The owner, trainers and veterinarians who handled the injured Ruffian must have been barbarians. We don't kill humans when they break a leg; why kill such a beautiful animal? The excuse was that she was suffering horribly, but so do humans when they break a leg and must be operated upon. Hadn't they ever heard of pain-killing drugs?
L. TED FRIGARD
•For an account of the problems encountered by those who sought to save Ruffian, see page 22.—ED.
Here is an epitaph for Ruffian, in the manner of the ancient Greeks:
How swift your race!
GERTRUDE M. WHITE
UP IN FENWAY
Fred Lynn (It Was Like Old Times, July 7) has charmed Boston, not only with his bat but with heads-up base running (something that the Red Sox have never really had) and with his defense. Lynn plays with the coolness of a veteran. He has a .339 batting average and leads the league in RBIs. If he is not the Rookie of the Year and does not start in the All-Star Game, that will clearly show the injustice that's in baseball today.
Because Fred Lynn leads the league in RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, is fourth in HRs, third in hitting and is the best defensive centerfielder in the majors, Rookie of the Year may not be the only award he'll get. With his stats, MVP and the Triple Crown are possibilities. Look out, T. Williams, J. DiMaggio, M. Mantle, H. Aaron and B. Ruth, here comes F. Lynn.
Ron Fimrite's article on the Yankees-Red Sox series was good. But he forgot to add that the Red Sox will go all the way in the AL East. What else can you say of a team that has the two best rookies in the league (Lynn and Jim Rice), the best catcher (when Carlton Fisk is healthy), a reserve outfielder (Bernie Carbo) who is second in the league in slugging percentage, an old man who is beginning to look like his old hitting self (Carl Yastrzemski) and two pitchers, one flaky (Bill Lee) and one who talks in broken English (Luis Tiant)? With a little luck and no swoon it will be like old times, the old times of '67 and the impossible dream.
We Red Sox fans appreciate your article on the Bosox vs. Yanks, but aren't too pleased that you put Lynn's picture on the cover. After the article, Fred went 0 for 12, made two errors that cost us a game and then missed a few games with an injured hand. Please, no more Bosox cover shots, but how about a team picture of the Yankees?
Compare Munson to Fisk? Hogwash! We Yankee fans like to compare Munson to Johnny Bench!
THE WEAVER'S TRADE
A commendable story on Baltimore's manager, Earl Weaver (The Earl of Rasp, July 7). He is without a doubt baseball's greatest active manager because of his ability to adapt his lineup to fit each situation. Here are the totals for Weaver's 6½-year management of the Birds (including 1975 games through July 2): 1,117 Games, 670 W, 447 L, .5998209 Pct.
On the basis of these statistics it can be argued that Weaver is a better manager than Joe McCarthy, who, in managing the powerhouse Yankees of 1931-1946, just had to pencil into his lineup such Bronx Bombers as Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio to achieve his winning percentage of .614. Since Weaver's big names have been Robinson, Robinson and Powell (who hardly compare to the Yankee big three) it is obvious that Weaver's superior tactical ability is what has made him so successful.
Myron Cope's article gave us Oriole fans and the rest of the world an inside look at the heart of a winning baseball team.
A manager's won-lost percentage is a misleading statistic. Is Dick Williams any worse a manager with the last-place Angels than he was with the champion A's? Is Alvin Dark a better manager with the A's than in his losing years with the Indians? If you have the good ballplayers, you will likely win, and if you don't, you'll lose. If my grandmother had managed the Yankees of the '30s and '40s or the Orioles of the '60s and '70s, her winning percentage would be at the top instead of McCarthy's or Weaver's.
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
I would like to say one thing about being a manager: I don't care if you're Earl Weaver, Joe McCarthy or whoever, you can't win without the "horses." Managers get too much credit. For example, can any manager pitch out of a bases-loaded jam? Can any manager make the game-winning catch in the ninth inning? Can any manager (with the exception of Frank Robinson) get the game-winning hit? No. Who has more pressure, the player—or the manager?
Earl's throne may be in jeopardy. Sparky Anderson's Reds are playing at a .646 clip. This places Sparky (.595 lifetime) fourth "among all big-league managers since 1900 who have managed for at least five full years." While it seems as though Sparky's good fortunes are likely to continue, considering his outstanding ball club, Weaver appears to be heading for trouble with his floundering Orioles.
Roslyn Estates, N.Y.
It is about time Ed Kranepool got the recognition he deserves (Nice Work If You Can Get It, July 7). For years he has lived with the reputation of being a "stiff." With another 20 at bats, Kranepool would be leading the National League in hitting. He isn't getting older; he's getting better.
The story on Ed Kranepool was a waste of space. Kranepool has never done anything to deserve an article of this size. His batting average, which at this point is well over .300, will be under .300 come September. As for his being a vintage Met, he's like the television show Gunsmoke. You forget about it but it comes back every year.
Your article on Paul Suggate and John Davis (Two Ways to Stick It to 'Em, July 7) certainly gave pro lacrosse deserved publicity, but you didn't even mention the man who at this writing is the top scorer in the league—Doug Hayes of the Long Island Tomahawks. Right now Hayes is the best player in the NLL. He not only can outfinesse the opposition, but at 6'3" and 220 he can run over anyone who tries to stop him. He is also immensely popular with the fans. The Tomahawks, led by Hayes and Dave Wilfong (who recently had eight goals in a game), have won 14 of their last 17 games and now lead the league.
RICHARD J. WERTHER
Glen Head, N.Y.
NERO'S RUNNING MATES
As a harness-racing fan I enjoyed your article on Nero and the Cane Pace (Twice Around, in Style, July 7), but I wish SI would cover races other than the large stakes. I was disappointed when you failed to report on Whata Baron equaling the track record of 1:58[3/5] at Northfield Park, but when Osborne's Bret came home in 1:58[2/5] and did not even get mentioned in FOR THE RECORD, I almost cried. These two horses ran better times than Nero has so far this season. A lot of racing is still to come. Meanwhile, let's give all 3-year-olds equal time.
East McKeesport, Pa.
After reading your article on the Bobby Chacon-Ruben Olivares featherweight fight (Chacon Was from Hunger, June 30), I would like to congratulate Pat Putnam for telling it like it is. Chacon was in sad shape for the fight and Olivares can't be called the champ until a rematch is fought. True, Olivares has the title, but an in-shape Chacon would destroy him. I saw Chacon fight, and pound for pound he is greater than Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier, and if he's in shape the next time he fights Ruben Olivares, they'll have to carry the Mexican playboy out in a pine box.
TWO FROM KOKOMO?
In FACES IN THE CROWD in the July 7 issue you mention a left-handed high school pitcher from Kokomo, Ind., Pat Underwood. Tom Underwood, the Phillies' lefthander, was born in Kokomo, Ind. Are Pat and Tom related?
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
The writer who condemned the Mets' trades (19TH HOLE, July 7) was a little too quick on the trigger. Although the trade of Nolan Ryan was not the best ever, some of the others were excellent, such as the deal that brought Felix Millan and George Stone to New York for Gary Gentry and Danny Frisella. And although the Mets traded three young men to Montreal three years ago, they obtained an established all-star in Rusty Staub. The McGraw trade seems to be beneficial to both teams. The Mets obtained the centerfielder—Del Unser—they needed for years and a good back-up catcher. So if you condemn the bad trades, praise the good ones.
New York City
Critics are quick to forget the circumstances around the time of the Nolan Ryan trade. Ryan had shown great potential but little of it had been realized. On the other hand, the Mets had a desperate need for a solid third baseman. With Seaver, Koosman, Gentry and McGraw, and with Matlack coming up, the Mets were certainly able to afford to give up one unproven pitcher in exchange for one proven third baseman. The fact that hindsight has shown that the trade didn't work out has no bearing on the decision to make it. If similar circumstances ever arose again, I would hope that the Mets would make a similar move. I recall little criticism and wide approval at the time of the deal. Why do the critics come forth now? The Mets have certainly erred in some of their dealings but the Ryan-Fregosi trade should not be considered one of them.
JONATHAN L. YARMIS
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