Your photographs of Dodger rookie Fernando Valenzuela casting an upward glance while pitching (Will the Bubble Ever Burst? May 18) reveal the secret of his success, but not because his glance is "heavenward." For many people who practice self-hypnosis, the quickest way to get into a trance is to look upward. For those who are born with self-hypnotic skills, that's often a normal practice. My hunch, after seeing those pictures, is that Valenzuela goes into a brief trance, pictures the strike zone in his mind, builds his power, then fires away. But whether Fernando is in a trance or not, it's certain he's got the opposing batters in one.
KENNETH L. SMITH
Want to know something else great about Fernando Valenzuela? This season's Fleer bubble-gum card has his name spelled incorrectly. It reads: FERNAND VALENZUELA. I just hope the company corrects the error soon, so that the two copies my boy owns will be worth even more when it's time for him to go to college.
The so-called SI cover jinx has been broken! Gerry Cooney (May 4), the Boston Celtics (May 11) and Fernando Valenzuela (May 18) all were winners after they made the cover.
The SI cover jinx is alive and well. The Philadelphia Phillies 4, Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers 0. Thanks.
Haddon Heights, N.J.
In his fine article on Stanley Dancer (Back in the Driver's Seat Again, May 18), Sandy Treadwell mentions Dancer's sometimes ludicrous reliance on the automobile. As Stanley's chief patron, I can attest to the fact that it's a hell of a lot more exciting driving with Stanley in a car than it is watching him drive a race. His lack of a sense of direction is legend.
You quote his son Ronnie as saying: "He drives from his house to his office every day, a trip of 20 yards." I bet he doesn't get lost more than 50% of the time. He sure knows where that finish line is, but if tracks weren't fenced in, he'd go astray trying to find his way back to the paddock.
NORMAN S. WOOLWORTH
New Canaan, Conn.
I enjoyed very much the article on my boss, Stanley Dancer. The author, Sandy Treadwell, is a remarkably well-rounded individual. Not only is he a self-confessed fast-food addict, but he also apparently knows the difference between a toque and a souffl�.
However, he failed in his research to discover that one of the main reasons I go so fast is Mr. Dancer's singing. Pavarotti he's not! He's so far off key that I try to get it over with as fast as possible.
Many thanks for the publicity. From here on I hope to generate my own.
New Canaan, Conn.
Remember how everyone talked about Duane Bobick making more than $5,000 for every second he was in the ring ($300,000 for 58 seconds) the night Ken Norton knocked him out? On the fourth anniversary of that memorable event, Norton himself fared three times better. He made a whopping $15,740.74 ($850,000 for 54 seconds) for each tick of the clock before Gerry Cooney KO'd him.
THOMAS J. NASH
Ann Arbor, Mich.