Come on now. With Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby in record time, the Knicks defeating the Lakers and Ernie D. having a shoot-out with the Russians, where did you find the guts to make Mark Spitz' marriage your May 14 cover story?
Rocky Hill, Conn.
Thank heaven my May 14 issue was delivered before lunch. Had it arrived after I had eaten, your cover would have been that much harder to take. How could you expose that overexposed countenance while hiding a magnificent photograph of Secretariat on pages 20-21?
New York City
Mark Spitz may be worth $5 million, but Secretariat is worth $6 million. He should have been on your cover.
Personally, I would rather look at pictures of Walt Frazier stealing the ball or Wilt Chamberlain performing his finger roll or Jerry West floating in for a layup than see Mark Spitz hugging his wife, standing in front of his glorious poster and gawking at his fabulous videotapes. Spitz has already ruined his image, and you certainly aren't helping yours.
It would seem that SI has changed its priorities in cover stories from sporting achievements to social jabberwocky. That was the poorest choice for a cover story I have ever seen. Will Bobby Orr be your June Groom when he weds Ms. Peggy Wood?
GEORGE F. HEHIR
Ever since he returned from Munich, Mark Spitz has been put in an unfair situation (On Your Mark, Get Set, Sell, May 14). When are people going to realize that Spitz is a champion swimmer—the best in the world, for that matter—and that he should be applauded as such. He is not a Hollywood actor or an intellectual. He did his thing better than anyone else, and anything extra he receives as a result can only be envied, not put down. Take him for what he is, not for what he should be.
JERRY M. BLUESTEIN
Beverly Hills, Calif.
After reading your article on the legendary and mercenary Mark Spitz, I became disappointed by his attitude of cashing in on his medals. In fact, I got so disgusted that I threw out my Schick razor and stopped drinking milk. Perhaps Mark is not at fault but merely at the mercy of his agents.
STUART C. TENTONI
I had begun to wonder if all who wrote about Mark Spitz were biased, so it was good to see that one writer has researched his material and gone into his story with an open mind. Jerry Kirshenbaum showed the reason for Spitz' arrogance toward the press: the press has done an exceedingly thorough job of ridiculing Mark. Kirshenbaum also showed that there is more substance to Spitz' character than a cursory glance reveals. Many thanks for presenting Mark as the shy, sensitive person he is.
THE OTHER MATCH
It was a heartwarming experience to see Bobby Riggs smash Mrs. Margaret Court (Mother's Day Ms. Match, May 21). Now if only Notre Dame would return to an all-male institution....
PAT KAISER '74
JAMES LEWIS '74
JAMES CLARKE '74
SCOTT GJOVIK '74
JACK ANDRYSZAK '73
Notre Dame, Ind.
Having watched the Mother's Day mismatch, I have one comment. Women's tennis is the biggest athletic joke since golf, the fat man's copout, was designated a sport.
Gallup, N. Mex.
I was embarrassed. I felt as though I were watching a man beat up a woman and was unable to do anything about it.
RICHARD K. BOYD
Can you conceive of a young Bobby Riggs telling his father of his burning ambition to be the ladies' singles champion of the world at age 55? It may be one-sided logic, but after all, if you knock out the heavyweight champion of the world, you inherit the title until somebody else wins it. Margaret Court won her titles before she was 30. It took Riggs 55 years. What is he trying to prove? And to think people paid to see it.
JOHN J. SAUNDERS
The Margaret Court-Bobby Riggs tennis match proved a lot of things. Among them, that Bobby Riggs is a very good tennis player and Ms. Court is a beautiful lady with a lot of guts who had a bad day.
MICHAEL M. TORBERT
Considering St. Louis' horrendous early going, some kind of SI coverage was mandatory (It's Enough to Make a Man See Red, May 14). Overlooked or unmentioned in your article, however, was the fact that the St. Louis organization has traded away a championship team. Aside from Steve Carlton, the Cardinals have dealt away Richie Allen, Bobby Tolan, Jerry Reuss, Jose Cardenal, Cookie Rojas, Vic Davalillo and others, not to mention Curt Flood. By now even Gussie Busch must be crying in his beer.
After constant exposure here in the Bay Area to doomsday predictions for "The Year of the Young Giants," I welcomed your recent article lauding San Francisco as a good young contender in the National League West. Now, hopefully, a hint of negative prognostication will also bring about "The Year of the Young Cardinals" in the National League East. Although many places on the St. Louis roster are held by unknown players, the Torres, Brocks and Gibsons, who remain, always seem to have a settling effect. It is only May now, and the real marbles come up for grabs in October. Look for the young Cardinals to be near the top. If they don't cop it all this year, watch out next year. Remember what happened in 1964.
J. L. PETRICK
Thank you for the article on the St. Louis Cardinals. It even made the San Diego Padres look good!
SPEED AND TEAMWORK
Congratulations are in order to Photographer James Drake for being the only person to have captured Roadrunner Yvan Cournoyer this season (Putting a Swifty Past Chicago, May 14). Cournoyer is a deserving winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy and is now, more than ever, the most exciting and colorful player in professional hockey.
JAY A. BLOSTEIN
Mark Mulvoy was right in his article on the Stanley Cup finals to emphasize the speed and fast pace of hockey and not the brutality aspect. Fists don't score goals, but speed and teamwork do.
I am completely disgusted. How could you do such an injustice to the New England Whalers and the people of New England? When the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the New York Rangers, you gave that series an appropriate two-page article. Fine. Give credit where it is due. Then the Celtics were shot down by the Knicks, and a four-page article followed. O.K. The people of New England still had a chance for a championship and on Sunday, May 6, we got it.
After the Whalers' decisive triumph over the Winnipeg Jets, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the May 14 issue, envisioning a well-written article of at least one page and maybe a picture of Larry Pleau scoring his clutch hat trick in the last game or even a shot of Teddy Green joyously drinking champagne out of the cup. What did New England get? A measly 27 lines in FOR THE RECORD and one tiny sentence in the article about the Canadiens and the Black Hawks.
Come on, SI, wake up! The Whalers make hockey history by winning the first WHA championship, and you treat it as if it were a grudge match between two water buffalo. In the name of thousands of disappointed New Englanders, I protest.
Kezar Falls, Maine
A DIFFERENT GAME
While watching our U.S. college basketball stars play the U.S.S.R. aggregation, I began to wonder why the American team must be subjected to such dirty tactics under the international rules of the game. Why must our players have to resort to such a crude and demeaning style? It seems to me that since basketball is an American invention and since it was introduced to the other nations of the world by Americans, the rules of the game, primarily the ones by which our collegiate game is now governed, should be as we set forth, not as they are interpreted by some international committee.
Let the foreign teams raise their level of competition to our standard, instead of making our teams lower their style of play to accommodate the brutish and roughhewn manner in which most foreign teams operate.
ALLEN E. HEAD
After seeing the U.S.-U.S.S.R. basketball games, I nominate Willie Lanier, Dick Butkus, Tommy Nobis, Alan Page and Merlin Olsen to play in the next Russian encounter. Mike Curtis would be a great sixth man and Alex Karras could coach. Frankly, international basketball brings the finesse and subtlety of an Attila to the game. Given the same circumstances, George Foreman would cover up in the corners and Derek Sanderson would turn to field hockey.
PHILIP G. DECKER II
Those of us who watched the U.S.-U.S.S.R. basketball confrontation on May 7 witnessed a classic illustration of what the dunk shot can do for the game. The crowd was on the edge of its seats watching the passing, dribbling and shooting of Ernie DiGregorio, but what really brought the fans to their feet were the successive dunks of Marvin Barnes and Swen Nater. The dunk is the most thrilling play in basketball. It detracts neither from the excitement and skills of the good little man nor from the beauty of the floating jump shot. Put the dunk back into college ball. Give us back the biggest play.
JOHN A. E. HUBBELL
I was very pleased to see your article on shotputter Al Feuerbach (The Magnificent Obsession, April 30). It shows that not all world-famous athletes are in sport for the money. Al even drives a 1964 car. It seems that Feuerbach is one of a new breed of athletes. He has long hair and a mustache, but he isn't out to knock the Establishment.
Your article on Al Feuerbach was stimulating. I, too, see a new type of athlete emerging—one who sees his life as an art and builds his very existence accordingly.
My girlfriend of four years thought the article was interesting, also. So interesting, in fact, that she dumped me because she thought both Al and I were more concerned with our "unique style of life" than with anything or anyone else.
Somehow, that "magnificent obsession" (that is, obsession with self) does not seem quite so magnificent to me any longer.
We greatly enjoyed Frank Deford's article about Joe Garagiola, baseball-player-turned-celebrity (It's Not the Game, April 9). We especially liked the comparison made between Garagiola and Harry Chiti, baseball-player-turned-obscurity. Being trivia buffs as well as baseball fans, we naturally have adopted Harry Chiti as our idol and have dedicated ourselves to obtaining for Harry the recognition that such a charismatic .238 hitter truly deserves. The culmination of this worship occurred last Nov. 16, when the four of us traveled in a one-car Citizens for Chiti Motorcade from Urbana to Kincaid, Ill., Harry's birthplace, for the Harry Chiti 40th birthday celebration. The fact that Harry had evidently moved from Kincaid at a tender age and was only vaguely remembered by two elderly gentlemen did not deter our ceremonies, and we continued with a speech on the steps of the high school to a massed throng of zero. It is heartening that we now have Frank Deford and SI as allies in our Harry Chiti crusade.
Every once in a while I notice in your SCORECARD section items under the heading "Names, Please." I thought I would add some trivia that might interest you in this area. I played basketball at South Georgia Junior College in 1966-67. During this period we had players on our roster with the following names: King, Guest, Blizzard, Rabbitt, Greengrass and O'Rourke. Our student manager's name was Mountjoy. Once, while our team was playing in a tournament at Florida State, a spectator, upon seeing our names on the backs of our warmup jackets, approached our coach and said: "There is no way a human being can be tagged with a name like Rabbitt, and how did a good Irishman like O'Rourke end up playing with people who have those kinds of names?"
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.