WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Your article on National League hitters is an excellent analysis of the difference between the two major leagues (A Thunderation of Sluggers, July 3). There is no question that the NL has become the hitters' league and the AL the pitchers' league. Besides Roger Maris and Clete Boyer, whom you mentioned as AL castoffs who enjoyed switching to the NL for the sake of their batting average, another is Don Lock, a .240 lifetime hitter in the AL who is over .300 in the NL this year.
However, there is one thing I would like to correct about your article. The AL's strength lies principally in its pitching depth, and the NL's is in its top-line stars. Hence All-Star competition between the two leagues in no way indicates which is superior, since it is a test of top-line strength only. A much better test is World Series competition, which has been about even during the 1960s but was dominated for 50 years before that by the AL. For one thing, the World Series takes at least four games. And every one of a team's 25 players—not just its top two or three—plays a role. Seldom is a World Series decided by a lucky break, but that frequently happens in All-Star games.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Re Bud Collins' analysis of U.S. amateur tennis (The Best Losers in the World, July 3), the future of our Davis Cup teams depends entirely on the Establishment which controls American tennis. When it finally gets smart and allows pros and amateurs to compete in open tournaments, the public will rediscover the thrills of watching the game. Then hard-nosed young athletes will be drawn into tennis, and our Davis Cup teams will become unbeatable. Open tennis must be the first link in this happy chain of events.
THOMAS WILLIAM KEMP
Boca Raton, Fla.
Thank you for the fine article on the new Spanish king of sports, Manuel Santana (The Reign in Spain of King Manolo, July 3). Having lived in Europe and South America for a number of years, I appreciate your stories on foreign athletes who may not be so familiar to American audiences. In Mr. Deford's article, he mentioned that the only other Spaniard to be awarded the gold medal of sport was soccer star Alfredo di Estesano. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Deford was referring to Alfredo di Stefano, the center-forward wizard of the five-time European Cup winner, Real Madrid. To be sure, from about 1955 to 1965, no man was more esteemed in Spanish sports than the Argentine-born Di Stefano.
In the past you have done many fine articles on soccer and its star performers, such as the Brazilian, Pel�. Di Stefano was sold by the Real Madrid club a few years ago when he was deemed to be through as a player because of age. After 35, few players are capable of keeping up the fast pace that the game requires. Even though Di Stefano may be through as an active player, I would like to see you honor this superb athlete with a story sometime in the future. An exposition of his exploits on the soccer field might serve as an inspiration to our young players and help to raise American soccer to the stature that it enjoys in the rest of the world.
Kansas City, Mo.
Thank you very much for the fine article by Tom Brody (An Expo of a Different Kind, July 3). You may be interested to know that John Harris, who was featured in the article, has decided to attend the University of Minnesota. Harris, by the way, received quite a shock when he picked up his copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and saw his own picture.
ROBERT M. MOIR
Good to see an article on Canadian football, but a chauvinistic slant has resulted in glaring errors.
The problem is emphasis. We like to think that we don't go overboard and forget that football is a sport. However, within set limits on emphasis we take it very seriously. All high school teams that plan to win games practice from 4 to 6:30 five days a week. Anything more is against conference rules. Our coaches must be phys ed teachers, but that doesn't prevent many of them from being former pro and collegiate stars—or any of them from being knowledgeable experts.
Our universities are not allowed to give scholarships, but with professional coaching they all field good teams. The Canadian Football League is filled with our university graduates (stars like Ron Stewart, Whit Tucker and Russ Jackson of the Ottawa Rough Riders). The reason why we produce few of NFL-AFL caliber is again one of emphasis. Our college players are full-time students, not pampered quasi-professionals.
A sad truth neglected in your article was that, excepting a few offered scholarships to name schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan or Minnesota, most high school footballers who head south do so only because they are without the necessary academic qualifications to attend a Canadian university.