I am one of Papa Carl Leone's "boys" who keep watch over the rightfield bleachers at Wrigley Field and who read E.M. Swift's article on the "friendly confines" (One Place That Hasn't Seen the Light, July 7) with great interest. A few comments:
•Ticket prices for the bleachers were raised for the 1980 season to $2—still cheap but twice as high as in 1974. I guess someone has got to pay Bruce Sutter's salary.
•I do not subscribe to the theory that night baseball should be forever absent from Wrigley Field. Former Cub trainer Gary Nicholson recently was quoted as saying that day games do kill the Cubs late in the summer. I believe that the day games themselves aren't harmful, but that the constant schedule-shifting (from day games at home to mostly night games on the road) is. A limited twice-a-week night home schedule (which has been rumored for 1982) would certainly be beneficial to the players, not to mention profitable for the team.
•During an early June road trip. Cub management painted our rightfield benches, obliterating the names of those who sit there. We have replaced them, but it's occasionally been difficult for us to sit in our accustomed places this season. Papa Carl has been missing from the bleachers since May 6, owing to the death of his wife and to several illnesses that have kept him hospitalized until recently. None of these illnesses were caused—though they may have been exacerbated—by the recent play of the Cubs. Happily, Carl came home from the hospital last week and is back in good health and fine form. We expect to have him back in his customary seat in the bleachers during the next home stand.
Cub management has been curiously negligent in recognizing Papa Carl for his 65 years of support. Last September, on Fan Appreciation Day, we (his "boys"—and the "girls" too) had our own Appreciation Day for him, presenting the Golden Splinter Award to Carl as the Cubs' No. 1 fan. Many thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for recognizing one of the finest men it has been my privilege to know.
Until I read One Place That Hasn't Seen the Light, I never realized that the late Phil K. Wrigley was too cheap to improve his park or his team. Poor Cub fans! They go to the best ball park in the U.S. for watching games, and what do they get to see? A talentless team kept talentless by conservative owners, one that is hopelessly locked in the second division with little to look forward to.
Forest Hills, N.Y.
My hat is off to Bernie Fuchs for his simply beautiful painting of Tiger Stadium. It portrays the true beauty of the stadium and shows the rest of America that there is something in Detroit that isn't run down.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Concerning your article on Phil Weld's record-breaking singlehanded Atlantic crossing (Prime of the Ancient Mariner, July 7), close all nominations for Sportsman of the Year now. Weld is the man.
HENRY T. WIGGIN
SAY IT AIN'T SO, FRANK
Never in my years of following sports and reading your magazine have I seen a more foolish piece of writing than Frank Deford's A Karate Flick Delivers Few Kicks (July 7). Everyone has the right to like or dislike any sport or movie or anything else. But to blame America's current problems on soccer, martial arts or any other sport is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.
I certainly hope that Frank Deford was not serious in his evaluation of soccer. "Soccer propagandists making Americans feel guilty"? Players "kicking and butting balls and/or one another"? Soccer "browbeating our youth"? "Our embassies and the dollar" affected by soccer? Soccer a "get-America conspiracy"? Where has he been the last decade? Soccer is the fastest-growing spectator sport in America.
Deford's statement that ever since soccer and karate have entered our country we have backslid, ending with our embassies being seized and our dollar devaluating, is ridiculous. This is just the attitude America cannot afford to take. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm sure we can't blame our troubles on foreigners.
We got ourselves into this mess; only we can get ourselves out of it.
Grants Pass, Ore.
In mentioning Nick Weslock, the Canadian amateur who walked 72 holes in spite of an artificial hip. Barry McDermott displayed an altogether appropriate desire to extract more than just golf scores from the U.S. Senior Open (Penchant for Pensioners, July 7). It's too bad, though, that the writer's interest didn't go beyond Weslock; if it had, McDermott would have learned of Mickey Homa—formerly a touring pro and now a club pro in Fairfield, Conn.—who, like Weslock, made the cut but, unlike Weslock, walked the 72 holes on two artificial hips.
In response to a letter in the July 7 issue, you noted that the first of 19 Jack Nicklaus covers was dated Sept. 12, 1960. At that time I was just beginning a new school year as sports editor of the Arlingtonian, the newspaper of Upper Arlington (Ohio) High School, Jack's alma mater. As that first cover picture appeared I was reviewing past issues of the Arlingtonian and came across a "meet the athlete" feature about Jack written in 1956. I have never forgotten what it said. In the best tradition of high school journalism, the author had ended by saying, "And who knows; some day we may see Jackie's picture on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
I enjoyed reading Kenny Moore's article on Sebastian Coe (A Hard and Supple Man. June 23) but, as John Walker's coach, I would like to point out that his reference to John's 100 to 120 miles a week gives readers a totally false impression of his training.
While John has on rare occasions run 100 miles per week, his average mileage for a buildup has never exceeded 85 miles per week and his average mileage before his leg injury had usually been between 65 and 85 miles per week.
Thus, Walker has always concentrated on quality rather than quantity, and in this respect he is similar to Coe, though of course their programmes differ in many respects.
Auckland, New Zealand
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.