I would like to take this opportunity to commend SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and John Underwood for an excellent story, Best Kept Secrets (June 12). This article was unquestionably one of the best in-depth stories on the decathlon that I have ever read.
I would also like to comment on another story on the national AAU track and field meet held in Bakersfield, Calif., which is located in the center of the congressional district I represent (See You Later, Jim Ryun, July 3). The author, Pete Axthelm, described Bakersfield in some rather uncomplimentary terms and has aroused some concerned citizens in this great city. Bakersfield is a fine, growing community. I doubt that very many people who visit Bakersfield remember it for its hard-visaged waitresses. Perhaps in the author's effort to color his story he spent too much time behind his typewriter and not enough out meeting the friendly people and enjoying the wonderful hospitality of this gracious community.
REPRESENTATIVE BOB MATHIAS
The article by Herman Weiskopf on the spitball (The Infamous Spitter, July 31) was very informative and entertaining. Apparently the repeal-vs.-enforce controversy will go on, but I would like to comment on the supposed nonenforceability of the rule. It seems to me that Cal Hubbard and the umpires are merely evading the issue by saying that it is impossible to prove that a pitcher is throwing a True, but so what? Neither is it possible to prove that a runner is tagged out on a close play, but spitter. the umpire makes a decision just the same, and no proof is involved. More to the point, the umpire can hardly prove that a pitcher is throwing a beanball, but fines are assessed not infrequently. Certainly an interpretation of the rules is involved, but any such interpretation must be preceded by a judgment on the part of the umpire that a given rule must be applied in the first place.
Thus the umpire's traditional plea that the rule cannot be enforced is woefully weak. It can and should be enforced the same as any other rule of the game—as long as it remains a rule, which isn't long. I hope.
ROGERS W. REDDING
Once again you have succeeded in reminding your female subscribers that understanding the realm of baseball takes not only a brave heart but a strong stomach as well.
DIANE H. BASSOTTI
I found The Infamous Spitter quite interesting. But I was somewhat amused by the mention of Gil Hodges and his letter to League President Joe Cronin.
I remember Preacher Roe and the article concerning him (SI, July 4, 1955). I was an avid Brooklyn fan and, if my memory is correct, the article stated that Preacher Roe often had Gil Hodges load up the ball for him. I wonder why Mr. Hodges had such a change of heart.
WILLIAM M. SETEK JR.
?It was not Hodges but Pee Wee Reese. But Roe did say in the same article that Hodges was on the receiving end of some wet throws to first.—ED.
For the first time in my seven-year career as a Senator fan a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer has been complimentary (BASEBALL'S WEEK, July 31). As I write this the Nats are winning the 16th of 21 games that took them from last to sixth (no, it just ended, Nats 3, Angels 2, making two nights in a row over the red-hot Angels). The Senators don't hammer out, steal or bomb the opposition to get their runs. How they do it is beyond the power of research and observation. The team batting average is a little over .220, the leading hitter is at .261 and the only representative to the All-Star Game (Casanova) did not play. True, Frank Howard is a leader in the home-run department, but he has hit all but a couple of his titanic blasts with no one on base. There are many things wrong with the Senators, but an inability to outscore the other team is not one of them. Fans are aching for attention in this time of civic glory. Do we get it?
Summer Surfers Invade Hawaii (July 24) is the first magazine article that has ever provoked me enough to retaliate. I'm sure the author enjoyed visiting Hawaii to find the In crowd, but the group that Dan Jenkins described can be found every warm summer day at the California beaches. And at many—like T Street in San Clemente, or at the Huntington cliffs or Malibu—there are few 40-year-old tourists to spoil things with their umbrellas and beach balls and rubber rafts. How come Mr. Jenkins surfaced in Hawaii instead of any of these other places? And his In language—man, it was Out when "Kookie" Byrnes left 77 Sunset Strip.