I want to call your attention to a glaring inaccuracy in your cover story on O. J. Simpson (Ready If You Are, O.J., July 14). It is stated that the Buffalo Bills didn't book an attractive exhibition schedule until after they drafted O.J. This is not true.
All our exhibition games, except the game with the Rams, were arranged last fall, long before we had any idea we were going to draft Simpson. You were as far from the truth here as you were in the statement that Simpson would put $400,000 extra into the Buffalo till. The assumption that the game would not draw unless O.J. played is absurd. The doubleheader in Cleveland, particularly, has been an automatic sellout since long before O.J.
RALPH C. WILSON JR.
I don't think it has ever occurred to Frank Deford that O.J. might not even make it in pro football.
Personally, I think O.J.'s lucky if he gets $100,000.
July 27, 1969
Thank you for the article on bullfighting by John McCormick (The Sound of Hooves, July 7). Although I respect Mr. McCormick's opinions, I disagree with him about El Cordobés (Manuel Benitez) and Sebastiàn Palomo (Linares). Mr. McCormick said that El Cordobés is an "evil influence" on young matadors, and that "Linares, next to Cordobés, is the most vulgar character ever to put on a suit of lights."
I have seen El Cordobés and Linares fight on five different occasions and, while they are not "classical" matadors, I have found them to be fantastically brave and talented in their profession. Unlike the author's hero, Antonio Ordó√±ez, who won't give his best when he's not in the mood, both of these matadors give their all with every bull. In the words of the late great Juan Belmonte: "Tell me who is the highest paid matador, and I will tell you who is the best. In the end, it is the public who decides." El Cordobés is the public's choice.
Two ears and a tail and a vuelta al ruedo, (a lap around the ring) for John McCormick. For those of us who must remain here at home and can make it back to Spain only every few summers, such articles provide a welcome summary of the bulls. Mr. McCormick is an author who knows the art of bullfighting thoroughly. His book, The Complete Aficionado, is primarily for the expert fan, and his article is on the same level.
One summer, through arrangements by Ernest Hemingway, I traveled through Spain with Antonio Ordó√±ez, the finest bullfighter of our time. It was therefore gratifying to see Mr. McCormick call Antonio's work with one bull "one of the finest things I have ever seen in the plaza." Ordó√±ez is nearly 40 now, and slowing down somewhat, but he still retains that majesty of presence which only a very few men possess.
In all the years of its existence, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has never had a poorly written or unfair article on bullfighting, and The Sound of Hooves, which recaptured so magnificently the magic of the madness of Pamplona's feria, joins the group.
New York City
CASH AND CAREY
With so many unusual names in baseball this year, some interesting trades might occur. For instance, we could see Norm Cash and Jimmie Price of the Tigers traded for Don Money of the Phillies. Or maybe a pitcher trade involving Bill Hands, Phil Knuckles and Rollie Fingers of the Cubs, Padres and A's respectively?
How about swapping Bob Christian for Jose Pagan and Ted Savage? God forgive! Try swapping the Astros' Hal King for the Reds' Mel Queen. Eddie Fisher for Chico Salmon might be more on the level for the sportsman as would be Ron Hunt for Bob Moose.
The social registers would buzz if Pete Rose, Paul Casanova and Gary Gentry were dealt off for Ron Fairly, Bobby Wine and Jim Fairey.
Had enough? I'll leave you with one more to think about. If the Dodgers' Jim Brewer were traded to Minnesota he would have to defend his products from Harmon Killebrew.
I have just finished reading the first part of Al Hirschberg's and Ken Harrelson's story (The High-Flying (Well, .196) Hawk, July 14 and 21) for the second time, and I'm laughing harder than I was the first time. This is truly one of the funniest pieces of journalism I have ever read.
Harrelson's account of his debut against the Yankees was truly hysterical. The Hawk's superego is matched only by his ability to share in a good laugh—even at his own expense. It proves that Moe Drabowsky is not alone. Harrelson, too, is a Grade-A nut.
Re your piece on the high-flying Hawk: What junk! What insipidity!
As a loyal follower of the Red Sox, I haven't missed Harrelson's antics one bit, and neither, I suspect, have many others—with the possible exception of a few fledgling psychiatrists.
If you must print portions of baseball biographies, at least give us something about someone with both skill and class—like Gil Hodges, for example.
GILBERT S. OSBORN
Hawk, hell—he's nothing but a sparrow with a big nose!
F. W. JANSON
In SCORECARD of the June 23 issue you wrote about Charles G. (Lefty) Driesell, basketball coach of the University of Maryland. You insinuated that Lefty had accepted an automobile from the Davidson alumni knowing all the time that he was going to Maryland. It may interest you to know that when I called Lefty to congratulate him on his new position, he asked me (since I was the one who presented the car to him publicly) to take the car back and give it to the new coach at Davidson. This was a sincere request. I told him then that we gave him the car for what he had already done, not for what he was going to do in the future. We gave it to him on that basis and have had no reason to change our minds.
DONALD G. BRYANT
I was very upset about the accusations you made about me.
First, I would like to make it quite clear that the Wildcat Basketball Camp was founded, owned, financed and run entirely by myself. I started it in 1964 and saw it grow from an attendance of 80 boys per week to 160 per week. We have had to turn boys down. I have rented the facilities from Davidson College for the past four years and had permission to rent from them this year. Last May when the administrators at Davidson decided they wanted to buy the camp, naturally I was shocked.
I had used my funds for advertising, printing brochures, health cards, mailings, secretarial help, etc. In addition, my wife had spent many hours organizing the camp and doing administrative and secretarial work. I had 160 campers all signed up at $90 per camper, and this comes to approximately a $57,600 business built up over a five-year period.
I do not believe that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has any reader who would not have offered to give me $10,000 for this business. This would have given the buyer $47,600 to operate on, not having spent one penny of his own.
I would have preferred to run my camp both from a financial standpoint (which I believe anyone can understand) and from the standpoint of working with my campers. However, Dr. Spencer, president of Davidson College, and I came to an agreement that cost me several thousand dollars, but I did not want to make any enemies in Charlotte or Davidson. I feel that Davidson College was quite satisfied with this agreement, and if they were not, I would be greatly surprised.
In regard to the Thunderbird, I believe that Dr. Don Bryant, who presented me with the car, is going to write to you confirming that I offered to give the car back to him when I accepted the Maryland job. I also offered to return it to two other people who I knew were responsible for helping raise the money for the purchase of the automobile. All of them said that I could not return it.
As for my television show, I would estimate that nearly every coach who has ever had a team ranked in the top 10 has had his own television show, and I believe that this was an asset to Davidson as well as myself during my coaching career at Davidson.
Incidentally, there was no lawyer involved with my dealings with Dr. Spencer, as all of the negotiations were done between Dr. Spencer and myself.
I would like the facts about the camp and the automobile to be made known to your reading public, and let them decide if I have accepted anything unfairly or if I was the one who lost out. I have a great deal of love for Davidson and many friends in North Carolina who I would not want misled by your slanted remarks.
CHARLES G. DRIESELL
College Park, Md.
A person really doesn't have to be in any kind of physical shape to play golf, does he? Witness the chunky trio you spotlighted in your article on the U.S. Open (Old Sarge Cools It, June 23). Your excellent color photography gave us marvelous closeups of Miller Barber's double chin, Orville Moody's jowly countenance and ample girth, plus a long-range profile of Bob Murphy's protruding paunch. And these men, champion golfers all, dare to call themselves athletes? They are a disgrace to the term.
Isn't it about time we stopped deluding ourselves and put golf in its proper place? It is a game, not a sport.
However, if golfing buffs would truly like to upgrade the game to sporting status, I have a suggestion: Why not put a time element in the scoring? First man to finish the 18 holes would be able to subtract one stroke for every minute (or part thereof) his opponent finished behind him. And no golf carts. Everyone has to run after the ball! Golfers would tee up simultaneously, and at a given signal—whack!—the race is on.
Boy, would those fairway fatties ever melt away the suet under those conditions.
DECLINE IN THE WEST
In Mark Mulvoy's article on Reggie Jackson (Maris and the Babe, Move Over! July 7) the author states that the A's management is partially responsible for the poor attendance at Oakland baseball games this year because of absentee ownership, and "the Charles O. Finley organization has done nothing to promote them among prospective fans."
Perhaps Mulvoy overlooks the most obvious reasons for the disappointing baseball attendance in Oakland. First, where there once were just two major league baseball teams to divide California's baseball fans, there are now five teams. Secondly, interest in baseball, which was at its peak when the Giants and the Dodgers were consistent pennant contenders, is now in a slump due to the winning professional and college football and basketball teams that have diverted the sports fans' attention. Perhaps this is why, in addition to Oakland, baseball attendance figures in San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Francisco are also below par.
But Reggie Jackson and all the other young, talented A's are bound to stimulate baseball interest if the team becomes a consistent pennant contender.
WARREN L. SIEGEL
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