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Original Issue


Hooray for William Leggett and his fine article (A Success Is Killing the American League, Sept. 9). Something has to be done to revive interest that once was present in the American League. Baseball has a dragged-out schedule in relation to other popular sports in America. Too much of one thing can destroy interest. Day in and day out, there is baseball for six months. Why can't the schedules be cut much shorter? Games can be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as Sunday afternoons. Thus, interest would mount on the off days. The season should start at the beginning of May since April is too cold in the North. It should end the second week of September because football comes on the scene at this time. Four and one half months of baseball would revise the schedule to around 90 games, including a few doubleheaders. An average of only 10,000 fans per game would bring the total close to a million. Better teams should draw much more.

Just for the record, I was one of the 83,000 plus who attended the football double-header in Cleveland on August 17th. It could possibly be the same for baseball. I rest my case.
Youngstown, Ohio

What's wrong?

1) Too many games—four per week would probably draw as many customers, and players would be in better physical condition.

2) Season starts too early. Late April seems soon enough.

3) The only things that are uniform are the ball and the distance between the pitcher's mound and bases.

4) Home teams with short foul lines should play under a penalty, i.e., Yankees with 296 feet, Orioles with 309. Others in American League parks are longer.

I believe the teams that play one half of their games with short foul lines should be penalized; therefore, like strokes on the first tee, New York versus Baltimore, 296 versus 309-13 points. Measure again, say 50 feet from the foul line—x versus x equals? Thus, baseball teams could be rated on their home field. Percentages might reach one run each x innings.

What would professional football amount to if one team played on an 80-yard field and another on a 110-yard field?

If these various measurements were fed into a computer they might produce a fair equalization point.

Re your article on Bo Belinsky (SCORECARD, Aug. 26), don't you have your words mixed up and it's the Angels who are insufferable and not Bo?

In three different minor league parks Bo drew 37,794. At the same time, in three different major league parks the Bo-less Angels drew 22,209.

•Last week, with Bo on the mound, the Angels played one game for 476 paying customers.—ED.

The article by Virginia Kraft entitled Biggest, Loudest Show in U.S. Sport (Sept. 9) is a very fine picture of the Grand American Trapshoot.

Vandalia, however, can hardly be considered a "sleepy midwestern town tucked beneath the wing of nearby Dayton." Between the 1950 and 1960 census our population increased 600%, and today is estimated at 7,500.

I always read and enjoy SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, but feel that I must endeavor to correct the impression of our city given in your article.
Vandalia, Ohio

The pro football coverage (Sept. 9) was great. Being an American Football League fan, I think the caliber of football has become tops.

The next step is for the AFL to get better officiating.

Twice in Balboa Stadium, once last season and in the Buffalo game September 8, the Chargers have drawn ridiculous penalties that have all but given their opponents a score. In both instances, 15-yard penalties were called for infractions of the rules during play. Then two successive penalties were handed out to the unhappy Chargers for complaining about the first one, giving the opponents 45 yards and putting them in scoring position.

Fans go to watch football games, not grandstanding referees.
San Diego

I have been an interested reader since your beginning, but I do question the extent of your interest in the AFL lately. You certainly have never given this much space to minor league baseball.

May we have some emphasis on the "other league" soon.
Wahpeton, N.Dak.

As a part-time cattleman, I am curious about the boots worn by the couple on page 82 of your last issue (Clean Country Sweep, Sept. 9). They appear to be rubberized, and since my weekends are spent frequently with a shovel in a cattle pen I would be interested in knowing where to buy some.
Fresno, Calif.

•Part rubber and part canvas, the boots were originally made for English horsemen to wear at early-morning workouts on dewy Newmarket Heath. They can be obtained at Miller's (riding goods), New York City, $20.—ED.

In FOR THE RECORD (Sept. 16), you stated that the Atlanta club won the Southern Division championship of the International League.

It is a fact that, with a 3½-game lead and only seven left to play, Atlanta did seem to have the division title sewed up. However, this was not the case. On the last day of the season the Indianapolis Indians tied the Crackers and then proceeded to beat Atlanta 1-0 in the playoff for the division title. The Indians went on to defeat Syracuse 4 games to 1 for the league pennant and beat Atlanta 4 games to 1 in the Governor's Cup. In three years Indianapolis has had two different major league affiliations, two different AAA leagues, three different managers and three pennants.
Brookville, Ind.

Earlier this summer your magazine published an article ("Goodby to All That," SCORECARD, July 15) derogatory to the salmon fishing in Sebago Lake, Maine. This reply was delayed for a considerable period of time due to the efforts we have made in attempting to find justification for your article.

To begin with, the Maine Fish and Game Department employed the Wisconsin Research Foundation to investigate the possibilities of Maine fish becoming infected with DDT and resultant DDE. This was intelligent since every other state in the country was finding fish, birds and other wildlife infected. If Maine was to be forearmed it would have to be forewarned, and investigation is the only way to accomplish this. On May 17, 1963 the lab report was received in the capital, Augusta, Me. This report showed that 10 salmon contained an excessive amount of DDT. Your entire sensational, derogatory and prejudicial report was based on these 10 fish, out of the millions of other perfectly normal salmon in Sebago Lake.

After looking for possible inlets of DDT to this famous lake, "the home of the landlocked salmon," and conferring with biologists and others, Commissioner Speers ordered a thorough investigation to determine the sources of all DDT spraying on and around Sebago Lake and what effects this spraying might have had on the Sebago Lake fish. In the face of premature conclusions, I refer you to the commissioner's release of August 21, 1963, which says in part: "The Fishery Department is reluctant to assign causes for...problem situations until enough scientific evidence exists to base good reasoning on."

In the last several weeks our association has taken pains to determine if the fishing has in fact fallen off seriously in Sebago Lake. This was done so that this letter would not be written if your report was correct. However, salmon of both high quality and quantity have been and are being regularly caught in Sebago Lake. Within the last few days, schools of trout up to 5,000 in number have been seen in the water by both observers and fishermen, who are catching them in quantity. The usual assortment of large bass, whitefish and other sport fish usual to the lake have been steadily caught all summer. Maine is now and has been in far better condition than most of the remainder of the country, and we can only suggest that if your magazine is trying to help with the pesticide problem warranted and justifiable attacks be made in parts of the country where they are most needed.
Sebago Lake, Me.

I am 14 years old, and I have a problem. My mother and I have been arguing for quite some time about which is the American pastime—football or baseball. More people go to football games than baseball games, and that's why I think football is the No. 1 sport pastime. Which of us is right?
Urbana, Ill.

•Neither. By attracting some 150 million spectators yearly, basketball beats both football and baseball.—ED.