The halfway decision on Denny McLain and the complete pullout from Seattle should be ample proof that Bowie Kuhn is another stooge for the major league baseball owners. (Appropriately, both decisions were announced on April Fool's Day.) Our great American game hasn't had a great commissioner of strength and integrity since Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Baseball often talks of the values it teaches youngsters. The McLain case seems clear-cut, either calling for a year's suspension or making him available for Opening Day. Won't it be ironic if Earl Weaver selects him for the All-Star Game?
A lot of people will do even more reconsidering about baseball and it should hit these owners where their hearts are—in their pocketbooks.
JAMES B. ASH
Shawnee Mission, Kans.
I feel that McLain should have been banned from all professional sports for the rest of his life, and I also feel that Kuhn should be banned from the commissioner's office for the rest of his life. If, as Kuhn says, McLain was a victim instead of an active member of the gambling ring, then he has no one but himself to blame because he is a grown man. He saw an opportunity to make some big money illegally and I cannot find one ounce of pity for him.
Between them, McLain and Kuhn sure set a fine example for my kids and all other kids to follow!
I would like to commend SI for recognizing that, besides being the city of the Miracle Mets, the former world-champion Jets and the highly lauded Knicks, New York is the home of the Yankees (The Yanks Are Coming, or So They Hope, April 6). Unbelievable as it may seem, there are some Yankee fans left. Many of them are young and all are intensely faithful. They have to be. I am elated to see that at least one major sports magazine realizes the Yankees are alive and reviving in the Bronx.
Middle Village, N.Y.
In reading Peter Carry's article I noticed that Yankee attendance fell to 1,067,996. This is an attendance figure many major league teams would like to have. The Yankees drew more people than the American League pennant winner, the Baltimore Orioles. They drew 57,000 more than the AL average for 1969 and had the highest attendance figure of any AL second-division club. So I'd say they did pretty well!
Homer City, Pa.
In your article Two Derbies Down, One to Go (April 6) I found a rather strange contrast between the views of Whitney Tower and Alfred Wright. Mr. Wright, in his report on the Santa Anita Derby, made a special effort to mention the strong closing surge of Aggressively, an 81-to-1 shot who got third money; he also mentioned him as having an erratic mind of his own, like his sire, Decidedly. Mr. Tower listed Dr. Behrman, the fourth-place finisher in the Florida Derby, as one of the also-rans, none of whom appeared "up to the challenge of going 10 furlongs instead of nine on May 2." I watched this race on TV and would like to point out 1) that Dr. Behrman had to run even wider on the final turn than Corn Off the Cob had to in the stretch and thereby lost more ground to My Dad George than the runner-up did; 2) that Dr. Behrman had previously won two allowance races at 1[1/16] and 1‚⅛ miles; and 3) that he ran a faster last eighth than any of the first three finishers and he was still closing on the leaders at the finish.
If that's not enough to warrant mention of Dr. Behrman, he was sired by Hail to Reason, whose offspring have made their mark in Triple Crown events. Hail to All was fifth in the Kentucky Derby, third in the Preakness and first in the Belmont (beating Tom Rolfe); Proud Clarion and Reason to Hail, racing in the same year, were first and fourth in the Derby, while finishing third and fourth in the Preakness.
Beware of one who ignores a Hail to Reason colt whose closing surge comes up just short in a race an eighth of a mile shorter than the Derby.
Your cover story on Keith Magnuson and Derek Sanderson (The Desperate Hours, April 6) was far and away the best you've featured all season (especially since not one word was said about Montreal, for once). But I would debate one statement made to the effect that Sanderson is the best penalty-killer in hockey today. On the contrary, his record is nowhere near as good as those of either Eric Nesterenko or Chico Maki of the Black Hawks. Although the Bruins have broken the record for power-play goals, they still have allowed almost as many goals (80) while shorthanded as they've scored with advantages (81). Meanwhile, the Hawks, thanks largely to Nesterenko and Maki, have let in only 32 goals while killing penalties since the season began, and they hold the NHL lead in that department handily.
Highland Park, Ill.
Obviously your article on Canada's "concern" for the waning fortunes of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs (Up Jump the Canucks, March 23) referred only to eastern Canada's concern. Personally, and I am far from being in the minority here in western Canada, I would be beside myself with joy if Toronto and Montreal failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the next 20 years. You have fallen for the usual Toronto-Montreal propaganda that all Canada is deliriously behind our two representatives. Most western boys end up playing with American clubs that are 98% Canadian anyway. Both Detroit (especially because of Gordie Howe and Sid Abel, Saskatchewan natives) and Chicago have strong followings in western Canada. Emile Francis (another Saskatchewan boy) and his Rangers are strongly supported in northern Saskatchewan, and Bobby Orr has helped to create many new Canadian fans for Boston. In addition, western teams like Minnesota and St. Louis, along with Chicago, not only give us a closer geographical location to the NHL, but their radio broadcasts come in quite clearly. Certainly Toronto and Montreal also have strong supporters in the west, but please do not assume that all Canada sits duped by the Toronto and Montreal TV axis. As for me, I will continue to support the team I have supported since my early childhood, the Chicago Black Hawks, and feel no twinge of antipatriotism.
JOHN C. CLARK
I must thank Dick Russell for his article, Bloody Nights on the Lone Prairie (March 23). It has long been accepted among the most conscientious members of the cocking fraternity that exposure to the public, even through positive articles, does harm. However, Russell's article is the best that I have ever read by a person outside of the sport. It was a report of the events and not steeped in exposé. Far too often the writers leave the readers with the feeling that they should make a moral judgment.
Alas, even though this article was first-rate, it will probably cause added pressure by moralizers, Victorian do-gooders, "humanists" and all in Kansas who oppose liquor by the drink and pari-mutuel betting. I hope not, because the times are changing and there is more acceptance of allowing people to do their own thing.
NEAL W. BLENDEN
Arkansas City, Kans.
ACES AND CORNS
A Handful of Aces (March 23) is undoubtedly the most realistic story I have ever read about bridge players in general and U.S. competition in particular. William Johnson is accurate in every detail. Ira Corn is an exceptional man; he very quickly understood the strengths and weaknesses of top-class bridge players. He figured out what needed to be done and, since he had the means, he did it. His efforts will definitely bring back the world championship to America—most likely this year or, if not, the next or the next.
There are many other promising young bridge players in the U.S. It is not too soon for some other enterprising group to do what Ira has done.
It is hard for me to believe that there is another Ira Corn. This is the first time that I have ever heard of anyone with this name, except for myself. I claim no relationship.
IRA I. CORN
Port Angeles, Wash.
We agree with Jack Stewart (19TH HOLE, March 23) that the NCAA was not stupid in the Jack Langer affair. Small-minded, vindictive and power hungry, yes, but not stupid. The NCAA knew exactly what it was doing when it refused to allow Jewish athletes to represent their country in the Maccabiah Games. The "guardian of college athletics" was continuing its petty fight with the Amateur Athletic Union for control of amateur sports by weakening the AAU-sponsored team. Any other interpretation of the action is absurd, since the rule prohibiting summer basketball has been waived in all previous Pan-American and Maccabiah Games, ft is unclear how continuing this policy would have, as Mr. Stewart alleges, "let down the floodgates for a raft of such invitations in the future," since there are very few events considered as important as the Maccabiah Games.
This outrageous willingness to use students as pawns for NCAA political maneuvering was evident throughout the Langer affair and elsewhere. While we, too, applaud penalties for recruiting violations, we wonder why flagrant dishonesty in such areas, when punished, usually nets only a one-year probation for the offending team, while Yale, for openly questioning the NCAA and allowing a student to play basketball, drew a two-year suspension in all sports.
The point behind these incidents seems to be that when a school questions an NCAA political position in any way, the NCAA makes the students suffer severely. And while Walter Byers may get to work early, a hardworking tyrant is still a tyrant.
Yale Daily News
New Haven, Conn.
Mr. Stewart's interpretation of the Jack Langer dispute implies, quite wrongly, that Yale expects special treatment for her athletes. Yale's decision to allow Langer to compete at the Maccabiah Games stems from its firmly rooted belief that no individual, no student athlete from any college, should lose his right to compete because of a political power struggle to control sports.
Has the "brilliant" Walter Byers (the word is Mr. Stewart's) explained why the NCAA permitted American students to participate in every sport at the Maccabiah Games except basketball? It is unfortunate that Yale's concern for the individual in sports is not matched by the NCAA's.
Since you have recognized the NCAA (National Crabapple Association of America) and the AAU (Amateur Applecrushing Union) (19TH HOLE, March 30), I think it is high time you recognized BACON (Buffalo Apple Crushing Olympics of the Nation). We are many steps ahead of everybody. For the forthcoming Apple Crushing Olympics we have banned Yale for sending an applecrusher to Afghanistan. Also, we will not let any South Africans compete. We are thinking of banning the applecrushing team of Ecuador because they count their attendance wrong (they count season-ticket holders, too). Last year we even suspended our star applecrusher for betting on apples.
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