THIS YEAR'S YANKS
My thanks and appreciation to Ron Reid for his fine article on the Yankees (No Bombs but Lots of Bullets, Sept. 23). He gave us an in-depth account of the internal dealings, conflicts and controversies of a club that reacted adversely to a major early-season trade, has replaced a majority of its starting players, has a manager who had the dubious honor of being second choice and an owner who was forced to break ties with the team, and a losing record against almost every other team in its division. Yet this team achieved first place. That says a great deal for the stamina, character and resourcefulness of the 1974 Yankees.
In his article on the Bronx Bullets it seems fitting Ron Reid mentioned that Bobby Murcer had not yet hit a homer in Shea Stadium, for it was on the very next weekend at Shea that he hit two homers, one a game-winner against Cleveland.
The story on the Yankees gave an accurate account of their unexpected surge but neglected to mention several key contributors to the rise. Along with Elliott Maddox and Sandy Alomar, Jim Mason's slick fielding has tightened the Yankee defense up the middle, long a sore spot. Graig Nettles has supplied several of the bullets that have led to Yankee wins, and his fielding has been exceptional. Rudy May has been a solid starting pitcher since his acquisition from California. Lastly, the oft-maligned and unappreciated Roy White has provided the winning spark for New York several times since Manager Bill Virdon began playing him regularly again a couple of months ago. For years White was the Yankees' most solid ballplayer, keeping them respectable during the lean years. He would often sacrifice his average to give the Bombers the long-ball hitting they badly needed. He is an excellent fielder who has received unfair criticism because he has only an adequate throwing arm. An injury and the Yankees' overabundance of outfielders forced White to the bench for several weeks this season. Once Virdon began playing him regularly, Roy snapped a two-year hitting slump and has again attained the performance level that has gained him All-Star status in the past.
You mention Yankee Manager Bill Virdon as a strong candidate for Manager of the Year. Maybe so. But I would have to pick Texas Manager Billy Martin, who has brought the Rangers from a 100-game loser last year to a pennant contender this year.
Being an ardent fan of the Dolphins and also of Paul Warfield, I must point out that the picture on page 49 of your Sept. 16 issue was not of Miami's brilliant wide receiver sipping a cool one "where the lights were low." Any likeness of his profile to the one shown is purely incidental.
Boca Raton, Fla.
? SI's apologies to Paul Warfield, who neither drinks nor smokes.—ED.
A VOTE FOR CHICK
I must protest, in strong terms, the omission from this first year's World Golf Hall of Fame inductees (A Hall of Fame Gate-Crasher, Sept. 23) of Charles (Chick) Evans Jr., the first man ever to win both the U.S. Open and the Amateur in the same year (1916). Chick is also the founder of the Evans Scholarships, which have put hundreds of caddies through college. Compared to Chick, who never did turn pro, or entertain such a thought, the Palmers and Nicklauses are mercenary Johnny-come-latelies. Evans' game was golf, not gold.
JOHN STUART MARTIN
Great Meadows, N.J.
Now that you have found out why we people of the Bay Area go to 49er games (There's Gold in Them Nuggets, Sept. 23), let's get Horace Stoneham to form an all-girl promotional group for his San Francisco Giants. Maybe a few more fans will come out to Candlestick Park.
San Bruno, Calif.
In your article Welcome to the 1,000-hour Season (TV/RADIO, Sept. 16) William Leggett blithely dismisses halftime ceremonies as "those mindless bands wandering around...tootling Age of Aquarius." Halftime football commentary has hardly risen to the point that it outshines a Bach fugue, which was performed by the University of Tennessee band between halves of the Tennessee- UCLA TV game. (The announcer confused the fugue with a popular tune that was to follow it.)
When I was at LSU, our repertoire was extensive but not unique: classics, American folk songs, show tunes and, yes, a smattering of popular music. Devoted bandsmen who must learn such a variety of styles deserve a better shake from the fans, many of whom can't feel their extremities, much less sec the field by halftime.
BARRY G. WAHLIG