BASEBALL: LOOK AT THE DOUGHNUT
After three months of pursuing the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Six finally take over first place and are greeted by Les Woodcock's remark, "The White Sox played as if they might not fold this time around" (BASEBALL'S WEEK, July 27). Isn't it about time that this myth, so beloved by sportswriters, was retired in the interest of honesty and fair play?
A look at the records will show that the White Sox have been a consistent runner-up to the Yankees, and their inability to beat New York was a failing shared, until this year, by the balance of the clubs in the major leagues. In fact, the outstanding example of a team choking up against the Yankees was supplied by the National League champions in the 1958 World Series, who went into a coma when they almost had the Series won. Yet, oddly enough, these Braves are one of the more consistently praised teams in baseball.
The origin of the myth that the White Sox collapse when the pennant race gets hot is to be found in the "Go-Go" White Sox of some eight or 10 years ago. These teams, having little besides good leadership, speed and the willingness to give it a 100% try, would play over their heads until the inevitable would happen: other teams with more talent would grind them down. It is a sad commentary on our times that these teams should be remembered, not for playing over their heads for three-quarters of the season, but for failing to provide a miracle for 154 games. Perhaps some people might profit by that corny saying, "Look at the doughnut and not the hole."
FRANK J. SNIDER
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
BASEBALL: REJOICE, REJOICE
Fortunately, we in Chicago are not such a bunch of crape-hangers as is Walter Bingham of your baseball staff. (Exquisite Torture in Chicago
, SI, July 13). White Sox fans—like all fans—suffer when their team loses (and it has been frustrating, even in the three years I've been a fan), but they also rejoice when the team wins. And in case you haven't noticed, Sox fans have been rejoicing pretty often these days.
You imply that because attendance was down last year the fans were tired of seeing the Sox fail again and again to win a pennant. Well, maybe this was partly responsible. But what the fans here are really tired of, what made them stay away from the ball park last year, are the courtroom battles between Chuck Comiskey and his sister for control of Sox stock. The fans are flocking out in droves this year, not to see the elephants or midgets, but because they know that Bill Veeck is doing all he can to bring the Sox home in front—an ambition sorely neglected in the Comiskey era—and also because the Sox have made it obvious that they will settle for nothing less than a first-place finish this year.
True, the White Sox are not a power-laden club. But just as a likable but none-too-handsome man is admired by his friends for his winning personality, so do White Sox fans love their team just for what it is—the fastest team in the majors, a superb fielding team, a hustling team. And if Sox bats occasionally produce the much-overrated home run, why, that makes the team just that much more exciting.
You do Luis Aparicio a grave injustice when you say he speaks "faltering English." Luis studied English as a teen-ager in Venezuela and, while he naturally speaks with an accent, his knowledge and use of English are by no means faltering.
Nelson Fox, I am sure, will be sending you poison-pen letters for calling him "well-spoken and polite." After all, he does have a reputation to uphold.
Heaven help the team that is considered to have class just because of the presence of Earl Torgeson. Torgy is the worst regular first baseman in either league, with a batting average somewhere around .225 and a fielding average that closely approximates that mark.
Isn't the best catcher in the league, Sherm Lollar, outstanding enough to rate a mention among the team's stars?