I had intended to write immediately after noticing your omission of Willie Mays in the National League All-Star lineup (SI, July 1). Then I figured you would receive so many letters, I didn't bother.
However, I can't let this opportunity pass. Willie was not only named by the players to the starting lineup, he was the star of the game. Matter of fact, he was the game.
The All-Star Game has come and gone, and I still think that SI was correct in placing Vada Pinson in center field instead of Willie Mays. When you can lead all major league center fielders in five important departments, you should at least be invited to the game and be allowed to run for someone late in the game, as has been done before.
If Vada was watching the game on his television, he must have learned that it is not what you do but how you do it that counts in baseball. A good sound job is not enough. You must catch ground balls and bouncers in your bare hands instead of the glove, run out from under your cap occasionally and always tap your glove on fly balls to let the radio announcer know that everything's under control. You must ignore the cutoff man and throw to the bases on a fly, even if it allows a runner to advance. This gives the fans a little kick. You should always back into a fence if there's one handy on routine fly balls and be sure to limp into the infield afterwards. This makes baseball writers wonder how badly you are hurt and gives them a few more lines to write. If you're fooled on an inside fast ball be sure to hit the deck, throwing your bat and feet into the air. This gives your own pitcher an excuse for braining his opponent.
This is all called color, Vada, and if you can get it you'll be able to start an All-Star Game after Willie retires in seven or eight years. One other thing, Vada, get out to the park early and, before the umpires arrive, do a little handshaking, backslapping and kidding around with the opposition. These are the guys that vote.
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
I was very much disappointed in Alvin Dark, manager of the National League All-Stars, for not pitching Warren Spahn. This was the 14th year that he was selected to the All-Star team, and I thought it fitting that he should pitch at least one inning.
On the 38th floor of 515 Madison Avenue, there are four young ladies who would love to meet Mr. Gerald Holland. Their boss has just been publicly described as "unfailingly good-humored" (A Young Blood in a Lively Old Tradition, July 15). Obviously, they had not been consulted.
" Norman is the best loser I've ever seen," says Dave Johnston. Well, I ought to be. I don't know anyone who has had more practice. Losing The Hambletonian with Egyptian Princess was child's play compared to my weekly battles on the Wee Burn links with Darien Fats and Irving (Whiskey Wrists) Nicklaus. As a matter of fact, I have so perfected the art of losing that both Fats and Whiskey Wrists have been able to take around-the-world trips, courtesy of Old Smiley.
As for that "young blood," you must have someone else in mind. A well-known tennis pro was once overheard to say, " Woolworth, you have almost everything, every shot in the books, power, touch, ideal temperament, cunning and guile. The only thing you lack is talent." Well, to that you can add "young blood."
Seriously, I thought the article was wonderful. My compliments.
NORMAN S. WOOLWORTH
New York City