ALL WRONG, ALREADY
Earnshaw Cook is entitled to his opinion (Baseball Is Played All Wrong, March 23), but anybody who thought the Yankees could have beat the Dodgers last fall had better get his adding machine checked. The Dodgers, Giants and Cards all could have beaten the Yankees in the last World Series. That's obvious! And anybody who thinks that the Dodgers would have finished fourth in the garbage league (AL) had better hire a bodyguard if he ever ventures into Dodgerland. You can't codify the game of baseball as coldly as he does.
North Kamloops, B.C.
Let's say that I'm Alvin Dark and I'm going to manage the Giants using Cook's ideas. I lead off Mays, of course, because his scoring index is highest. McCovey bats second and Cepeda is third. Now every time McCovey gets on we are going to hit and run as per instructions. Naturally, we will disregard the fact that Cepeda misses a rather large percentage of the pitches at which he swings and this will probably cause McCovey to be thrown out stealing around 75 times this season and me to have to pay to see the Giants after about April 20. And we will rotate our pitchers. So what if Marichal is breezing with a shutout after three innings? The 1963 season proved we have a number of bullpen artists who can clear up that situation quicker than you can say "Bye bye baby." So we'll bring in Pregenzer or Stanek or some other of our flamethrowers.
We won't sacrifice, we'll steal and hit-and-run like crazy. I repeat—like crazy. We will also stay pretty well back in the shadows of the dugout so as not to present the best target for snipers.
With all the right formulas, statistics and indexes at the ready, we will send our heroes into the breach. But that dark-looking fellow waiting for us out there on the mound is Sandy Koufax and now, Mr. Cook, what are we going to do?
ROBERT H. BESTOR JR.
?Wait three innings, Mr. Dark, they'll rotate Koufax right out again.—ED.
One of the best articles I have read on baseball in a long time, but I must disagree with Cook's idea of platooning pitchers. If he had his way games might be faster but I doubt if they would be more interesting.
Baseball would come alive once more under Mr. Cook's scientific system. Let the Mets be the first experimental team. The clowns of baseball may become the world champions.
BOSTON TO MONTREAL
Being a hockey stalwart, I enjoyed your article The Champions Who Had No Chance (March 30). Even though I'm a Boston fan, Montreal players like Beliveau, Geoffrion and young Charlie Hodge get and deserve all my praise. But it is too bad when a player like Terry Harper is classed with them. "A rawboned rookie who doesn't like to hurt people," you say? The only person he doesn't like to hurt is himself. Harper must be the fastest 197-pounder on skates when trouble is approaching.
North Quincy, Mass.
Boston College Hockey Coach Snooks Kelley has done a fine job (SCORECARD, March 23).
However, we here in Minnesota are proud of the contributions this state has made to hockey. This would not be possible without topflight hockey being played in many high schools here. The University of Minnesota, for example, does a more than commendable job competing in the tough Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which includes Denver and North Dakota, among others. The latter teams have been composed essentially of Canadians who not only are more experienced but, generally, a year or two older. It would be very simple for John Mariucci, Minnesota coach, to load up with Canadians to make it easier for his team to compete in this "Canadian League," but, like Kelley, he has maintained an "Americans first" policy. To carry this argument one step further, how many players on the last two American Olympic teams were from Minnesota? About 4/5 of them, including Jack McCartan of the victorious 1960 U.S. Olympic team. And many of them got their training at the University of Minnesota under John Mariucci.
CLIFFORD M. PHIBBS JR., M.D.