This time you really blew it! I can't believe it! Golden State pulls the biggest upset in pro basketball history, and you guys stick Billy Martin on the cover (June 2). To add insult to injury, you had only a two-page article about the best team (The Warriors Were Bulletproof). A cover showing Rick Barry, Keith Wilkes, Clifford Ray—any of the hustling, determined Warriors—would have been more appropriate.
H. NEAL DOUGHTY
Sullivan's Island, S.C.
We knew that the Warriors were underrated, but did you have to keep them that way? After their spectacular four-game sweep over the Bullets to win the NBA championship, we feel they deserve more than one photo and four columns of text, and they certainly should have had their picture on the cover. How typical of Eastern snobbery to ignore our Golden State!
Golden State may have been bulletproof, but your coverage sure had a lot of holes.
Though your readers usually discuss the articles of previous weeks in 19TH HOLE, I feel that your staff and contributing photographers make your magazine the esthetic sports weekly that it is. My congratulations go to Walter Iooss Jr. for his remarkably perceptive cover shot of Billy Martin.
ANGUS G. GARBER III
The stunning impact of Frank Deford's excellent article Love, Hate and Billy Martin (June 2) is obvious. He has, in the course of 11 pages, converted me, a Baltimore Oriole fan, from a Billy Martin hater to a Billy Martin admirer. Deford presented a genuine insight into the heart and soul of Martin, both on and off the field.
MICHAEL A. REACHARD
Frank Deford was too easily swayed by Martin's B-movie macho.
RICHARD B. BARTHELMES
New York City
My compliments. In this era of fogbound May hockey games, $1 million contracts for unproven rookies and $10 sports tickets, there is a warm spot in my heart for such things as the bargain bleachers of Wrigley Field and scrappers like Billy Martin who are willing to stand up for their beliefs. Martin has had more than his share of controversy over the years, but his ability to motivate players and mold them into a cohesive unit is exceptional.
PETER J. FRIDEN
Palisades Park, N.J.
Billy Martin has helped bring truth and honor back into prominence. By being himself, this stand-up guy has injected needed excitement into baseball. Once again we can dream of game-winning rallies and long fly balls—and people caring.
WILLIAM H. FULLER JR.
OUT OF THE FOG
Every time you people write an article about Buffalo, you criticize the weather or the hapless teams we have put together or something else you sophisticates think up (They Didn't Have the Foggiest in the Finals, June 2).
I am New York City born and bred, but I have lived in the Buffalo area since 1955 and think it's great up here. Sure, our Auditorium is not air conditioned. Who said the NHL should play hockey in the middle of May, anyway? The only people who want to are the owners, so they can make extra money. Hockey, for your information, is a winter sport, and if memory serves me, it was in the 90s in New York City on those two nights. Why don't you give our three teams credit for making the playoffs in pro football, basketball and hockey this season?
To solve a problem one must attack the cause, not the effect. Instead of air conditioning Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium to eliminate fog, why not shorten the National Hockey League season?
JOHN J. HURLEY
ON THE WATER
As a native of Seattle, I grew up with the "thunderboat bug," so I want to compliment you on the fine article devoted to the one sport that exceeds all others in excitement, unlimited hydroplane racing (Bitten by the Big Bad Boat Bug, June 2).
When I recently moved to California, I was confronted with other "exciting" sports. During the month of May alone, I heard Sid Collins talk about the Indy 500 as the "greatest spectacle in auto racing," Howard Cosell expound on the Kentucky Derby as "the most exciting two minutes in horse racing," and Oscar Robertson "ooh and ah" his way through the "most exciting NBA finals." But after one has experienced the feeling that comes from watching half a dozen thunderboats roaring down the straightaway at 150 to 170 mph for the start of a heat, drivers jockeying for position, roostertails pluming, in a classic confrontation of man vs. machine laced with the anticipation that something catastrophic might happen at any second, all other sports must stand aside.
There are more than 700,000 general-aviation (non-airline) pilots today who can empathize and simultaneously escape with The Great Waldo Pepper, no thanks to Mark Donovan's review of this superb film (MOVIETALK, May 26). Donovan has unwittingly reinforced the anti-aviation biases of the non-pilot public. And with Congress introducing bill after bill to cripple general aviation, city after city legislating against airport growth and improvement and most of the non-flying public yelling, "Down with all those noisy little expensive toys," we can do without lackadaisical movie reviews that, through innuendo, give the wrong impression of today's general-aviation pilot.
The fact is that the 153,000 general-aviation aircraft in this country use only 6% of all aviation fuel, and yet one out of every three intercity air passengers travels on a general-aviation aircraft. Also, 72% of all general-aviation operations (miles and hours) are for business or commercial uses, such as crop dusting. Only 5% of all operations are for sport-flying purposes. My statistics come from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
When Donovan states "...respect, admiration, indeed, love for the craft seems foreign to us now," he neglects us general-aviation pilots, and he forgets that in the past 30 years more than 50,000 pilots have built their own airplanes from kits or drawings.
He is correct in saying "today's enormous machines" fly "without heart," but the do-it-yourselfer and other general-aviation pilots will carry the spirit of Waldo Pepper and Charles Lindbergh through eternity.
THE MIT WAY (CONT.)
Although, in my estimation, John Underwood presented a reasonable look at the MIT athletic program (Beating Their Brains Out, May 26), it is unfortunate that he was led to the wrong fraternity house to seek out the athletes of MIT. Lambda Chi was probably the intramural kingpin this year, but no living group can come close to matching the intercollegiate participation of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Of the 54 brothers in the house, 44 (81%) participate in intercollegiate athletics. These 44 have accumulated 71 varsity letters. Six of the brothers were captains this year. In the last two years 12 of the brothers have won MIT's Straight T, the highest athletic award given. On this year's highly rated heavyweight boat, three oarsmen are SAEs. On the 1974 NCAA baseball team, seven starters were SAEs.
It is sad that Mr. Underwood was led astray, for the best athletes at MIT play intercollegiately, not intramurally.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
The story was excellent, and the young MIT students you named and wrote about are indeed exceptional. But I think you should have included John Everett, class of '76. He is the only MIT student, past or present, to have won a world championship gold medal, a feat he accomplished as a member of the United States national eight-oared shell that decisively defeated East and West Germany, the Soviet Union, New Zealand and Great Britain in the finals of the world championship regatta at Lucerne, Switzerland last September.
JACK H. FRAILEY, MIT '44
U.S. Olympic Committee for Men's Rowing
Congratulations to MIT and John Underwood for showing us what a sports program really should be.
We read with interest the exceptionally fine article on Bill King (Lucky Devil, He Found Heaven, May 12). However, we would be remiss if we did not point out an error. Since Bill is such a favorite with the Oakland Raider fans who follow the team on 50,000-watt, clear-channel KNBR Radio 68 out of San Francisco, we wouldn't want them to think he might have switched to a new station, "KNBI" as it appears on page 36 of your article. This August we look forward to both Bill and the Raiders returning for another season on KNBR.
WILLIAM W. DWYER
Thank you for your excellent article on Oregon bicycle paths (Where All Roads Lead to Roam, May 26). I bicycle to school each day, six miles through heavy traffic, one-on-one against each speeding driver, dodging every bus and swerving around every opened car door. Just the thought of all those bicycle paths in Oregon and in Davis, Calif. makes me speculate on how convenient it would be to have as many in Milwaukee. There are some here, but nowhere near enough.
I have heard people say that bicycling is just a fad among environmentalists, but if more people were encouraged to use bikes it would make a difference in the oil consumption and carbon-monoxide production of the United States. Bicycling is fun and good exercise, not too slow, not too fast, and economical. I applaud the people of Oregon for taking the initiative in doing something to preserve their land for a few more years, and I hope that citizens of the other states will follow in their path.
THOMAS PFEIL JR.
I have always enjoyed the "manly art of self-defense," but after yawning through the 11-round Muhammad Ali-Ron Lyle fiasco (When Right Made Might, May 26), I must now join the hordes of former fans from the Rocky Marciano-Kid Gavilan-Carmen Basilio era who chant "Boxing is dead!"
EDWARD J. JULIAN
East Lynn, Mass.
If both boxers in a ring used Muhammad Ali's tactics, what kind of fight would one see? For a long time Ali was the greatest to me. But after seeing him make a game out of a serious sport, I no longer feel the respect for him that I once did.
I have to admire Ron Lyle for being wise to Ali's tricks. No wonder Lyle was tired and worn out by the 11th round. He had been trying to win all the way and to make a fight out of Ali's farce.
I agree with Tex Maule that Ali is the best heavyweight fighter in the world.
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