Let Cleveland make a big noise over Hodge, but why does he rate a national story when the best pinch hitter in the American League is Rich McKinney of the Chicago White Sox? Just compare their batting averages. McKinney is hitting a hefty .588 with 10 pinch hits, while Hodge is mired at .232. Just because McKinney doesn't have a vocabulary sprinkled with "Dad gums" and "fellas" doesn't mean he wouldn't make a more significant story than Hodge.
BETTER THAN BLANDA
George Blanda (I Keep Getting My Kicks, July 19 et seq.) is an ancient marvel, but I think my dad, Steve Wozniak, is even better. He is 56 years old, and he is rated the 10th best marathon swimmer in the world. He was the world's marathon swimming champion, and he is the only man ever to win the national long-distance championship four years in a row. He also won the President's Cup race three years in succession and, as a pro, he won the Canadian Pro National and was in the top three in money winnings from 1947 to 1963. Even at 56, he is the only man in the world who can kickboard for 17 miles nonstop. Furthermore, he trains with me three and four miles a day and still races in marathons. He does not win them anymore but finishes in the money.
Tex Maule's description of Muhammad Ali (He Has Heavy Things on His Mind, July 26) in the twilight of a boxing career—but certainly not life—is without doubt the most analytical article on the man yet. While I have not always found myself in agreement with Ali's principles, he is beginning to make himself clearer to me and, after all, this is the key means of communication. A few more articles like this, and Muhammad Ali will be understood by many more people.
I believe sports should be played for fun and exercise, not for fame, money and because a parent wants to relive his life through his offspring's accomplishments (Happiness Is Six Hours a Day with Your Eye on the Ball, July 26). I am sorry that Chris Evert is intelligent and charming. It takes neither to be a great tennis player. It takes given ability and practice, and Chris has both. I feel that Chris is missing a lot by not being a normal teen-ager. She may not mind missing youth now, but what if she misses it when it is too late to live it?
Being a tennis buff of sorts, I should like to go on record as a 100% booster of personable Chris Evert, the 16-year-old lass who has progressed so amazingly well in tennis. True, she has achieved most of these wins on familiar clay courts, but with her natural ability and gritty determination I'm confident she will prove equally capable on grass surfaces and will stroke on to bigger and better tennis triumphs. Here's to you, Chris.
WILLIAM F O'BRIEN
ANYONE FOR BIKE POLO?
Until I read George Plimpton's article on bicycle polo (The Rajahs' Came Falls on Hard Times, July 19), I never knew such a sport existed on such a grand scale. I always thought bike polo was what my friends and I play in the street with croquet mallets and a tennis ball. The object of our game is, while dodging cars, to knock the ball across a manhole cover. The penalty for ramming someone with your bike is five laps around the block. Who knows, someday it may replace stickball!
TRUE BLUE (CONT.)
In Roy Blount's article Humming a Rhapsody in Blue (July 12), he wrote, "Traditionally, fireballing lefthanders either mature late or break down early," and using Warren Spahn as one of his examples, he wrote, "He was 25 before he won a big-league game."
It's true that Spahn didn't win his first major league game until he was 25, but it wasn't because he matured late as was the case with the other lefthanders. He pitched only four games for the Boston Braves in 1942, then entered the service for three years before returning in 1946 to win in the majors for the first time. It was military service that held Spahn up. He neither matured late nor broke down early and really didn't belong in Blount's story. Spahn may be the sole exception to the generalization, since he won 21 games in 1947 and won 20 or more 12 times after that.