COMMEDIA DELL' HUARTE
Your cover story (Quest for Stars, July 19) on the man who owns the Jets and "Injun Joe" Namath was most enlightening. Werblin's background is amazing. Now I understand why Alabama's leading sportswriter says Werblin doesn't care if Joe's knee makes him a 50-50 chance prospect because he's gotten his money's worth out of publicity already. But for the doubting Thomases among your readers I want to say that if Joe plays, Werblin will make millions with his star system. You say he has an "instinctive feeling that Namath will project better than Huarte." You bet. He creates excitement just looping onto the field with a cat-like slouch, and this old football fan does not believe she ever has or ever will again see anything to equal him.
FRANCES B. MATTHEWS
Anyone who would foist such garbage as Overland Trail, Treasury Men in Action, Markham, Shotgun Slade, Johnny Staccato, etc. ad infinitum on the American public must be suspected of duping the 35,000 suckers who bought season tickets.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
You stress the New York Jets and their roster of "actors," but neglect to tell us what dramatic form the conversion will take. Obviously, the farcical improvisations of the commedia dell' huarte.
JOHN O. LEVINSON
Who is Sonny Werblin trying to kid, claiming that he discovered Eddy Duchin? I remember Eddy when he played piano in Leo Reisman's band in the Egyptian Room, Hotel Brunswick, Boston, in the '20s. Werblin was just a kid at the time and living in Brooklyn.
I am writing to correct misstatements in an article by " Bill Veeck with Ed Linn" which appeared in your issue of May 24, 1965. The article dealt generally with the acquisition by CBS of the New York Yankees and undertook to review and express opinions about the propriety of my personal actions as a stockholder and Chairman of the Board of the Baltimore Orioles, as well as a stockholder of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The writers are entitled to their opinions as to the American League's wisdom in approving CBS as an owner of a major league team, but they should not have undertaken to characterize my actions and describe my part in the proceedings that anteceded that acquisition without at least checking the facts.
On page 45 the article states that Baltimore's vote in favor of CBS at the meeting of the American League owners in Boston was only made possible by my vote as Chairman of the Board of the Orioles in breaking a tie, three of the other directors having voted against the approval and three in favor. No such vote was ever cast by me as chairman nor was any such vote by me necessary. The facts are that at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Orioles held on August 17, 1964 consideration was given to the question whether the Orioles should request Mr. Cronin as President of the American League to call a meeting to discuss the approval of the CBS acquisition, which had already been given orally. On that narrow question, i.e., whether the Orioles should request Mr. Cronin to call a meeting, there were three votes in favor and three against "with Mr. Iglehart abstaining." (The quotation is from the minutes of the meeting.) The tie vote was not broken, by my vote or otherwise, and on that narrow question no action was taken.
When the meeting of the American League was called by Mr. Cronin, and the board of the Baltimore Orioles at a meeting on September 4 considered what position it should take at that meeting, the unanimous action of the board was to appoint a committee consisting of Messrs. MacPhail, Krieger and Dunn to represent Baltimore at the league meeting "with instructions to listen at the said meeting to all of the evidence and arguments in favor of, or against, approval of the said transaction, and with authority to vote on behalf of the Baltimore baseball club in such manner as a majority of the said committee might decide." It is therefore a completely erroneous statement, made in the Veeck-Linn article, that it was "his (my, Iglehart's) vote—the vote of a major stockholder of CBS—which put the deal through."
Two other matters require comment to complete and correct the picture which the Veeck-Linn article distorts. The fact is that after CBS acquired the Yankees with the league's approval, the action taken by me in putting my CBS stock in trust with the First National Bank of Baltimore as trustee was an action taken by me with the approval of and pursuant to the direction of the American League at its meeting in Clearwater, Fla. on March 29, 1965. Whether or not Mr. Veeck approves of that action is somewhat beside the point. It was the action officially directed by the American League, which I complied with.
The second point which requires explanation is that long before and quite apart from CBS' acquisition of the New York Yankees, I for some time had been unhappy with my associates in the ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. I had been attempting for some time to acquire the stock of one of the other two large stockholders, whose stock, together with the stock I already owned, would have given me control of the club. Had I been able to effect that purchase, I would have remained as the controlling stockholder of the Orioles and would have been happy to continue to serve as chairman of its board or in any other capacity that its directors would have requested. Being unsuccessful in my efforts to acquire that stock, I was forced to act pursuant to an agreement which had been made some years before between me and that other stockholder under which either of us had a right, if we received an offer for our stock from an outside person to notify the other and to give the other the opportunity either a) to buy the stock at the same price as the outside offer or b) to sell the stock at that price. I repeat that my negotiations with that other stockholder had extended for more than a year prior to the Yankee acquisition.
On May 16, 1965, nine days before the Veeck-Linn article was published in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and, accordingly, as no result of that article, I did in fact receive an offer from a third party for my stock in the Orioles and, in accordance with my agreement with the other Oriole stockholder, I notified him of that offer. He decided to exercise his option to purchase my stock and did in fact do so. I make this comment because it has been suggested that my sale of the Oriole stock was influenced by the Veeck-Linn article. This is as erroneous as was the statement in the article that my vote broke the deadlock on the Board of Directors of the Orioles.