I would like to thank a great magazine for a great article about a great baseball player, Henry Aaron (Henry Raps One for History, May 25). All knowledgeable baseball fans are aware of Aaron's excellent records, but now the Hammer is opening the eyes of the not-so-knowledgeable. It is true that Hank is baseball's most underpublicized superstar, so it is surely appreciated when due recognition is given to such a fine athlete.
Aaron has made a believer out of me. I believe that someday he'll lead the all-time home-run list numerically as well as alphabetically.
The story of Henry Aaron's 3,000th hit was one of the best ever published in SI. But an even better grade must be given for that issue's cover design. What could be more appropriate than placing Hammerin' Hank in the center with eight of the world's greatest ballplayers surrounding him? In 20 years it will most certainly be a collector's item. And you can bet that I'm putting my own copy in the vault.
East Dubuque, Ill.
You picture Aaron as the ninth man to join the exclusive 3,000th-hit club. Actually he is the eighth. According to at least one authoritative baseball encyclopedia, Cap Anson had only 2,995 hits.
West Nyack, N.Y.
•Cap Anson's records are still under review. Of his 3,518 lifetime hits 437 came during Anson's National Association days (1871-75), and these do not count. However, the legitimacy of the number of other hits by Anson, including some that may have been awarded to him by a friendly official scorer, is being questioned. At the moment Cap is credited with 3,081 major league hits. A final answer on whether that record will stand must await the findings of a committee impaneled by the commissioner to evaluate all statistics.—ED.
Thank you for printing Frank Beard's superb account of the pro tour (How Can a Pro Miss 18-inch Putts? May 18 et seq.). I am constantly amazed at the fortitude of these talented "fringe" players who persevere under the sometimes chaotic situations and pressures of each new tournament. Since Mr. Beard appears affluent and skilled to us duffers, his personal report of the difficulties he has encountered is enlightening. I hope that Frank and his colleagues hang in there—not to aggravate their ulcers, but to provide an opportunity for us to continue to observe their handicraft.
I took particular notice of Frank Beard's complaint about the press (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, May 18): "When Palmer wins a tournament, the headline says PALMER WINS, and when I win a tournament, the headline says PALMER LOSES." Then you went and did it yourselves. For the cover (June 1) illustrating the third article of the series you ran photographs of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. No Frank Beard.
I can hear Beard now: "When Frank composes, Arnie poses."
I object to your disparaging remarks in the item "Blew It Again" (SCORECARD, May 25) concerning Denver as the IOC's choice for the 1976 Winter Olympics. Denver had the best presentation and is the best prepared for the Winter Games, as evidenced by the fact that it was chosen overwhelmingly. Vancouver wasn't even second.
SCOTT S. WERKING
Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Yes, the International Olympic Committee sure blew it by not awarding the 1976 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles, the city with all of the facilities except air fit for the athletes to breathe.
IVAN P. COLBURN
After reading the article on the race between Marty Liquori and Kipchoge Keino (Revenge Can Be Sour, May 25) I felt pleased that the true spirit of competition still exists, yet appalled that this same spirit can be warped into a driving preoccupation with winning. It seems to me that Keino's attitude toward racing is the ideal for any sort of amateur contest; to him it is important only that he performs well. Liquori, on the other hand, seems to have traded in the eternal thrill of competition for the transient one of winning. With such an attitude revenge can be sour indeed.
MARSHALL M. FEASTER III
Marty Liquori's arrogance prompts me to agree with him when he says, "It's too early to think I've conquered everything."
Marty Liquori could benefit by taking a few pointers from The Man in track and field, Jim Ryun. Jim never berated or belittled any opponent, regardless of his performance. If Liquori is still near the top five years from now, then he will have earned an opportunity to toot his horn. Until then he should concentrate on his competition, which just might include Ryun next year.
DONALD J. RYEL
My compliments on the exceptionally fine job Rose Mary Mechem and Jerry Kirshenbaum did on pleasure flying (Swift Wings to Bright Horizons, May 25). I can't begin to tell you how refreshing it is to read a story on general aviation that is not only well written and beautifully illustrated, but completely accurate and unbiased. All general aviation should be in your debt today.
Warren Township, N.J.
I can't recall a time when a general circulation magazine has done a better job of explaining the whys and wherefores of do-it-yourself flying.
Cessna Aircraft Company
PLAYING WITH PERCENTAGES
Your recent criticism of the NFL playoff system (SCORECARD, May 18) is well founded. The manner in which the NFL figures its league standings is just as stupid. When they eliminate tie games in figuring percentages, they have to substitute an incorrect figure for the number of "games played," and when you start with a wrong number you have to come up with a wrong answer.
The following table shows some possible results as figured according to the NFL system and according to a true percentage using the actual number of games played and by awarding each team half a game for a tie.
Under the present setup team No. 2 could win one game and the championship, while team No. 3 could have an undefeated season and wind up in the cellar. Extreme examples and improbable, but "What can happen will happen."
JAMES L. HOLMES
IN NAME ONLY
Our committee has been campaigning to restore the name and insignia of the American Football League, and the response from fans across the country indicates that AFL fans do not want the AFL name to be absorbed by the NFL. We are proposing that professional football be one legal entity, known as Pro Football, and composed of two 13-team components, to be known as the National Football League and the American Football League. This arrangement would in no way fail to satisfy U.S. Public Law 89-800, which permitted the merger. No mention is made in that law of the name of the ultimate merged league.
Our committee is not attempting to subvert the merger or eliminate any of the benefits of the merger: the Super Bowl, the common draft, the combined players' associations and so on. We are simply attempting to keep 10 years of AFL tradition alive.
From a practical viewpoint, we believe the owners of pro football's 26 teams will suffer at the turnstiles in the long run because of the almost certain diminution of interest in pro football. They have virtually guaranteed this diminution of interest by destroying perhaps the greatest sports rivalry of all time—the AFL vs. the NFL. That rivalry can never again be as intense if all 26 teams fly the NFL banner.
I ask your readers to write to Lamar Hunt, c/o Pro Football Commissioner's Office, 410 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022, urging him to support an amendment to this effect.
ANGELO F. CONIGLIO
AFL Identity Committee
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.