You stated (INSIDE PITCH, April 18) that Houston's Joe Sambito recently underwent his "third operation on his right elbow and won't pitch again, if at all, until 1984." As Joe's sister, I know Joe's determination, and he will be back pitching in '84. I do have one question, though. If Joe, one of the premier lefthanded relievers in the game until his injury, has had surgery on his right elbow, why is he telling his family he can't pitch? I'm sure he wouldn't need that much rest. Shame on you, SI, the surgery was on his left elbow.
IN PURSUIT OF THE CUP
There are too many teams making it into the NHL playoffs. While reading Alexander Wolff's article on the Islanders' victory over the Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs (It Was Bourne Again and Again, May 2), I was reminded of how the fans are being taken advantage of. All during the regular season I've watched the Islanders go out on the ice and give minimal effort. As the league's best team, they should have finished first in the standings, but there was just no motivation. They seemed to feel that they could merely show up and still make the playoffs rather easily.
Cutting the number of playoff teams to eight is the only answer. This will force the players on each team to go all out every game. I'm sure I've got all America behind me on this one.
Concerning Jack McCallum's story about roommates (For Better, for Worse, May 2), in the early 1900s, for economic reasons, baseball players shared the same bed when on the road. One such historic sleeping arrangement prompted perhaps the most unusual clause ever written into a player's contract.
While lying in bed at night, Pitcher Rube Waddell, the zany Hall of Famer, enjoyed munching animal crackers by the boxful before falling asleep. Ossee Schreckengost, his batterymate and bedmate on the Philadelphia Athletics, became so incensed at this inconsiderate habit that he threatened to quit the team unless Waddell ceased. The following season, after some sensitive negotiations, a clause was added to Waddell's contract prohibiting him from eating crackers in bed. Schreckengost remained with the team.
Art Fowler's story about Ryne Duren's argument with a floor lamp doesn't need explaining to those of us who saw him pitch. Duren's glasses were as thick as the bottoms of Coke bottles, and more than once he wild-pitched all the way back to the screen on the fly! When he took his glasses off in a hotel room, the floor lamp probably looked to him like King Kong!
DAVID L. DRAPER
In his entertaining article, Jack McCallum omitted perhaps the most famous set of sports roommates and one of the first interracial pairings in NFL annals—the late Brian Piccolo and the legendary Gale Sayers. As a lesson in humanity, love and nobility of spirit, Brian and Gale will always be paired in the American sports consciousness.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
BENJIE AND LOUIS (CONT.)
I am writing in regard to a recent article entitled An Encounter to Last an Eternity (April 11) by Frank Deford.
While not wishing to comment on the merits of the story itself or the accuracy of the comments contained in it, I am deeply concerned that Deford has written an article about a situation that involves a court action without apparently taking into consideration that there are other sides to the story. It would appear that he has accepted as fact allegations in litigation that may very well not be accurate and has conveyed these allegations to your readers as fact.
I am most concerned about a statement that indicates the bout in which Benjamin Davis died was sanctioned by the United States Olympic Committee. The United States Olympic Committee has no authority to sanction athletic events, either under the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, which gives it its power and authority, or under the constraints of the Constitution of the United States Olympic Committee.