Skip to main content
Original Issue


Well, the kiss of death still lives. You tried not to jinx the UCLA-North Carolina State game by putting both Bill Walton and Tom Burleson on the March 25 cover. The game (two overtimes) was as close as the jinx allowed. Your picture of Walton was [1/16]" wider than your picture of Burleson.
Excelsior, Minn.

In his article (Down and Out, Back Up and Ready) Barry McDermott did not foresee the one deciding factor in the UCLA-North Carolina State game. N.C. State Coach Norm Sloan started two Hoosiers (Monte Towe and Tim Stoddard), who played a fine game for him, while John Wooden kept his Hoosier (Pete Trgovich) on the bench. You might say that Everett Case finally got his revenge. It works this way: when John Wooden was a senior at Martinsville (Ind.) High School in 1928, his team defeated Frankfort 30-13 in the semifinal game of the Indiana State Basketball Tournament. Frankfort was coached by Everett Case, who went on to coach Frankfort to four state titles. As mentioned on the UCLA-N.C. State national telecast, Case gave Norm Sloan his start in basketball. Thus, 46 years later, in another semifinal game, Wooden and UCLA lost to Sloan and N.C. State. By the way, Sloan also played high school basketball in Indiana and was named to the Silver Anniversary Hall of Fame team in 1969.

Another famous name popped up in that 1928 game. One of the two officials was Birch Bayh Sr.
Wichita, Kans.

SI cover-story jinx or no, it was written in the stars that the N.C. State Wolfpack was going to win the NCAA basketball championship. When Coach Norm Sloan wore that loud sport coat that unjinxes everything, we knew the Pack would win. If you did not notice, Norm wore the same coat during the last two ACC games, through the ACC tournament, through the Eastern Regionals and through the championships.
Raleigh, N.C.

Please tell Barry McDermott that we did stop all the plows down here in North Carolina that Saturday, but in the process we stopped a few other machines simultaneously, namely, Big Red and his factory and sporty Al McGuire.

Barry can talk corn pone, grits and tobacco smoke all he wants to, just as long as he gives our NCAA champions—North Carolina State—their due respect. We don't mind. We're good sports, good supporters and, one thing for sure, darn good basketball players.

Tell Barry we still love him, though. Till the cows come home, that is.
Greensboro, N.C.

While your magazine has done some irritating things before, your March 25 issue takes the cake. Not only did you slight the University of Dayton by suggesting that its triple-overtime loss to UCLA was a fluke, you gave it only minor coverage. When one of the finest college games of all time merits no more space than that given to a photo of Bill Walton lounging by poolside, something is wrong. And Barry McDermott's words "in the next two overtimes Dayton had few chances at victory" amaze me, for I sat at courtside as a member of the press and saw the Flyers miss several golden opportunities. What game was Mr. McDermott viewing?

After Dayton soundly beat Notre Dame, you gave the game one line. Then when the Flyers play UCLA even for 50 minutes, you give the game a brief paragraph. We all know that Dayton lost and we all know that losers complain a great deal, but how about some credit where credit is due?

Mark Mulvoy's article on the Montreal Canadiens (A Dynasty Imperiled, March 25) was degrading. The fact that the Canadiens have been plagued by injuries has hurt their season, but when the regulars were out, there was plenty of talent on the bench. How about Steve Shutt? He, along with Yvon Lambert and Dave Gardner (since traded to St. Louis), did a fine job when the Habs' big line of Cournoyer-Lemaire-Lefley was injured. Pierre Bouchard also did an outstanding job on defense when All-Stars Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard and veteran Jacques Laperriere were out.

True, the Canadiens have lost 22 games, but nobody who knows anything about hockey ever expected them to repeat last year's 52-10-16 record. Not even the Boston Bruins, who are in first place and healthy, can do that. Just wait until the playoffs and you'll see where Montreal's pride is.
Cazenovia, N.Y.

How sorry we felt when we read of Montreal's decline. It is getting to be quite tiresome to hear Canadien fans, and now their pampered players, bemoan the turn for the worse in Montreal.

All we can say is how lucky they are to be Canadien fans. Michel Plasse, Wayne Thomas and Michel Laroque may not be the equal of attorney Ken Dryden, but they are a lot better than the six or seven journeyman goal-tenders paraded through Detroit this year. How awful to be in second place! Maybe the Canadiens and their loyal maniac fans would rather sit through 78 debacles cheering for the Detroit Dead Wings.

We hope the Montreal fans can quit crying and settle for the likes of Lemaire, Savard and Lapointe—and for second place.

Congratulations on the article praising the University of Minnesota's team effort in its NCAA hockey victory over Michigan Tech (Big Night for Chauvinists, March 25). Recognition of the outstanding high school program in Minnesota that supplied the talent for this year's team has long been overdue. With all but seven players due to return next year and an anticipated excellent recruiting job by Coach Herb Brooks, the Minnesota Gophers will be in contention for the championship for the next couple of years.

However, in spite of the team effort, I feel that the four Gopher players who scored goals should be mentioned: John Perpich, John Sheridan, Robby Harris and Pat Phippen.
St. Paul, Minn.

I am nonplussed by your coverage of the NCAA hockey championship and the victory by the University of Minnesota. Since the Gophers' win is indicative of the great improvement in the quality of U.S. hockey, I expected more than a one-page article with no photographs. How long will it be before another NCAA championship team is composed of 100% home-grown athletes? Or are hot pants for figure skaters more interesting?

The articles by Robert Creamer on Babe Ruth (And Along Came Ruth, March 18, et seq.) brought back memories of the most eventful day of my youth. I spent six hours of that day with the Babe.

In the year 1927 the New York Yankees stopped over in Toledo, Ohio to play an exhibition game with our local team, the Mud Hens, managed by Casey Stengel. I served as bat boy for the Yankees and got the opportunity to meet my hero.

Babe borrowed my fountain pen and autographed six dozen baseballs. I carried them out to the bleachers, and the Babe began tossing the balls to the kids. You could see how he enjoyed himself and made the kids happy. When we got down to the last box, I said, "Babe, don't forget me," and he gave me the last three balls.

After the game I got into a cab with the Babe and Lou Gehrig. We stopped at a bakery and Lou sent me in for a pie. He and Babe ate half of it and gave me the other half. When we arrived at the hotel. Babe handed me five bucks. It was a day I'll never forget. The five dollars is long gone, but I still have my 47-year-old fountain pen, an autographed baseball and my fond memory of the greatest player of that era. Incidentally, the Mud Hens won the American Association pennant that year and Casey Stengel went on to greater heights.
West Covina, Calif.

How nice it was reading the article on Marvin Miller by Robert Boyle (This Miller Admits He's a Grind, March 11), which brought back memories of Ebbets Field and my childhood heroes. Yes, Rube Bressler used to throw balls to the kids in the wooden circus-seat bleachers. But he was remembered best for taking three chews on his cud on the way to the outfield. The crowd used to chant One-Two-Three. And Del Bissonette, the first baseman ("he had a golfer's swing"), whom the immortal John McGraw called a joke hitter. But he beat the hated Giants with many a timely base hit. Hank DeBerry, a mediocre catcher, who was only in the big leagues because he had caught Dazzy Vance in the minors. Watson (Lefty) Clark, who had a curve that broke a foot. One holiday doubleheader he and Vance shut out the Giants. Besides his overpowering speed, Vance for a while used to bedevil the batters with another play. He wore white flannel undershirts which he cut up to the elbow on his right arm. This fringe used to flap in the wind and confuse the batters further. They finally complained enough to get him to stop. Babe Herman, the daffiness boy, who once hit a triple into a double play. Then there was the character known as Pittsburgh Jake, who used to sit in the upper left-field stands. He rooted for any team that played the Dodgers. He was the original banner man, with a sign that said "Shut Up" in English on one side and in Yiddish on the other side. Yes, that article brought back memories, and I would love to read some more letters from old-time Brooklyn Dodger fans.
Claverack, N.Y.

The insight into the labor union background of Marvin Miller was very revealing. Since the aim of unionization is the reduction of the level of performance of union members to the lowest common denominator, Mr. Miller will undoubtedly continue to make a marked impact on major league baseball, until he has destroyed it completely.
Forest Park, Ill.

I would like to express my appreciation to Robert F. Jones on his timely, yet tragically true, article (Slaughter on South Island, March 18). In reading it one feels that some attempt ought to be made by those of us who would like to see this wanton slaughtering stopped before it leads to extinction to communicate our feelings to those who are in a position to help bring it to a stop.
Battle Creek, Mich.

Robert Jones presents only the bloody and somewhat emotional picture of commercial harvesting operations. The historical background for Jones' scenario is far more complex than can be dealt with, as he attempted, in only three paragraphs. There can be no question that the Noxious Animals Act of 1956 is an anachronism, and that New Zealanders must soon recognize that management of "noxious" animals for other than just commercial gain is the only rational approach. Concomitantly, writers like Jones must realize that commercial harvest of an otherwise surplus renewable resource is a valid use of that resource, and that mawkish articles about efficient use of modern equipment do not promote reasoned solutions.

The problem lies in the lack of any coordinated national approach for allocation of these "noxious" animal populations among beneficial uses (e.g., sport hunting, commercial and non-consumptive uses). In this vacuum the various national park boards and other land-controlling bodies can be easily pressured by the moneyed interests. Without national leadership, and in the face of cutthroat competition, there is no way a helicopter operator can afford not to shoot anything that moves, whatever the time of year.

The author's lucid, sanguinary passages describing the operations seem to imply that using helicopters as a tool to manage animal populations is somehow unethical, particularly for commercial purposes. Yet, in a country largely dependent upon agricultural exports and in a world craving protein, is it better to shoot animals with hired deer cullers on foot and let them decay on the mountain tops by the tens of thousands, as has been New Zealand government practice for at least three decades?

The red deer in New Zealand will only go the way of our buffalo if its habitat is fenced, plowed or otherwise destroyed as was that of the bison (although wholesale slaughter in the late 19th century greatly hastened as demise). Given protection of its range, such as in Fiordland National Park, the red deer population can indefinitely sustain itself. The question is merely for whose benefit—the venison recovery operators, or all New Zealanders, including the commercial operators?
Juneau, Alaska

After reading your recent article The Agony and Drip-Dry Ecstasy, March 11, my whole swim team declared it excellent. Few articles truly dramatize the feeling that exists in parents, coaches and swimmers during a race.

Your article proves that swimming is not dull but full of life, mentally and physically demanding. It also helped to bring an increasingly popular sport into the homes of people who think water is something to take a bath in.

Please continue to provide the growing population of swimmers with articles such as this.
Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Your article on the Kids and Kubs soft-ball club (Old Lions Full of Growl, March 4) was enjoyable and long overdue. However, I was greatly disappointed that the name of John P. Maloney was not mentioned. My great-uncle played for the Kids and Kubs for 21 years until failing eyesight last spring kept him from his goal of pitching at the age of 100.

For many years he was the oldest active ballplayer in the world. He died just a few weeks ago at the age of 97. I believe he would still be alive if he could have taken the mound again last year and thrown a few strikes to his 91-year-old catcher, Bill Davis. As Jim Waldie says, "You lay down, you die."
Citrus Heights, Calif.

Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.