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Original Issue


Jack Mann's article, Situation Normal in the Good Old NL (Aug. 8), shows one thing: Mann underrates the Dodgers. Take three of his statements:

1) "The Dodgers aren't capable of a long winning streak because they score fewer runs than any team in either league." Has Mann forgotten that they won the pennant with a 13-game winning streak last year when their hitting was even poorer?

2) "The Dodgers' speed has always been overrated, concentrated as it is in two or three men." Wills, Davis, Johnson, Parker and Barbieri are all exceptionally fast. Besides, when you have one man who can steal 100 bases who needs a lineup that is fast all the way down?

3) "Their defense is barely adequate." At six of the eight positions, their fielding is excellent. In Wes Parker and John Kennedy they have practically the best fielding first and third basemen in baseball.

As for the National League lining up for one of its typically wild pennant scrambles, don't be too sure. The Dodgers may win it a little sooner this year.
Flushing, N.Y.

Jack Mann implies that the best teams do not always emerge as world champions. This notion, I suggest, is utter nonsense. If not through head-to-head competition how is the best determined? Through preseason scouting reports?

The old saying, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" should apply here. The pennant race is a series of physical contests, not a literary competition made up of the best efforts of press agents, front-office men, broadcasters and bubble-gum-card promoters. Professional sport may be big business, but it is still based on a game played by men. And the best is the one who wins.
Los Angeles

The only situation that is normal in the "good old NL" is the usual mediocrity. Face it, the only reason the pennant race is such a toss-up every year is that no one team is good enough to win it. Every time a team gets into first place it proceeds to lose to a club like Atlanta, Chicago or New York.

The best club on paper does win, as Baltimore will prove in the World Series.
Carmel, Calif.

Can't Anyone Here Use Kanehl? (Aug. 8) was as memorable and moving an article as any to have appeared in your magazine. Leonard Shecter clearly defined the bittersweet feeling Met fans have for their magnificent nonheroes.

Twice, on two-week reserve tours, my friends and I have seen the Mets on the road. On both occasions, in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, the linen greetings we draped over field-level box seats for Runner Rod were more a tribute to his humor and will than to his natural abilities.

It somehow seems correct that this fine, decent and intelligent man is out of baseball, for it seems apparent that baseball no longer has a need for executives who care about the game.

Can anyone use Kanehl? Put it this way: How many among us don't admire the guy?
New York City

Congratulations on your fine story on the Hot Rod. There has been a change and we like winning, but we will never forget the Mets' greatest pinch runner.
Port Washington, N.Y.

We love Rod Kanehl. We love Rod Kanehl. We love Rod Kanehl.
Bayside, N.Y.

Traditionally the world-record holder in the decathlon is recognized as the world's greatest athlete. When C. K. Yang of Nationalist China set the record in 1963 you devoted three pages to the feat. You also called the decathlon the "toughest event in all of sport." And yet when Bill Toomey and Russ Hodge, two remarkable American athletes, bettered that record in Salina, Kans. last month, all they got was a paragraph.

In Europe, Toomey and Hodge would be regarded as supermen (which, indeed, they are). They would be celebrities. But here in the U.S. we take them for granted—or so it seems.
Oneonta, N.Y.

Since I know and have competed with most of the U.S. track and field athletes, I feel that my comments are not entirely unwarranted. It strikes me that SI and sports people in general do not always acknowledge all of the champions. To me a champion is one who consistently sacrifices himself for a goal yet, at the same time, is able to live an intelligent, mature life. Bill Toomey is one of these.

Not only has Toomey stood up to world-class competition (he won at the World University Games in Budapest and gained several national championships), he has also earned a master's degree from Stanford and is now serving his community as a teacher. In my opinion Toomey qualifies, in all respects, as a track and field great, and I, for one, would enjoy reading about him in SI.

•Letter writer Phil Shinnick was also denied a share of the limelight. At the 1963 California Relays, Phil broad-jumped a world-record 27 feet 4 inches, but meet officials had momentarily neglected to check the wind gauge. The record was disallowed.—ED.

Your article on Frank Emanuel and the new Miami Dolphins {Win One for the Flipper, Aug. 8) was very entertaining, as most of your articles are, but I would like to set you straight on one point. You said that Miami goes only for spectaculars and won't support Dolphin games if the team isn't very good. For your information, south Florida is one of the best areas in the country for football. Last year, when the University of Miami had barely a .500 average, over 100,000 people showed up for the last two games of the season.

If Miami won't support a team no city will.
Hollywood, Fla.

Your fine cover story on Frank Emanuel omitted mention of three other Dolphin rookies who were 1965 University of Tennessee starters: Defensive Back Bobby Petrella, Tight End Stan Mitchell and Wing-back Hal Wantland.
Sarasota, Fla.

Win One for the Flipper was a fine tribute to a deserving Tennessee football player. However, the twice-mentioned name of Tom Fisher sadly brings to mind another Tennessee boy who might easily have surpassed the heralded achievements of Frank Emanuel. This opinion is supported by the fact that Tom had been a first-and third-round draft choice while still a junior.
Hockessin, Del.

How about VASSS (the Van Alen Simplified Scoring System) when the national amateur tennis championships get going at Forest Hills? The pros playing on the same courts early this summer proved its value in improving the game beyond any further quibbles.

Leave love to the lovers.

Our national pastime of baseball seems to be blindly clinging to a dull and obsolete approach. Baseball should take a page from the pro football book and divide teams into offensive and defensive units with free substitution. Talents of individual players would be graded as they are in football, and the assignments with respect to offense and defense would be made accordingly. An exceptional batter with an injured throwing arm or a leg injury could play the entire game with the offensive unit.

Applying the football approach could speed up the game in other ways, too. In football, for instance, when a kicking specialist comes on the field, he executes his punt or his placement in a matter of seconds. The way baseball is played now, a relief pitcher takes up valuable time with six or seven practice throws before getting down to business. Under the two-platoon system, pitchers should be required to play ball as soon as they reach the mound.

The two-platoon system would make baseball not only faster, but more exciting, and it would allow specially gifted players to excel in their specialty and to prolong their careers. If Ted Williams played under such a system, he could probably still be an active player.
Charlotte, N.C.

You want to speed up the game of golf? Take a hint from bowling. Go into any bowling alley on a weekend evening to roll off a line or two and what do you find? Leagues—and with the same reserved times every week. The better the skill of the league, the better their reserved time. My point: why not the same in golf? Have weekend morning tee-off times set up something like this: 5 to 7:30, 85 to 95 players; 7:30 to 9:30, 70 to 85 shooters; 9:30 to 11, 95 to 110 players; after 11, open.

Could such a system be made to work? Yes, if supported and administered wholeheartedly by the USGA. Would golfers themselves support this system? If a man considers himself a golfer, he would.
Altoona, Iowa