It was with mounting indignation that I read Jack Mann's tabloid description of The Battle of San Francisco (Aug. 30).
Mann dutifully reported the Dodger demands for Marichal's crucifixion but made no mention of Roseboro's possible culpability. After all, as Mann said, the exchange of knockdown pitches had set the stage, and "any little thing could mean war." Any little thing, such as Marichal being hit in the ear by Roseboro, who was squatting three feet behind him. The usual retaliation for a knockdown pitch was that displayed by Koufax, who threw at Mays. Roseboro's act was an innovation. After he had been struck Marichal did not immediately begin to swing but stepped back, menacing Roseboro with his bat. Roseboro came toward him as if ready to fight, and Marichal, a short-tempered Latin who possibly did not want to risk injury to his pitching hand by striking at Roseboro's mask-protected face, flailed away. I am not making excuses for Marichal's actions. They were entirely unjustifiable, but they were certainly not unprovoked.
LAWRENCE J. YAKAITIS
I think it's about time for someone to defend Juan Marichal instead of condemning him. I have read articles by sportswriters from New York to St. Louis to Los Angeles, each one blasting the Giants' star pitcher for his mistake, but there is just one thing I would like to know. What would one of those great gentlemen have done in Juan's place? Handed Roseboro the bat?
BOB GRASSILLI JR.
I am shocked at the extremely mild punishment given to Juan Marichal by National League President Warren Giles. Marichal is a pitcher, and an eight-day suspension means that he loses only one turn in the Giants' pitching rotation. Thus, for committing the brutally barbaric and perhaps criminal act of assaulting another human being three times with a lethal weapon on an extremely sensitive area of the human anatomy—the head—Marichal is deprived of only one day's work.
How absurd! Leo Durocher was suspended for an entire year in 1947 for a far less serious offense. In my opinion, Marichal deserved at least a one-year suspension.
I saw the Battle of San Francisco myself, and it got me thinking about some others—the Battle of Philadelphia, for instance. You remember when Frank Thomas hit Richie Allen with a bat and was not penalized at all? He was, in fact, "rewarded" by being sent from the worst place to play baseball to the best. What's more, you can count the batters who have been beaned by Juan Marichal on one hand, whereas Einstein couldn't count Drysdale's beanballs on an adding machine.
Menlo Park, Calif.
No matter what your San Francisco readers will write you, Juan Marichal should be banned from baseball for his inexcusable and brutal act. Anyone irresponsible enough to pull such a stunt exhibits a lack of self-control unbecoming to our national pastime. Juan Marichal not only hurt John Roseboro, but he also hurt baseball.
Bluefield, W. Va.
My reaction as a heretofore avid baseball fan is that I'm going to really enjoy professional football and golf during the following summers and falls.
OF MICE AND MARRIAGE
As far as I'm concerned Palmer, Nicklaus and Player have been dethroned by Laura MacIvor, Meezie Pritchett and Gail Sykes (Rock and Roll in the Rockies, Aug. 30). These little ladies have advanced the game of golf 50 years. (And if lovely Laura should like to date anyone besides an Air Force Academy plebe I can be found this fall at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.)
RANDALL W. RICKMAN
If I had known that the fine game of golf offered such a beauty as Laura MacIvor I would have taken it up long ago!
How do I get in touch with Laura MacIvor? I've decided to marry her.
I was wondering if you could give me the home addresses of Laura MacIvor and Gail Sykes.
The reason I want Laura's home address is that I would like to borrow her rubber mouse. I'm playing in a pro-am tournament in September, and if she can get that mouse to roll the ball in the hole maybe I can, too.
I would like Gail's address to congratulate her on some fine golf. I think she deserves all the congratulations she can get.
•All requests re mice and marriage must be directed to the U.S. Golf Association—ED.
BIRDS AND BOYS
Congratulations on Bil Gilbert's masterpiece on the common crow (The Bird, the Vow and the Child, Aug. 30). It is illuminating and beautiful.
I am reminded of happy boyhood days some half century past, when a brilliant uncle, who was a physician and a very profound naturalist, had a summer camp every year for about 40 "Bigs" and "Smalls" in the beautiful hills of Somerset County, Pa.
We learned many things about crows while there. Yes, they could distinguish between an unarmed man or boy and one who carried a weapon. We never tamed one, since it never occurred to us that this was possible. But what used to amaze us was the fact that our crows could distinguish between Sunday and other days. And they knew that on Sunday nobody molested them. Perhaps it was the church bells. But, anyway, they would tamely raid the camp dump for crow goodies and were generally obnoxious. Come Monday and through the week they were their usual wary and suspicious selves, and their warning system was positively uncanny. Many an hour we lay in blinds for a shot at the group that roosted nearby. Our score certainly indicated that the average crow is a pretty smart character.
Thanks for this poignant gem.
ROBERT J. L. LEE
The Bird, the Vow and the Child has been removed from our issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and placed in a permanent cover so that our four sons may read it as they reach the age to appreciate what a beautiful and compassionate story it is.
MRS. KENNETH MCCLISH
RIVALS FOR ROYALTY
While reading Whitney Tower's recent article on Pia Star (Rise of a Star Named Pia, Aug. 2), I noticed something that I didn't like very much. Some people were saying that Kelso in his prime was equal to Man o' War in his, but Man o' War never raced in what would have been his "prime." I think I'm right in saying a racehorse reaches his prime at age 4 or 5, but Big Red quit racing in his third year. Comparing Kelso, the second greatest horse that hit our turf, to a 3-year-old is proof enough for me that Man o' War is still, and always will be, the King of the Turf.
S. M. TENERELLI
U.S. Naval Base, Guantànamo Bay, Cuba
A couple of years ago I wrote you concerning your most interesting article, Move Over, Man o' War (Nov. 11, 1963), in which you claimed that Kelso was superior to Man o' War. My letter (19TH HOLE, Dec. 16, 1963) was most vehement in defense of Man o' War.
Having seen Kelso win the Whitney at Saratoga (the first time I have ever seen him in the flesh), I must now eat humble pie and admit unequivocally that, in my opinion, Kelso is the equal of Man o' War! Never have I witnessed a more stirring horse race and never have I seen a gamer performance.
As a true lover of Thoroughbred racing for the past 53 years in England, France, Italy, the U.S., Canada, Africa and the West Indies, I was also heartened by the action of the crowd on Whitney Day. Recently I was beginning to think that the average bettor was more interested in numbers than in horseflesh. But this was not so when Kelso came thundering down the last eighth, making up at least three lengths on the game Malicious to win in a photo finish!
I honestly believe every soul among the 23,000 spectators was screaming for Kelso. In fact, I noticed one spectator beside me, who was tearing up a large bundle of parimutuel tickets after the result became official, applauding wildly and with tears of joy in his eyes when the great gelding jogged back to the winner's circle.
It was a day I shall never forget!
J. K. M. Ross
•Mr. Ross, son of J.K.L. Ross, owner of the first Triple Crown winner (Sir Barton in 1919), is in a position to know.—ED.
UP DELAWARE CO.!
To be sure, this doesn't happen every week of the month. But I would like to point out that in the FOR THE RECORD column of your August 30 issue, you mention no less than three residents of one Pennsylvania county—golfer Andy Thompson and swimmers Mary Ellen Olcese and Martha Randall. Let's see another county top that!
The county, incidentally, is Delaware (pop. 575,000), located in southeastern Pennsylvania. You may have heard of some of its other natives: Danny Murtaugh, Mickey Vernon, Lew Krausse, Steve Courtin, Carl Robie, the Nilon brothers, Lonesome End Bill Carpenter, Dick Christy, Pat Traynor and Ben Martin, to name a few from recent sports annals.
One you obviously haven't heard of, however, is the 1964 All-State first-team quarterback from Ridley Township High School—John Waller. It was Waller who threw Pennsylvania's touchdown pass in the recent Big 33 game with Texas, not Bob Naponic (Texas Teeners Strike Back, Aug. 23).
Your fine series of articles with Y. A. Tittle (My Life in Pro Football, Aug. 16 et seq.) had many interesting points, especially Part 3, which gave Y.A.'s account of the Giants' fall from first to last in the NFL's Eastern Division. Any interested fan who sat through the weekly debacles at Yankee Stadium last year is fully aware that Tittle has taken too great a share of the blame and let the real culprit, Allie Sherman, off the hook. Aside from the many injuries, Tittle's among them, let me point out some of Sherman's more obvious mistakes:
1) He gave up Phil King, the Giants' leading ground gainer in '63, for a draft choice.
2) He traded Sam Huff for Defensive Lineman Andy Stynchula and Halfback Dick James.
3) He traded Dick Modzelewski for End Bobby Crespino.
Let us analyze the results of these moves. The running and blocking in the Giant backfield broke down simultaneously, adding tremendously to the defensive pressure on the quarterback. The experienced King might have been the difference.
With Sam Huff, the heart of the once-proud Giant defensive unit, gone, the morale and caliber sagged conspicuously. Of course, Huff went on to the Redskins and quickly stabilized their entire defensive picture.
Modzelewski, who, along with Huff, never missed a game due to injury, sparked the Browns' defensive team to the NFL championship.
Tittle's story ended with the '64 season, but Allie Sherman has 10 years in which to finish the book, a sad prospect indeed.
New York City