YANKS AGAINST THE WALL
It's about time to tell the truth about this year's edition of the New York Yankees. William Leggett in his They Went and Got 'Em (Aug. 31) does it. The Yanks are just bad this year.
Just because the Yankees are in sort of a slump, it doesn't mean you have to criticize them so much. It would be different if they were a bad team, but they're not. They have been champions for almost 50 years, and have produced some of the greatest players in the history of baseball.
You wrote that "Mantle hobbled to the plate and weakly popped out." What do you expect the man to do—hit a home run every time he's up? Of course Mickey hobbled out; his legs are weak. But Mantle is the kind of guy who tells his manager he can play even when he's hurt, because he wants to help the team.
You also wrote that "the relief pitching was inadequate when Berra dared to use it." Maybe that was because Stafford, Reniff and Hamilton all had sore arms. It got so Yogi had to use his usual starters for relief duties. Every team has injuries, you know.
Even the best of us make mistakes. Maybe Yogi Berra isn't the greatest manager, but give the guy a chance. I doubt if other Yankee fans appreciate your article any more than I do.
WOMEN AT WORK
After reading your article A Champion Conquers a Kansas Sea Breeze (Aug. 31) it certainly is hard to figure out just who is the present U.S. Women's Amateur golf champion. For the most part, you talked about the runner-up, JoAnne Gunderson, and there is nearly a page devoted to Mrs. Welts and her problems.
I personally feel SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should give full credit to Barbara McIntire, who is the U.S. Amateur champion and is very worthy of the title.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Hats off to expectant mother Anne Quast Welts! Fresh air and exercise have never hurt anyone, regardless of what condition she is in. And besides, her new offspring could turn out to be quite a golfer with all that prenatal influence.
Aberdeen, S. Dak.
We central Kansans thought the women involved in the Women's Amateur golf tourney in Hutchinson had pretty nice weather. Compare the two weeks immediately before (hot, 110° to 114°, and windy) with the week they played (cool, 70° to 75°, breezes and a light rain one day of the tournament.) Since then it really has been windy. I don't know what state Alfred Wright claims to be a native of, but here anything under 25 miles per hour is called a breeze. We think we have nice country anyway.
Your article on Bill Cox of American Eagle (Tense Sailor for a Taut Ship, Aug. 31) recalls a brief time 20 years ago when I was exposed to Lieut. Bill Cox, USNR.
Bill was in command of the Navy Crash Boat School in Port Everglades, Fla. and was charged with the responsibility of turning young, green officers, most of them still not college graduates and almost all novice boat handlers, into accomplished skippers of 63-foot crash boats.
The success of Bill's efforts as a teacher, usually in a space of time measured in days or weeks, often meant the saving of the life of a downed pilot or crewman. Some boats had more than 25 saves. It is certain that Bill Cox played a large role in the proud record of the Navy Air Rescue Service.
Bill Cox didn't exactly waste time, effort or words in those days either, but he ran a happy school and earned the respect of his students.
W.A. (Chip) WARRICK JR.
Lieutenant Commander, USNR (ret.)
OSCAR THE RUNT
Compared to 6-foot-9, 240-pound James Beattie (The Pride of Kid Galahad, Inc., Aug. 31) 5-foot-11, 203-pound Oscar Bonavena looks runty and diminutive. However, should the two ever touch mitts on the field of combat, I dare say that Mr. Beattie will find himself gazing at the ring lights from a horizontal position on the ring floor.
Oscar, who is the hottest hunk of flesh to roar from the Pampas since Luis Firpo, has won six out of six pro fights. His latest victim was the tested old trouper from Boston, "Terrible Tom" McNeeley, whom he bombed out in five heats at the Garden.
Oscar from Argentina is a growing lad of 21, with arms as thick as an elephant's legs and hands the size of sacks of flour. As an amateur he won 46 out of 48 encounters. Oscar can punch holes through the side of a Brinks armored car and is licking his chops for big-name talent. Don't get in his way, "Kid Galahad" Beattie.
Congratulations to Artist Osborn for some real insight into golf (When a Golf Course Turns on You, Aug. 31).
With this 10-page so-called satire on golf you have surpassed yourselves. Here without doubt is your biggest piece of junk ever.
The only words for it are ludicrous, ridiculous and absurd.
J. K. HILLSTROM
If I didn't know that it just wasn't so, I would say that Robert Osborn must have been with me, using my eyes and reading my mind, as I hacked around our Lake Venice Golf Club during the month of August. Truly his drawings show remarkable insight.
GEORGE F. GERDTS
Here's hoping Phil Linz plays his harmonica (SCORECARD, Aug. 31) all the way to Philadelphia. Yogi surely won't let him play it on the way home.
What are the Yankees supposed to do after they lose a game (or a series)? Travel from ball park to airport dressed in sackcloth and ashes, weeping and wringing their hands?
Berra's $200 fine of Phil Linz for playing his harmonica at such a time was bush—strictly bush!
K. MICHAEL MCLAIN
Philadelphia's Cookie Rojas and Boston's Felix Mantilla may be champs at catching popcorn, but no one can beat the Yankees' Phil Linz at playing the harmonica!
There is truth in what you say about the choosing of basketball officials in the Southern Conference (SCORECARD, Aug. 31). It certainly does seem that the coaches' blackball privilege is too sweeping. But beyond that it is apparent that the ability of Lou Bello and Charley Eckman is lost on most SC coaches.
Having seen both men work several times in the past few years, I share the coaches' reluctance to endorse them. Both officials try to dominate the game, to take the fans' attention away from the players. Bello and Eckman share a desire to protect the interests of the underdog to the extent that the actually superior game of the favorite is severely cramped.
You are right about the coaches' authority in deciding who shall officiate. But you picked the wrong men to help make your case. If these gentlemen are two of the best officials in the country, heaven help the basketball players outside the Southern Conference.
M. S. MacDIARMID
A fine article on Don Garlits (Fame and Terror at 200 Mph, Aug. 31). It is good to see him get the recognition he deserves from a national magazine such as yours. Garlits' quiet proficiency makes him the greatest in my book.
I hope this article will help impress the public with the fact that drag racing is not a sport merely for speed-crazy teen-agers. It is a sport participated in by men: nice, average guys who like to work on cars and who like to put them through their paces.
JEFFREY L. FOULK
I find that my views and your views of Don Garlits and drag racing differ.
Don is the A. J. Foyt of drag racing, where competition is fierce and most purses, by comparison to USAC's championship circuit, are tiny. Like any race driver, he is scared, but he doesn't show his fear. No professional driver jumps in glee over his work. Like Foyt, Garlits is in racing for a living, whether he likes it or not.
JOHN G. WILLIAMS JR.