SPARK OF GREATNESS
Ron Fimrite did a beautiful job writing about the rejuvenated Yankees (Red Man to the Rescue, Aug. 21) and the newly found relic of Yankee Stadium. Ralph Houk is proving his superior baseball intellect to the many doubters of the late '60s. A team that I personally hated for being so dominant a decade ago is now loved by many. This article helped me to see the light, too. All the way, Yanks!
I was very happy to see a Yankee ballplayer on your cover, and even happier to see that it was the best relief pitcher in baseball. Sparky Lyle surely deserves it more than anyone right now after his remarkable performances. He also deserves all the standing ovations he never fails to receive at Yankee Stadium.
The New York Yankees arc coming back strong. And there's nothing wrong with those pinstripes, not when players like these Yankees are wearing them.
North Plainfield, N.J.
You say in PEOPLE (Aug. 21) that after it has been rehabilitated, Yankee Stadium may be renamed The House That Lindsay Repaired. May I suggest it be dubbed The House That Lyle Saved? Congratulations on a great story!
Being a Yankee fan all my life and having lived in Syracuse, home of the Yanks' top farm team, until July, I had the opportunity to watch Celerino Sanchez with the Chiefs until he was called up. He was simply amazing, at bat and in the field. I just wonder why it took so long for a major league team to get him.
Where docs Ron Fimrite get off saying Bobby Murcer does not call to mind Murderers Row? Not only was he second in the league batting race last year, but he is in the top five standings in almost all offensive categories this season. And we don't cheer everything at Yankee Stadium, just a great club.
Thanks for the worthy and long-awaited article. Mr. Fimrite's only fault seems to be in dwelling on the meaningless point of comparing Yankee teams of past and present. The true evaluation lies in a comparison between the Yankee team of '72 and the rest of the opposition in the American League, against which the Yanks are currently third in batting and have the top starting and relief pitchers.
The Spark is there, but the real fire won't be lighted until October.
I wish to thank SI and Curry Kirkpatrick for the article regarding the King of Softball, Mr. Eddie Feigner (A King Without a Crown, Aug. 21). The warmth and friendship of Feigner have been shared by many, and I feel fortunate to have shared it probably as long as any. I was the bat boy for Kilburg's Grocery softball team in 1946 (the team Eddie was pitching for when The King and His Court began). Upon finishing high school in 1953, I talked to Eddie about joining his barnstorming group. My request was turned down, not for lack of talent, he assured me, but because he knew he could help me realize a goal that he would not be able to attain himself.
Eddie's ambition early in life was to be a medical missionary, and when we discussed the alternatives of my studying medicine or joining The King and His Court, he insisted that I devote my energy to school. He reinforced that advice by getting a job for me pitching in an industrial league to obtain money for tuition and by giving me verbal encouragement while I was in school.
Mr. Kirkpatrick's definition of a giant, "that very special, one of a kind, towering eminence sort of a fellow standing head and heart above the rest of his chosen field," rightly describes this warm, wonderful man and, for me, has a very special significance.
VAUGHN NIXON, M.D.
I had an opportunity to umpire one of Eddie Feigner's games when he played here in Craig. What he does out there on the mound is something to behold, and you just can't believe it without having seen it. This also holds true for his Court. I have seen and worked games for some pretty fine pitchers, such as Harvey Sterkel and others of his caliber, but I believe that The King is in a niche by himself. If anyone has a chance to see The King and His Court and doesn't do it, he is missing the sight of a lifetime.
Thanks very much for doing such a fine story on The King. I hope that he will now get a little of the recognition that he so richly deserves.
H. R. MORRISON
A couple of years ago, in Racine, Wis., I actually saw Eddie Feigner throw a figure-eight windmill with quarter-speed outraise. At least I think I did.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing The King and His Court in Hartford. My friend and I jumped the fence and saw the game for free. But I was so amazed at the startling repertoire of pitches The King displayed, I paid my two dollars on the way out.
Lest any of your readers get the impression that Feigner is a character on an ego trip, rest assured he isn't. Back in the early '60s, while attending a sports and travel show in Columbus, Ohio, I had the pleasure of meeting Eddie. I found him to be a gentleman and fascinating to talk to, a person all too rare these days, even with his stand-up brush cut. He has indeed earned the title of Mr. Softball.
A. D. HAMEL
MATTER OF FORM
How could you ruin an otherwise interesting article on Cathy Rigby (Sugar and Spice—and Iron, Aug. 21) by including such a degrading photograph? Being an enthusiastic fan of gymnastics, I was sickened to read: "Gymnastics may be the one sport—diving might be the other—which should be performed in the nude." What are you trying to make of gymnastics? A girlie show instead of the wholesome, beneficial sport it is? Also, I should hope that the American Ideal is not the type who would pose in the nude.
Salt Lake City
Jerry Cooke's exquisite photograph of America's very lovely and super-performing gymnast, Cathy Rigby, illustrates again the esthetic beauty and grace of the human form at its best. No doubt you will receive letters from readers who will be appalled at your publishing such a photograph in a sports magazine. (We wonder what kind of forms they think fill all those football, soccer, track and Roller Derby uniforms.) It must be comforting for you to know you're in the same league with—indeed, following the example set by—the sculptor of the Venus de Milo and Michelangelo with his magnificent David.
Diving and gymnastics in the nude? Ship that dreamer out! Have the editors of SI lost their heads? I think it was very poor taste to show Miss Rigby in the nude. That's not beauty, it's immodesty, and it's impractical as well. I couldn't help wonder about splinters.
If Miss Rigby is such an outstanding gymnast, why didn't you show pictures of her taken in competition? Show the closest competitors executing the same difficult maneuver for comparison. SI is supposed to give us insight into the sports world, not take us to a secluded studio for the exposure of some young lady's backside.
Bad show, editors, bad show.
LYNNE D. TALBOT
I quite agree with the idea that gymnastics should be performed in the nude; Jerry Cooke's photograph attests to that. Gymnastics is finally receiving the attention it so richly deserves. A salute to Anita Verschoth.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The photograph of Cathy Rigby is a magnificent tribute to a marvelous athlete. Mr. Cooke's excellent photograph and the interesting article by Anita Verschoth prove again that SI is the No. 1 sports magazine in the U.S.A.
Great Falls, Va.
I had always wondered if anything would ever move me to write a letter to the editor, but the quality of the prose in Kenny Moore's article on Bill Bowerman (Fishing in the Rivers of Men's Minds, Aug. 14) did the trick. I wish to applaud not only Moore's writing, but the fact that Bowerman is guiding our track and field hopes in Munich. Compared to the many faceless, cliché-mongring habitués of the coaching world, Bowerman's virtuosity should be a source of pride for all Americans.
Bel Air, Md.
Only Kenny Moore could have written such a very descriptive account of his (and my) coach, Bill Bowerman. I spent four years under Bill's teaching and coaching (1956-60) and, upon reflecting on my life's experiences, I find his philosophy and ideas to be the most meaningful and lasting of those I have encountered.
When I was a freshman Bill told me I would make the Olympic track team in the decathlon by following his workouts, and my faith in this great man and his coaching made this possible in 1960. But I always remember he insisted that I was at the University of Oregon to get my degree first, and that competing on his track team was secondary.
The mention of Bill's feeling that women are subversive to a trackman's success reminds me of another unforgettable expression of his philosophy. I had made the Olympic team but with a subpar performance, which he attributed to my love life (she is now my wife of 11 years). His only comment was, "Man o' War never saw a mare until he was through racing," but it was enough to get his point across!
DAVID A. EDSTROM
I'd like to thank Roy Blount Jr. for his article on Harmon Killebrew (A Twin Mortar Gets the Range, Aug. 14). It's good to see a national magazine recognize that even though Killebrew is older, he is still one of today's premier sluggers. I'd like to add that Frank Quilici had been the Twins' manager for about two weeks before Harmon went into his most recent groove.
I just finished reading your Aug. 14 issue and was disturbed to see no letters commending Hugh D. Whall's article on the Hennessey Grand Prix (Sea Chase with a Smash Ending, July 31). I congratulate Mr. Whall for a sensational article and I hope his ribs have healed.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIMF & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.