Congratulations to Buzzie Bavasi and Jack Olsen (The Dodger Story, May 15 et seq.). I am not truthfully a Dodger fan, but for once someone has written an article about the inside life of a sports star. I am really looking forward to reading the rest. So keep them coming.
ANTHONY DI RESTA
New York City
Contrary to published reports, Sandy Koufax quit baseball because of a pain, not in his arm but in his neck. It was given to him by Buzzie Bavasi, who combines with Walter O'Malley to form one of the least admirable success stories baseball has ever known.
I enjoyed the first part of your series on Buzzie Bavasi, though I thought Buzzie's reasoning a good deal less than sparkling at times. For example, Buzzie doubts that Sandy Koufax himself attracted additional fans. Rather he says it was 1) the crucial games in which the Dodgers used him that drew more fans, and 2) the other teams often pitted their best pitchers against Koufax, thus attracting attendance.
First of all, Buzzie should know that Sandy pitched every fourth day regardless of whether the Dodgers were playing the Mets or the Giants. Secondly, the other teams, if anything, tried to throw their ace pitchers against Sutton, Drysdale or Osteen to insure against a sweep of a three-game series, which could result if Koufax downed Bunning, Marichal, Maloney or Veale in the first game.
Bavasi's analysis is not only illogical, but I know from experience that it is wrong. Last September 3, a Saturday night, 26,888 people turned out to see the seventh-place Reds, with Joe Nuxhall pitching, face Sandy Koufax. (The next day 18,670 turned out to see Don Drysdale pitch against the Reds' Sammy Ellis.) This game with the Reds was obviously not crucial, and it is equally clear that the Reds did not throw their best pitcher against Koufax. The extra 8,218 people were there for one reason: to see the greatest pitcher of all time.
At $125,000 a year I would say that Koufax was grossly underpaid. For what he did for the Dodgers, they should have given him the franchise.
GILBERT E. GILDEA
My roommate and I read with interest the weekly issues of SI. However, we especially enjoyed the issue of May 15 and the article about Giacomo Agostini (Viva! But Hide Your Women), who was previously unknown to us. We are "hidden women," more by circumstance than by choice. Stranded in upstate New York, midst the cold, rainy weather, with only the prospect of comprehensive exams to brighten our outlook, we were greatly cheered by Giacomo's smiling face. We would like to obtain two pictures of this chipper fellow. They would do wonders for our morale.
Tonight, while studying for my departmental exams, I received a phone call from a Vassar girl I've been dating for over a year. She tactfully informed me that she had just written you to request not one but two pictures of Giacomo Agostini to cheer her through study week. She has the enclosed picture of me but is obviously unimpressed. The "lambent grin" is missing, but I had salt water in my eye.
But to get to the point, I now need some cheering and would be delighted to hear from any girl who might be interested in running a fingertip over my admittedly less magnificent mug.
What a thrilling account Bob Ottum put together on the ridiculous, romantic, rewarding life of Giacomo Agostini and his motorcycle magnificence.