As a result of your article on the Red River Gorge (Operation Build and Destroy, April 1), my wife and I went to Kentucky for four days to visit the site and its area. We also discussed the matter with proponents and opponents of the proposed dam. From this brief survey our conclusions are: 1) the gorge must be saved as a unique educational and recreational resource whose accessibility and proximity to growing urban population centers will make it especially valuable in the years ahead; and 2) the needs of the people of the Red River valley for flood protection and jobs must be recognized, but these needs can be met in other ways.
There is still a slight chance to save the gorge if sufficient interest is shown by concerned parties. At the request of Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, Congress will hold a final set of hearings in Washington on May 7 and 8. Persons interested in seeing that this vital national resource be preserved should write at once to The Honorable Michael J. Kirwan, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Works, to Senator Allen J. Ellender, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Works, to Senator Cooper and to their own Senators and Congressmen.
Without such a display of genuine interest by those of us who feel that environmental rights are as important to the nation as civil rights, this magnificent and priceless living laboratory may well be lost to all our children forever.
W. E. BIRMINGHAM
Headmaster, Sterling School
Craftsbury Common, Vt.
PRAISE FOR THE MASTERS
In his preview of this year's Masters Tournament (New Challengers for the Old Masters, April 8), Alfred Wright recites his preferred viewpoint of our tournament as follows:
"The Augusta National is a course of such sophisticated design that only the best and most versatile golfer of the moment, impervious to the most intense pressure, can prevail through the full 72-hole test. Why else would it be that in 11 of the last 13 years the Masters champion was either first or second on the money-winning list for the entire year?"
I want you to know that I think this description is one of the nicest and best expressed I have ever read about the Masters. I think a gentleman in Atlanta by the name of R. T. Jones Jr. will feel the same way about it. Accordingly, I am sending him a copy of this letter.
I would like to praise the photographers. The color photographs that accompanied Alfred Wright's coverage of the Masters (Golf's Craziest Drama, April 22) were the very best I have ever seen. Marvin E. Newman, Tony Triolo and Neil Leifer captured all the excitement of the tournament in these photos and deserve to be highly commended.
The picture taken by Walter Iooss Jr. of Wilt Chamberlain and Walt Bellamy (Push Comes to Shove, April 15) is by far the finest sports picture I have ever seen.
As an Indianapolis driver I would like to add just a few comments to Graham Hill's A Farewell to Jimmy Clark (April 22). Jimmy Clark probably accomplished more in his 32 years than any driver in history. His record speaks for itself, but what hasn't been mentioned is Jim's influence in bringing drivers from all aspects of motor racing together. By their success with the Lotus Fords at Indianapolis, Jim and Colin Chapman completely revolutionized the sport as we know it in the U.S. Jimmy also competed, in 1967, in a stock-car race at Rockingham, N.C. and, last fall, in the USAC Rex Mays Memorial 300 in Riverside, Calif. I can't help but reminisce about some of the times we were together, particularly on our trip to Japan two years ago when I had an opportunity to spend some time with him. He had a tremendous influence on me, and I believe that he had the same effect on many of the other Indianapolis drivers.
Now that he is gone, I think it is a challenge to those of us who knew him to try to live up to his example, because Jimmy Clark, more than anybody else, gave the sport of auto racing class.
In the article on the NBA division playoff's (Push Comes to Shove, April 15), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED describes Nate Thurmond's role as a radio color announcer for the San Francisco-Los Angeles finals and mentions that the broadcast was sponsored in part by Nate Thurmond basketball shoes. SI then states that "it is a bit jarring, of course, to hear the announcer speak of 'perfect comfort while wearing the Nate Thurmond shoe' while the principal sits there recovering from a wrecked knee received while wearing the Nate Thurmond shoe."
As Mr. Thurmond's personal business agent and his partner in Nate Thurmond Products Co., manufacturers of Nate Thurmond basketball shoes, I take exception to the implication that there is a relationship between Mr. Thurmond's wearing these shoes and his injury. In fact, the injury was caused by a collision on the court with another player.
I hope that you will set the record straight.
Nate Thurmond Products Co.
New York City
•The remark was made in jest, but SI is glad to publish Mr. Kay's statement for the benefit of readers who may have received an erroneous impression.—ED.
I have just finished reading Sal Maglie's article, Baseball Is a Tough Business (April 15 and 22). Maglie does not need the Red Sox. They need him, and so does baseball. It's people like Sal Maglie and Leo Durocher and Bill Veeck who make baseball a colorful sport. And the fans love them! The Dodgers thought the game had passed Durocher by, but he took a 10th place team to third, and in the Cubs' home opener this season he received a standing ovation when introduced to the crowd. I hope men like Maglie and Veeck get back into baseball—and soon. They love the game. It is not just a business to them. Congratulations for one of the best articles to appear in SI in the 11 years I've been a subscriber.
After reading his article, I find it difficult to understand how Sal Maglie ever lost 62 games. It is, however, quite evident why Dick Williams refused to rehire him as pitching coach. If Maglie's coaching is anything like his obnoxious conceit, baseball will lose one of its "all-time greats" not only for 1968 but, hopefully, forever.
I am a Red Sox fan. I admire Jim Lonborg, Dick Williams, Sal Maglie and the rest of the Sox. But after reading Sal's account of how Williams let Lonborg take the beating in the seventh game of the World Series when he could have put in any one of many pitchers in the bullpen, I think that Williams should have been fired instead of Maglie.
After all, if it hadn't been for Lonborg the Red Sox wouldn't even have been in that seventh game.
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Dick Williams is a manager who knows just what he's talking about. He's no fool. If Maglie had thought twice about it he would have realized why Jim Lonborg was kept in the seventh game of the World Series, even though the Cardinals were hitting well off him. It would have broken the hearts of many New Englanders if Williams had taken Jim out. And how could the rest of the team even try their best to win knowing that the one who had brought them so far had been removed from the game? Jim deserved to pitch that last game, and in my opinion he won it!
And don't worry about his skiing accident. He'll be able to bounce back and be just as effective in May as he was all last season.
P. A. MARTIN
Alfred Wright's article, In Case of a Tie, a Vote for Russian Roulette (April 15), presents a very strong case for the abandonment of the present 18-hole playoff rule in golf. The harassed officials, the exhausted club committees, the fatigued spectators and the anxious TV viewers all suffer from this present policy.
On the other side of the coin, Palmer, Nicklaus and Casper present a valid point for the 18-hole playoff in that sudden-death is not a fair test for the players. Too many freak occurrences can give the title to one man without establishing his clear superiority over another.
It would seem to me that the answer lies in a playoff that would allow for continuation of play at the conclusion of the regular tournament and still provide a fair test for the golfers. My suggestion is a four-hole playoff (on those holes already set up for TV coverage) with the winner chosen on either match- or medal-play results. This would go a long way toward satisfying everyone's needs.
New York City