MAD ABOUT JOE
Regarding your horror cover of Aug. 17, what was it?
1) A zombie recently escaped from some moldy crypt?
2) A new and even more horrible version of Wolfman?
3) A mindless creature dreamed up by the proverbial mad scientist?
4) The quarterback of the onetime football champions of the world and a supposed ideal for American youth?
Whichever choice you make, the hand painted dunce cap goes to the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the most hideous, pointless, disgusting, supremely distasteful cover picture in the history of your or any other sports magazine. What woefully sorry days we have fallen upon!
NEIL H. SHREVE
Fairmont, W. Va.
A great quarterback must also be a great sport, and Namath has to be on the bottom of this list. Here's hoping no one's son wants to grow up to be like this creep. Let's keep Hollywood off the cover and out of sports.
Finally you have pictured Joe Willie as I have always seen him. However, I would much rather see him as pictured on page 31 (A Game That Gets a Good Man Down, Aug. 17), where Buck Buchanan does a good job on him. The game of football hardly needs publicity, especially of this kind. I would have preferred a cover photo of Lance Alworth making a diving catch or Johnny Weissmuller riding an elephant. Mr. Namath just docs not make it.
Once my present subscription expires, it will be my pleasure to return my renewal card, folded, spindled and mutilated.
Prince George, Va.
No wonder Joe turned to acting; you won't see him ad-libbing with Pete Barnes or Buck Buchanan.
You have set motion pictures back 100 years!
The hairy bum shouldn't be allowed to play football.
North Bellmore, N.Y.
Ah, fer cryin' out loud! That cover photo was strictly from hunger. I don't know for what sport Joe Namath was preparing in this movie, but it wasn't one we need in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. For that matter, I am one of those who think we don't need Joe Namath in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED anymore. He is good copy for the newspapers, but I question whether his football ability would be worth writing about if they left his extra-curricular activities out of the story.
Kansas City, Kans.
Come on, give Joe a break. When you get down to it, if you had all the money and prestige you would ever need, who would you want hugging you—the blonde on the cover or the brute on page 33?
Wow! Who is that gorgeous girl with Joe?
•She is Victoria George, an American actress living in Rome.—ED.
How dare you show only pictures of Joe getting hit! Your portfolio of photos seems to make the Jet offensive line look terrible. As staunch Jet fans, we feel that Winston Hill, Dave Herman, Randy Rasmussen and John Schmitt arc four of the best offensive linemen in pro football (and that includes the National Conference).
At least your photographs deny the accusation that Joe Namath doesn't have guts. Many people feel that he throws the ball away just to avoid contact. These pictures show what happens after he throws the ball. We challenge you to show a picture of where the football was in each of these situations. We tend to think that it was safely in the hands of George Sauer or Don Maynard.
Congratulations on a brilliant article. Maybe you can start a series, with the next issue featuring Joe Kapp getting dumped.
Citrus Heights, Calif.
Thank you for the article and photographs on Joe Namath. They portray the real life of a pro quarterback. It was a great tribute to a man I greatly admire and respect. Joe Willie Namath may be out for more money but so is everyone else, and he would be a damn fool to think or do otherwise.
I just have one thing to say. Those defensive linemen couldn't have done it to a nicer guy.
Many thanks for an honest and revealing story about Cleveland's pitching ace, Sam McDowell (Sam of 1,000 Ways, Aug. 17). The main point of the article—i.e., that McDowell has the ability to pitch brilliantly—was proved on Aug. 13 when he pitched his 17th victory, a three-hitter over Oakland. A truly bright future is awaiting Sudden Sam.
RICHARD L. BUNGE
The trouble with Sam McDowell is that there aren't enough people like him. The trouble with John (Blue Moon) Odom is that there's one too many of him. Moon Odom doesn't have Sudden's stuff, and I'd like to tell him to keep quiet until he does. And for anyone else who says Sam has never had a good season, here are a few statistics:
Led the league with 325 strikeouts and a 2.18 ERA, won 17 games and made the All-Star team.
Led the league with 225 SOs.
Led the league with 283 SOs, placed second in ERA and made the All-Stars.
Led the league with 279 SOs, scored 18 victories (his personal high) and again made the All-Stars.
Who knows what Sam will finish with this year? But don't worry, it will be good. Eat your heart out, Blue Moon Odom.
Sudden Sam is my kind of man. Baseball is just a part of his life. This is the way it should be. Most of us tend to take the game too seriously and inject too many life-and-death aspects into it.
I salute Pat Jordan for an engaging and enlightening treatment of an enigmatic athlete. Perhaps now we Indian fans can more understandingly resign ourselves to worshiping Sam for what he is rather than for what we may have wished him to be. Although we may not possess the biggest winner in baseball, we may have in Sam something more vital to the well-being of the game than a winner.
RONALD G. HEYDUK
Ann Arbor, Mich.
HANK, WILLIE AND ROBERTO
Your prediction that those who follow the Pittsburgh Pirates would be enraged by the comments of the anonymous "baseball fan" quoted in your SCORECARD item ("Heresy," Aug. 17) was quite correct. Anybody who follows Pirate baseball knows that Roberto Clemente is the greatest in the game today. Nearly every reference this "fan" makes to Willie Mays is in the past tense. If Clemente is anything, he is underrated. As for helping his learn, kindly check the National League standings. We wouldn't trade Clemente for Mays, Aaron or anyone else!
Your "non-Pittsburgh fan" says that he is sick and tired of hearing that Roberto Clemente is the greatest player in the game today. Maybe this is so because everyone has been telling him this.
I agree 100% with that baseball fan's comments. He singled out the facts that the Buc fans fail to see and that the rest of the nation notices. A Clemente does not compare with an Aaron or a Mays. Thanks for bringing out the truth.
Old Bridge, N.J.
If you want to get picky, you can point out flaws in any player. Mays, for example, has had a baffling succession of slumpy Septembers and, on the occasions when the Giants have made the World Series, bad Octobers. Despite all his home runs, he has never hit one in three World Series, and his lifetime batting average for 17 Series games is .234.
Aaron, on the other hand, is not an outstanding fielder. His arm is not strong, and he does not make many long running catches or good plays in the corner to hold hitters to singles instead of doubles as Clemente does.
Mays, Aaron and Clemente are all great players. Let's leave it at that.
DAVID S. HEEREN
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Statistically, I must agree that Aaron and Mays have hit more home runs and driven in more runs than Clemente. But sometimes statistics don't hold any value. For example, Ty Cobb led in more statistical departments than Babe Ruth, yet the Babe was named the greatest ever last year. This greatest ever stuff is all decided in people's minds. To me, if a man contributes his best to baseball he can never be overrated.
CALL FOR ACTION
It occurs to me upon looking at the baseball standings in today's paper that something is amiss. Two years ago when division play was proposed all we heard were promises and more promises of more exciting pennant races. Just think—four exciting down-to-the-wire races instead of two. Well, here it is, barely a month after the All-Star Game, and three of those promised races are over. It doesn't take any great insight to see that Baltimore, Minnesota and Cincinnati are in like Flynn. The Pirates and the Mets will probably go down to the wire, so maybe you just have to write the National League off as having one of those years.
How many more years does Minnesota have to waltz away with the Western AL crown before people realize that its division needs help? And if Baltimore wins one more Eastern AL title I'm going to be sick all over my morning sports page! A definite reorganization is called for.
The most obvious move would seem to be the transfer of some of the better teams in the stronger Eastern to the Western Division. How about New York and the Red Sox for KC and Milwaukee, or Detroit and Cleveland for Oakland and Chicago, or anybody for anybody?
As long as Baltimore gets the privilege of playing its cousins from Kansas City and the Twins are permitted to rampage through their cream-puff division, I see nothing but more of the same dull pennant "races" year after year.
ROBERT L. DAWSON
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