CENTER OF THE STORM
Your article on Bill Walton and the Trail Blazers (L.A. Couldn't Move the Mountain, May 23) was surprisingly accurate in its account of the events leading to the Portland sweep of L.A. in the playoffs. But I take exception to the caption on the cover: "Walton Outduels Abdul-Jabbar." Indeed! I can appreciate your fantasy but it will never be realized. Under no circumstances did Walton "outduel" Abdul-Jabbar. He was simply surrounded by better personnel. The most persuasive argument that Abdul-Jabbar is the best center in basketball is this—put Walton on the Lakers and Abdul-Jabbar on the Trail Blazers. Don't you agree there would be no contest? Of course, you do.
You do an injustice to the only man who can score over mountains. Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest thing that's happened in basketball since the backboard. Walton is great, too, but without the help of "78 billion Oregonians and their grandchildren," Maurice Lucas, and the Trail Blazer guard of your choice, the Mountain Man didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of stopping Abdul-Jabbar. If the rest of the Lakers hadn't been standing around doing Statue of Liberty imitations that Marcel Marceau would have been proud of, Portland wouldn't have been able to double-and triple-team Abdul-Jabbar. There ain't no one who can put the stops on Kareem one-on-one, let alone "outduel" him.
MICHAEL C. LINDER
I watched the Norton-Bobick fight and also the Ali-Evangelista bout. After reading Make Him 38 and One (May 23), I realized I wasn't the only one to complain about these mismatches. Why does the public pay so much to see these fights? Isn't there anything that can be done, for instance, to make Ali fight Norton? I don't understand how Ali can tell Norton to fight Young, yet be backing down from these fights himself. If Ali is to remain champion, he should stop wasting everyone's time and money and fight the main contenders.
MARY ANNA HARVIE
I would like to thank your whole staff for the finest Stanley Cup coverage it has produced in some time—three consecutive issues containing 11 color photographs, one cover and three full-length articles!
Your article They Ruined the Bruins (May 23) was certainly right: no one can beat the Canadiens no matter where they play. When you have the combination of Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt, and the goaltending of Ken Dryden, it is like aluminum trying to bend steel.
COME HOME BILL HARTACK
Well thank God somebody finally noticed! I was beginning to think everyone had forgotten. Here's to Frank Deford, Hong Kong, Viking, last place, and most of all Bill Hartack! I salute all five with heartfelt enthusiasm.
Hartack (A Hero Who Has Cone on to Happy Valley, May 23) is the only jockey I thoroughly admire and respect, and that includes Arcaro and Shoemaker. Hartack's good, and will always be good. Arcaro was good until he retired, Longden was good until he retired and Shoemaker will be good until he quits.
The problem is not enough people seem to know how good Hartack is. I know it. And if I owned racehorses I'd have him brought back. However, a racehorse costs more than $139.28, which is all I have at present. Hartack should be here, in this country, where we need good riders, where we need someone with guts, pride, honesty, skill and knowledge.
HONDO ON THE RUN
Hey, hold it, just one little minute. John Havlicek's pedometer "logged eight miles in 43 minutes' playing time" (SCORECARD, May 16)? No way. Five-plus minutes per mile for eight consecutive miles of dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking, etc.? At age 37?
I always thought Havlicek must be related to Superman, but this is ridiculous.
ALFRED J. HANLON
With all due respect to Havlicek, he would have to run up and down the court 450 times, or once every six seconds, to cover eight miles in the game. I doubt that any amount of weaving around defenders can account for that distance.
Do you guys have any idea how a pedometer works?
I'm not knocking Havlicek's "hustle," but strap the same pedometer on me and I'll give you eight quick miles in a rocking chair. Or, more comfortably, sacked out on a Magic Fingers mattress.
Hondo probably shoulder-fakes several miles per game. But run eight miles in 43 minutes? No way!
HE NEVER SAID IT
In a May 2 SCORECARD item, you say that I tell my students about "getting blood the hard way," a gimmick in which for $50 extra a wrestler will inflict a pre-match cut in his forehead with a bottle cap, then will allow it to be pounded until blood flows furiously during the bout.
This allegation and quote first appeared in the Dallas News in an article written by Carlton Stowers. The statement was made to Mr. Stowers by an unnamed source, and I do not appreciate the fact that it has been attributed to me. It is definitely not mine and is completely erroneous.
GUY DEMPSEY, PRESIDENT
Dempsey's International School of Professional Wrestling
Robert Creamer's box (Why Are These Stars on the Outs, April 11) on the Coopers-town Outs defeating a team of Cooperstown Ins is very well taken.
But he left out the greatest Outs of all, the legions of superb athletes who were playing and beating the best of the Hall of Famers—the Ty Cobbs, Babe Ruths, Rogers Horns-bys, etc.
I'm referring to the superstars of the old Negro leagues who will have no more opportunities to make it into Cooperstown—unless the Hall of Fame board of directors does something. The committee headed by Monte Irvin, which has named nine of these men, is slated to disband on Aug. 7.
The official reason given is that no more qualified Negro league veterans remain. But the real reason is that the committee was given a quota of nine when it was formed in 1971; the quota was reached this year, and the bargain has been completed.
If this injustice is allowed to stand, the Hall of Fame will never include—and fans will never know about—great names of American baseball history such as Smokey Joe Williams. Rube Foster, Willie Wells, Cannonball Dick Redding. Willie Foster, Dave Malarcher, Jud Wilson and Chino Smith, to name but a handful of the black greats.
To exclude them permanently would be tremendously unfair. Between 1886 and 1948 the blacks played the best of the white big-leaguers more than 400 times. The blacks won 268, the whites 168. A fluke? The burden of proof, it seems to me, is on the whites to show that they were not beaten fair and square. There's only one way to win a baseball game: cross home plate more often than the other team. The blacks did this consistently against the best of the whites now in Cooperstown. Yet Cooperstown's doors are being slammed in their faces again.
What is all this about Reggie Jackson having a candy bar named after him (SCORECARD, May 16)? There are already a number of candy bars named after him, each pertaining to a different aspect of his personality or ability.
1. What he thrives on..."Pay Day"
2. His weekly paycheck..."$100,000 Bar"
3. Size of his wallet... "Chunky"
6. Use of his mouth..."Power House"
7. Defensive ability..."Butterfinger."
In your article on the raptors (Fighting Beak and Claw, May 16) you have given some cause for optimism concerning the amelioration of the plight of certain hawks and eagles. However, the observation that "progress" is the real "leveler" of these magnificent creatures is particularly timely in view of pending legislation that could lead to the destruction of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a part of the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota and a natural breeding ground for bald eagles and many other species.
Last summer my two teen-age sons and I went on a seven-day, 60-mile canoe trip in the BWCA. Early in the morning of our second day, as we paddled leisurely through one of the hundreds of island-studded lakes, two mature bald eagles swooped down to within 30 feet of our canoe. One of the birds, wings gracefully extended, plunged his talons into the lake. Both birds then soared away with their trophy, which appeared to be a three-foot northern pike—a trophy, incidentally, that the boys and I were never able to match. Our prize was in witnessing a truly awesome act of nature.
Unfortunately, my boys may never have the opportunity to share such experiences with their sons. A measure introduced into Congress by Representative James L. Oberstar of Minnesota, will, if passed, permit logging, mining, snowmobiling and motor boating in 40% of the BWCA. Anyone who shares my concern should consider writing his Congressman.
West Des Moines, Iowa
•Rep. Oberstar's office says the bill would allow no mining whatsoever, logging would be restricted to the 400,000-acre National Recreation Area (40% of the BWCA), snowmobiling would be confined to designated routes—amounting to about half of those now in use—and motorboating would be permitted only where it is currently allowed.—ED.
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