WORLD SERIES TELEVISION
William Taaffe's TV/RADIO article NBC: Nobody Does It Better (Oct. 25) summed up my frustration over ABC's awful coverage of the baseball playoffs. In fact, the only reason I watched the playoffs on TV was to see the picture, and at times that was bad, too.
The World Series, though, was a refreshing change. Dick Enberg, Tom Seaver, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek were very good. Thanks for hitting the nail right on the head.
William Taaffe hit a grand slam with his comparison of NBC's skills in bringing baseball to the public and ABC's inability to hold the interest of those watching. My set was one of those turned off because of ABC's so-called coverage. I just waited for the real thing to start. Shows like NBC's World Series almost kept me from missing the NFL.
J. ROBERT SLONE
After enduring seven World Series games telegoofed by NBC, what do I see in SI but a column praising the efforts of that TV sports enigma. NBC over ABC? Surely you jest. O.K., Tommy Lasorda acts as though he's on a Hollywood game show, Keith Jackson belongs in the booth at Beaver Stadium giving us play by play for Penn State vs. Nebraska and Howard is...well, Howard. But what does NBC counter with? More of the same, only the names are changed.
Tony Kubek's constant giggling over Garagiola's inane anecdotes, topped off by Dick Enberg's explaining why baseball is a funny game, offers no better alternative.
ROBERT M. MACSI
ABC's coverage was superior in two respects: the Jim Palmer-Earl Weaver team and the extensive use of replays. Palmer-Weaver were constantly speculating about the strategy of the game—the essence of baseball—and this intensified my interest. The NBC team understands baseball, but it has become too "laid back" in its analysis. Palmer-Weaver kept my mind on edge, while NBC occasionally allowed me to drift off.
With regard to replays, I prefer numerous replays to crowd shots, managers chewing tobacco or irrelevant statistics. Many viewers find baseball boring because they don't understand the concept that each pitch constitutes a separate play. By providing a greater number of replays along with the accompanying analysis, the TV team can direct the viewer's attention to the "inside game" between pitcher and batter. However, I found it incredible that ABC missed Ben Oglivie's catch down the leftfield foul line in the final game of the regular season. ABC had cameras all over the place but not in the crucial place.
THOMAS S. MAZANEC
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
AHMAD RASHAD'S VIEW (CONT.)
The article by Ahmad Rashad as told to Frank Deford (Journal of a Plagued Year, Oct. 18 and 25) was the most enjoyable I've ever read in your magazine. If those two guys don't go on to write a book, I'm going to go to Ahmad's house every Sunday and beg him to tell me football stories.
STEVEN C. FASNACHT
Ahmad Rashad's journal was excellent, but hardly as good as reading about Ahmad himself. I knew him as Bobby Moore at Oregon, where he was suspended from the freshman basketball team because his Afro was too long and where he caught three touchdown passes in his first varsity game. I followed his college career as he became one of the greatest players in West Coast history, surpassing one of his heroes, Mel Renfro. For years I wondered why SI hadn't given him much press. The reversal came with a soul-warming bang—not just an article about Ahmad but one by him.
Rashad isn't only a man who made good, but he is also a good man. It was definitely time for such an article. The social, moral and family values demonstrated by Ahmad need publicity. The Jerry Freis and Dennis Moores do also. All have combined to make Rashad a person of purpose and a person with perspective. And for those who are in their 30s, who have mastered their craft, who have begun to seek and accept leadership, and who are "independent, individual, even egotistical," he is the perfect football hero.
I applaud the entertaining perspective of Ahmad Rashad on life in and out of the NFL. I would also like to apologize to Rashad for thinking him less worthy of respect when he became a Moslem. I must admit to falling prey to the negative publicity referred to in the article. I found his experiences and outlook very refreshing and I'd like to thank him for reminding me not to be so quick to form opinions on things I know very little about. If the strike doesn't stop Rashad, Charley Taylor's receiving record is surely within his reach, although I get the feeling that Ahmad will be just fine no matter how things turn out.
RANDY L. JONES
Morgantown, W. Va.
Ahmad Rashad and Frank Deford gave a first-rate insight into professional football. Of particular interest to me was Rashad's humorous depiction of the difficulty our Sunday afternoon gladiators have in bringing a play from the coach on the sideline to the quarterback in the huddle. Rashad's narration paints this amusing foible in such an inoffensive way that I'm certain the humor was appreciated by fans and players alike. Pin a note to your jersey, guys?
Jack McCallum gave us a very fine article on the world's greatest athlete, Jim Thorpe (The Regilding of a Legend, Oct. 25), and he was right when he said, "Carlisle and Thorpe, Thorpe and Carlisle—you can't think of one without the other." Being a native of Carlisle, I'm sure most people still feel proud of Thorpe, and honored that he put the Carlisle Indian School on the map through his athletic accomplishments. So if the people of Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk), Pa. really don't care about the greatest athlete the world has ever seen, even now that his Olympic medals have at last been restored, Thorpe's body should be taken back to Oklahoma or to Carlisle where his soul will finally be at rest.
Jim Thorpe deserves all of this newfound recognition, and then some, but it's sad that our society waited 30 years after he died to show appreciation for his feats. It's also unfortunate that many choose to remember Thorpe as a drunken Indian rather than as the greatest athlete in the world. However, there is a small town in Ohio where the people celebrate Thorpe's accomplishments each summer. The Oorang Bang, a festival in La Rue, Ohio, features a six-mile Jim Thorpe memorial road race, and his memory will live on there forever. Perhaps that's where his spirit roams—it's certainly welcome there.
Jack McCallum noted that Jim Thorpe "died after a third heart attack in his house trailer...." There is quite a story about that house trailer. Late in Thorpe's life, when he was down and out, the organizers of the Sportsman's Show in Boston hired him to talk sports with the fans. Ted Williams was also in that show, teaching fishermen how to fly-cast. Ted and Jim became warm friends that week, and when they parted at the end of the show, Ted shook hands with Jim. When Thorpe withdrew his hand, he discovered some papers in it giving him ownership of a trailer home and a Cadillac to pull it. Jim died in the trailer home that Williams had given him.
PAUL C. DALRYMPLE
•According to Williams, the story that he gave a trailer and car to Thorpe, which "sprang up" some time ago, isn't true. "But nobody respected or admired Thorpe any more than I did," says Williams. "I met him at two Sportsman's Shows and, boy, he was something!" Nor was Thorpe down and out at the time of his death. Robert Wheeler, Thorpe's biographer, says, "Thorpe died in a beautiful trailer park in Lomita, Calif., and probably purchased his mobile home with money—$500 here and there—that he made from speaking engagements."—ED.
TOO MUCH RUNNING?
I just read the account in your Oct. 18 FACES IN THE CROWD of 9-year-old Danny Mueller, who ran a 3:19:50 marathon and then followed it by running an average of 23.5 miles a day for 23 days. In my opinion, this is not just bad, it's insane. Please don't print reports of such happenings. They only invite egocentric adults to exploit their children to "go one better."
ARTHUR C. CONRO
Narragansett Regional High School
LOVE BOAT RUNNER-UP
In the article Here She Is, the True Love Boat (Sept. 20) by William Oscar Johnson about the Sunfish and the 1982 world championship, there was a picture captioned "Fries lost to Kostecki by just .3 of a point, the narrowest margin ever in world competition." However, the picture printed wasn't of me but of Don Bergman of Chicago.
It was a hardship for me to fail to win the world championship by such a slim margin. By printing the wrong picture, SI didn't make the loss any easier. I hope you'll set the record straight.
DERRICK R. FRIES
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.