My thanks to SI and Barbara LaFontaine for taking much of the national mystery from our popular sport of curling (A Stone's Throw to a Playdown, March 15). Now, when I tell my seat companion on the plane out of Atlanta or Dallas that I am hurrying home to Wisconsin to get my broom and go out and play with the stones on a sheet of ice he may not whisper to the stewardess about moving away from this nut in the seat beside him.
Stevens Point, Wis.
Curling being strictly a fun game (amateurs only, not a pro or money prize anywhere in the world), it seems to me that your writer caught only the earnestness of the recent tournament and none of the gaiety that goes with the game. This is reflected in the colorful costumes curlers sometimes wear—such headgear as Glengarries, berets and Balmorals, and the headbands or sleeves of veteran players festooned with badges of clubs where they have played. SI, usually so style-conscious, mentions none of this, and, from the pictures of the Wisconsin team members—dressed with no more distinction than a local bowling league—I wonder if they left their sense of fun at home?
ANNE W. SMITH
•The costumes may not have been distinctive, but the Wisconsin earnestness was sufficient to win a world championship (page 28).—ED.
The downgrading of greyhound racing by M. R. Werner (Racing Beneath the Peaks, March 8) is due, no doubt, to his admitted inability to handicap greyhounds. Despite complaints from disgruntled amateurs that greyhound racing is a "numbers game," greyhounds can be handicapped even more easily than horses. During a one-week period at Hollywood Kennel Club recently, favorites paid off at the rate of 50%; and the current figure for 3 nights is 39.09%. On the other hand, the percentage for the just-closed Santa Anita Thoroughbred meeting was 31%, according to The Morning Telegraph. The racing greyhound has just as fine a lineage as the Thoroughbred horse—and has the papers to prove it.
Kudos to William Leggett for his In New York, Hockey's House Is Not a Home (March 8). The frustration of a New York fan is unique, for nowhere in sport is such minute press and radio coverage afforded to a hockey team than here in New York.
True, there are many dedicated hockey fans in this area that fill up the old Garden, game after game, but they, too, in time shall pass unless the sport is given its due publicity.
GERALD N. RODELLI
New York City
Mr. Leggett has summarized the Ranger plight accurately. I disagree, however, with the criticism of the Bathgate and Henry trades. The Rangers weren't winning with these two players. While their trade value was high their only choice was to get younger players with future potential.
My only regret is that Mr. Leggett did not write this well-deserved criticism of the Madison Square Garden management years ago.
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
You try to make a big joke in your March 8 issue of the trades we have made the past several years. You say it is like the Yankees trading Mantle one year and Maris the next. Well, if the Yankees had finished in the second division for five straight years with Mickey and Roger, I don't think they would think twice about trading two aging players for six or seven strong young ones.
I first came to New York as assistant general manager in the summer of 1962. Since then we have basically traded three players: Dean Prentice, Andy Bathgate, and Camille Henry. All three are topflight players, but in the five years before the series of trades started the Rangers had finished fifth, fourth, fifth, sixth and fifth. Further, next fall Bathgate and Prentice will be 33 and Henry 32.
For these three men we have received the following younger players, all of whom are now on the Rangers: Bob Nevin, 27, new captain of the Rangers; Bill Hicke, 26; Arnie Brown, 23; Rod Seiling, 20; John Brenneman, 22; Doug Robinson, 24; and Wayne Hillman, 26.
I have just one job as the new general manager of the Rangers. That is, to lead the Rangers to the top. The results of our trades are a good first step on the path up.
New York City
I and many of the Ranger players found your criticism of the hockey fans in New York to be very unjust, as we feel they are as loyal and enthusiastic as fans anywhere. As far as we players are concerned, the living conditions in New York are quite satisfactory. The time spent on traveling to games, practices, etc. is not as inconvenient as you stated. Since coming here 13 months ago I could not have been treated better, and the other players hold this opinion also.
New York City
I enjoyed your piece on Joe Garagiola (The Sweet Sound of Success, March 15) as I have enjoyed your previous excellent articles on both Vin Scully and Mel Allen. The men who broadcast baseball games do an excellent job of helping to maintain interest in the pennant race all through the summer. After all, there are a number of clubs in both leagues that lose more games than they win. Further, not every game is filled with exciting or heart-stopping plays. Yet, by and large, the broadcasters manage to make every ball game an event worth listening to.
Joe Garagiola's shallow, inane humor may be vital to baseball. But when he is the "color man" on football telecasts, as he has been, it is a downright shame. Believe me, football doesn't need such claptrap.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
Your article on Joe Garagiola was greatly appreciated, but your terse reference to his military police career in Manila during World War II failed to mention Joe's role on the Manila Dodgers, managed by Kirby Higbe. This was an Army team composed primarily of young players who were destined to make their mark in the majors. Sharing the catching chores with Garagiola was Joe Ginsberg. The pitching staff featured Kent Peterson, Vern Bickford and Jim Hearn, each of whom made it to the big leagues. But in Manila if one of these young pitchers ran into trouble during a game he would just trade places with the shortstop who would then take the mound and strike out the required number of batters. That done each would resume his normal position for the next inning. The shortstop's name was Early Wynn.
One day against Clark Field, a team composed mostly of Air Corps officers, Garagiola, who might have made Pfc. by this time, grounded meekly to the second sacker and was thrown out by a good 10 feet. As he passed the Clark Field dugout on the way back to his own, the fly boys let loose at the aggressive young catcher. Joe whirled at the enemy bench, kicked up a cloud of dust, spat and snarled, "I never saw so much brass in one junk heap in all my life." It could only happen to Americans!
W. J. DEEVY
A newspaperman is usually at the receiving end of letters to the editor. However, this journalist would feel remiss if he didn't do an about-face to custom and answer Mark Kram's article about Dean Chance (You Can Take the Boy Out of the Country, March 8).
Mr. Kram, who evidently thinks anyone who doesn't live in a city of 500,000 or more is strictly hick, completely misjudged the character of Wooster. Ohio (a city of about 18,000).
If you judge culture (and I really don't think you can) by education and worldliness, I think you'll find that Wooster has more well-traveled Ph.D.s than almost any city in the country. The College of Wooster, one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the nation, and the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, one of the leading farm-research institutions in the world, make this a fact.
During my many travels, I have found few areas that compare with Wayne County's friendliness, sincerity, cultural environment, knack of business acumen, industrial progress and just plain livability. We do have outstanding farms, too, even though few of our farmers use the word "ain't."
In view of your somewhat lighthearted reference to my latest golfing client, Cobie LeGrange (SCORECARD, March 1), I thought you might like to know that he recently tied for first place in the Flame Lily tournament in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. Unfortunately, he lost the playoff to Cedric Amm. Cobie has now arrived in the U.S. and is sharpening up for the Masters.
MARK H. MCCORMACK