As is oft said, "One picture is worth a thousand words." The nearest approximation to this adage that has met my eye in many a day was presented in the issue of SI containing the coverage of the World Series (Oct. 17). The moment when fate struck Willie Davis for the first time that afternoon is graphically depicted, but there is something more stunning in the photograph than the Dodger center fielder's bobble or the ball that is falling from his grasp. It is the faces of the crowd behind him. Nothing written by the capable men of the press, nothing uttered by the knowledgeable broadcasters, has captured or could ever capture the exact moment of Dodger defeat as does that photograph. And it was defeat, gentlemen, as surely as Sandy Koufax is the best pitcher of this modern era. From that moment on, the Dodgers and their fans became disbelievers in the fact that the L.A. club was the best team in baseball. It was this belief that carried the Dodgers to the pennant. They didn't win the pennant with pitching; they won it because they parlayed the arms of Koufax, Osteen, Drysdale and Sutton with the belief that they were the best team in organized baseball. When Davis bared his mortality in that fateful inning, both the Dodgers, and their fans, realized the horrifying possibility that maybe they weren't the best. Look at the faces in that crowd, and ask yourselves if it is not defeat and disbelief that you see. There, gentlemen, in that photograph, is the unbelievable story of the 1966 World Series.
Congratulations to Dan Jenkins on his article about the best quarterback in the American Football League, Joe Willie Namath (The Sweet Life of Swinging Joe, Oct. 17). It gave me real insight into the life of this truly cool guy. Mr. Jenkins says that if Joe stays healthy he will achieve his greatest ambition, which is to become a good quarterback rather than a rich one. I feel that he has already achieved that ambition.
What happened to Dan Jenkins? He used to be pretty clearheaded. Now he says "Joe Namath may be Johnny Unitas and Paul Hornung rolled into one"! Is that the statement of a sane man? Namath may be tops in the AFL, but there are about 14 quarterbacks in the NFL that are better. It isn't right to put Namath's name on the same page with that of John Unitas.
CHARLES W. FEHR
St. Louis Park, Minn.
What you're saying is that Namath couldn't pass a bad check. Compare him to Fran Tarkenton and the same would hold true for a football.
That Namath article is one I would have expected to find in some girlie magazine, not in SI. I'm sure if you looked you could have found someone who fills the image of an athlete that our young people could look up to. In my opinion, the NFL is fortunate he didn't sign with St. Louis.
MRS. R. J. GRADE
Your story was excellent, but you really did not have to make one of the better quarterbacks sound like a hick, putting "man" at the end of all those sentences. Leave some out next time, even if Joe said them all.
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
I see in your pages that Pro Quarterback Joe Namath is "touchy" about all the publicity given Notre Dame. I agree with him. Notre Dame, which is now playing the softest schedule it has had in years, is always in the top 10 after it has crushed such powers as Northwestern 38-7. Then when the Irish come up against a real team such as Purdue and Michigan State they are put in their proper, mediocre place. After the rise and fall of Notre Dame over the past two seasons, the experts should know better.
But Alabama is also a very pampered team in the polls. In 1964 'Bama went 10-0, to the Orange Bowl and the national championship. Then it lost to Texas 21-17 but still maintained its national crown.
Namath's statement, "I'll guarantee you that a team like Louisiana Tech can beat about 80 of those lousy schools up here [in the East]," is obviously a strike at the press for its comments on Alabama's "easy schedule" (which includes Louisiana Tech). Unfortunately, what he says is true.
Without a doubt the East is at the bottom of the barrel in collegiate football, where they have been nestled for several years. The only region that plays worse football is the Yucatan Peninsula.
Hopefully, our backs will be as fast and elusive and our linemen as quick and aggressive as everyone else's—someday. Until then we will just have to ask the rest of the country to tread lightly.
State College, Pa.
Mark Mulvoy's article on the "plutocrats of the professional tour" was excellent (Too Tired to Walk to the Bank, Sept. 26). I enjoyed the chart showing the leaders' total winnings, too, but thought it could have been a bit more interesting if it carried an Official Famines Average column based on the number of tournaments played as well as the gross figures. The OEA ratings would have gone like this:
11. R. H. SIKES
Only two of the golfers held the same position in both average and total earnings—Palmer and Geiberger.
New York City
I feel you have done the New York Yankees an injustice by saying that by firing Red Barber they have shown they "couldn't care less"' about their responsibility to the listeners (SCORECARD. Oct. 10). I go home to New York every summer and have the opportunity to listen to many Yankee broadcasts. Red Barber was the epitome of the Yankees' "cold" image. His complete lack of emotion often left the listener bored with a game that is often boring enough by nature. But perhaps the worst facet of his announcing was that he mumbled and drawled so much he was often incomprehensible. Joe Garagiola, Jerry Coleman and Phil Rizzuto are all far superior announcers to Barber. They not only know all the technical points of the game, but they add a vigor and zeal to their broadcasts that keep the listener interested in the game.
In areas far removed from big-league cities, daily radio baseball broadcasts fill the gaps left by the limitations of newspaper reporting. Radio baseball is, to me, more than just constant contact with the exploits of a single team; it is, rather, an intimate association with baseball. Needless to say, I was crazy about Red Barber.
Barber recognized and appreciated the beauty of baseball, and he made no bones about saying so. In his respect for the game Red would never stoop to nicknaming players or in any other way "greasing up" the play-by-play to impress his audience. The listener who needs a disc-jockey-voiced announcer with a ready stream of catchy phrases, nicknames and excuses for his team's ineptness is not a true fan. Unfortunately, true fans are in the minority.
WAYNE CHRISTESON JR.
As a Syracuse and Floyd Little fan for the past three years, I resent some of the statements made in your article, The Streak Is Here (Oct. 10). Your "board of experts," the pro scouts, state that Little is "overrated" and rank him eighth, when certainly he should be first.
Syracuse's Floyd Little has had more touchdown runs of over 50 yards than any other back in major college football in the last two years. He also scored more touchdowns last year than any other major college player in the nation, had the best punt-return average and gained 1,065 yards rushing for an average of 5.52 yards per carry. I can't understand how the pro scouts can call Floyd overrated. This year he will probably break all the records of former Orangemen Jim Brown and the late Ernie Davis. I suppose they were overrated also.
In your interesting article on college running backs, please confirm that the pro scouts were only rating halfbacks. The top rusher of all has to be 250-pound Idaho Fullback Ray McDonald.
He won't make fans forget Jimmy Brown, but I think he'll make them remember him.