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Original Issue


For many years now I have read and enjoyed your fine publication, but now I must protest. Pete Axthelm states that the Toronto defense consists of "three old men and a rookie" (Crashing into a New Ice Age, Nov. 6). I wish to say that it would be hard to find three better defensemen in all of hockey than Tim Horton, Allan Stanley and Marcel Pronovost. As for Johnny Bower, is it really so important that he is getting old? He has proved himself to be a great goalie and a great athlete. Bower has more ability and skill than many goaltenders now in the NHL.

I also find it shocking that you could criticize Gordie Howe simply because he is getting on in years. Gordie Howe is a hockey master, and when he leaves, the sport will suffer a great loss.

Although I am a young man I scorn those who tend to count a player out simply because he is over 30. Punch Imlach has won several Stanley Cups with many players over 30. For that matter, on November 1, the Maple Leafs defeated the mighty Montreal Canadiens 5-0 with your aging cripple, Bower, in goal.

Pete Axthelm's predictions for the NHL are really a spoof. Where did Mr. Axthelm find out that the Toronto Maple Leafs are "rated the most likely to drop out of the playoffs"? The Leafs not only won the exhibition season, they won it without several key players who were involved in contract talks. True, preseason games mean little to the outcome of actual season play, but to win without stars like Jim Pappin, Bob Pulford and Larry Hillman is a minor miracle. All three players figured prominently in the Leafs' Stanley Cup victory.

It seems Mr. Axthelm got his tips from Frank Deford, who picked the Knickerbockers to finish third—and look where they are now!
Windsor, Ont.

Marianne Moore is a marvelous poet, but I think she has things backward when she says: "Ballplayers' uniforms seem to me not so trim as formerly. They should not look like babies' sleepers or snowsuits" (SCORECARD, Nov. 13). Baseball uniforms used to be big and billowy, with the trousers in particular flapping like loose spinnakers. But in the last two decades things have tightened up. Here are a couple of photographs to illustrate my argument.

The day before the 1963 World Series began, Roy Campanella, the old Dodger catcher, was wheeled down to the edge of the field to watch the Yankees and Dodgers in batting practice. Several of the older players on both teams—men who had played with and against Campy before his crippling accident in 1958—came over to talk with him. Campy made a comment about the tight fit of the uniforms. "That's the way they make them now, Roy," one of the players said. "They don't make those old baggy things we used to wear." Campanella laughed and said, "Now I know why I used to run so slow. It was wind resistance from those old uniforms."
New York City

Concerning your article on the Dartmouth-Harvard football game (If at First You Don't Succeed, Nov. 6), the fact that the Harvard captain was worried (and rightly so) that he couldn't tell the difference between a sex symbol and a mother image does not justify running down Ivy League football and Dartmouth College. We here in Hanover can easily recognize a sex symbol when we see one. We can also recognize a good football game.

Could it be that your reporter is prejudiced against the Ivies?
Hanover, N.H.

It is regrettable that Pete Axthelm was unable to capture the true spirit of a Dartmouth-Harvard football game. Although social relations, sex symbols and napalm used in Vietnam are the concern of all Ivy students, our autumn Saturday afternoons are primarily reserved for action on the football field.

Mr. Axthelm's observations on recruiting particularly invite comment. It is a fact that Harvard's program of "limited recruiting" last year included a phone call from New York's junior Senator urging a prospect to enroll at Harvard. As far as I know, the Big Green does not rely on the services of Governor Nelson Rockefeller or the late Daniel Webster for its recruiting of football players.

Incidentally, Dartmouth men do not have to be reminded why they should keep their heads up.
Hanover, N.H

I read with great interest the article by Mark Kram about Aileen Eaton, certainly one of the country's most outstanding promoters of boxing and wrestling (The Lady Is a Champ, Nov. 6). My interest, of course, was concerned with the boxing angle. From 1962 until late in 1965 I was in contact with Mrs. Eaton almost continuously because I was at the time Cassius Clay's manager. I am in no way disagreeing with what Mark Kram had to say about Mrs. Eaton, but I would like to emphasize some points Mr. Kram made.

During my whole association with Mrs. Eaton I found her to be completely honest, frank and helpful. I suppose there has always been an exception to every rule and to every statement, and I take it upon myself to be the exception to Mark Kram's statement that she was "feared by all." I can assure you that I never feared Mrs. Eaton, but I respected her at all times, for her judgment and her ability.

Mr. Kram quotes Leo Minskoff at some length, and I want to take exception to one part of this quote, and this part has to do with Mrs. Eaton stealing Clay to fight Lavorante and Archie Moore after Joe Louis had promoted Cassius' first fight in Los Angeles against George Logan. In the first place, Joe Louis was merely a partner in this promotion, and he was not the partner putting up the money. The promotion was extremely amateurish, and I want to make it clear that this was not the fault of Joe Louis, who tried very hard, along with Mrs. Louis, to see that the promotion was a professional success. However, it was not, and when Aileen Eaton asked me if she could promote Cassius' next fight it was quite logical that I should say yes.

I never had to worry about her word, and I never had to worry that every word in our contract with her would not be carried out in full.

Mark Kram gave several examples of her kindheartedness, and I should like to add to the list the fact that when Lavorante was fatally injured in a fight several months after his fight with Cassius, Aileen Eaton was a steady visitor to the boy in the hospital, looked after expenses, and did everything she could by employing the best doctors to see if Lavorante's life could not be saved. Her attention to Lavorante's welfare was well beyond the call of duty as a fight promoter.

I have been fortunate in spending a good many hours with Aileen Eaton and her late husband Cal outside of the arena and her office, and her statement, "I am a lady away from boxing," is a true statement.
Brown-Forman Distillers Corporation Louisville

In my wife's words, I am "a competitive sports nut," and over the years I have often thought about writing you about the space you give, in a sports magazine, to boxing, a nonsport as generally conducted. However, you have finally come up with an article on the subject that warrants publication.

For the last several years, in spite of my lack of interest in boxing, I have been following, as best an outsider can, the promotional activities of Aileen Eaton. You are so correct when you state, "She runs her polished operation like a business, one that is refreshingly interested in the people who allow her business to exist." This is especially true if you are including the fan.
Newport Beach, Calif.

Here is an early nomination for Sportsman of the Year. There can be only one choice: Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, who, with his teammates, made 1967 the baseball season that will never end.
Amherst, Mass.

Pamela Knight's is the first good article on mycophagy in a popular magazine that I can remember (In Search of Cantharellus Cibarius, Oct. 16). Most such articles are so full of mistakes that one wonders why the editor bothered printing them.
Chairman, Committee on Fungi
People-to-People Program
Portsmouth, Ohio

As a charter member of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "club," I feel I have a legitimate complaint regarding your October 23 pro basketball cover. Every Thursday evening when I get home from work, I ask my wife if SI has arrived. If she says "yes," she receives her daily kiss. If she says "no," I start my growly bear act. Now on this particular Thursday the answer was "no," SI had not arrived. Friday morning when I was emptying wastebaskets into the burning barrel, out falls the October 23 issue. Because of your psychedelic cover, my wife thought that it was one of those mail-order catalogs that are so prevalent these days and threw it away. As a result, I have just started an antipsychcdelic-magazine-cover campaign.
North Highlands, Calif.

Sports is no place for pop art! You are entitled to your opinions. But when you start putting mod covers on my magazine I feel I have every right to argue.

I would like to obtain a blowup of your October 23 cover.
Lebanon, Tenn.

British Author John Fowles says sport is "a situation where beauty may arise." Constantine Manos' photographs and the accompanying commentary, On the Road in All Star Low-cuts (Oct. 23), attest to Fowles' assumption. Basketball, "the simplest of team games" in SI Publisher Garry Valk's words, attains its simple-best in the NBA, and the Manos camera has frozen this small group of athletes in some of their various struggles to attain the perfection for which they are trained.

There is much more to say for this short essay on the poetry of pro basketball. However, if you'll excuse me for a second, I have to pull up my knee socks and finish lacing up my All Stars. Oh, hey, SI. Thanks for bringing in the ball.