THE CRACK OF THE BAT
What an issue (April 7)! Beginning on page 36 Images Larger than Life shows the baseball player in his own world, "unaware of the vendor crying his wares in the stands." Twenty pages later, Born To Be a Dodger reveals Steve Garvey as the ultimate gentleman. And 22 pages farther on, Leo (The Lip) Durocher's story (That Old Gang of Mine) brings back memories of the rowdy Gas House Gang. Beautiful.
PLAYER AND FAN
Ron Fimrite's analysis of major league baseball today (Going to Bat for the Game, April 7) was superb. Sal Bando is an extremely articulate spokesman and his points were well taken.
By the way, I would like to see Johnny Carson work as long and as hard for the millions he makes each year. Take your $100,000, Sal, you earn it!
LEE S. SIMONSON
It was very interesting to read Ron Fimrite's speculations concerning the estrangement of fan and player. He seems to have missed an important point, though. In this day of six-figure contracts, the average fan expects a professional performance from the professional athlete. Mistakes, if they are caused by a lack of hustle or a lapse in concentration, make one wonder if the high salaries paid to the pros are deserved. As Fimrite states, "The modern athlete...is faster, stronger and better trained at an earlier age than his predecessors." Yet, sometimes it seems that the player of today lacks the desire or guts to give an honest effort on the playing field at all times. This obscures the tremendous physical abilities to be found in modern professional athletes, adding to the estrangement of player and fan.
WILLIAM J. PIGULA JR.
Roy Blount's article on Steve Garvey (Born To Be a Dodger, April 7) was superbly written and a fine tribute to an exceptional athlete. Garvey is unique: no pretense, no plastics; just real and refreshing. He is the finest gentleman to step into a Dodger uniform since Sandy Koufax. Who says nice guys finish last?
JOHN M. BAROODY
After the Oakland A's had won their second world championship in 1973, you put Pete Rose on the cover of your 1974 baseball issue. Now, after the A's have made it three straight, Steve Garvey pops up on the cover. What's going on? When will you give some credit to the A's in particular and the American League in general?
As for Garvey's statement that he may have had the best year ever in baseball, may I remind him of the year 1956 and Mickey Mantle? Mantle got 188 hits, scored a league-leading 132 runs and won the triple crown with 52 homers, 130 RBIs and a .353 batting average. He had a slugging average of .705 and won the Most Valuable Player award. And what is even more significant, Mantle did all this before expansion teams weakened baseball.
"This is the best year I can recall. Well, I guess it's the best year since 1956 when Bill Russell, Willie Naulls and Tom Heinsohn came into the league"—K. C. Jones (The Class with a Lot of Class, April 7).
"There are more good rookies playing now than any year I can remember"—Dick Motta (ibid.).
In 1970 the following rookies broke into professional basketball: Charlie Scott, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier, Dan Issel, Jim McMillian, Rudy Tomjanovich, Pete Maravich, Nate Archibald, Sam Lacey, Calvin Murphy, Geoff Petrie, Rick Mount, et al.
Marvin Barnes, John Drew, Leonard Gray, Keith Wilkes, Scott Wedman? Please remember the impact the 1970 grads had on professional basketball.
Seal Beach, Calif.
In your Nov. 27, 1972 college basketball scouting reports you said that UCLA's second team, including Dave Meyers, Ralph Drollinger, Andre McCarter and Pete Trgovich, could be ranked No. 1. Well, now it is.
Curry Kirkpatrick's article (What a Wiz of a Win It Was, April 7) aptly chronicled the final moments of a career that may remain unmatched in intercollegiate basketball history. The king has abdicated, and regardless of what the future may hold I agree that UCLA will never be the same. John Wooden is a master craftsman who has orchestrated Bruin basketball into a championship blend 10 times in the past 12 years, a feat that defies the imagination. What he accomplished with this year's squad must be his banner achievement. The Wooden record is awesome indeed.
FRANK R. WYNNE
Los Alamitos, Calif.
Shame on Curry Kirkpatrick for taking a cheap shot at Syracuse University's NCAA semifinalists. In this day and age of spoiled superstars and superteams, it was kind of refreshing for some of us to see that a few gutsy performances, dogged determination and faith in each other earned the Orangemen a trip to San Diego. Maybe the "clown in the shades" was Kirkpatrick, who failed to recognize a story when he saw it.
ROBERT H. STEELE
Re Barry McDermott's article It Will Be a Horse Race (March 31), I cannot agree with the statement that UCLA played its worst game against Montana. Could the reason be that UCLA was up against a very good defensive team, as was particularly evident in the later stages of the game?
No one can argue with the record of John Wooden. He commands great respect. However, I feel the Grizzlies proved that high-caliber basketball is being played in the Big Sky Country, too. They came up with a few plays against UCLA that would make some pros look like kindergartners.
R. B. MACLEOD
THE OTHER CHAMPIONS
In response to the article about Old Dominion University winning the NCAA Division II championship (Tall Men for Small Titles, March 24), I wonder if William F. Reed really viewed the game or if he was busy eating Oreos with New Orleans Coach Ron Greene. A basketball game still consists of two coaches and 10 or more players. Even ODU has a coach. Granted, Sonny Allen is not as rotund and flamboyant as Greene, but he did lead his team to a national championship and, on the way, earned Coach of the Year honors. If Mr. Reed had done further research he would have learned that five or six ODU players had averaged in double figures. What it boils down to is a good team effort.
MARIE L. BOONE
With your fine articles on the NCAA basketball playoffs it seems too bad that no mention was made of the National Commissioners Invitational Tournament in Louisville. Since the NCIT included teams from the Big Ten, Pac-8 and WAC, it follows that many readers would be interested in the results. My hat is off to Drake and Arizona, which played a superb final with Drake winning 83-76.
I was disappointed to note that Princeton's surprising and impressive victory in the National Invitation Tournament was mentioned only in a four-line entry under FOR THE RECORD (March 31), whereas the NAIA, NCAA Division II and women's national championships received far more extensive coverage. Although the NIT is now merely a showcase for good teams that cannot quite reach the NCAA tournament, I believe that Coach Pete Carril and his dedicated group of athletes deserve more recognition than you saw fit to give them.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Without a doubt, David Wilkie (Outsider in the Mainstream, March 24) is one of the world's greatest swimmers. The rapid improvement he has shown the past few years has really impressed me. However, with all due respect to David, why don't you write an article on a young American swimmer by the name of Tim Shaw, who set three world records last summer and is probably the greatest freestyler who ever lived, including Mark Spitz? Or how about an article on 17-year-old Andy Coan, who may be the fastest human in water? Or how about the most versatile swimmer in the world? It would have to be Steve Furniss or his younger brother Bruce. Or what better subject matter could be found than John Hencken, the Rocket Man, who also happens to be the world's greatest breaststroker. And before I am labeled a male chauvinist, what about the many great American girls, like Shirley Babashoff or Kathy Heddy, who not only set world records but look good enough to model suits?
They are just a few of those who will be winning gold medals for the U.S. in Montreal. Spitz was phenomenal, but he was by no means the last of the great American swimmers. In 1976 I predict the U.S. will continue to dominate this increasingly popular sport, which consistently produces more medals for our country than any other. And who's not counting medals?
Co-Captain 1972 Men's
Olympic Swimming Team
Many thanks for the fine article on the fabulous, legendary and ageless Slammin' Sammy Snead (For Sam the Price Is Always Right, March 31). He is a living inspiration for all golfers, young and old. Not enough has been written about his accomplishments, although your article tells a lot about his life, the way things were and the way things are. Mr. Snead deserves special recognition and commendation for qualifying for the U.S. Open almost every year and also for teeing up in 12 or 14 tournaments each year.
WILLARD BASS JR.
FOLLOWING SIR ERNEST
My congratulations on your articles about Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 Antarctic journey (Frozen Hell in a Cockleshell March 17, and Where None Had Gone Before, March 24). Commander F. A. Worsley captured the atmosphere and conditions very well in his account; I had to turn up the heat while reading it. His story and the rescue left me very satisfied. Afterward, however, I had the strangest feeling. I think I was hungry for a bowl of hoosh!
I loved the SCORECARD item (March 31) about Mississinawa Valley and Gnadenhutten Indian Valley. But I can't figure out the headline ("Tabpsslcpooassb"). Can you help me?
DALTON A. YOUNG
•Try "Two all-beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame-seed bun."—ED.
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