Mark Kram's Their Lives Are on the Line (Aug. 18) was the most eye-opening article I have ever read. I'm a Yankee fan all the way and after a recent beanball incident in a game between the Yankees and the Orioles I was rooting for Catfish Hunter to bean every Baltimore batter, no matter what the cost.
If that article taught me anything it is never to root for the beanball.
One way to solve the beanball problem might be to award the batter first base not only when he's hit by a pitch, but whenever in the umpire's judgment he would have been hit if he hadn't ducked.
Give the hit batter two bases.
Remove the pitcher from the game.
As an ex-semipro pitcher I must suggest that it is not only the hitter who should be pitied, but the pitcher, who, after he releases the ball, is left defenseless and unbalanced, facing the possibility of the ball being rammed right back down his throat.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Mark Kram makes the usual obeisance to Walter Johnson as a pitcher of supreme gentlemanliness. He says that Johnson was one of those "pitchers who are intransigent pacifists and will not throw at hitters in any situation. [He] would never pitch tight."
So, tell me, how come this great control pitcher and "intransigent pacifist" is the all-time major league leader in hit batsmen with a total of 204?
HERMAN L. MASIN
New York City
•Johnson accumulated that total over a span of 20 years (1907-27), most of it early in his career when his fastball was sometimes wild. He was always afraid of killing somebody, and in later years batters took advantage of that fear by crowding the plate. As Johnson continued to strike them out (the career strikeout record also is still his), some batters inevitably were hit.—ED
Mark Kram's article was a fine one. However, I take exception to one statement regarding Greg Luzinski. On page 36 there is a reference to the incident in which he went to the mound to get at Bill Greif. It should be made clear that he gestured toward Greif with his bat, then threw it aside. He went at Greif with only his two fists. In no way would Luzinski hide behind a bat.
GEORGE E. CIPOLLA
You wrote only about the hitters whose careers were ruined by the beanball. Years ago, I saw a pitcher who had been in the big leagues but was now playing semipro ball because he was terrified of hitting a batter. He had hit one once and almost killed him.
He pitched against our town team, probably in April 1918. Whenever he felt a pitch getting away from him he would shout "Look out!" This was not done to confuse the batter, but to warn him.
GARDNER C. DUNCAN
Eagle Lake, Texas
WHAT ALLEN SAID
It is true that the Phillies' Dick Allen was once one of baseball's "bad boys." But SI (BASEBALL'S WEEK, Aug. 28) is wrong in thinking that Allen has reverted to his old ways. You reported that "Dick Allen seemed his old self. After his ninth-inning single beat San Francisco 5-4, he said, 'Don't bother talking to me.' " True enough, but you should have finished Allen's statement. His complete comment to the press (as reported in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Aug. 9) was, "Don't bother talking to me. Go see Maddox, he won the game. Go see the Bull, he hit another homer, and go see Gene Garber, he did another helluva relief job." Allen's churlishness may have made great copy in the past, but that part of the Dick Allen story is over.
GEORGE S. LECHNER
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
JACK AND JOHNNY
When Jack Nicklaus was given his check for winning the PGA Championship (Swinging on a Star, Aug. 18), I wish he could have forgotten that he is a gentleman and had quipped, "Wherrre's Johnny?"
Federal Way, Wash.
The article on Jack Nicklaus was commendable, but especially reassuring was the sidebar on Johnny Miller. It made me feel good to know that not everyone has given up on the short-lived idol of golf. I, too, expect a turnaround in Miller's game.
Jack Nicklaus is a superb golfer, but I don't think you ought to count his two victories in the U.S. Amateur as major titles. The Amateur was major in terms of prestige back in Bobby Jones' day, but it isn't now and wasn't when Nicklaus won it.
STEPHEN L. STERN
RUSSIA'S GOLF COURSE
I was surprised to read the account of our golfing adventure with the Russians (SCORECARD, Aug. 11).
Real credit should be given to Dr. Armand Hammer for initiating the golf course project. A few years ago, Dr. Hammer renewed his lifelong contact with the Russian people and helped further detente by initiating trade in many fields. When he met with General Secretary Brezhnev in 1973, Dr. Hammer pointed out that golf began 500 years ago as a pastime for Scottish shepherds and that the game has recently experienced amazing growth in Japan and around the world. Thus, suggested Dr. Hammer, the sports-loving Russians would surely enjoy golf. To everyone's delight, Brezhnev agreed, and Dr. Hammer invited a group of golf enthusiasts to visit Moscow in June 1974, at which time golf clubs were presented to Mayor Promyslov and Ambassador Kuznetsov.
Many in the golf world are contributing to this breakthrough, including Bob Dwyer of the USGA and my father, Robert Trent Jones Sr. We all again visited Moscow this June and we hope the course will be playable by the time the 1980 Olympics open in Moscow.
I realize that the high-spirited camaraderie we enjoyed in Moscow is difficult to fully capture in print, but I assure you the experience was unique. My father and I are grateful to Dr. Hammer for inviting us to Moscow, and to Ambassador Kuznetsov and Mayor Promyslov for making our visits so pleasant.
ROBERT TRENT JONES JR.
Palo Alto, Calif.
As the pioneer and originator of the tie break, I was naturally interested in your Aug. 18 SCORECARD item.
The Women's Tennis Association has voted courageously to request that their U.S. Open matches use the drama-filled VASSS sudden death tie break this year, as they have in the past five. The Association of Tennis Professionals, meanwhile, has ingloriously voted to change to the crunchless, basically unsound, interminable and hence discredited 12-point lingering death, which requires a lead of two points to win at six all, with no way of equalizing the effects of the sun and wind. This is clear proof of how much more seriously the women pros take their professional obligation to produce the best show.
The USTA should never have allowed the ATP and the ILTF to bludgeon it into abandoning sudden death after five years of perfect performance. WCT and the NCAA switched to sudden death in 1974. There must be a good reason. Leading members of the USTA and U.S. Open Tournament Committee have privately agreed with me on this point. If the ILTF, which, by the way, has never tested sudden death under tournament conditions, chooses to use an unsound and overly complicated tie break, that is no reason why the USTA should be forced to follow suit. Surely the time has come for the USTA to cease following the ILTF around, right or wrong, like Mary's little lamb, and assert itself by demanding self-determination when the ILTF commits boo-boos such as lingering death.
JAMES VAN ALEN
I was delighted to see the article Westward to the Long Forever (Aug. 11). It is fortunate that America had in Frederic Remington a superb artist who was adventuresome enough to portray and preserve the West as it was during its romantic period, a West that is now lost to us forever. Without artists such as Remington and Charles Russell, our visual impressions would be severely limited and we would have to rely almost entirely upon the imaginations of television and movie producers.
Regrettably, too many of our art critics balk when they see paintings of the old West, particularly of cowboys and Indians. The subject matter may appear corny by today's standards, but in Remington's day, before motion pictures, it was new and interesting. It was also quickly disappearing, and needed to be captured in paint and bronze.
Artistically speaking, Remington was probably one of the finest draftsmen of his day. His watercolors, of which few exist, are exceptionally bold in technique. His bronzes, such as The Bronco Buster, The Rattlesnake and Coming Through the Rye, are among the most popular ever produced: and his oils, especially those painted toward the end of his career, are extremely interesting. Unfortunately, Remington's life was cut short at the peak of his career. His concern for being remembered not simply as an illustrator is evidenced by the fact that he destroyed many of his illustrative paintings. Above all else, Remington will be remembered as an extremely competent artist.
GEROLD M. WUNDERLICH
Kennedy Galleries, Inc.
New York City
Though art critics condescendingly dismiss him, the fact is Frederic Remington brilliantly and unforgettably documented on canvas an era that is gone forever. Robert Cantwell's prose and Tom Allen's pictures rekindled the glow of the era and the artist.
Glancing at the article about track and field and Eugene, Ore. (A Fever Running Through the Streets, Aug. 11), I thought, Terrific! another great article by Kenny Moore, only to find out that it was his wife, Bobbie Conlan Moore, who had written an even greater article.
Having completed my education in Oregon, I spent many of my days in Eugene supporting the Oregon Track Club. Bobbie's introductory paragraphs completely capture the mood and atmosphere.
I hope the Moores will continue to cover track and field events for SI, so that we all can get a better insight through their expertise. And doesn't the boy in green on page 29 look like the next Steve Prefontaine, with his cocked head and charisma?
I wish I knew the name of the little boy in the green shorts on page 29.
MRS. WILLIAM SIVYER
Sun City, Ariz.
•His name is Jon Guldager.—ED.
I object to the growing tendency in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to quote uncritically the demeaning, belittling and insulting remarks that some female athletes make about male athletes and men in general.
I thought that Pat Jordan had already reached rock bottom in his blind acceptance of every female's biased remarks in his article on women's athletics at Penn State (light, Ladies, fight! March 10). However, he outdid himself in his Mary Jo Peppier profile (Designing Woman, Aug. 4). Miss Peppler's remarks on how male athletes are harming themselves and others by their destructive competitive attitudes while female athletes are in perfect harmony with all that is good in the universe, go completely unchallenged by Jordan. It is interesting to contrast this approach with that in his recent article on Tim Foli (Shortstop with a Short Fuse, June 9), in which Jordan delivers himself of several critical remarks about Foli and even quotes others who are critical of him. This results in a balanced, objective picture, far more likely to be accurate than the super-liberal all-women-are-saints attitude expressed in his women-only writing.
The point is that you would not dare to insult your minority of female readers by quoting without comment a man whose opinion of female athletes was as low as Peppler's of men. Since it is predominantly men who buy SI, it's odd that you feel perfectly free to gratuitously insult them.
I propose that some rethinking be done. Or maybe it's a simple matter of sending Pat Jordan to Ms. magazine or womenSports, where he could be more in accord with the readers.
Mary Jo Peppier espouses the same boring rationalizations of most of today's top women athletes. She talks of gallant women striving toward perfection, seeking only to assist their rivals, and to heck with the score. Her nonsensical proof that men possess none of these virtues is, "They're aggressive."
The search for perfection is synonymous with men's athletics. Has Mary Jo chosen to ignore Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Jim Ryun and the kid down the street who unfailingly sweats his way through grueling two-a-day workouts?
Mary Jo will never admit it, but women are just as aggressive as men.
WILLIAM D. TAYLOR
San Jose, Calif.
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