The Giants won the year the picture below was taken, and I think my father's expression portends a very successful "season" for the committee, which is obviously not bluffing.
CLINTON W. BLUME JR.
A third major league! A very lofty ideal! But this would mean an additional eight teams—which in turn means an additional 200 major league ballplayers. Where, oh where are they going to find 200 players of major league caliber, when with the current setup of 16 teams there are not enough good ballplayers to make the American League pennant race even vaguely interesting?
A better suggestion is to cut the present major leagues to six teams apiece, relegating Washington and Kansas City, Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs to minor league status. Thus minor league ball would be strengthened, and this impetus to improve its caliber of ballplaying might eventually lead to the emergence of a third major league.
WILLIAM J. MILUSICH
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
GREAT NUMBERS NONSENSE (CONT.): IS THIS WRONG?
I've just finished reading my old friend Stanley Frank's The Great Numbers Nonsense (SI, Nov. 24). You have the wrong title on Stanley's article. It should be called Nonsensical Thinking by an Ex-Sportswriter.
Yes, the business of statistics is overdone, but I notice that Stanley failed to say one thing which he, as a former baseball writer for the Post, should know: the great game of baseball became the national pastime because somebody was smart enough to keep, and publish, statistics on hitting, fielding, pitching, etc.
Where Stanley sounds like an ex-sports-writer who obviously doesn't read the sports pages (certainly not those I read) is in what he says about us fellows. We have our brethren who take the easy way out, but not through publicity handouts, because public relations men are much smarter today than they were in Stanley's time. We do have our dull, colorless writers. But we also have more writers of wit and imagination than ever before, men such as Joe Williams, John Carmichael, Red Smith, Bill Roeder, Dick Young, Joe Reichler, the late Walter Stewart, Gene Gregston, Shirley Povich, Johnny Steadman, Lewis (Tony) Atchison, and so many others. I purposely refrain from naming Journal-American men, since that is the newspaper I work on.
When Stanley writes, "Few sportswriters had bothered to probe the whys and wherefores of the young man [ Herb Elliott, of Australia] who broke four minutes in 10 mile races between January and September," I must concede that things are different today than they were in his day. Then, I guess, every newspaper would have spent the heavy sums involved in sending their men halfway around the world to get the Elliott feature. I suppose, in the same way, few sportswriters are bothering to probe the whys and wherefores of the young man ( Jimmy Brown) who is breaking all National Football League records. Or are we hitting the very tender subject of numbers?
I resent, on behalf of my present brethren and myself, Stanley's statement that "the blunt truth is that my former colleagues are merely going through the motions of working and are shortchanging the fans by fobbing off publicity handouts as arresting news."
If my brethren and I who cover pro football are only "going through the motions of working," what were we doing geting up early to reach the Giants' dressing room in time to sit in on the late Jack Lavelle's report on the next team to be met? Why did we then have another meeting with Jack at which we asked him all the questions about the opposing team, with diagrams? Neither Frank nor I knew nearly as much football 20 years ago as my brethren and I know today.
I am a sports editor on a small daily newspaper called the Woodland Democrat. We have produced some nationally known athletes, and part of their rise to fame was because of statistics—and not meaningless statistics.