THE GREAT NUMBERS NONSENSE
Hooray for Stanley Frank! I was beginning to think it was my age that was making the sports pages much less interesting than they were in the '30s. The Great Numbers Nonsense (SI, Nov. 24) should be required reading for every sportswriter in the country.
Ocean Gate, N.J.
If there is some sort of a national championship based on Stanley Frank's The Great Numbers Nonsense, I wish to nominate Radio Broadcaster Claude Sullivan of Lexington, who covers University of Kentucky football and basketball.
Last year, Claude thrilled his listeners with the total number of time-outs called by four basketball teams in a two-night tournament.
But he reached his peak later on. He not only gave us the total number of time-outs called by Kentucky in the first 12 games of the season, but the number called by the opponents.
Unless another SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reader can come up with a more meaningless statistic, I believe the Stanley Frank Trophy should go to my man.
Our Phillies announcers are the No. 1 offenders. They give us the players' children's birth dates and, at the end of the season, regale us with schedules of trains players are taking, even unto connections in Chicago. Byrum Saam kills time by spelling the names of batters as they step into the box, and even if it's Sam Jones he spells that out for us illiterates. Just one glaring omission by Mr. Frank: Phil Rizzuto is an announcer par excellence and fills in with pertinent facts, not statistics, and his naiveté is most refreshing.
ANNE W. MADDOCK
Never has the nail been hit more squarely on the head.
I have been approaching a slow broil for years over the national champion football team, chosen by guys who never saw any of the teams play and who choose teams that didn't play each other; rookies of the year, of the month, of the day (left-handed category and ambidextrous), etc. There is no end to the list of absurdities.
Pity the poor coach; he wasn't outstatisticked, but his team got beat.
The sportswriters and broadcasters are the boys to blame for this sorry state of affairs. We have here in Pittsburgh a baseball broadcaster who becomes so involved in some player's average in the Three I League seven years ago that it is often impossible to find out the balls and strikes on the actual batter.