OH! OH! OH!
After reading Frank Deford's article Move Over for Oh-san (Aug. 15), I was disheartened. Not because a great player like Oh is not playing in the U.S., but because of the marvelous attitude of the Japanese ballplayers Deford wrote of. I'm sure that if our "millionaire crybabies" had half the pride in baseball the Japanese have, we'd have more Oh-type players over here.
Big deal—300 feet down the line and 395 in center. You say the Japanese don't have our pitching and they have to generate their own power. Heck, with those measurements they don't have to generate much power. If Sadaharu Oh is so great, just imagine what Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle would do. In Japanese ball Rod Carew would have a field day.
West Bloomfield, Mich.
Aaron could have hit 1,000 homers in Japan.
Sadaharu Oh in the Hall of Fame when he has never had to face Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson or Tom Seaver? No way.
DAVID L. ANSELL
New City, N.Y.
Who exactly has been serving up those egg rolls? Certainly not Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton.
JUSTIN J. CATANOSO
North Wildwood, N.J.
Comparing matrix tables and frequency charts through computers, we have reached two conclusions: If Henry Aaron had spent his entire career playing Japanese baseball, he would have 922 home runs. If Sadaharu Oh had played in the U.S., his total at present would be 502.
Baseball's home-run champion? Oh? No!
Deford says, "Let us examine this athlete who has hit 742 home runs, more than Babe Ruth and, soon, more than Henry Aaron, more than anyone in the world."
Well, you are wrong! That record is not held by Aaron. It is held by Josh Gibson, who hit 800 home runs (including 84 in one season) for the Homestead Grays of the Negro league between 1930 and 1947. If Josh Gibson was good enough to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, then he should be the "All-League" leader in home runs. Sadaharu Oh has his work cut out for him.
Certainly Sadaharu Oh deserves credit for his outstanding feats, but only in his own country. Comparing him to the likes of Babe Ruth and the king, Henry Aaron, is almost blasphemy.
Mister Oh doesn't have to put up with such things as being black and going after a white man's record, jet lag, death threats, constant pressure and having to play in larger ball parks than those of Japan.
Perhaps if Aaron had played in Japan, he wouldn't have to worry about all this foolishness of people talking about how a Chinese-American is going to break his homer record.
One difference between pro baseball in the U.S. and Japan is that extra innings are not played in Japan: instead, ties are included in the standings. A group of us were recently invited to play in a softball tournament while in Japan. We won two of our three games easily, but the third was tied after regulation play. Both teams were brought to home plate where the rival managers played the old paper-rock-scissors game. We lost and were out of the tournament. Amazing!
Joe Namath in blue and gold looks as strange as Tom Seaver in red and white.
When Joe Namath left the Jets he did so without a single tribute from the New York media or the Jets' management—this despite the fact that he brought New York a championship and played in pain, uncomplainingly, for years, while the Jets' management allowed the team to deteriorate around him.
I, for one, am glad to see Joe appreciated by his new fans in Los Angeles.
New York City
As the owner of three feline fleabags I found Bil Gilbert's article on the nasty little critters (I've Got You Under My Skin, Aug. 15) very interesting. Now I know everything" I never wanted to know about them. But what was that article doing in SI? I suggest you put a collar on articles not relating to sports before your magazine turns into a circus.
As much as I idolize Muhammad Ali, I believe it is about time another deserving individual such as Carlos Monzon is given proper recognition, and after 83 fights without a defeat he is indeed deserving (A Star Bows Out, a Star Bows In, Aug. 8). Fine job.
I disagree wholeheartedly with Judith Magruder's letter about the Noll-Atkinson trial (19TH HOLE, Aug. 15).
First, Atkinson is a dirty player. He gave Lynn Swann a concussion, then in the playoffs against New England he broke Russ Francis' nose. Second, Noll didn't cry after he lost the game. Magruder should remember that Noll is the man who brought the Steelers from a 1-13 record to two consecutive Super Bowl victories. Third, she probably dislikes Swann because of his fantastic ability and because he won the 1975 Super Bowl MVP.
I really dislike the Oakland Raiders and I love the Steelers.
I will agree that the Oakland Raiders are indeed champions. They proved that, by virtue of their Super Bowl victory. But if Atkinson's hit on Swann is an example of their "own brand of aggressive and beautifully brilliant football" (as Ms. Magruder calls it), then people from coast to coast should be disgusted and horrified, not thrilled. Good hard football is one thing, but unrestrained violence, of this type is bad for the game and everyone who watches. The verdict was just in not condoning such illegal and flagrant acts.
D. M. FINCH
Ms. Magruder would have told Swann, "If you don't want to be hit, get out of the game." She is correct to an extent: football depends on the "hit" for its existence. However, the hit Swann received from Atkinson should not be permitted to go unpunished, whether it took place on the football field or on a street corner. People are in jail for doing precisely what Atkinson did to Swann. Worse, Atkinson did it while Swann's back was turned. It was an extremely cheap and cowardly move, and merely one more example that symbolizes the Oakland Raiders.
MARK A. SHEEHAN
LESS IS MORE
I thoroughly enjoyed Driven by Mo-ped Madness (Aug. 8), although I was confused by who got the most exposure—the cycle or the cyclists.
CALVIN DROPPED IT
I have little respect for Calvin Murphy—not because he's a male baton twirler (Calvin Discovers Murphy's Law, Aug. 15), but because he disappointed me very much. He was supposed to be a guest speaker at Dave Cowens' basketball school instead of twirling his baton in Denver last week.
Fred C. Dobbs' letter kindled a spark.
I think that B. Traven himself would have used the finish if he had thought of it.
In any event, the urchin who sold Fred C. Dobbs the winning lottery ticket was Baretta, né Robert Blake.
And dat's da name of dat tune.
I enjoyed Robert Cantwell's burro story, but Fred Dobbs' recollection really intrigued me. If memory serves, I believe I met Mr. Dobbs in a rundown bar in Morocco during World War II. As time goes by, the memory dims, however. Maybe it was while serving on the U.S.S. Caine at about the same time. What ever did happen to those strawberries, anyway? At any rate, thanks for playing it again, Fred, or Rick, or Sam, or whatever. By the way, I recently came across that black bird you were looking for.
JAMES A. COX
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