Kenny Moore's coverage of this year's New York Marathon (There Are Only 26 Miles to Go, Nov. 3) was, in my view, second to none. He not only described the progress of the front-runners, but he also allowed us to follow the women runners, the less-talented runners and the foreign runners as well. Congratulations to Alberto Salazar and Moore, two men who excelled at the marathon.
According to your article, Alberto Salazar was officially credited with a time of 2:09:41. However, in the picture of him crossing the finish line, the digital clock shows 2:09:40—a small difference maybe, but what if his time had been 2:08:34, the world record? Was the digital clock unofficial?
•Yes. A computerized timing system was used to officially clock all runners to the hundredth of a second. In addition, the winners—Salazar and Grete Waitz—were each timed by hand. Salazar's official clocking was 2:09:41.00.—ED.
Grete Waitz, runner nonpareil, wins her third straight New York Marathon, breaks the women's world record by almost two minutes and is tucked away in the article with a 3" x 6" picture. Come on! Move Alberto Salazar over a few inches and give another great runner equal cover billing.
It took the Philadelphia Phillies 98 years to finally win a World Series and SI puts a marathon runner on the cover! To add to a Phillie fan's misery, the article on the Series covered only Relief Pitcher Tug McGraw (He Kept Tugging Away at the Heartstrings). Although I love Tugger, it was disappointing not to read about the other players who helped bring the championship to Philly.
RUDNAY AND JENNER
The articles in your Nov. 3 issue on Jack Rudnay (Front and Center) and Bruce Jenner (Hey, Mister Fantasy Man) offered a tremendous contrast. I for one would appreciate more articles on class, humanitarian athletes like Rudnay and fewer on self-centered "fantasy men" such as Jenner. Unfortunately, we don't read or hear anywhere near enough about athletes who contribute to those less fortunate in life.
Curry Kirkpatrick's piece on Bum Phillips (Hallelujah, He's, Uh, Bum, Oct. 27) is extraordinary. His portrayal of this delightful individual extends beyond the confines of Phillips' person and into the Texas culture that helped form him.
BRUCE COFFEY JR.
Given the choice, I'd trade 10 Joe Garagiolas, three Tony Kubeks, a Tom Seaver, two Frank Giffords and 750 Howard Cosells for one Bum Phillips. When he finishes coaching, ask him to get hisself up to the broadcastin' booth. We need fresh air up there.
Before measuring Oail Andrew Phillips for a halo, I'd advise SI readers to reread the part about how he got to be general manager of the Oilers. Sid Gillman brought Phillips into the pros and made him a head coach, albeit under a tight rein, and then, "with Gillman out of town," Phillips went to the owner and "demanded that Gillman be barred from the locker room and practice field as well.... Within a month, Gillman had departed and Phillips had both jobs." There's a name for that kind of person. It's, uh, a bum.
New York City
I enjoyed reading Curry Kirkpatrick's article on the Oilers and their chief cowpoke. I take exception, however, to Kirkpatrick's facetious reference to the "amazing Bill Peterson" and his [1-18] coaching record with the Oilers. For my father to have won even one game with a franchise that Kirkpatrick so accurately described as having the "NFL's cheapest owner, the most outdated practice facilities and an embarrassment of a front-office operation" must be considered more than amazing. It was incredible!
BILL PETERSON JR.
In rebuttal to the University of Houston's claim that its game on Oct. 11-12 against Texas A&M was "the only two-day game of the century" (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 20), I can name three San Diego State games that extended beyond midnight.
On Oct. 25-26, 1969 San Diego State beat the University of California, Santa Barbara 55-13 in San Diego Stadium. It was the annual Shrine Benefit Game. The pregame pageantry dragged out and the game didn't start until about 8:40. The halftime was 45 minutes long, and the second half didn't end until 12:08 a.m. In all, 72 passes were thrown.
On Nov. 9-10, 1968 San Diego State trounced Southern Mississippi 68-7. The score was 13-7 at the half when a thick fog rolled in, delaying the start of the second half. When play was resumed, the Aztecs scored 55 more points. A total of 91 passes was thrown, and the game ended at 12:03 a.m.
But here's my favorite. On Dec. 4-5, 1971 San Diego State defeated North Texas State 44-28. The game began at 7:30 p.m. and ended at 12:01:40 a.m. The clock was stopped 199 times—61 incomplete passes, 53 first downs, 11 scores, 13 movings of the first-down markers after kickoff returns, 17 movings of the first-down markers after turnovers, 17 plays on which the ballcarrier went out of bounds that aren't included in the above, 12 timeouts, two clock malfunctions and 13 penalties. Between them, the two teams set NCAA records for most passes attempted (124—San Diego State 63, North Texas 61) and most offensive plays (196—San Diego State 99, North Texas 97). Brian Sipe, who completed 30 of 53 passes for 337 yards for San Diego State, and Phil Shotland, with 28 of 59 for 370 yards for North Texas, were the quarterbacks.
Concerning Coach Joe Restic and Harvard's multiflex offense (Multiflexing Its Muscles, Oct. 20):
Multiflex, shmultiflex, fiddle-dee-dee,
Princeton got seven and Harvard got three.
Congratulations to Bil Gilbert. His article about the black-footed ferret (Missing and Presumed to Be Dead, Oct. 13), like his other articles, is a solid piece of writing.
In about 1934, when I was earning my way through the University of Kansas by working in the school museum of natural history, I made a scientific skin (a stuffed animal that is not wired but made to be displayed flat) out of what was then thought to be the last ferret in the state. Some rancher had killed it and shipped it to us.
The use of the poison Compound 1080 probably wiped out the ferret and also senselessly killed a lot of other wildlife. There is no way 1080 should ever be used again. Anywhere. Anytime.
JOHN D. BLACK
Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Conservation
Northeast Missouri State University
I would expect to find such an article in Audubon. I am delighted to find it in SI. Your articles on environmental matters have always been excellent, and they reach readers who may not read the standard environmental publications. Many of these pieces are clearly pertinent to a sportsman's interests; others, such as Gilbert's, while not obviously relevant, are, when reflected upon, of immense importance.
ALI'S EDUCATORS (CONT.)
In the text accompanying Michael Brennan's remarkably poignant photographs (Ali and His Educators, Sept. 22), Sonny Banks, Zora Folley and Sonny Liston were listed as three Ali adversaries who are now dead. You also said, "There may be more; a couple of early opponents can't be located." You unfortunately overlooked the pugnacious Argentinian, Oscar Bonavena, who was shot to death near Reno on May 22, 1976 at age 33. Bonavena suffered the only knockout of his career in the 15th round against Ali at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7, 1970.
Though he never fought for the title, Bonavena had a record of 56 wins—43 by knockouts—in 67 bouts. His other losses came at the hands of such fighters as Folley, Floyd Patterson, Jimmy Ellis and Ron Lyle. Bonavena also lost two decisions to Joe Frazier, but floored Smokin' Joe twice. Ali's own assessment following his encounter with Oscar: "Bonavena is the toughest man I ever fought."
On July 20, 1962 Cassius Clay fought Alejandro Lavorante in Los Angeles. After predicting that his opponent "will last five," Ali knocked out Lavorante in the fifth round. In Lavorante's next fight, against Johnny Riggins, he was fatally injured.
Fort Polk, La.
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