Never before can I remember a sports figure who so captivated this country as did Carl Yastrzemski during the past season (Sportsman of the Year, Dec. 25). The interest he stirred through his spirited, all-round play not only focused attention on him, but on his teammates and baseball, as well. In fact, early October sports pages saw the national pastime actually contesting football for space.
With his new-found maturity Yaz outdid his superstar predecessor and became the leader of a team that typified the best in American sports. Both on and off the field, Carl has been a dedicated sportsman.
Thank you very much for your article on Ford Motor Company's "let's go racing" policy (Ford Came Flying, Dec. 25). It shows that big businessmen aren't all cold and serious. I'd also like to compliment Ford for openly and wholeheartedly backing its competition program instead of quietly letting a Jim Hall or a Richard Petty do the job so that they can point to Chevy Chaparrals or hemi Plymouths if they win and deny any factory affiliation if they lose. In my opinion Ford "has a better idea."
The work of Writer Bob Ottum and Photographer James Drake on the Ford racers should go down as one of SI's top features of the year. Ottum really knew what he was writing about and, teamed with Drake's excellent photos, it is enough to make every Ford enthusiast proud. But it's going to take a real masterpiece to change this diehard Chevy fan!
I just finished Jack Olsen's article, The Dynasty Lacoste (Dec. 18), and for the first time in my life realized where those golf shirts I have been wearing for years have come from. The article, like the shirts, is top-drawer. Being a golfer by nature, I found the explanation given by Catherine about the treatment she received at the hands of the touring gal pros quite revealing. It proved a point as to why the men on their tour receive so much more satisfaction and publicity. Their help and friendliness to new players is so much more in evidence than that sorely missing among the gal pros.
THE PILLAGE (CONT.)
Robert Boyle's excellent article, How to Stop the Pillage of America (Dec. 11), points up the need for a governmental authority to guard our natural resources. I thoroughly agree with this recommendation and also with your recognition that we are trapped by the idea that technology and unceasing economic growth can solve all problems.
The theory of "continuous" growth is contrary to everything we know of history, geology, archaeology, botany and biology. Animals, mountains, plants, cultures and civilizations are born, mature and die. The pattern of death is part of the rhythm of life. Hopefully we can grow wiser; but no person, place or thing can go on growing and growing forever.
Graphs cannot always climb toward the top of the chart. Population cannot possibly grow at the present rate for very long—a fact that finally seems to be sinking into popular consciousness. It's equally obvious that we cannot for long mine minerals, bulldoze land, cut trees and in general abuse the earth as we are doing now.
I think the American people are going to have to adjust to a harsh reality: this country must eventually stabilize, in a material sense. But this reality isn't really so harsh. If we stop growing richer perhaps we can then begin to grow spiritually, in harmony with all the earth and all its creatures.
WILLIAM J. DELMHORST
How to Stop the Pillage of America is far and away the most comprehensive article I have read on the subject. Each proposal was relevant and, what is equally important, practical. Since we as a culture seem not to be able to have an "ecological conscience" or to empathize with what Schweitzer called a reverence for life, perhaps we can respond to the fact of the danger of our extinction. For surely if we continue to pollute the air and water, strip away the nonreplaceable resources, squander those that are "replaceable" and poison the land and water with long-lived toxins—in a word, rape the planet—we shall destroy ourselves.
Your report seemed lacking in only one thing: just a bow in the direction of what, to many of us, is father to the multitude of sins we impose on the patient earth. And that, of course, is the explosive manner in which we are overpopulating it. I am sure that this was a conscious omission. Surely opening that can of worms would have contributed little to what was a statement of the feasibility of conservation.
Finally I have read some ideas on what to do, not simply what to complain about. Congratulations for an up-to-date feature in the interest of conservation.
Your article gave some needed recognition to those who are working to save our streams, shores, forests and wildlife. It also sheds some light on the less-publicized dangers of thermal pollution and marshland destruction. Let's continue to give support to those who protest pillage and promote conservation. As you say, solutions to these problems will depend on a majority of the people being concerned.
DAVID L. BOND
APO San Francisco
DIVISION AND CONQUEST
The NFL's present four-division setup is the most ridiculous and unfair arrangement in the history of organized sports. According to this stupid divisional arrangement, the Colts, after their tremendous season, are now only the seventh-best team in professional football, behind Green Bay, Dallas, Los Angeles, Cleveland and the two divisional winners in the AFL. As you know, the Colts beat Green Bay and Dallas, and their record is identical to that of Los Angeles. In the old two-division league Green Bay would be a third-place team, and the Colts and Los Angeles would have had a playoff.
As things stand now one of the teams in the NFL championship game, Dallas, has a 9-5 record, and the other team, Green Bay, has a 9-4-1 record. All this while the Colts, with their 11-1-2 record, are eliminated. The four-division arrangement must be abolished before another team is victimized.
Your article on Captain George Bransford and the huge marlin of the Coral Sea (Some New Battles Are Boiling in the Coral Sea, Dec. 18) brings to mind the time George, my wife and I simultaneously hung three big blue marlin off Fort Lauderdale.
It was mainly Captain Bransford who proved we had big blues in these waters. We got those fish to the boat but lost them all trying to pull off the hat trick.
Even then Bransford had the itch to try Barrier Reef waters in Australia. He was after us to come and fish those waters. How I wish we could have. Someone who fishes with him will break Alfred Glassell's 1,560-pound black-marlin record. It couldn't happen to a finer guide.
JOHN W. STANTON
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
I enjoyed Bil Gilbert's article on domesticated wild animals (Call of the Not-so-wild, Dec. 18) and thought you might be interested in adding another species to the collection. While living in Monrovia, Liberia, my wife and I added, to a household that already included a German shepherd and a cat, a kusimanse (a variety of mongoose, although not the type famed as a cobra killer). She most nearly approximated the characteristics of the raccoon, being extremely inquisitive and using her long claws to investigate everything from the drawers of my desk to the insulation under the refrigerator. She got along splendidly with both the animal and human members of the family. Not being suited to apartment life in an American city, she now resides in the Philadelphia Zoo, but she retains enough of her domestic nature to come running over to be petted by anyone who opens her cage.
As an amateur naturalist I would like to bring out a point that Mr. Gilbert leads up to by saying that a "skunk will not step aside for anything." This is the reason we have so many dead skunks littering our thruways and country roads. They will stand up to anything.
New York City
That's all I can stand. Dan Jenkins' prejudiced dislike for the University of Notre Dame football team is no longer tolerable. First, in his article Football's Way-out Season (Dec. 25) he accuses Ara Parseghian of running up the score against lesser opponents. This is highly unjustified. Then, after continually complaining about the poll ratings, he proposes his own mythical Top 10—which is just that, a myth. He rates Alabama second, when even a seventh-place rating would be generous. At the same time he places Wyoming, a team with wins over such national powerhouses as Wichita State and San Jose State, ahead of Tennessee and UCLA.
Finally he completely neglects the 8-2 record of Notre Dame and that of what was perhaps the best team in the nation at season's end, Oregon State.
•The Jenkins rating system assumes that all teams involved play a reasonably representative schedule. Granting that, the number of major teams defeated by a team's victims is totaled. From this total subtract for defeats on a sliding scale basis, i.e., one for losing to a team that won nine, two for losing to a team that won eight, etc. (Divide ties half and half.) USC, for example, lost only to Oregon State, which was 7-2-1. So you subtract 2.5. USC's rating is thus 41.0 and highest in the land. For the Top 10, using this system after the bowl games, see page 22.
RIGHT TO VOTE
The SCORECARD item (Dec. 11) concerning the inclusion of Maurice Moorman of Texas A&M on the second team of the UPI All-America team correctly pointed out that Moorman was dropped from the Texas A&M squad during the season for scholastic reasons. But I would like to comment on the conclusion: "Apparently the team didn't miss Moorman. Only UPI did." As I explained to a representative of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, UPI was aware at the time the team was announced that Moorman had not completed the season. As a matter of fact, this point had been mentioned and explained in the story announcing the team.
The UPI All-America team is the only one directly determined by the votes of the nation's sportswriters, not by any committee after considering the votes. Mr. Moorman received enough votes in the balloting to be included on the second team, and therefore he was given the position to which the ballots entitled him.
We think this is the only honest way. To disregard the ballots simply because the editors at UPI might not agree with them hardly appears honest. It would be as if officials of the Baseball Writers Association decided not to count that Most Valuable Player vote received by Cesar Tovar because it struck them as silly.
I am disappointed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED chose to publish an item implying that UPI was unaware of Moorman's status.
JOHN G. GRIFFIN
Executive Sports Editor
United Press International
New York City