calumet stood in 25th place, with winnings of $127,569.—ED.
As one of the "minority" of fans who like Mosher (Nearly Everybody Hates Clure Mosher, July 15), I would like to commend John Underwood for a brilliant article which aptly describes "Scrooge." However, he got the majority and minority groups mixed up. For most of Miami's sport fans, Mosher is the best in the business.
In the event you didn't realize it, your article elevated a guy who is off-color in every sense to a special altar for all to idolize. Sure, we all look for the original in anything, including sports broadcasting, but why go so far as to make Mosher a hero. He sounds like nothing but a very crude man seeking sensationalism for lack of true ability.
Mosher is bad for the nation, let alone Miami. Let's hope he never does hook up with a network show.
For color, nothing can beat Clure Mosher.
I am 17 and want to make coaching basketball my career. What this letter is about, however, is to make you aware of my plan for improving basketball in Baltimore.
I have started a summer basketball clinic for boys between the ages of 11 and 14. The free clinic will run three weeks, beginning August 5th on the grounds of a local junior high school. The response for the clinic is fantastic.
I have arranged for visits from many of this area's best basketball figures. The partial list of speakers includes: Buddy Jeannette, former Baltimore Bullet coach; Paul Baker, Towson Catholic head coach; Augie Miceli, Calvert Hall assistant coach. I expect about 40 to 50 boys to attend the three-hour daily session.
In addition to the clinic itself, a summer league is being formed. This will run during the clinic dates. It will be the first ever formed in Baltimore for this age group.
The quality of basketball in Baltimore is not high. I hope that through this clinic both interest and quality will improve.
ARNIE'S ARMY, PFC.
Your current issue of SI arrived just as we were leaving for our vacation. I couldn't wait until we got here to read Arnie's story (My Came and Yours, July 15 et seq.). It was super!
Now, I can't wait to tee up—and for the next SI to come. A very good story—in a very good magazine!
J. FLEMING NORVELL
Southpaw Bob Charles' great victory in this year's British Open (The Ham and the Knife, July 22) recalls the comment Harry Vardon (whose record of six British Open victories still stands) once made on lefthanders: "Never saw one that was worth a damn." There must have been some rumbling noises to be heard around the old maestro's grave while this year's championship was drawing to a close.