Half a hat off to William Johnson for his gentle drubbing of the World Boxing Association (The Riddle of the Jolly Do-gooders, Oct. 9). Mr. Johnson has all the facts. He knows why Joe Frazier was dropped from No. 2 to No. 8, although all experts agree he should be No. 1 or No. 2. He knows that the top boxing states, California, New York and Massachusetts, won't touch the WBA with an eight-ounce glove. Mr. Johnson is also fully aware that the inner dealings of the WBA are marked with pettiness to say the very least. And yet, with all this ammunition to load his gloves, Mr. Johnson never puts his combination together. It never appears to be a dirty picture to him, just sort of silly.
But the WBA is a dirty picture. Cassius Clay was kicked out twice, and Frazier was dropped because he wouldn't make ABC's (WBA's) kind of financial deal for fighting. Fortunately, the WBA cannot completely destroy boxing. Frazier will be the man to beat when the ABC championship is over, and the WBA won't be able to do a thing about it.
Perhaps if SPORTS ILLUSTRATED took a few real shots at the WBA, it would start trying to straighten itself out. In the meantime, WBA President M. R. Evans won't lose any sleep over Mr. Johnson's gentle rap.
DAVID B. SACHSMAN
Mountain View, Calif.
PAID IN FULL
Mark Kram states that Oscar Bonavena's victory over Karl Mildenberger "will provide this Silas Marner of boxing with...much more money than he is worth." He also tells us that Bonavena's favorite words are, "Gimme money" (A Bean-can Bout in Frankfurt, Sept. 25). What does Kram want? More nice-guy Joe Louises being hounded by the IRS? Or more bewildered Hurricane Jacksons shining shoes?
Doesn't Kram know the name of the game? It's not glory, titles and fame. Doesn't he know the only defensible end of this barbarous, sordid, parasitical business? It's not meant to be scrambled brains and a hand-to-mouth existence from 35 on. The only excuse for boxing is money. The more, the better.
Some fighters don't know that. A few like "boorish" Bonavena, and "frugal" Firpo before him, do. So they risk their lives to make it big and grab for every cent in sight. More power to them. For once the worm turns. For once the fighter really wins.
S. A. LINING
Your article should wake up the American public to the fact that Ohio is the breeding ground for most of the Standardbreds (Putting the Flimflam on the Slickers from the City, Oct. 2). It is also well worth noting that Best of All is really the best of all, and it is not just a coincidence that he was raised in Ohio. It was great to see an Ohio horse come back to glory on his home ground—and Jim Hackett was right when he said the Little Brown Jug is the national prestige race for the pacers. This was a sensitive story by Pete Axthelm and a joy to see in SI.
JOHN P. O'NEILL
You did a whale of a job covering a "Whale of a Weekend" (Oct. 9). But I most enjoyed Frank Deford's article, The Sonic Boom in Seattle. The people of Seattle are going to see what a great game basketball is. I wish Mr. Deford had told us more about the players and had given the starting lineup, but he did show the warmth that a city can have for its team.
I'm disappointed that SI cheapened an otherwise sound article on the new Seattle SuperSonics professional basketball team by indulging in corny, patronizing jibes at the city of Seattle. Any city with a metropolitan population of 1½ million is certain to have attained assets and complexities that render such superficial generalities downright stupid.
I don't think Seattle needs my defense. Nor would a long list of its cultural, scientific and educational contributions serve any real purpose here. I am not embarrassed for Seattle; I am embarrassed for you.
Frank Deford deserves congratulations for a fine report, written in a grand style, with unusual warmth and insight. I, for one, hope that Seattle can achieve the same first-year success that Coach AI Bianchi helped Chicago attain last year.
STEPHEN A. BAUMAN
Laying Purdue's 28-21 upset of Notre Dame at the feet, or rather the left ankle, of Kevin Hardy is unfair to everyone who took part in that game (No. I Job Against No. 1, Oct. 9). Under the "star system" a team becomes mentally, if not physically, dependent upon certain players. Even if ego problems do not result, these same players go onto the field as marked men, expected to perform gargantuan tasks. Purdue's Fat Jack rightfully resists the tendency of sportswriters and broadcasters to credit Leroy Keyes or Mike Phipps with the win when he knows that a team effort of the highest degree was responsible for the victory. This team effort involves varsity, reserves, freshmen, coaches, et al., and not just a few fair-haired boys. At Purdue, our big team gives us a lot to be proud of.
West Lafayette, Ind.
Two years ago when Purdue and Bob Griese handled the No. 1 Irish the resulting article (Oh, That Griese Kid Stuff! Oct. 4, 1965) did not really say that it was a Purdue victory, but more like a spell of good fortune. Last season when the Boilermakers were given their big chance by being sent as the Big Ten representative to the Rose Bowl they distinguished themselves by defeating a tough USC team. This year I had the pleasure of seeing the Purdue-Notre Dame game, and I must say that your article was a great representation of an equally great game. Congratulations!
West Lafayette, Ind.
DAY ON COURT
Congratulations on the article by Lawyer-Weekend Tennis Player Eugene Scott, (Great Scott! Gene Won Another One, Oct. 2). It was one of the finest human interest sports stories I have ever read. It only goes to show that there still are people who can have fun even in defeat in today's pressurized world of winning.
DAVID A. HENRY
Fairmont, W. Va.
You have not let me down. I have been of the firm conviction that the editors of SI refuse to print an article concerning hockey in which the writer can keep his facts straight. In the October 2 issue (PEOPLE) you have done it again. The Toronto Maple Leaf training camp is listed as being in Peterborough, N.H. What is amazing about this statement is that the town is correct—the country is wrong!
The article on motor sports in the same issue (The Bruce and Denny Show Makes a Fast Buck) also irritates me somewhat. Bob Ottum refers to Mosport as a suburb of Toronto where moose seemingly abound. Not only is this "suburb" over 30 miles away, but there are no moose within many miles of it. Americans are misinformed enough about Canada without having misconceptions tossed at them in sports articles.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the article on Johnny Unitas (It's Johnny U. Again, Oct. 2)! It is a welcome change from the continual barrage of praise that has been bestowed on Bart Starr and his Green Bay Packers during the past year. This is the year when Johnny will prove to Green Bay and the rest of the world that some of the miracles of 1958—and of his many other great years—are still contained in his golden right arm. Thanks mostly to Unitas, this is also the year when the title flag will fly in Baltimore!
In 1958, John Unitas was hailed as the best quarterback of all time. Now, almost 10 years later, sportswriters, e.g., Tex Maule, are beginning to realize what we fans have known all the while: Johnny Unitas still is and always has been the No. 1 man at quarterback. Unitas is durable. He has outlasted them all!
The profile of Jock Sturrock (A Tough Skipper to Run a Fast "Dame" Sept. II) neglected to mention one other influential factor in the long seagoing career of the Australian skipper: the devotion to sailing of Jock's wife. Betty Sturrock traveled 11,000 miles to Newport, R.I. to get a salty view of the Australian challenge for the America's Cup.
Incidentally, your readers might also be interested to knew that Ray Robinson (not Robertson), who wrote the article, is one of Australia's leading cricket writers. Cricket has taken Ray to Test Matches (the equivalent of the World Series) in Britain, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, the West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand. It's good to see his byline, however incorrectly spelled, appearing in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
LEO F. ARMATI
Features Editor, Associated
Newspapers Ltd. of Australia
New York City