BUCKS AND BOMBS
I would like to congratulate Frank Deford on his NBA predictions (Goodby to the Old Balance of Power, Oct. 27). They were a riot! Thanks for the laughs.
JOHN DEVENDORF JR.
I have enjoyed Mr. Deford's articles in the past, but it seems incredible to me that such an obviously learned basketball writer can pick the Milwaukee Bucks and the Baltimore Bullets to finish ahead of the New York Knickerbockers. The Knicks have got to have the most balanced and deepest team in basketball. Mr. Deford must have been watching the ABA when the Knicks swept the Bullets in the playoffs and narrowly lost to Boston with Walt Frazier, maybe one of the best guards in the NBA, operating at half speed in the last two games. Now, with 12 men instead of nine and with such substitutes as Cazzie Russell, Dave Stallworth and the underrated Mike Riordan, how can they be beaten by the one-man Milwaukee Alcindors? My point is proved by the Knicks' current record: 10-1.
Frank Deford's list of teams and their order of finish was undoubtedly a printer's mistake. Turning the magazine upside down and starting with Philadelphia at the top would give basketball fans a truer picture of the outcome.
THOMAS W. STEWART
What a bomb you dropped on the American Basketball Association (Competition Will Be Stimulating, but the Quality Is Second Best, Oct. 27). Granted, there is plenty of inequality between the ABA and NBA. There is none worse, however, than the unequal coverage you give the two pro leagues. Public acceptance of the ABA is vital to its survival and growth. In Indiana we have accepted the Pacers and the rest of the Lively League teams, too. We sincerely hope you will do the same in the near future.
GEORGE W. SCHMUTTE
My Story (Oct. 27 et seq.) by Lew Alcindor with Jack Olsen provided me with a rare insight into the trials and tribulations of a black star of today. It is an infrequent occasion when an athlete, black or white, can express himself in the manner that Lew has. He must be given credit for putting up with the immense amount of attention and prejudice to which he has been exposed and still remaining a stable and sensible person.
Congratulations to Jack Olsen on his excellent story about Lew Alcindor. While reading the story I felt obliged to ask if Mr. Olsen was writing about Lew's basketball career or about Lew's hardships while playing basketball. Surely Mr. Olsen realizes that if everyone in the world is against Lew, as the story tries to make us believe, Lew would never have received a free education from UCLA. I am sure Lew was not expecting it to be easy.
I think that in this day and age most of us judge an athlete not by his color but rather by the athlete's ability to compete in a given sport. I, for one, think that Big Lew is going to make an excellent pro basketball player.
Recently you ran a short article calling attention to the plight of Oregon State University basketball player Gary Freeman (SCORECARD, Sept. 15). He had played in an unauthorized benefit basketball game and was declared ineligible for his senior year by the NCAA. The next week (19TH HOLE, Sept. 22) you printed a letter I wrote protesting the NCAA action. I also had contacted members of the NCAA council.
I am pleased to pass on the news that the NCAA council reversed its earlier decision and has allowed Gary Freeman to compete this winter. He hopes to play professional basketball and then to coach in high school. Because I was one of several public officials who spoke against the earlier action, I want to publicly praise the NCAA for its most recent decision. The NCAA council showed that it acts in the best interests of the athlete involved.
MARK O. HATFIELD
United States Senator
PENN IN HAND
With all due respect to a fine Penn State football team and Pat Putnam's article (State Stands Tall with the Aid of Some Zap, Oct. 27), I think it should be pointed out that Syracuse out-everythinged Penn State offensively and defensively in this year's edition of the East's biggest rivalry. Special credit should go to the defensive unit that held State without a first down until a few minutes were left in the first half.
JAMES C. BUCK
As a native Baltimorean, I have witnessed thrice the painful humiliation of my hometown teams, sometimes as a result of poor officiating. Never, however, have I seen such gross incompetence as that exhibited by the referees at the recent Penn State-Syracuse football game. The pass interference call at the Orange four-yard line, which set up Penn State's first, momentum-gaining touchdown, ranks as one of the most unbelievable calls in football history. What more than 42,000 fans saw (not all Orange backers) was offensive pass interference on the part of Charlie Pittman, who for some mysterious reason was leaning on his defender before the ball arrived.
Other unsupportable points brought up in the story include this statement: "Syracuse, which had been punting long and well all day, suddenly got off a short kick, and Penn State had the ball on the 39-yard line." Let the record show that Penn State's great punter out-kicked Jakowenko by an average of 15 yards during the game. While Jakowenko's final kick was nowhere near good, it was virtually as good as his previous efforts.
One final comment, please. When running captions such as, "When runners bump into Smear and Reid, the road is closed," kindly inform opposing fullbacks such as Al Newton, who ran over and through your dynamic duo for 94 yards in 19 carries.
If Mr. Putnam did truly attend the game, he was unrecognizable without his white cane.
Your article was in excellent taste. It is a pleasure to read about a top-ranked team without having the winner overpraised or the loser degraded. Penn State is not a sensational team or a team with a couple of superstars but a football team that plays its best for 60 minutes every Saturday. Penn State and its coaches deserve the attention you have given them.
DUMMIT, PLUNKETT AND GRICH
Your story concerning Dennis Dummit (Transformed by the Transfer, Oct. 27) mentioned that "nobody wanted Dummit when he got out of high school in Long Beach.... Everybody wanted the guy who played ahead of him, a thrower named Bob Gritch."
You may be interested to know that Bob (his surname is correctly spelled Grich) batted .310 in the Texas League this past season and was chosen as the All-Star shortstop in that league while playing for Dallas-Fort Worth. He is regarded by many experts as the finest athlete ever produced in Long Beach, a city known for remarkable athletes over the years.
He will never be UCLA's quarterback as Tommy Prothro may have once envisioned, but it is entirely possible that Bob Grich may very soon be playing major league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles.
Long Beach, Calif.
Is Mr. Dan Jenkins an alumnus of UCLA, or are USC and UCLA the only West Coast teams he has had time to see and/or read about this year? I would like him to consider the following statistics and then tell me as honestly as possible if he still thinks Dennis Dummit is "the best quarterback on the West Coast."
Dummit has completed 83 of 143 passes for 1,658 yards and l9 TDs, while Jim Plunkett of Stanford has completed 129 of 222 passes for 1,744 yards and 15 TDs. Please note, too, that Dummit has played in eight games and has hardly missed a down. Plunkett, on the other hand, has played only seven games, in several of which he left the ball game shortly after halftime to allow backup Quarterback Don Bunce some time to play.
Now then, Mr. Jenkins: Who did you say was the best quarterback on the West Coast?
MICHAEL D. FERRARI
Menlo Park, Calif.
I found Tex Maule's article (When the Saints Go Stumbling Out, Oct. 27) rather amusing. However, in defense of other New Orleanians and Saints' fans, I must say that we don't all throw manure at the mayor or boo the Saints. We do realize that they are an expansion team, that they are 1-6 and that, so far, they have played the best of the NFL. We also hope the local society for the prevention of cruelty to animals doesn't run Doug Atkins out of town—we need him!
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