Jefferson Street Joe Gilliam isn't the only "bubbling spirit" in Pittsburgh (Gillie Was a Steeler Driving Man, Sept. 23). Every fan in the Steel City has been jumping for joy since Joe made his big splash as starting quarterback. He has the arm, he has the agility, but most of all he has a great Steeler team to back him up.
Maybe it isn't "classic" for a quarterback to "smile and bounce around with both hands in the air after a successful play," but it keeps the team's and the fans' spirits high.
Who needs your cover headline "Pittsburgh's Black Quarterback"? I don't think Chuck Noll considers Joe Gilliam his "black" quarterback. Nor does the team. Nor do the Steeler fans. Nor does Joe Gilliam. I think all of the above consider Gilliam their No. 1 quarterback.
Despite his statement, "But let us not play this thing too much in terms of race and revolution," Roy Blount Jr. seems to have a race/color hang-up. Witness four paragraphs later when he falls into the following analogy: "...the convergence of Holmes and White having turned him [Domres] into the center of an Oreo cookie."
Remember, Joe Gilliam is purely and simply one heck of a No. 1 quarterback. Leave him that way.
RICHARD J. VESELY
It is about time an NFL team gave a black quarterback a fighting chance. Blacks have proved themselves in other positions, yet few NFL teams are willing to take a chance on a black quarterback. One hopes Jefferson Street Joe will make other clubs realize that a black quarterback can lead his team to victory. Maybe by this time next year more black quarterbacks will be starting in the NFL, but I doubt it.
Regarding your cover caption "Joe Gilliam bombs the Colts," you have featured a fine young quarterback who was instrumental in defeating the Colts. However, I think you have pictured the wrong Joe on the cover. The man most responsible for the Colts being bombed, the man who turned one of the best teams of the 1960s into one of the worst teams of the 1970s simply by trading away most of the team's top players is Colt General Manager Joe Thomas, and he should get the credit he deserves.
Owings Mills, Md.
I read it but I couldn't believe it. Jim Kaplan actually had the nerve to suggest that Lou Brock's base stealing does not help the St. Louis offense (Tiptoeing up on a Record, Sept. 23). Brock has been the sparkplug of the Cardinals for the past 10 years. In those 10 years the Cardinals have been in the World Series three times and won twice, thanks in very large part to Brock. In your earlier article on Brock (Thief at Work, July 22) the statistics showed that Brock has scored more than 50% of the time after he has stolen a base. If that's not the sign of a sparkplug, I don't know what is.
You say that Brock's base stealing has hurt the Cardinals. What I have to say to that is unprintable, because without Brock the Cardinals would be giving Chicago competition for bottom-of-the-heap honors.
I cannot understand why Jim Kaplan wanted to minimize the importance of Brock's stolen bases. Obviously, he has been observing the Cardinals only since Lou got close to the record. I thought it amusing, when considering his article, that two days before I received it I listened to the Cards and Pirates play a thrilling 13-inning game. Gibson gave up five hits in the first four innings, and the Pirates went hitless in the remaining nine innings. That night Brock stole his 108th and 109th bases. With the score tied 1-1, Lou led off the 13th with a single. The announcer said that Sizemore would sacrifice Lou to second. Not so. On the first pitch to the plate Lou stole second, then Sizemore sacrificed him to third, and after Reggie Smith drew an intentional walk Brock scored on a sacrifice fly by Simmons. Al Hrabosky then fanned three (two men got on base) in the bottom of the 13th to give the Birds a 2-1 win. There is no question in my mind who the MVP in the NL is for 1974.
THIS YEAR'S YANKS
My thanks and appreciation to Ron Reid for his fine article on the Yankees (No Bombs but Lots of Bullets, Sept. 23). He gave us an in-depth account of the internal dealings, conflicts and controversies of a club that reacted adversely to a major early-season trade, has replaced a majority of its starting players, has a manager who had the dubious honor of being second choice and an owner who was forced to break ties with the team, and a losing record against almost every other team in its division. Yet this team achieved first place. That says a great deal for the stamina, character and resourcefulness of the 1974 Yankees.
In his article on the Bronx Bullets it seems fitting Ron Reid mentioned that Bobby Murcer had not yet hit a homer in Shea Stadium, for it was on the very next weekend at Shea that he hit two homers, one a game-winner against Cleveland.
The story on the Yankees gave an accurate account of their unexpected surge but neglected to mention several key contributors to the rise. Along with Elliott Maddox and Sandy Alomar, Jim Mason's slick fielding has tightened the Yankee defense up the middle, long a sore spot. Graig Nettles has supplied several of the bullets that have led to Yankee wins, and his fielding has been exceptional. Rudy May has been a solid starting pitcher since his acquisition from California. Lastly, the oft-maligned and unappreciated Roy White has provided the winning spark for New York several times since Manager Bill Virdon began playing him regularly again a couple of months ago. For years White was the Yankees' most solid ballplayer, keeping them respectable during the lean years. He would often sacrifice his average to give the Bombers the long-ball hitting they badly needed. He is an excellent fielder who has received unfair criticism because he has only an adequate throwing arm. An injury and the Yankees' overabundance of outfielders forced White to the bench for several weeks this season. Once Virdon began playing him regularly, Roy snapped a two-year hitting slump and has again attained the performance level that has gained him All-Star status in the past.
You mention Yankee Manager Bill Virdon as a strong candidate for Manager of the Year. Maybe so. But I would have to pick Texas Manager Billy Martin, who has brought the Rangers from a 100-game loser last year to a pennant contender this year.
Being an ardent fan of the Dolphins and also of Paul Warfield, I must point out that the picture on page 49 of your Sept. 16 issue was not of Miami's brilliant wide receiver sipping a cool one "where the lights were low." Any likeness of his profile to the one shown is purely incidental.
Boca Raton, Fla.
•SI's apologies to Paul Warfield, who neither drinks nor smokes.—ED.
A VOTE FOR CHICK
I must protest, in strong terms, the omission from this first year's World Golf Hall of Fame inductees (A Hall of Fame Gate-Crasher, Sept. 23) of Charles (Chick) Evans Jr., the first man ever to win both the U.S. Open and the Amateur in the same year (1916). Chick is also the founder of the Evans Scholarships, which have put hundreds of caddies through college. Compared to Chick, who never did turn pro, or entertain such a thought, the Palmers and Nicklauses are mercenary Johnny-come-latelies. Evans' game was golf, not gold.
JOHN STUART MARTIN
Great Meadows, N.J.
Now that you have found out why we people of the Bay Area go to 49er games (There's Gold in Them Nuggets, Sept. 23), let's get Horace Stoneham to form an all-girl promotional group for his San Francisco Giants. Maybe a few more fans will come out to Candlestick Park.
San Bruno, Calif.
In your article Welcome to the 1,000-hour Season (TV/RADIO, Sept. 16) William Leggett blithely dismisses halftime ceremonies as "those mindless bands wandering around...tootling Age of Aquarius." Halftime football commentary has hardly risen to the point that it outshines a Bach fugue, which was performed by the University of Tennessee band between halves of the Tennessee-UCLA TV game. (The announcer confused the fugue with a popular tune that was to follow it.)
When I was at LSU, our repertoire was extensive but not unique: classics, American folk songs, show tunes and, yes, a smattering of popular music. Devoted bandsmen who must learn such a variety of styles deserve a better shake from the fans, many of whom can't feel their extremities, much less sec the field by halftime.
BARRY G. WAHLIG
Regarding William Leggett's opinion of marching bands at professional football games, I was a member of one of "those mindless bands wandering around at halftime." The Upper Arlington High School Marching Band, of which I was a member, had the extreme honor of being invited to perform at halftime of a game between the Bengals and the Vikings at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. We prepared a halftime show and worked for more than two months to perfect it. On the day of the game, however, CBS, in all its wisdom, chose to present, instead of our halftime show, some of the most inane football commentary in the history of network television. Football would not be the great sport that it is without the contributions of marching bands, majorettes, drill teams and cheerleaders. These and other groups combine to make football something special to millions of Americans. It is amazing to me that the three networks, which air as much as 30 hours of football a week, cannot devote 15 minutes to a halftime show. If I am ever asked, "Who's the best?" my answer will be, "Certainly not CBS."
In FOR THE RECORD (Sept. 16) you reported that the United States won the elite eight at the world rowing championships in Lucerne, Switzerland with a "pick-up" crew. Perhaps it is a matter of semantics, but our pick-up crew consisted of oarsmen from all parts of the U.S. who had been carefully selected, tested and trained in our national camp under National Team Coach Allan Rosenberg. The national camp and the national team concept have been used in training the eight and four with cox for the past three years in an attempt to improve the performance of U.S. crews. It is interesting to note that the first three finishers in this race all consisted of national camp teams as opposed to products of the old team trials system.
Member, U.S. Olympic
Men's Rowing Committee
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