BEAT 'EM BUCS
You devoted most of On the Lam with the Three Rivers Gang (Aug. 2) to Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell and seemed to overlook the Pirate bench. True, Clemente and Stargell are good copy, but players like Jose Pagan, Gene Clines, Milt May, Vic Davalillo and Bill Mazeroski are the reinforcements a ball club needs when September rolls around. Right now the Pirates seem to be in excellent position to take it all this year. Some people will say that October is way off in the future, but as far as I am concerned you can start on your World Series issue right now.
The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to have captured that attitude of superiority and feeling of greatness which are so necessary for a club to attain the highest levels of achievement. It is one for all and all for one, a stance that produces a hatred of the losing way; indeed, it is a togetherness which reminds one of the Boston Celtics in their most fabled years. But do not at any time let the specter of the Baltimore Orioles pass from mind. All they do, with little comment or due glory, is win and win, again and again.
JOHN R. HESTER
After witnessing the San Francisco Giants' recent four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates to give them a nine-out-of-12 margin in their season series, it seems reasonable to say that the Giants will not only stop them at the pass but won't even let them on their horses. The Giants completely outslugged the Pirates, scoring 39 runs to the BUGS' 23. Best of all, the Giants unveiled a great young first baseman in 6'6" Dave Kingman, who hit three home runs (one a grand slam) in his first four major league games. What a combination—Willie McCovey and Kingman!
From the looks of it, the Giants haven't got much to worry about in their division, or anyone else's. So the baseball world had better get ready for a cross-Bay World Series, because the Orioles still can't get past Vida Blue and Chuck Dobson.
San Lorenzo, Calif.
The comments on the extreme difficulty of popping home runs out of Forbes Field indirectly praise Ralph Kiner, who was an exception. From 1946 through 1952, he had seasons of 23, 51, 40, 54, 47, 42 and 37 home runs for the Pirates (leading the National League all seven times), despite playing half his games in that bad park and having mediocre hitters surrounding him in the lineup.
SARAH JANE GASTON
I feel it is mandatory to point out some misrepresentations in the article, New Breed, New Ideas, New Taxes (June 7). One would be led to believe that the owners of the two farms that are featured are the sole saviors and pioneers of good thoroughbred blood in California in spite of taxation. I have been a director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association for 10 years and am presently the vice-president and treasurer of that association. In 1966, when it became apparent that the assessment practices of county assessors in California were inconsistent with the future of the breeding industry, a few directors of the CTBA initiated action to deal with the problem. It took several years to gain adequate support among the breeders. Last year the CTBA attempted to have introduced on the floor of the state assembly a bill that would alleviate part of the inequities. This year another bill is pending action by the legislature.
The article also states that I moved all of my horses to Kentucky. This is not true. I have been breeding and racing thoroughbreds over 12 years in California, and for the past five years have maintained a small broodmare band in Kentucky for the specific purpose of breeding to stallions of Kentucky syndicates in which I have purchased shares. Moreover, Los Cerritos has been instrumental in moving to its farm in California stallions that were well-bred, that are highly qualified in the stud and are of the type that I believe will propagate their top-class racing ability to their foals. It is the intention of Los Cerritos to be a continuing quality thoroughbred breeding establishment in California, with the large majority of the breeding stock being based there, irrespective of the problems of taxation.
W. T. PASCOE III
Rancho Los Cerritos
Odds against Bobby Fischer's winning 12 in a row are nowhere near 1,000 to 1, as claimed by Max Euwe (Maybe You Can Win Them All, Aug. 2). Playing against a near equal, Fischer could be expected to draw 59%, lose 6% and win 35% (very roughly), making 12 in a row a 300,000-to-1 chance. Nineteen in a row would be about half a billion to 1. The only conclusion I can draw is that he has improved several hundred points over his last published rating, thereby outclassing the rest of the world.
If winning 19 consecutive chess games is comparable to pitching 19 consecutive no-hitters, is it fair to assume that winning one chess game is the equivalent of one no-hitter?
G. L. SHELTIE
You have given the sport of chess a boost by pointing out to your readers Bobby Fischer's feat of 19 wins in a row. But for a fluke, however, his record would now stand at an even more impressive 20 straight.