INTO THE STRETCH
William Leggett is all wrong in his analysis of the National League pennant race. Cincinnati doesn't have the support at the right time, but I think they will win the pennant. If you look again you will see they are better than the Giants or the Dodgers.
It is no secret that SI, along with most of the other sportswriters in the country, does not think much of the Dodgers' chances of winning the pennant. But someone had better tell the Dodgers or they may just wind up catching all your experts off base.
La Habra, Calif.
In your summaries of the National League pennant race you have neglected to give serious consideration to the Pirates. Beware of dark horses—the Bucs are going all the way.
If your SCORECARD item about Corny Shields (Sept. 13) quotes him correctly, I would say the old Silver Fox is about ready for a good Hollanderizing. He says (or you say he says) that the proliferation of one-design sailboat classes is spoiling sailing competition in general and Mallory Cup competition in particular by breeding narrow, class specialists who are afraid to try different boats. That would be a tough thesis to prove by sailors like Buddy Melges, a crack ice-boater who took the Mallory once in a Corinthian, once in an E Scow and once in a Dragon; by sailors like Ding Schoonmaker, who seems equally at ease with the tiller of a Star, a Finn or a Flying Dutchman in his hand; by sailors like Lowell North, a three-time world Star champ who got himself an Olympic medal on Sagami Bay last year at the helm of a Dragon. As a matter of fact, the conspicuous success of the U.S. Olympic team in Japan was the result of champion sailors shifting classes to give added strength to the American effort as a whole.
So much for Corny's first point—a doubtful one at best. Seeming to believe, however, that there are already too many one-design classes, he goes on to suggest still another for, of all things, America's Cup competition. Since the deed of gift specifically spells out the nature of cup racing, this suggestion makes about as much sense legally as a suggestion that the Davis Cup be played on a golf course instead of a tennis court. That has been pointed out before, but what makes the suggestion really absurd in the present context is that America's Cup competition is the one sailing event that precludes the kind of specialization Corny is beefing about. It forces all the little class champions who participate to forget their weekend preoccupations, to abandon their Stars or their Finns or their Internationals for the sake of a team-effort kind of competition that starts quite literally from scratch—the scratch of a designer's pencil on a blank piece of paper—and may end with a champ one-design skipper pulling his heart out day after day on a jib sheet.
New York City
I would like to answer the letter from George Palmer entitled "Beware the Green" (19TH HOLE, Sept. 6). Mr. Palmer may be right about the Jets having bad luck while wearing green, but I suggest there are some serious gaps in his knowledge of college football when he asks, "When did green-clad Dartmouth ever make big headlines?" As recently as 1962 Dartmouth was undefeated and untied in nine games. There were 15 undefeated teams in that year, but if you are willing to exclude such names as College of Emporia, Earlham, Parsons and Lenoir-Rhyne, you wind up with only three big winners: Dartmouth, Southern California and Mississippi. Don McKinnon, center for Dartmouth, was named to the second All-America, and Captain and Quarterback Bill King was prominently mentioned on several All-America selections.
In 1937 Bob MacLeod even rated along with Clint Frank of Yale as one of the great halfbacks of the year. In 1928 and 1929 Al Marsters was named to several All-America teams. And if we may go back to our very ancient history, Dartmouth was unbeaten in 1925. Swede Oberlander was unanimous All-America in that year, and George Tully, Nate Parker and Dutch Diehl were also frequently mentioned.
Bob Blackman, who has been head coach at Dartmouth for several years, has one of the best records in the Ivy League. And you may recall that during the regime of Earl Blaik at Hanover there were several outstanding teams and numerous nationally prominent players.
EDWARD J. HANLON
George Palmer of Port Washington, N.Y. is dead wrong when he says the Miami Hurricanes and their green uniforms rarely make big headlines. How about the 1961 and 1962 seasons, when the Hurricanes had 7-3 regular-season records, losing again only in postseason bowl games. George Mira, the greatest quarterback the South ever had, led all but one of the major quarterbacks in passing in 1962 and 1963.
Evidently Mr. Palmer doesn't remember 1950, when Miami beat Purdue, one week after Purdue had snapped Notre Dame's 37-game winning streak. And 1954, when Miami had an 8-1 record and beat such teams as Florida, Alabama, Mississippi State, Maryland, etc.
So Mr. Palmer can eat his words about the Hurricanes.
Miami Beach, Fla.
Mr. George Palmer mentioned Wagner in his list of green-clad, nonheadlining football teams. Wagner was one of the three teams that were undefeated in a 10-game schedule last year. Maybe the Jets and Sonny Werblin do have something besides Joe Namath going for them.
Staten Island, N.Y.
On page 38 of your September 6 SPORTING LOOK article you show a fashionably attired, moony-eyed young couple obviously more concerned with each other than the ton or so of threatening beef behind them. You describe it as a "bright panorama of a game between the Packers and the Bears." I'll bet one year's subscription and a used football that you are wrong. The teams pictured are the Louisiana State "Packers" and the Ole Miss "Bears."
I take real issue with Mr. Loren H. Nauss Jr. from Connecticut (19TH HOLE, Aug. 30), who criticizes SI for a supposed affront to the quality of Ivy League football. Having observed football as played in the Southeastern Conference, in the Southwest and the Big Ten for years, I find it quite strikingly different from the Ivy brand. Some years ago the Ivies stopped playing such eastern teams as Army, Navy, Penn State and Syracuse, because scores were consistently running against them by 40-to-60-point margins. They readily admitted at the time that they were completely outclassed and far better off staying in their own little circle rather than serving as cannon fodder for the big boys in breather games.
As for the absence of Ivy graduates from the professional rosters, the statement to the effect that they have better things to do upon graduation seems rather silly. Most of those graduates go into business in some form, and Joe Namath, for one, has already made a better business deal than most graduates will make in a lifetime—with a bum knee to boot.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoy Ivy games, which are evenly matched and often very exciting.
L. ROBERT WILLIAMS
New York City
I read with great interest John Underwood's article on the Pennsylvania-Texas high school football game at Hershey, Pa. (Texas Teeners Strike Back, Aug. 23). However, I take exception to being called a "cupcake." It doesn't sound too complimentary to me. The members of the Sweet 66 Corps, which provides the pregame and half-time entertainment, are as carefully selected and screened according to their talents as are the players themselves. We not only must be high school students of pleasing shape and face, but we must be able to march, strut, dance and twirl batons as well and, in some cases, be agile enough to perform acrobatics.
We also serve as hostesses for our state and our area. We welcome the teams to Hershey as we would to our homes. We have served as dinner companions, dance companions, listening and sounding boards, and in most cases we provide a pretty good cheering section for players who are a long way from home. At all times we are well aware that these fine young men surely have "girls" at home as we have "fellows" here, but we have tried to make their stay enjoyable.
I might make mention of the fine, gentlemanly conduct of all the players. Their schools, cities and their states can be proud of them on that score, as well as for their abilities on the gridiron. It was a wonderful game, and this "cupcake" is looking forward to next year.
I also want to take this opportunity to inform all sportsmen of a growing fact. Baton twirling is not just a show item to be presented at half time. It is one of the largest competitive sports for girls in the country today, and it is growing daily.
Assistant Director of the Sweet 66