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Original Issue


I've read a few articles in SI that I didn't fully agree with but never one quite so absurd as your August 19 article on Curt Flood (Not Just a Flood, but a Deluge). The moment I took the magazine from the mailbox and read the caption, my stomach turned.

I do not wish to take anything away from Mr. Flood; he's a fine ballplayer (this year). But I believe that the greatest centerfielder—and I'm even bold enough to say the greatest all-round baseball player alive—is Willie Mays, aging though he is.

Ask any kid who Willie Mays is, then ask him who Curt Flood is. Curt who?
Salinas, Calif.

Your article on Curt Flood was very good, but proclaiming Flood as the best center-fielder in both the American and the National leagues is ridiculous.
Seaford, N.Y.

Even though I'm a San Francisco Giant fan, I must admit that the August 19 cover of SI showed a great picture of Curt Flood making a spectacular catch. But the headlines made me mad.

All I have to say is this: I appreciate the fact that the author, after two pages and eight paragraphs of the article, mentioned the name of Willie Mays.
Claremont, Calif.

Your cover picture of Curt Flood shows why he's nor baseball's best centerfielder. A slight inspection shows Mr. Flood trapping the baseball, and any true-blue fan knows that Willie Mays (baseball's best centerfielder) would have caught that ball with his back to the wall.
Oakland, Calif.

Would you believe that I don't completely agree with your assertion that Curt Flood is the best centerfielder in the league?
Lima, Ohio

The article on the Cardinals, and Curt Flood in particular, was great. However, you omit one fact that makes Flood even greater than your article indicated: Flood usually bats behind Brock, who leads the league or is second in stealing bases. Flood takes many a called strike, bluffs a bunt or swings at a ball that he does not intend to hit in order to aid Brock in his stealing. Despite this handicap, he still gets his 200 hits and .300 batting average pretty regularly.
St. Louis

You must have something against the Chicago Cubs, because you have been ignoring their great baseball all year. And now you ignore the fact that the Cubs have jumped from ninth to second in less than a month.

You could at least have recognized Glenn Beckert's 27-game hitting streak and put him in the "Highlight" section of BASEBALL'S WEEK. The Cubs have the most talented team in baseball. They could break a game wide open with sluggers like Billy Williams (22 home runs, 79 RBIs), Ron Santo (20 home runs, 72 RBIs) and Ernie Banks (25 home runs, 68 RBIs). It's just disgusting the way you pass up this great team.
River Grove, Ill.

I would like to congratulate Tex Maule on his article about Paul Brown and the new Cincinnati Bengals of the AFL (Rude Welcome Back for Paul, Aug. 12). It was a most interesting and relaxing story, and the color photographs helped to show what the Bengals might look like in their first season.

Doesn't it seem remarkable that Paul Brown has coached a champion high school team, a champion Big Ten team, a champion pro team and, maybe soon, another champion pro team all in the state of Ohio?
Columbus, Ohio

Thanks to Curry Kirkpatrick on the long-awaited and excellent pro bowling story (Life Is Not a Bowl of Cherries, Aug. 5). But I have to challenge Dave Davis' contention that "nobody knows me." He received a tremendous amount of national television exposure last season by winning those six tournaments, including our own Miller High Life Open here in Milwaukee. There were also more radio interviews than he can apparently remember and hundreds of stories in print (we have a scrapbook to prove it).

Consider these figures: the Pro Bowlers Tour on ABC was carried last year for 13 weeks by 205 stations to an estimated 11 million viewers weekly. They were usually viewing Davis. We can further verify that there were 236 reports on the Miller High Life Open alone this year carried by 788 radio stations (including two national networks) with an estimated cumulative audience of 176 million. Of course, Davis was among the pros interviewed. In addition, there were 1,177 printed reports on the Miller tournament this year (including one in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED), with a total circulation for those publications just short of 125 million. The wire services sent out newspaper reports which appeared in 43 states on our tournament alone. If nobody knows Dave Davis it's because he is wearing a mask.

I also have to take exception to one statement by Mr. Kirkpatrick. While Firestone has sponsored pro bowling tournaments for years, Lincoln-Mercury has held only one event. Miller Brewing Company will hold its fourth $60,000 tournament next March. Only Firestone has contributed more prize money to Professional Bowlers Association members ($400,000).
Miller Brewing Company

It is only natural that Dave Davis should seek more publicity for bowling in general and himself in particular, but to issue statements for public consumption attempting to compare bowling with golf is ridiculous. How can a representative of a sport in which every tournament site is identical in dimension, design and material composition, where the atmosphere is controlled, imply that bowling is more difficult because of the variable conditions encountered?

During every bowling season there are untold numbers of 220 to 250 games rolled by high-handicap bowlers. How many 18-hole rounds of par or better are recorded on a good golf course by 100 shooters?
Flint, Mich.

Kim Chapin must be highly commended for his article about Lee Roy Yarbrough (The Loner Leads the Charge, Aug. 12). Although Mr. Chapin's article is short, it is very revealing. It also proves what the late Fireball Roberts said about Lee Roy; he has had the worst luck of anyone this year.

Now Lee Roy Yarbrough has been recognized, and more recognition will come. Chapin's article on Cale Yarborough was also commendable.
Oak Ridge, Tenn.

I fully enjoyed Kim Chapin's story on Cale Yarborough (Bonanza For a Big Dreamer, Aug. 5)—until the last paragraph. As a professional pilot, I was horrified at the statement, "Now when I'm flying I still dream." I'm sure Mr. Yarborough would not tolerate a rookie driver dreaming while on the track. Please ask him not to do so while tooling around where I work.

Race drivers may live through several bad accidents on the track, but chances are their first good aircraft accident will prove fatal, perhaps to someone else.
FPO New York

In his recent article covering the PGA Championship {The Junkman Cools It, July 29), Dan Jenkins mentioned that the PGA was becoming dull. He suggested that some of the excitement might be reinstated by going back to the match-play format.

On Sunday August 11 I viewed the American Golf Classic from Akron, Ohio. It was tremendous. Jack Nicklaus, Lee Elder and Frank Beard finished the 72 holes all even. Beard was eliminated on the first sudden-death hole. Then Nicklaus and Elder played some of the greatest head-to-head golf I've ever seen. Nicklaus brought back some of the old glory of the tour. I believe that it would be a great idea to experiment with another match-play contest.
Oakland, N.J.

I'd like to thank you and Alice Higgins for the column on the Santa Barbara National Horse and Flower Show (Horsemen in a Happy Slate, Aug. 12). I have lived in Santa Barbara County for about 11 years, and I must say our horse shows and rodeos bring people, horses and riders from the best parts of the country, including Santa Barbara itself.
Goleta, Calif.

I wish to complain about a phrase in the article about the Los Angeles Ram-Cleveland Brown preseason game in Los Angeles (A Big Lift Toward the Title, Aug. 19). To quote: "It went along that way through much of the third quarter after Charlie Leigh, a wonderfully promising rookie whom the Browns found playing sandlot ball...." Hogwash!

Last year Charlie Leigh was a prominent member of the Norfolk Neptunes of the Continental Football League. I can hardly call Neptune football sandlot! The Neptunes were drawing some 13,000 per game, and once drew more than 20,000.
Norfolk, Va.

Your recent articles on The Black Athlete (July 1-29) were excellent, even though a bit one-sided. I thought that you might be interested in another viewpoint, one which may very well represent the majority of colleges around the country.

Black athletes (we just call them athletes) have been a part of the University of Albuquerque for several years. Of the 11 whose eligibility has run out, eight have received degrees. Our three dropouts are as follows: 1) in Vietnam, 2) signed with a pro basketball team and 3) owns his own gas station. For the past two years and presently, our assistant basketball coach has been a Negro (we just call him Denvil Saine, coach). Eighty-seven percent of our athletes have received degrees compared with 60% of our nonathletes who enroll as freshmen. The young man responsible for one of our two men's dormitories is a Negro (we just call him Floyd Miller, head resident).

Your article would assign new phrases and clichés for all of these men. We just call them men, and apparently we are not in step.
Dean of Men
University of Albuquerque

One problem of the black athlete which was cited in your recent (and superb) series was his all too frequent failure to graduate, a problem not exactly foreign to white athletes, either. The problem: How to get school officials to care beyond keeping the athlete eligible to perform?

A possibility that occurred to me is to make this year's athletic scholarship a function of last year's graduations. For example, assume that a school has 50 athletic scholarships a year; that, based on averages for the entire student body, 80% could be expected to graduate; and that we allow five years to graduation. Thus, athletes who entered in 1962 should have graduated by last June. But say that only 30, instead of the expected 40, managed to receive their diplomas. The next step is to penalize the school by reducing next year's athletic scholarships from 50 to 40.

It seems to me that a system similar to the one outlined above might serve as an incentive to universities in the matter of aiding athletes along the path to a diploma.
Dayton, Ohio