COMING TO GRIPS
Congratulations on your bringing a part of the World Cup to the States (The Cup That Grips the World, July 1). It is a shame, however, that none of our three major networks brought us this great sport spectacle. Soccer in America has already been established; now we must strive to attain a style of play that is characteristically American. To obtain this individuality, it is imperative that we study, then adapt, adopt or dismiss some of the many different aspects of international soccer. What better way is there to do this than bringing the Cup games to the American public?
THOMAS M. NEVERS JR.
Mark Kram's story (Hard Sell for Some Hard Knocks, July 1) certainly left this reader in confusion. How could any intelligent being compare a man, Joe Frazier, beaten only by Ali and Foreman, two of history's best, to a Victorian hustler? And why didn't Mr. Kram give some thought to traveling to Albuquerque for the Bob Foster-Jorge Ahumada fight and explain to the world how a hometown decision robbed a foreigner of the light heavyweight title?
MONTE R. SHOEMAKER
Distasteful would possibly be the most complimentary remark I could make of Mark Kram's postfight analysis of the Joe Frazier-Jerry Quarry fight. Obviously, Mr. Kram has resigned himself to the fact that the heavyweight division today is in a parlous state. Humbly, one begs to differ.
As for his report of the bout—which indeed was a shocking overmatch—one believes Mr. Kram could at least have showed Smokin' Joe the dignity of praise. I searched to discover a good word about the former champion, but none was there. All one could find was the continuing saga of Jerry Quarry, complete with his mother's and wife's expert analysis.
MARTIN O. ZUPETZ
The boo of the year goes to Joe Louis. I'd like to know who picked him to referee the Quarry-Frazier fight. His performance was worse than Quarry's. Mark Kram put it on the nose when he said Louis was "lost back in the mist with Max Schmeling." It was ridiculous. Quarry staggering, half blind and ready for brain surgery, and Louis ordering Smokin' Joe to put on the crusher.
PUTTING AN OAR IN
I think Dan Levin (Smooth and Rude and Fast, July 1) left out some facts that would have made a great article in themselves—namely, the answer to several questions provoked by his article:
1) Who was the one Harvard oarsman who did not go to private school?
2) Who rowed for four years for Fair Harvard?
3) Who was captain of the Harvard crew?
4) Who had never rowed more than a pram before entering Harvard?
The answers to all these questions is David Fellows from Wayland, Mass.
HAROLD L. BARNETT
At a recent game in Cleveland between the Indians and Twins I was watching the Twins take batting practice when I saw Rod Carew (Hitters of Singular Skill, July 1). I yelled out, "Hey, Rod, you going to hit .400?" He turned, smiled and said, ".399."
I realize that Ron Fimrite was writing about singles hitters, but it seemed that whenever a comparison was necessary to prove a point, the comparison was made with Oriole Second Baseman Bobby Grich, who is the exact opposite of Rod Carew. This season Grich is going after the home-run ball instead of trying for singles and the transformation is looking beautiful.
So what if the singles hitter gets on base a lot? A home-run threat will be walked enough times to get on as often as a hit-for-average player. I am not arguing that Rose, Carew, Garr, etc. are not good men, but I think a power hitter can do more for a team.
TOM VON GUNDEN
SEEING REDS (CONT.)
Until Pete Rose unabashedly barrel ed into Bud Harrelson of the Mets in a divisional playoff game last fall, I had held him in great esteem as an athlete and a gentleman. After that episode, I was convinced he was a mere bully.
However, your revelations (Beware the Dudes in the Red Hats, June 24) of routine uncivilized behavior on the part of Sparky Anderson through much of his career suggest that Rose was only endeavoring to conform to expected norms. A man who confuses a game with warfare and his own barbarous behavior with guerrilla tactics is no credit to baseball. By the Reds' behavior one could conclude that baseball has degenerated to the status of professional hockey where teeth by Woolworth are standard equipment.
My loyalty shifts to Walter Alston & Co.
GORDON C. BAKER
Dan Jenkins suggests that Hale Irwin (Hale Irwin, Sole Survivor, June 24) may be the first golfer to wear glasses and win the USGA Open Championship. In fact, Irwin is the second to do so. In 1925 Willie MacFarlane wore glasses and beat Bobby Jones for the Open Championship in a 36-hole playoff. A picture of MacFarlane, with glasses, and a report of his fine achievement may be found in the official program for the 1959 Open Championship, which was also held at Winged Foot.
R. C. PALMER
West Hartford, Conn.
As one who once caddied for Chick Evans, I know that the first to win the U.S. Open wearing glasses was Francis Ouimet in 1913. He did this in a playoff, as an unsung amateur, after finishing regulation play in a tie with the visiting British slickers, Harry Vardon (great swing) and Ted Ray (who played wearing a stiff collar and a Norfolk jacket).
LONG BEACH (CONT.)
After reading Ray Kennedy's excellent article (Case 427: Part II—The Payoff, June 17) on the recruiting violations of the Long Beach State basketball and football teams during the past couple of years, I was surprised to read that Abe Lemons, coach and athletic director of Pan American University, was quoted as saying that the Long Beach situation reminded him of "the guy drivin' down the road doin' 60 and everybody else is passin' him goin' 80. And a cop stops the guy and he says, 'Why me?' And the cop says, 'Cause you're easier to catch.' " I can clearly see Mr. Lemons' point of view, but he certainly cannot be trying to justify the actions of Long Beach State by saying that they are not so bad because everyone else is more illegal.
I believe that this whole situation should be cleaned up, starting with the big schools, but if some of the other schools are getting away with what you have been caught doing, that does not make it any less illegal.
The SCORECARD item "Off the Mark" in the June 24 issue regarding the problem of false starting, primarily by sprinters and hurdlers, does not recognize several aspects of the problem. Many starters have a set rhythm √† la Lawrence Welk's "a-one, a-two, a-three," which, on the basis of a motor set vs. a sensory set, only encourages false starting. The high school and collegiate rule that the gun be held approximately two seconds after the command "set" is mostly disregarded. The USTFF handbook of track and field, recognizing long-established, valid physical education research, recommends a pause of 1.5 to 1.7 seconds after the command "set." It is surprising how many athletes (and fans) will jump before that. The AAU rule states that the gun should be fired when all contestants are steady, frequently leading to the "on your marks, bang, set" routine used by some eminent starters. It seems to me the real problem is a new breed of U.S. starters who fire a fast gun with no regard to fairness, thus encouraging coaches and athletes to cheat in order to defend themselves against competitors who are doing the same thing.
RALPH E. STEBEN
The false-start controversy (SCORECARD, June 24) could be resolved by using some good old-fashioned horse sense. Simply introduce the sprinters to something their equine brothers and sisters have had to put up with for years: the starting gate.
The two-legged runners will surely denounce this idea as "dehumanizing." But, after all, aren't they occasionally subject to urine tests?
BAD BEHAVIOR (CONT.)
Ron Fimrite's description of ugly incidents (Take Me Out to the Brawl Game, June 17) furnishes further proof that there is nothing new under the sun—or under the lights.
In your issue of exactly 11 years ago—June 17, 1963—Robert Creamer wrote the following account of sportsmanship, Baltimore style:
"But that was a strange night all around—sad, lively, spectacular, funny, unpleasant. There was the rain, then a cow-milking contest in front of the Oriole dugout starring a cow named Miss Udderly Fascinating, a wet bat spinning into the stands, an empty bottle of Seagram's V.O. thrown at the plate umpire. The oddest and most unbelievable thing of all came as the game ended. The public address system announced that Mantle's X ray had revealed a fracture. The crowd cheered." Let him cast the first stone, firecracker, bottle, right hook, etc.
MARSHALL H. KUHN
The skillful manner in which Ron Fimrite relates sport and social science and blends the two makes for a hard-hitting, timely and introspective look at a problem that may be a burgeoning phenomenon afflicting sports everywhere.
Silver Spring, Md.
Why is it, when people ask about unruly sports fans, they liken them to animals in a zoo? The last time I was in a zoo, the animals behaved extremely well and I've heard nothing of any disturbances since. I'm sure if the animals could talk we'd be hearing about Animals' Lib.
New York City
It is personalities like Jackson that make the world of sports so fascinating. In a period marked by apathy and discontent, it is refreshing to see someone who seems to thoroughly enjoy what he is doing, while displaying such youthful exuberance. Obviously a $250,000 yearly salary makes things much easier, but Reggie's impressive financial status doesn't seem to have dampened his enthusiasm and determination.
A much-read publication like SI hasn't the right to imply that Reggie Jackson's type of living is a prerequisite to becoming a good athlete. If you're getting low on problem athletes to write about, why not publish reruns on some of the good guys?
South Charleston, W. Va.
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