As an avid sports fan I would like to thank SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Jay Cronley for bringing the Oklahoma football situation to the public's attention (Oklahoma Penalty: Illegal Procedure, April 30). I find it appalling to think that cheap, conniving ways are used to lure athletic talent to particular universities. I believe a total crackdown by the NCAA is necessary to try and clear up the injustices being done to high school recruits. Now that the problem is out in the open, the NCAA must look into all universities, not only Oklahoma, which is but one among many. Now is the time to investigate the faults of college recruiting, before the "dirty" label is placed on all of our collegiate sports.
New Hyde Park, N.Y.
I was disappointed to read about the altered transcripts of Oklahoma football players Kerry Jackson and Mike Phillips. I agree that something should be done, but why declare Jackson and Phillips ineligible? They had nothing to do with it. There should be a way to penalize the guilty without affecting the innocent.
I read your story rather dispassionately, as a report of the facts—and it was a good job. But for me, the two paragraphs near the end containing the remarks of Tom Hansen, assistant executive director of the NCAA, provided a more significant perception of what is happening in the world of sports.
If indeed the NCAA's view of televising next season's Oklahoma games despite a possible NCAA probation is as Mr. Hansen stated, i.e., that "the contract between ABC and the NCAA has been approved, and we would consider it binding. It may be too late for the network to make any changes," then the NCAA ought to disassociate itself from sports in perpetuity or at least until the sun rises in the West.
That the assistant executive director would even make such a statement should put the NCAA on probation for the next 30 years.
San Jose, Calif.
Morton Sharnik's article on Al Feuerbach (The Magnificent Obsession, April 30) was a sterling account of a man overcoming all odds to become a champion.
I once coached a ninth-grade team that was too small, too short, too inexperienced and always too outmanned to win a football game. I told the 16 members that it was not always the biggest or the best team that won, but always the team that wanted to win the most. That team became the AAA Catholic city champs of Houston. All 16 of them!
Man-made laws say that a man of Feuerbach's size cannot put the shot 70 feet. These same laws do not weigh the size of the heart or the intensity of obsession, if you please, to become the best. Through his ability to close out the rest of the seemingly mundane things of the world, and to concentrate solely on throwing the shotput, Al Feuerbach will become the greatest shotputter to ever live. Why? Because he thinks he can.
•Feuerbach broke the world record last Saturday with a heave of 71'7".—ED.
As a longtime fan of the Giants, I enjoyed your article They're Neither Too Old Nor Too Young (April 30). With veterans such as Marichal, McCovey and McDowell blending with the youth of Speier, Bonds and Goodson, the Giants should give the Big Red Machine fits this year and for years to come. I have seen Speier play on a few occasions, and there is no doubt in my mind he is on the path to superstardom. Many major league shortstops have great arms, but not the bat or the desire Chris has. With him and with many other young players gaining experience, the Giants seem assured of producing a contender that will indeed bring the fans once again to Candlestick Park.
SAXON GRAHAM JR.
Orchard Park, N.Y.
Three cheers for Pat Putnam. It is about time something good was written about the San Francisco Giants. They are definitely one of the most exciting teams in baseball, and they represent what the teams of tomorrow will be like, young and determined. As for your cover, Chris Speier is the hero of today and the superstar of tomorrow.
Can your article be interpreted as a retraction of your preseason (April 9) projection of a lowly fifth-place finish for the San Francisco Giants in the National League West?
Foster City, Calif.
If the San Francisco Giants are so great, why did the Cincinnati Redlegs (the best team in baseball) beat them four times, including three games played in Candlestick Park?
Your article on the San Francisco Giants had an ironic twist. For years, whenever I thought of the Giants I thought of the great Willie Mays. Was it as a tribute to him, or purely accidental, that your article started on page 24, his old number?
BRAHM P. ROCKWOOD
Your article was very good, but I believe that you did not give enough credit where credit was due. Garry Maddox, after 19 games, just happens to be leading the major leagues in hits with 30. He is batting .390, has five stolen bases, two doubles, three triples, a home run and nine RBIs at this writing (April 24). I think Maddox is one of the up-and-coming stars of the game (and I don't use the word "star" loosely). He deserves more publicity, but I'm sure the time will come when Willie Mays' "happy replacement" in center field will be recognized as a great one.
Your trivia question concerning Dave Kingman in your fine article on the Giants proves no challenge for the average fan. Everyone should remember Rocky Colavito as a relief pitcher and team-leading home-run hitter with the Cleveland Indians in the late 1950s.
I want to congratulate Ron Fimrite on his article concerning Larry Christenson and Dick Ruthven, the two young Philadelphia pitchers (So Far So Good So Fast, April 30). He captured the feelings Philadelphia has toward the two youngsters. They might be the best thing to happen to the Phillies since Steve Carlton.
I resent your statement regarding Larry Christenson's five-hit, 7-1 win over New York that "even the kid next door or your Aunt Tillie could pitch a five-hitter against the Mets." If this is so, why are the Mets one game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East? They must be doing something right!
I hardly think the Phillies deserve being called a "joke team" anymore (SCORECARD, April 30). They are young and coming up and will probably finish third or fourth this year and be a contender in two or three years.
Cherry Hill, N.J.
VICTORY IS SWEETER
It was with considerable interest and nostalgia that I read Jay Cronley's article on defeat (It's No Way to Get One's Kicks, April 30). His recollection of the 1957 Notre Dame-Oklahoma game took me back to that famous day in Irish football history. He failed to mention that there were still over three minutes left in the game when Notre Dame scored and that Oklahoma came right back down the field and gave us Notre Dame students the scare of our lives. If it had not been for a last-minute interception in the end zone by Bobby Williams, I feel sure that the score would have been tied.
Both teams played a great game and the Sooners had nothing to be ashamed of. They were tremendous in a losing cause and I am sure they would have run any other team off the field.
What I remember most about that day, however, was that for the first time in Notre Dame's history the classes on the following Monday were canceled because of a win on the football field. How sweet that was.
PATRICK T. CLARK
FUEL FOR AN ARGUMENT
It is difficult to tell whether Bill Brodrick (SCORECARD, April 30) is, as the saying goes, bragging or complaining when he says, "In last year's racing at Talladega we used enough gasoline to supply the average layman for 25 years and enough oil to take a car to the moon 2½ times."
In these times of concern for the depletion of all natural resources, one must question the justification of such enormous expenditures of oil for such a limited purpose as auto racing.
ROBERT T. BATWINIS
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