In SCORECARD (Oct. 13) you made a complaint as you have done often before about fighting in hockey. I disagree with you there. Fighting has been an important part of hockey for years. For the eight years I have watched hockey and the many years my father watched it before me fighting was a popular aspect of hockey. Even my mother, who usually dislikes fighting, likes fighting in hockey. One reason why the Boston Bruins are so popular is because they are a rough-and-tumble team. So don't knock fighting in hockey. That might be the reason that the game is so popular in the first place.
At the risk of oversimplification I make the following suggestion to prevent further skull fractures in hockey brawling: as soon as a player throws a punch or swings his stick at another player, make him sit out the rest of the game. Professional football controls its players by prompt banishment for fisticuffs. The reason this is effective, of course, is that the whole team is penalized by the loss of an important player for the rest of the game. Until hockey cracks down on bush-league brawls and bloodletting, the sport will be running the risk of additional skull fracturing by athletes the league seems unable—or unwilling—to control.
Credit Myron Cope with a splendid piece of nostalgia (The Game That Was, Oct. 13). I'm sure the majority of people in this country know little, if anything, concerning the emotional, physical and economic conditions under which professional football was played during the 1920s.
However, if it is possible to compare the stars of that era with those of today, it is a most amusing situation. Consider Ed Healey vs. Ralph Neely. The only objects the former would make contact with would be Neely and the ground. And Joe Namath could throw from a chair against Indian Joe Guyon. Even if Red Grange was a ghost, a yard gain against Deacon Jones would be a very difficult task.
Let's face it. Modern athletes are stronger, swifter, heavier and more agile than their predecessors.
Those must have been great times, though. Imagine, eight games in 12 days.
East Dubuque, Ill.
SEVENTH WAS FIRST
With reference to your article on the World Cup (Pennies in a Golden Age, Oct. 13) and the implication that I was the only one responsible for players turning down invitations to participate, I think it should be pointed out that the following players not represented by me were asked to participate in the World Cup and declined for various reasons comparable to those of my clients: George Archer, Frank Beard, Dave Hill, Gene Littler and Jean Garailde (of France).
Since Arnold Palmer was also approached about representing the U.S. in the World Cup, your readers might be interested to know that Lee Trevino was actually the seventh choice of the World Cup organizers as the U.S. representative.
MARK H. MCCORMACK
A fast answer to Philip McLaughlin's query, "Where, oh, where have the Bleacher Bums gone?" (19TH HOLE, Oct. 13): We have all gone to school, or we would be gone to jail.
RICHARD E. LLOYD
After reading Publisher Garry Valk's lofty explanation of why SI was going to have a weekly column of television criticism (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, Oct. 20), I along with your other readers looked forward to a healthy, objective and enlightened column, particularly since Publisher Valk went to such length to assure us that Wilfrid Sheed was "an esteemed critic in many fields," and Sheed was quoted as saying, "No serious critic has followed sport television. The rascals should know somebody out here is watching." Might I suggest that perhaps Critic Sheed ought to watch a little more carefully. Instead of any kind of enlightened criticism, we apparently are going to be fed a weekly serving of sarcasm, carping and nitpicking. To pick up an isolated meaningless sentence out of the approximately 15 hours that NBC devoted to live coverage of the baseball playoffs is not only unenlightening, it is also unfair.