Bruce Newman deserves a special accolade for his remarks about Julius Erving, whose actions after the Philadelphia 76ers won the NBA title showed why he has always been a true champion (Thou Shalt Rejoice, Said Moses, June 13). Even upon ending six years of tremendous frustration, Erving remained poised and dignified, a gracious winner. Congratulations, Doc, and thank you. You really never owed us anything; indeed, we are indebted to you for all you have done for the NBA, for Philadelphia and for the nation.
JOHN P. LYNSKEY
In light of the 76ers' sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals, I nominate Moses Malone and Julius Erving for co-Sportsmen of the Year. Malone proved that it is possible for an NBA player to give 100% every night and truly earned his $2 million salary through hard work. And Erving finally won an NBA championship after leading the Sixers to the best record over the previous six seasons, including three trips to the finals. For years the Doctor has excited basketball fans with his electrifying play. He has won with class and dignity, and he has lost with class and dignity. Because of their unselfishness, their athletic ability, their competitiveness and their sportmanship, Malone and Erving both deserve your award.
I'd like to be the first to congratulate Jim Kaplan on having the guts to correctly call the unsung Cardinal infield baseball's best Front Four (Infield Errors Are a Cardinal Sin, June 13). Actually, the St. Louis infield played even better defensively in '82 than it has so far this year. As a Cardinal fan, I also agree with Kaplan's statement that George Hendrick is the National League's best defensive rightfielder. However, I would go one step further: Silent George is the league's best rightfielder, period. As for Ken Oberkfell, he did deserve the '82 Gold Glove at third for his defensive performance. Unfortunately, Gold Glove voting is almost as ridiculous as the All-Star Game balloting process.
•Following the trade on June 15 of Keith Hernandez to the Mets for two pitchers, Hendrick has been moved to first (see INSIDE PITCH, page 73).—ED.
Jim Kaplan has penned what St. Louis fans have pined for—an articulate, concise article extolling the talents of our Redbird infield. The Dodgers may bleed blue—I suspect cheap uniforms are to blame—and the Yankees may bleed George, but the St. Louis Cardinals really know how to play ball.
RANDOLPH W. MINDAK
When you compared the Cardinals' present infield with those of the past, I was surprised no mention was made of the 1967-68 St. Louis quartet. Mike Shannon, Dal Maxvill, Julian Javier and Orlando Cepeda, certainly no slouches in the field, helped lead the Redbirds to consecutive World Series appearances in the aforementioned years.
JOSEPH DECLAN MORAN
It hurts to think that there was no mention in your article of the super Cardinal infield of 1963. Trivia buffs remember it as the only infield to start intact in an All-Star Game: Bill White at first, Julian Javier at second (in place of the injured Pirate Bill Mazeroski), Dick Groat at short and the late Kenny Boyer at third. All four were also members of the 1964 world champion Cardinals.
Captain, USA Reserve
Camp Edwards, Mass.
Jim Kaplan wrote, "The result was St. Louis' first world championship since 1968." He meant to say 1967, because 1968 belonged to Denny McLain (31 victories), Mickey Lolich (three complete-game Series wins) and the Detroit Tigers! You're welcome!
DANIEL A. WILDER
It was with great admiration for Rod Carew that I read Ron Fimrite's article Portrait of the Artist as a Hitter (June 13). Baseball will lose a very talented player if he decides to retire, but I'm sure a man with his pride and professionalism will be a leader in any field. It was refreshing to learn more about this quiet superstar.
Reggie Jackson compared his own hitting consistency with that of Rod Carew by saying, "I was like that in the '77 World Series, but that was only six games." Actually, it was only six plate appearances. Jackson's extraordinary hitting in that Series did not begin until the seventh inning of the fifth game, when he singled. He homered in the eighth inning, and in the sixth and last game, he walked, homered, homered and homered. An utterly spectacular performance, but until the binge began, Reggie's batting in that Series had been so-so: In his first 18 plate appearances (15 official at bats) he had only four hits (a homer, a double and two singles) for a .267 average and had batted in only two runs.
This is not to demean Jackson, an outstanding hitter himself, but only to make clear what actually happened.
GOINGS ON AT THE FRENCH
In reference to your article on the French Open (The French to a Frenchman, June 13), you were right when you said Yannick Noah was tennis' most gifted athlete. You were right about John McEnroe becoming a bore with his antics, language and general poor sportsmanship. You were also right about Chris Evert Lloyd still having what it takes to win tournaments. But you were wrong about the space shuttle Columbia having been flown overhead "on a break from" the Paris Air Show. It was the S.S. Enterprise. Any Trekkie knows that!
You should quit going into detail on John McEnroe's uncalled-for court behavior. You should have gone into detail on how thoroughly he was dominated by Mats Wilander in their quarterfinals match. As for McEnroe popping his pecs, ha!
If John McEnroe doesn't cut out those tantrums—and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED doesn't stop reporting them—I'll scream my head off! I'll hold my breath till my face turns blue! I'll smash my head against the wall! I'll tell Mommy on you! I'll...!
Ray Kennedy's article on the Wizard of Boz (Then Zing Co the Strings, June 13) was excellent. Throw a Warren Bosworth-strung racket into a pile with nine other rackets and I'll pick it out 10 times out of 10. And no matter how exalted his present company, Warren, to his credit, never forgets the hackers he began with.
Thank you for Ray Kennedy's fascinating article on Warren Bosworth and the rivetingly detailed photographs by Lane Stewart.
Iowa City, Iowa
I'm just a run-of-the-mill player on the courts. However, I pride myself on being an expert stringer of tennis rackets. Ray Kennedy's article was the most interesting and informative on the subject that I have ever read in any magazine. It will be on display in my shop for all to read until the print fades from the pages. Many thanks for the contribution to this mystical side of the game.
WESLEY B. SHAFFER III
ONE FOR THE BIRDERS
I read with interest Michael Parfit's SIDELINE (June 6) dealing with a birdwatching Big Day. Having been married to an avid birder for nearly 18 years, I have often suffered the smirks and taunts of the uninformed. Perhaps the inclusion of this article in SI will elevate birding to somewhat more macho status. After all, doesn't the general public view bird-watching as something slightly perverted that is done by little old ladies in army boots and prissy men in baggy shorts?
Although I'm not a birder myself, I can appreciate the fact that it is a strenuous sport whose participants need quick wits, acute hearing, sharp vision, excellent memory and a great deal of physical stamina. The Big Day to which your article referred was certainly not the norm—imagine having a plane at your disposal! It beats slogging through sewage lagoons in hip-waders—or, worse, in sneakers.
Finally, to anyone who is wont to say (ad nauseam) to a birder's wife, "What kind of birds does he watch, the two-legged kind? Heh heh," I beg you, if you spot a four-legged one, please call my husband. He'd be most interested.
DON'T KNOCK THE ROCK
I take vehement exception to reader William Macdonald's criticism of Rocky Marciano (19TH HOLE, June 13). He notes Marciano's lack of reach and height and claims that those shortcomings would have prevented him from combating Holmes's jab, had they ever-met. What Macdonald seems unaware of is the way the Rock fought. Undoubtedly the strongest man to hold the title, Marciano fought in a low crouch that transformed him into a human battering ram, able to take the hardest punches while relentlessly coming back as if nothing had happened. His own blows were heavy and deadly; he knocked out 88% of his opponents. Because of his lack of height, he bullied his opponents to the ropes and whacked them about the body until their legs died. To assume that Holmes could dance away from such an assault is wishful thinking.
But more than anything else, the one attribute—the one intangible—that put the Rock head and shoulders above them all was heart.
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