Thank you for the fine article on Forest Hills (A Duel of Pace and Power, Sept. 20). But isn't the race for No. 1 decided? Since when does one Forest Hills victory on clay for Jimmy Connors equal three victories-on grass at Wimbledon, on clay in the U.S. Pro Championship and indoors in the WCT-for Bjorn Borg?
Why is it time to "break up Chris Evert"? If Chris is to be "broken up," let it be by some young girl who is willing to stay on the practice court a little longer than Chris did and make a few more sacrifices. That may break up Chris, but Billie Jean King coming out of retirement won't do it.
In SCORECARD (Sept. 20) a tennis fan proposed that a simple system of point penalties be instituted to control player misconduct such as that of Ilie Nastase in the U.S. Open. Since 1973 the USTA has authorized point penalties for court misconduct. The rule provides for point and game penalties for game delay, swearing, racket throwing, unseemly gestures, etc. In Baltimore this system is used extensively in amateur tournaments, and in April we used it for the first time in a pro tournament. Once the ILTF gives its approval, we hope to use it as a regular means of deterring improper behavior on the court.
USTA Umpires Committee
I'm with Nastase. The officials were wrong. Hans-Jurgen Pohmann should have been defaulted for delaying the match.
GREENING THE BLACK PITS
J. D. Reed's article Healing the Wounded Earth (Sept. 20) was excellent. My home is in the coal regions of northeastern Pennsylvania, and I have witnessed the "enormous and enduring ugliness" left behind by strip-mine operators. The huge piles of overburden and black pits ruin the beauty of the Pennsylvania mountainsides. But people accept them as a consequence of the coal production vital to the state economy. William E. Guckert has shown that there is an effective and feasible solution.
NEALE X. TRANGUCH
I grew up near Hazleton, Pa. during the 1950s, when people feared being bombed by the Russians. My geography teacher used to say, "Don't worry, the Russian pilots will take one look, assume someone else has already bombed here and keep going."
Coming from a long line of miners, lumbermen and farmers, I well know there are two sides to every issue. But thank God for the Bill Guckerts whose sense of responsibility outweighs the rip-off of quick profits. By all means let's have progress. But let's have it with foresight!
KAREN DAVIS THOMPSON
Now that J. D. Reed and artist Don Moss have painted a nice picture of the Pennsylvania state mine reclamation director, the inspectors and the big coal companies, why not have them try their luck with a follow-up article about property owners adjoining these coal operations? We are probably the most fortunate. All we have to do is turn on the faucet to get all the mine drainage water we don't want. Someday someone just might come up with a use for mine drainage water; then we will be sitting on a gold mine.
LELAND P. MAINES
J. D. Reed's article attests to the power that a private citizen may wield.
WORKING THE COWS
Pulitzers for Mason Smith and Lane Stewart (Cutting Up a Storm in Texas, Sept. 20). The whole sports world now has an idea of the ultimate thrill of a cutting-horse competition. Heretofore that feeling was reserved only for those of us who ride and compete.
GEORGE S. WALLEN
Wadmalaw Island, S.C.
While I appreciated Mason Smith's article, I was disturbed to note that you had reversed the captions for the photographs of Buster Welch on Mr. San Peppy and Bill Freeman on Jay Freckles.
La Crescenta, Calif.
•Sorry. SI's pencil cut left when it should have cut right.—ED.
Without question Mark Littell and Steve Mingori have served Kansas City very well out of the bullpen this season (Two Who Suit K.C. to a Tee, Sept. 6). However, to say that there is no one-two punch comparable to them is an exaggeration. Cleveland stoppers Dave LaRoche and Jim Kern are certainly in the same class as the Royals pair.
Jim Kaplan mentioned that Gene Garber and Tug McGraw of the Phillies have "contributed mightily to their team's first-place record." But the top Phillie relief pitcher this season has been Ron Reed, whom the Phils acquired in an off-season deal with St. Louis.
I must point out one small error in the scouting report (Sept. 6) on the University of Alabama. There was at least one other quarterback who was skilled enough to play as a freshman at Alabama. In 1952 a substitute by the name of Bart Starr appeared in a number of games and made a significant contribution to the 61-6 victory over Syracuse in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day, 1953. As your readers doubtless know, he went on to make some small contribution to NFL football with the Green Bay Packers.
THE REV. H. T. KARN JR.
Re SCORECARD (Sept. 13), what a question! What does one do with oneself on Oct. 9 when there are no prominent Indiana football teams featured on TV? Every true grid fan knows. One watches the annual Oklahoma-Texas shootout.
The SCORECARD item (Sept. 6) about George Blanda was very interesting. I'm certain that George isn't as "anti-everything" as he was portrayed to be. However, here are a few facts for him to consider:
If, at the end of his career, an individual has as many friends as he has fingers on his hands, he has been successful.
George received lucrative contracts in exchange for his outstanding talents.
End of talent, end of contract.
George was in professional football 26 years. He has watched thousands of players come and go. He knows the "nature of the beast." Good luck, George, but don't bite the hand that fed you.
Kenny Moore's article on Dr. Ernst Jokl and world records (Projecting from Mozart, Sept. 13) was a hybrid of science and philosophy and contained the pitfalls and revelations common to both. Allow me a few reservations.
Jesse Owens' long-jump record of 26'8¼" stood for 25 years. Should Beamon's record last that long (1993), I think it still unfair to label Owens' "chicken feed." Owens won four gold medals in track and field in the 1936 Olympics and that feat has not been equaled by any male athlete in 40 years.
Utilizing the standard deviation from the mean as a method of comparing the long jump with the 200-and 400-meter races ignores the rate at which the dash times have improved in 40 years (from 20.6 to 19.8 in the case of the 200). If this method had been employed in 1936, then, according to my figures, a prediction of 20.1 would have held for 1976. Does this make the current 19.8 a "mutation performance"?
The concept that Bob Beamon's 29'2½" long jump was the "first and only 'mutation performance' " is an interesting one. As it is used, however, the term seems only a superlative. Statistically, I think it would be more accurate to describe the current records in the women's 800 and the men's 1,500 as mutation performances.
Any superior performance is a product of (among other variables) the state of the record up to that point. Comparisons could become spurious: Would Lasse Viren have lapped Paavo Nurmi at 5,000 meters? Would John Walker have beaten Roger Bannister by 60 meters at a mile? Would Jesse Owens have been eliminated from a present-day 200-meter field? I think not. I suggest that there were mutation performances before Beamon's and they made others possible. Incidentally, I thoroughly enjoyed the article.
New York City
Allow me to take issue with Dr. Jokl's doubts about an eight-foot high jump. There are any number of high jumpers in the world who can jump more than a foot over their own height—even a 14-year-old (FACES IN THE CROWD, Sept. 13). There are also any number of excellent, agile athletes who have high-jump physiques (slender) and are seven feet tall. Put these two factors together and the chance for an eight-foot high jump becomes obvious. What could Kareem Abdul-Jabbar do after a year or so of coaching and training in this event?
If we don't get an eight-foot high jump, it will be because the athletes with the capability are after multimillion-dollar NBA contracts instead of Olympic medals.
DAVID S. ROBINSON
I was amazed at the courage of the men who ski the Flying Kilometer (No Sound, No Vision, No Vibration, Aug. 30). Trying to figure out Tom Simons and his group is the same as trying to figure out Evel Knievel. They're either extraordinarily brave or crazy as loons. Either way, they are remarkable people.
Now that the new ski record of 120.59 mph on the Flying Kilometer has been reported, I wish to lay claim to the slowest time ever by skiers 50 years of age and older.
I was in Cervinia when the boys were training for the race. They talked me into going onto the course by assuring me the slope had only a 50% grade instead of the "nightmarish 67%." As I looked down the hill, I was not so much afraid of falling as I was of never stopping if I did take a spill. So I took a Pythagorean approach, squared off against the hypotenuse and zigzagged, dismaying the racers with the ruts I carved. My record time—estimated because the photoelectric device was not yet in place—was 20 minutes for the kilometer, or not quite two mph.
I had several alibis. I do not bend my knees in tennis and can hardly be expected to maintain a tuck for any distance. My baggy pants are a far cry from sleek plastic. And I stopped often to ogle the Matterhorn and a deeply tanned girl skiing the course in a bikini.
Fort Washington, Pa.
LINGERING MELODIES (CONT.)
I take strong exception to your article on college songs (Sing a Song for Alma Mater, Sept. 6). While UCLA has managed to trounce the Bears on the playing field many times over the years, the Bruins' college songs do not begin to compare with the wide repertoire that is California's. Indeed, the infamous Sons of Westwood is sung to a noble tune borrowed about a decade ago from Cal. "Big 'C ", as the song is officially known, was written in 1914 by Old Blues H. P. Williams and N. W. McLaren.
Chula Vista, Calif.
I'm relieved to know that Cole Porter's career did not suffer from his authorship of football songs for Yale. But consider the following: The Cavalier Song (Virginia), composed by Fulton Lewis Jr.; Vanderbilt Forever!, words by Grantland Rice; The Maine Stein Song, words by Lincoln Colcord; Roar, Lion, Roar (Columbia) by Corey Ford (with Morris Watkins and Roy Webb); Flag of Maroon (Chicago) by Donald Richberg; True-Blue Elihu (Yale), words by Fairfax Downey; and Towers of Marble (Brooklyn College) by Sylvia Fine.
Fulton Lewis went on to become the newscaster; Grantland Rice the sportswriter; Lincoln Colcord the New England author of sea stories; Corey Ford the humorist; Donald Richberg the crusading lawyer of the New Deal, co-author of the National Recovery Act; Fairfax Downey the military historian; Sylvia Fine the composer and wife of Danny Kaye.
The way to get started on a career in literature, law, business or politics is: write songs while you're still in college.
M. E. FOLKS
New York City
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.