In Humming a Rhapsody in Blue (July 12), Roy Blount wrote that Vida Blue "pitches with two dimes in his pocket for some mysterious reason." In a recent article in The Detroit News Vida was asked about the two dimes. He said they "represent 20 wins." When asked why he doesn't carry another dime in his pocket for 30 wins, his answer was: "Twenty would be enough." Whether he likes it or not, Vida Blue just might end up with 30 wins this year—and three dimes in his pocket.
The question of who throws the hardest in the American League has been answered. Umpire John Rice recently stated that he could tell how hard and how fast a pitcher threw by the sound the ball made when it hit the catcher's mitt. Mr. Rice, who has called three of Vida's games, said that Cleveland's Sam McDowell "is faster than anybody can be." Vida may be considered a superpitcher by some, but the expert says Sudden Sam is still No. 1 for speed. As everyone knows, the umpire always has the last word.
I would like to tell Vida Blue that he has made the people of Louisiana, blacks and whites alike, proud of him. He has become the idol of many young ballplayers in Louisiana, and I would like to congratulate him on his record.
Your article on the Wimbledon men's singles finals (A Waltz at Wimbledon, July 12) aptly sums up much of men's grass-court play today—boredom. The big service has taken the excitement out of top-notch singles play. Recognizing that much experimenting has been done in the past few years to improve the game, I wonder if the following rule has been tried. Namely, that the server be required to let the initial return-of-service bounce on the server's court before he is allowed to advance to the net. This would appear to reduce some of the effectiveness of the big serve and perhaps bring back the skill, excitement and interest that used to exist.
ARTHUR J. MIER
How long are you going to permit gratuitous insults to women in your magazine? I refer to the caption with the photograph of women at Wimbledon that says, "The strawberries are ripe, the girls riper." Would you dare say, "The Negroes are funnier" or "The Italians are louder" just because they appear to be exactly what they are?
Stop it. We women do not like it and will not stand for it. And we are not "girls."
EDNA L. McCARREN
New York City
Thank you for your relatively obscure article (Still Something of a Summit Meeting, July 12) on the "relatively obscure American high jumper named Pat Matzdorf." Obscure is a poor choice of words concerning Matzdorf, since he has won not only the 1971 Big Ten Indoor championship but also the 1970 NCAA outdoor title and this year's NCAA indoor high-jump championship. His rivals in the high jump did not find him obscure at all.
You make it sound as if Matzdorf's achievement was a fluke. Pat's highest previous jump was not 7'2" but 7'3" in the Big Ten championship, and it tied the American indoor record. Not only that, he has been very consistent, clearing seven feet many times this year. Please give credit when it's due.
MAURY B. BERGER
I was manager of the track team at Sheboygan North during Pat Matzdorf's junior and senior years in high school, and Pat was not obscure to anybody. He practiced hard and earned everything he is receiving now. During his senior year in high school he jumped 6'11" to set a new state record.
I feel compelled to write about an oversight of excellence concerning Arnie Robinson, the AAU champion in the long jump. And not just for his victories in the AAU and Russian meets but his domination of the long jump throughout the year. He won what is considered the big three invitationals on the West Coast—the Mount SAC Relays (wind-aided 26'8"), the West Coast Relays (25'11") and the California Relays, where he jumped 26'4¾" and beat both James McAlister and Henry Hines. Arnie's consistency is something that should not be overlooked.
JOHN A. PHILLIPS
Hats off to the American girls for being "excited" as Gwilym Brown puts it. Maybe the best American men can run in Europe instead of Berkeley, but it's nice to know the women are still patriotic and try their best. Surely Mr. Brown doesn't realize it, but the list of young U.S. women who are coming to the top is longer than the men's, and they deserve more than a paragraph mentioning Doris Brown's "valiant attempt." How about a word of praise for Iris Davis, who is a threat to Chi Cheng in the sprints; Patty Johnson, for winning the 100-meter hurdles; and the American womens' 400-meter relay team (Orien Brown, Mattline Render, Pat Hawkins and Iris Davis) for defeating the veteran Russians despite almost no practice on handoffs.
Maybe the only way to get Mr. Brown to notice the girls is for them to wear hot pants and see-through blouses as their track uniforms.
A couple of years ago SI chose the 18 best golf holes in the country. Merion's dogleg 1st and beautiful 11th were part of that classic course. Did they prove their worth in this year's Open, or did the world's best golfers take them apart? Perhaps somebody's computer kept the birdie, par and bogey count on Merion's 1st and 11th.
New York City
•On the par-4 1st hole, esteemed for its beauty as a starting hole rather than for its difficulty, the Open field averaged 4.11 strokes. The 11th played very tough—4.29 strokes.—ED.
Robert Boyle's mercury article (The Catch Is, Should You Eat It?, July 12) is misleading in part. In speaking of tournament swordfish, Boyle states: "If a person were really starving for swordfish, he could eat some of this fish, but one bite would be about enough." The implication is that just a little more than one single bite would be permanently harmful (or fatal?).
Not so. In fact, from the figures Boyle cites, one could safely eat at least one ounce of this swordfish per day forever. Or he could eat a serving of about eight ounces once a week forever.
DANIEL A. PANSHIN
WALTER MITTY SCORES AGAIN
Often attempts are made to reach a reader by identifying a sport on a personal level. In this endeavor George Plimpton (In The Mind's Eye, July 5) has woven a picture of tennis that all club players can enjoy. The glimpses of the pros and their reactions to situations the club player finds stifling are reassuring. Plimpton showed that the pros are human, not the automatic machines they often seem to be. How we all would like to play in that unreachable pinnacle called Wimbledon!—just as Plimpton does in his fantasy. Throughout the story Mr. Plimpton is the reader, the symbol of the laymen eager to enter the confines of the tennis world.
Great Neck, N.Y.
BLONDES ARE BETTER
Your item in SCORECARD June 28 regarding the hardhat cure for black flies is not new. In 1955 I was logging for the Ketchikan Pulp Company at Camp Hollis on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. Someone on the crew, disgusted with the world in general and black flies in particular, simply dumped a bottle of insect repellent on his hat, which was aluminum, and said, "To hell with it." As the men in Alberta found, it worked. The man's hat was soon black with flies.
Incidentally, this doesn't work on the flies in Yellowstone Park, but I have a remedy for that country that beats the greasy hat by several lengths and in several ways. What you want is a big blonde in a bikini, and two bottles of insect repellent, a double-thickness shirt and a mosquito-net hood for yourself. The one bottle of insect repellent you pour over your mosquito-net hood and your double-thickness shirt and your hands; the other bottle of insect repellent you stick in your pocket for later. The blonde works about like a hat, only she's better to look at. And the nice thing about having the second bottle of insect repellent is that you can use it sort of like a carrot on a stick for a donkey. It also helps if the blonde is not quite as smart as a donkey, and this is something that it is best to find out before you head into the back country in Yellowstone.
JAMES H. NELSON
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