A very touching story (Now Playing Right: Manny Sanguillen, March 19). Yes, a great story and a fine picture of the plaque on the door of Roberto Clemente's old room. Johnny Bench says the Pirates won't come off the bench swinging anymore without Clemente to inspire them. Forget it. They have to prove they can win without Clemente. That should be enough to inspire them.
Floral Park, N.Y.
The fact is that the Pirates are too good a team to be considered dead because of the loss of one player, even if that player was Roberto Clemente. Any team that hits .274 must have some reserve strength. And if the hitting fails, the Bucs can always rely on their pitching (2.81 ERA in '72).
Roy Blount rightfully points out that the Pirate defense is leaky, but, having been a Buc fan for many years, I believe I can suggest some changes other than those mentioned: move Dave Cash (a fine second baseman) to shortstop, Rennie Stennett (a speed demon) to second, and Gene Clines to right field. Manny Sanguillen should stay at catcher, where he does an excellent job.
Still, it will not be easy. The whole division looks much stronger. But I'm sure the Pirates will find an answer.
Manny Sanguillen is the best choice the Pirates could have made.
BRUNO DOSSO JR.
Great Neck, N.Y.
I hope whoever plays right field this year for Pittsburgh gives it everything he's got, just like Clemente.
I'd like to thank Peter Carry for his fine article on Lenny Wilkens (New Stripes, Same Old Slick Tiger, March 19). This, coupled with your Feb. 26 article on Norm Van Lier, proves that the small man with hustle, unselfishness and brains can not only survive in pro basketball, but control a game supposedly dominated by the big man.
The true value of Lenny Wilkens is brought out by the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers are having their best season with him and the Seattle SuperSonics one of their worst without him.
We in Seattle miss Lenny not only because he is a great player and coach, but also because he is a fine man. I understand that trading is part of any sport, but one does not trade a player of Lenny Wilkens' caliber just because he is getting a little old.
Your article was a fitting tribute to Lenny Wilkens, truly one of the most underrated players of all time. Even in his college days Lenny was the catalyst who made his team go, leading Providence to the first of its many NIT appearances. I can't help but think the Atlanta Hawks must rue the day they traded Wilkens away. With his ability to make the effective play in a simple manner, he could have taught Pete Maravich the control he needs to become a superstar in the NBA.
JOHN F. CONROY
I thoroughly enjoyed Martha Duffy's article on the touring Soviet women's gymnastic team (Hello to a Russian Pixie, March 19). But come on now. As good as she is, why so much of Olga Korbut? I thought everyone knew that Ludmilla Turishcheva is the best of them all.
In this day and age of phony athletes who care only about their paychecks it is refreshing to read about Olga Korbut. Anyone who has seen Olga perform knows that she really enjoys what she is doing. Hopefully Olga will go on for many years winning gold medals for the Soviet Union and winning friends for gymnastics. In my book she is the only true superstar in sports today.
RAY R. EKMAN
Regarding your comments about the now famous Peterson-Kekich affair (SCORECARD, March 19), I beg to differ with your analysis. Athletes do not have a responsibility to the public to set an example by being super-moral all-American types. Maybe it would be a good idea if the media began to realize this and relate to athletes as real people who have real problems just like everyone else.
The Peterson-Kekich affair is their own business. The "rub" is not, as you suggest, that they are ballplayers, for they are only humans who happen to play ball. The problem is their exposure by the media to a voyeuristic public which demands vicarious fulfillment of both its moral and its athletic fantasies. Your judgmental reportage only exaggerates the unrealistic expectations some sports fans have for their stars' private lives.
If "millions of youngsters were stunned and distressed," it was over the adverse publicity given the Peterson and Kekich families, not over the facts of the matter. The linen here is soiled only by your imputation. I would hope most realistic fans realize that the game is just a game and that, off the field, life is life.
GEORGE S. HILL JR., M.D.
Palos Verdes, Calif.
Your comments on heroism and sports were well stated and I hope well received by all sportsmen. You know what a real hero is. More power to you—and to the heroes.
Your article Mary, Mary Quite Contrary (March 12) by Coles Phinizy about the 47-year-old aviatrix Mary Gaffaney was smashing. It is easy to be witty at the expense of one's victim, but a writer who laughs with his subject is much rarer. From its imaginative plane-studded beginning, the story takes off, soars to a climax and smacks down in a neat, dignified landing.
Your article on Mary Gaffaney was excellent journalism and a fine tribute to this exciting aerobatic flyer. It was of particular interest to those of us here in Burlington, Wis. who had an opportunity to see Mrs. Gaffaney perform unbelievable maneuvers at our air show in 1971.
BILL APPLEBY JR.
Dan Seemiller (The Back of His Hand to the World, March 12) is undoubtedly the hottest young table tennis prospect this country has seen in a decade. Nevertheless, he faces overwhelming odds in his quest to gain the world championship. Never has an American won the men's singles title, and since 10-time U.S. champion Dick Miles reached the semifinals at Dortmund in 1959, Americans have found it increasingly difficult to crack the top 30 rankings. The declining fortunes of American table tennis, evidenced by the increasing number of non-natives manning our world team, are even more dismal when viewed in terms of the Chinese-Japanese performances during the past 21 years in which the Orientals won 59 of 91 championship titles. A victory by Seemiller in this year's championship (or even in 1977) would constitute an achievement greater than Bobby Fischer's feat of ending Russian domination in chess. But table tennis fans well remember the meteoric rise of then 18-year-old Stellan Bengtsson of Sweden, who in 1971 became the first non-Oriental to win the men's singles crown in 18 years. So perhaps a Seemiller, with his unorthodox style and never-say-die attitude, may be preparing to stun the world.
THE CHANGING ROOM (CONT.)
In her article (An Ethic of Work and Play, March 5) on David Storey's new play The Changing Room, Martha Duffy observes that in England "only Harold Pinter rivals him as a playwright." This seems rather shallow and uninformed on her part, especially considering the mere difference in the number of significant plays each writer has created.
Somehow she has managed to misplace the names of the vital younger dramatists-Tom Stoppard, Simon Gray and Christopher Hampton, to name only three. And it should come as no surprise to recall that those "new wave" dramatists of the '50s—John Osborne, John Arden and Arnold Wesker—are still very much alive and well and significantly productive.
JOHN BUSH JONES
Martha Duffy does make a token acknowledgment of Rugby Union Football, which she describes as "The swifter, gentler amateur version of the sport...." It is important to point out here that the Union game is the sport and Rugby League is the more brutal, commercial and obscure version. The distinction between professional and amateur rugby is not one of degree of proficiency, but a difference in philosophy toward athletics. Rugby Union is played purely for the enjoyment of the participants, even on the international level, while League is played as an income supplement for the players and with commercial and publicity incentives to the club owners and factory sponsors.
I hope sometime this fall you will do a story on American Rugby Union football in conjunction with the sesquicentennial of the sport. And this time without the ketchup, please.
NELSON H. SPENCER
Texas Rugby Football Union
I couldn't resist sending in a few additions to your SCORECARD item (March 5) on European expansion teams. Herewith: the Sofia Lorens, Cannes Openers, Cork Screws, Londonderry Heirs, Hanover Fists, Essen H's, N√ºrnberg Trials, Pisa Pies, Danzig Bears, Minsk Meats and Malta Milk Shakes.
New York City
I want to thank you for reporting in SCORECARD (Feb. 19) my "Acupinch" discovery to abort leg muscle cramps. There is one correction I would like to ask you to make.
You stated that I accidentally discovered this maneuver. This is not so. The cure came in direct answer to prayer one night when I felt a leg spasm coming on.
The Lord should get credit for the Acupinch discovery.
MILTON F. ALLEN
My congratulations to Hugh Whall (Sailing up a Squall, March 12) and sailors like Bob Derecktor and Arnie Gay. Gentlemen such as these who can recognize the significance of a design such as Cascade's are few and far between in the yachting community. Less than a decade ago it was the sloop-rigged, stripped-interior, flush-decked yachts that were arousing the yachting "traditionalists" in their esthetically pleasing and well appointed yawls and ketches. Change is the only constant, whether it be in yacht design or political ideology, and people must learn to live with it.
S. H. KELLER
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