I appreciated William Nack's article on Marvelous Marvin Hagler (What's in a Name? Oct. 18). Hagler has paid his dues and is most deserving of respect and recognition. Thank you for showing him as he really is—a classy, sensitive gentleman, a hard and determined worker and, most of all, a truly great fighter.
PETER S. ALEXIS
I have officiated at almost every major amateur boxing tournament since 1971 and I was one of the five judges for the Marvin Hagler-Jerry Dobbs AAU 165-pound championship in 1973. Dobbs, a Marine, was good, and Hagler did put him down as Goody Petronelli is quoted as saying in your article, but the final result was a 4-1 decision in Hagler's favor. I should know; I cast the lone score in Dobbs's favor!
Hagler was a very heavy hitter then and obviously still is, in addition to being a fine person. I felt then, and still believe, that the '73 AAU finalists were the best bunch of amateurs I've ever seen on one night.
The first time I saw Marvin Hagler was in 1976 at the Lincoln Park Ballroom in North Dartmouth, Mass. My husband, an avid fight fan, took me to the amateurs. Hagler was there and he posed for a picture my husband took. He was play-boxing with a youngster. All the children looked up to him then. I'm glad to see he hasn't changed. To us, Marvin has always been marvelous.
West Warwick, R.I.
AHMAD RASHAD'S VIEW
Once again SI has worked its magic. Frank Deford displayed innovation and creativity in the article Journal of a Plagued Year (Oct. 18) as told to him by Rahmad Rashad, er, Henri Richard, er, Ramada Rashad—oh heck, Bobby Moore!
Ahmad Rashad is a masterful observer of football and people. He expresses himself with the grace and finesse that are evident in his execution of a sideline, stutter-step, two-feet-inbounds, stop-the-clock pass reception.
According to Ahmad Rashad, all good receivers "scout" the fields. He states: "I knew that field [Metropolitan Stadium] better than my own house.... My favorite place at the Met was down around the six-yard line at the south end of the field. For baseball, the third-base coaching box was situated there...."
I suggest Ahmad revisit his favorite place and recheck his directions with Fran Tarkenton, because the third-base coaching box at the Met was located at the north end of the field. Another wrong-way run by a Viking player—shades of Jim Marshall. No wonder they don't have Ahmad bring in the plays.
New Hope, Minn.
•No wrong-way running for Rashad. It was SI that got things mixed up.—ED.
I enjoyed Ahmad Rashad's journal. However, I noticed that Harold Carmichael wasn't designated as "still active" on the Hall of Fame's list of leading lifetime receivers shown in a photograph on page 58 of the article. If that is true, No. 17 of the Eagles did a great imitation of him while catching a key pass in Philadelphia's last-minute game-winning touchdown drive against my beloved Cleveland Browns on Sept. 19.
JAMES D. HEFLINGER
•Fear not. An orange dot does appear before Carmichael's name—designating him, along with Rashad and Charlie Joiner, as still active—on the list of leading lifetime receivers displayed at the Hall of Fame. The dot also showed up in SI's photograph of the Hall of Fame list, but, alas, in the process of engraving the picture, we lost it.—ED.
THE COWENS TRADE
Anthony Cotton's incisive article on Dave Cowens (Taking a Shot at the Bucks, Oct. 11) pointed out that Celtics General Manager Red Auerbach continues to practice the fading art of trading to improve a team. Many of today's owners and general managers insist on buying overpriced talent in the free-agent market to build championship teams. Meanwhile, Auerbach uses the time-honored skills of an old horse trader. It's a breath of fresh air when the management of a professional sports team can make a major improvement, such as the acquisition of Quinn Buckner, by being clever and persuasive, not just rich. Philadelphia 76ers President Harold Katz and Yankee owner George Steinbrenner should spend their money finding people like Auerbach; it could save them millions, and perhaps save professional sports.
I agree with Anthony Cotton that the Bucks can't bring the ball up the court without Quinn Buckner, no matter how good Cowens might be. Although I'd like to see Cowens make a comeback, I think Milwaukee got the short end of the stick.
JOHN DI MAURO
Mount Clemens, Mich.
If Cowens, Bob Lanier and Marques Johnson all stay healthy, the Sixers and Celtics had better watch out, because the Bucks might just surprise everyone and wind up representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals. Some people may have forgotten just how much enthusiasm and leadership Cowens brought to the Celtics during the '70s.
A BIG WIN
Bravo on the article by Craig Neff and Rick Telander concerning Northwestern's return to real Big Ten football (Hang In There, Wildcats, Oct. 18)! It's truly gratifying to see the team and coaching staff receive recognition after many years of frustration. Special thanks for the insight into the job Coach Dennis Green and Athletic Director Doug Single have done here. As a sophomore who arrived on campus soon after they did, I am amazed at the progress made in what seems such a short time.
For too long Northwestern has justified its low football standards by its high academic standards, and I, for one, am glad the present athletic administration is doing something to show that academics and athletics can mix. Perhaps the powerhouses that have scoffed at us in the past will soon take a page from our book and reexamine their own programs. My only regret is that your picture didn't show the section of the goalpost to which I was clinging!
It's about time the Wildcats rid themselves of their Rodney Dangerfield image in football. No, they won't go to the Rose Bowl this season, and they won't be national champions. What they will do, and have already done, however, is instill in us Northwestern students a true sense of school spirit—the sometimes forgotten purpose of college athletics. We are proud of our football team but, more important, we're proud of our school.
The article was excellent, but what caught my eye was the fantastic photograph taken by Paul Jasienski, It captures the excitement of the moment perfectly. However, the best part about it is the fact that the guy hanging on the goalpost with his tongue sticking out is none other than the author of this letter. I appreciate your selection of this photograph and I want you to know that I am available for any future work.
THE TOP 20
Thanks for having the wisdom to retain Pitt as No. 1 in your major college standings (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 18). The AP and UPI certainly have a lot to learn. Washington will be playing a total of only four tough teams—Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and USC—while Pitt has already played North Carolina, Florida State, Illinois and West Virginia, four topnotchers, and must also play Notre Dame and Penn State. I hope that the wire services come to their senses.
What will it take for your poll pickers to look beyond the Eastern part of the country and realize what the AP, UPI and everyone else knows: that the Washington Huskies are No. 1? Even your article on the Huskies ("Tequila!" Washington Served Up a Few Belts, Oct. 18) tended to downplay the quality and strength of the team.
One other thing. How can you justify having two teams with two losses, Miami and Florida, in your Top 20?
CAROL A. BREIGENZER
Any national sports magazine that doesn't feature a game of the magnitude of Penn State vs. Alabama is not No. 1. It's not even in the Top 20. Any poll that ranks Alabama as low as No. 6 after the Tide's victory over the Nittany Lions isn't even in the Top 100.
JAMES W. LONG
As the first television announcer for the Islanders—along with Jim Gordon—I enjoyed going through the first year again (Who Would've Thunk? Oct. 11). I assure you, stories of the events of that season could easily fill a book. A couple of quickie additions might be in order.
It's important to note that the Islanders acquired Jean Potvin from the Flyers a few weeks before the end of the season. This was done in an effort to have Jean report firsthand to his brother Denis just how badly the Islanders needed him so that Denis would ignore the WHA. It must have worked.
Atlanta also joined the Islanders as a new NHL entry that first year. On our first telecast from the Omni, one of the cameramen asked. "Hey, I never asked, but how many quarters do they play in hockey?" At that point I knew the video pickup was in trouble.
Finally, it certainly was quite a party after the final game in Atlanta. True, the flight crew joined us when we arrived during the early morning hours at the Coliseum. However, I counted only four stewardesses on the bus and at the party. Where did the guys stash the other four?
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HOCKEY
It's bad enough that I had to read about how the Los Angeles Kings "stole" the playoff series from Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky & Co. last year (Scouting Reports, Oct. 11), but then for E.M. Swift to go on to say that nobody in Southern California "really gives a damn about the sport," wasn't only poor language for a national publication but also totally untrue and unfair. The Kings had sellout crowds and were given standing ovations at all of their four home games in the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. By contrast, except for Game 5, Edmonton fans sat on their hands waiting for the slaughter.
Is Southern California really a place where nobody gives a damn about the sport of hockey? E.M. Swift may think so, but just ask Wayne Gretzky and his teammates what a sold-out Forum sounded like after our Kings came back from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5!
Willie Wilson (SCORECARD, Oct. 18), this year's AL batting champion, who sat out the last game of the season in order to keep his average intact, might do well to remember one of his predecessors. Going into the last day of the 1941 season, Ted Williams was assured of winning the AL batting crown, but his .400 batting average was at stake—Williams was actually batting .39955, but on the record books that counted as .400. Joe Cronin gave him the option of sitting out or playing in a doubleheader against the Philadelphia A's. Williams elected to play, thus risking his .400 average. He went 6 for 8 (four singles, one double, one home run) and finished the season at .406. He is, of course, the last man in the major leagues to bat over .400. When asked to comment on why he played, Williams responded, "If I couldn't hit .400 all the way, I didn't deserve it." Enough said?
MELANIE & CO.
I thought the article (A Jump Ahead of Everyone Else, Oct. 4) by Demmie Stathoplos on Melanie Smith was great. Having followed the sport of jumping horses for some 40 years, I appreciate Smith's expertise. Along with her teammates, she was thrilling over the beautiful courses at the Dublin Horse Show a couple of Augusts back.
It is coincidental that my wife, Carol Durand, who died in 1970, was also a talented horsewoman. Like Melanie, she wanted to represent the U.S. in the Olympics on the Prix de Nations team, and she won a berth on the first civilian team for the 1952 Games in Helsinki. Her teammates were Arthur McCashin, William Steinkraus and Major John Russell. Then the Fédération Equestre Internationale voted to refuse participation in the Olympic event by a woman. Her hopes were dashed. She did enjoy, however, four years of competing with the U.S. team in international events at Harrisburg, Pa., New York, Toronto, London and Monterrey, Mexico.
That participants, riders, owners and trainers are making some real money in the sport is a change long overdue. Also, selective breeding to produce more and better jumpers will make for an improved sport.
Boynton Beach, Fla.
While it was thrilling to see an athlete of the caliber of Melanie Smith finally get some of the recognition she deserves, it was a bit disconcerting to read that "the total prize money available from every pro event on the show-jumping circuit in this country is around $250,000." On the 1982 American Grandprix Association tour alone, more than $700,000 in prize money was offered. And then there's the West Coast Grandprix Association and the Midwest Grandprix Association and about 50 independent grand prix events across the nation. When you total the prize money for all of these events for 1982, the figure comes to about $1,250,000 not $250,000.
Again, thanks for letting the rest of the nation know about Melanie.
Director of Public Relations
American Grandprix Association
SUGAR LAND EXPRESS
For almost 20 years I have been receiving SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and your article on Ken Hall (Whatever Happened to the Sugar Land Express? Sept. 27) is one of the best I have ever read.
In these times of high salaries and over-blown egos, it's really refreshing to read about a truly great athlete who doesn't dwell on the past or begrudge the circumstances that befell him.
Ken Hall, I nominate you for Sportsman of the Century.
JOHN I. DAHL
Whatever Happened to the Sugar Land Express? characterizes the realities of life. Point one: Nice guys finish last on the football field and in other team sports. Point two: The real winners in all sports are the ones who realize that in the final analysis, athletic endeavor is only a game. In my opinion Ken Hall achieved All-America status without the benefit of a football.
ROBERT E. PETTIGREW
Your article on Ken Hall was outstanding, but I would like to bring to your attention a young man from Vian, Okla. who deserved a place on the story's single-season touchdown chart.
Bobby Wright rushed for 40 touchdowns in 1980, leading the Vian Wolverines to a 12-1 record. That total would put him seventh overall, five behind Herschel Walker and one ahead of Richard Bailey of Painter Central (Va.).
You might also like to know about Bobby's younger brother, Scotty, a four-year starter at Vian who already has 79 career touchdowns. By achieving just a little better than his current rate of 1.68 touchdowns per game (for 47 games), Scotty should finish the season with at least 89, which would rank him fifth on the alltime chart, just ahead of Curtis Warner and Woody Petchel, each with 88.
Vian fans still wonder what Scotty's career total might have been if he hadn't spent his first two seasons at fullback, blocking for his older brother.
MICHAEL D. BROWN
Congratulations on the fine article on Ken Hall. One can't help admiring a man who's able to transcend a situation that could have embittered lesser men for the rest of their lives.
My only question: Is the Joe Don Looney mentioned in the article related to the story's author, Douglas Looney? It would seem difficult for Douglas Looney to keep an unbiased perspective if they are relatives.
•The two Looneys are not related.—ED.
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