SI Vault
January 08, 1968
SPORTSMAN YAZSirs:Never before can I remember a sports figure who so captivated this country as did Carl Yastrzemski during the past season (Sportsman of the Year, Dec. 25). The interest he stirred through his spirited, all-round play not only focused attention on him, but on his teammates and baseball, as well. In fact, early October sports pages saw the national pastime actually contesting football for space.
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January 08, 1968

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Your report seemed lacking in only one thing: just a bow in the direction of what, to many of us, is father to the multitude of sins we impose on the patient earth. And that, of course, is the explosive manner in which we are overpopulating it. I am sure that this was a conscious omission. Surely opening that can of worms would have contributed little to what was a statement of the feasibility of conservation.
San Diego

Finally I have read some ideas on what to do, not simply what to complain about. Congratulations for an up-to-date feature in the interest of conservation.
Miramonte, Calif.

Your article gave some needed recognition to those who are working to save our streams, shores, forests and wildlife. It also sheds some light on the less-publicized dangers of thermal pollution and marshland destruction. Let's continue to give support to those who protest pillage and promote conservation. As you say, solutions to these problems will depend on a majority of the people being concerned.
APO San Francisco

The NFL's present four-division setup is the most ridiculous and unfair arrangement in the history of organized sports. According to this stupid divisional arrangement, the Colts, after their tremendous season, are now only the seventh-best team in professional football, behind Green Bay, Dallas, Los Angeles, Cleveland and the two divisional winners in the AFL. As you know, the Colts beat Green Bay and Dallas, and their record is identical to that of Los Angeles. In the old two-division league Green Bay would be a third-place team, and the Colts and Los Angeles would have had a playoff.

As things stand now one of the teams in the NFL championship game, Dallas, has a 9-5 record, and the other team, Green Bay, has a 9-4-1 record. All this while the Colts, with their 11-1-2 record, are eliminated. The four-division arrangement must be abolished before another team is victimized.

Your article on Captain George Bransford and the huge marlin of the Coral Sea (Some New Battles Are Boiling in the Coral Sea, Dec. 18) brings to mind the time George, my wife and I simultaneously hung three big blue marlin off Fort Lauderdale.

It was mainly Captain Bransford who proved we had big blues in these waters. We got those fish to the boat but lost them all trying to pull off the hat trick.

Even then Bransford had the itch to try Barrier Reef waters in Australia. He was after us to come and fish those waters. How I wish we could have. Someone who fishes with him will break Alfred Glassell's 1,560-pound black-marlin record. It couldn't happen to a finer guide.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

I enjoyed Bil Gilbert's article on domesticated wild animals (Call of the Not-so-wild, Dec. 18) and thought you might be interested in adding another species to the collection. While living in Monrovia, Liberia, my wife and I added, to a household that already included a German shepherd and a cat, a kusimanse (a variety of mongoose, although not the type famed as a cobra killer). She most nearly approximated the characteristics of the raccoon, being extremely inquisitive and using her long claws to investigate everything from the drawers of my desk to the insulation under the refrigerator. She got along splendidly with both the animal and human members of the family. Not being suited to apartment life in an American city, she now resides in the Philadelphia Zoo, but she retains enough of her domestic nature to come running over to be petted by anyone who opens her cage.

As an amateur naturalist I would like to bring out a point that Mr. Gilbert leads up to by saying that a "skunk will not step aside for anything." This is the reason we have so many dead skunks littering our thruways and country roads. They will stand up to anything.
New York City

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