All honors to Tex Maule for one of the best articles on British football written by an American (Chelsea Almost Won the Cup, April 20). However, judging by the facts that Leeds Goalkeeper Gary Sprake was injured on the Wednesday after the Final and that another Chelsea star, 18-year-old "child prodigy" Alan Hudson, will play in the replay after missing the Final, Revie and Cocker would be best off coming to the replay without any wardrobe at all!
Despite your fine look at the foreign football fan(atic), there was a major fact missing. Although Chelsea has never triumphed in the Cup, despite two Final appearances, it was overlooked that Leeds has never won the prize either. And though Chelsea's background is more appealing than that of Leeds (where the leaves are black from industrial waste, as a French writer puts it) Revie's club was a joke in the early '60s. I was also rather surprised to see that there was an interview with a pensioner but no mention of the popular Chelsea nickname. The Pensioners.
Nevertheless, I'm glad to see that this game of Association football, the most intriguing in the world, has gotten a good write-up by a "native." I hope there will be a sequel.
New York City
Jerry Kirshenbaum's article on the House of David baseball team (The Hairiest Team of All, April 13) recalled for me a forgotten era when baseball was unchallenged as America's No. 1 sport. The man who booked the House of David was Nat Strong, who maintained an office in the Pulitzer Building, home of the old New York World in lower Manhattan. Semipro ball in the metropolitan area drew large crowds, even though the fans had the Giants, Yankees and Dodgers in their backyards and over in Jersey City and Newark they had the International League clubs.
The House of David was under contract to Strong, who matched them with the leading semipro clubs that played twilight ball on Wednesdays, on Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons as well as Sunday mornings. The home clubs had to guarantee 40% of the total gate with a minimum of $450. It was rumored that Strong paid the players after every game out of the total receipts.
Semipro ball in those days was on a par with the minor leagues. Most of the players were capable of playing in the minors but were better off keeping their jobs and playing weekends. The caliber of baseball was so good that many went directly to the big leagues. Specs Toporcer of the Cardinals, Herbert Thormahlen of the Yankees, Frankie Frisch of the Giants and Milton Gaston of the Yankees all went directly into the majors.
Again many thanks to Jerry Kirshenbaum for a very fine article.
West Hartford, Conn.
I was certainly interested in the story about the House of David. The reason is that in Florida in 1931 my mother took a picture of me and the Babe the day he wore the whiskers. I thought you might be interested to see it.
WILLIAM G. HAGER
Lock Haven, Pa.
In his splendidly written story of the 1970 Masters (All Yours, Billy Boy, April 20), Dan Jenkins stated that Takaaki Kono, in the second round, tied for the day's low with a 68 "despite his pairing with Sam Snead and the tracks Snead made through Kono's putting lines on the greens." This is an old trick of Snead's, it seems. I first observed him doing it to annoy Ralph Guldahl in a tournament some years ago. The gallery, of which I was one, finally made quite a fuss about it and he eventually ceased doing it.
While there is no expressed rule in golf prohibiting such actions by a player, nevertheless it is a despicable trick and most unsportsmanlike, to say the least, and should be beneath Snead's dignity.
RODERICK D. CAMERON