Since nobody else seems so inclined, isn't it about time SI blew the whistle on the phony buildup for the Spassky-Fischer chess "confrontation"? Perhaps chess players enjoy it (I wonder), but to the general public it is nauseating.
C. D. SHEPARD
Thank you for your objective portrayal of the little-known and apparently misunderstood sport of physique contests (Cutting Some Fancy Figures, July 10).
Body builders are dedicated athletes who make significant sacrifices by restricting their diets and engaging in years of vigorous training. For weeks before a contest we eat only protein foods and drink only water. Workouts take two to three hours a day, six days a week. Perhaps this is why so few compete; the cost of entry is very high in physical output, time and willpower.
Competition takes place on four levels, novice, junior, senior and professional. The top three contestants in the novice and junior classifications are obligated to move up to the next class in order to provide fair competition at the lower levels. We hope that more individuals will be encouraged to take part in these contests.
DR. PAUL F. MURRAY
Newport Beach, Calif.
PIRATE POWER (CONT.)
I read with great interest, and at times chuckles, your article pertaining to the Pittsburgh Pirates (Four Murderers in a Row, July 3). Steve Blass seemed either excited or upset because Manny Sanguillen, a .300 hitter, was batting sixth in the lineup. I wish to point out that the 1950 Boston Red Sox had a catcher, Birdie Tebbetts, with a .310 average batting eighth.
Walt Dropo and Junior Stephens both had 144 RBIs, Dropo was the rookie of the year and the Red Sox set a modern record when they scored 49 runs in two games against the old St. Louis Browns. In one game they beat the Browns 29-4, a modern record for most runs in a game now shared by the Chicago White Sox.
Despite all this power, Boston changed managers in the middle of the season. Mel Parnell, the Red Sox' best pitcher, was in a slump. He eventually ended up with an 18-10 season, but the rest of the pitching staff was out to lunch. And the Yankees, Boston's old nemesis, won the pennant. The Red Sox finished third.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the same boat. Pitching is the name of the game, and no matter how much power you have it doesn't mean a thing if your pitchers don't have that swing.
JOHN E. PARISI
I found John Underwood's article The Graduates (July 3) very interesting and informative.
I have never been too interested in the academic statistics of a Big Eight football team before. However, I am wondering if Nebraska's team had 19 football players listed as seniors and eight were eligible for their degrees, how many of Oklahoma's players were listed as seniors and how many received their degrees.