Congratulations on a truly fine college basketball issue (Dec. 1) and on giving the University of South Carolina Gamecocks the ranking of No. 1. Frank McGuire is the greatest basketball coach that ever lived and along with Paul Dietzel gives us the greatest coaches in the country.
After winning the ACC title, having Warren Muir named All-America and going to the Peach Bowl, this truly is the Year of the Rooster.
Your article on Pete Maravich (Dec. 1) has long been awaited by those basketball fans who have not yet had the privilege to witness his display of superskills. This letter is to let Mr. Maravich rest assured that, while not yet supporting a major professional team, the sports fans in Hawaii are not behind the times. Their uncontrolled enthusiasm for sports can be viewed in their past support of such outstanding sports events as the Hawaiian Open Golf Tournament, the Hula Bowl and the new Aloha Basketball Classic in April. And while Pete Maravich is playing in the December Rainbow Classic, one of the best in-season basketball tournaments in the nation, he will hear no cries of "Hot Dog" in Honolulu. His mystic magic will be appreciated more and cheered louder than ever before.
Thank you for an excellent article.
December 15, 1969
Pete Maravich has finally settled a three-year argument on whether or not he really is an All-America basketball player.
It was obvious to me, and probably to the vast majority of your readers, that Maravich does not really care about basketball at LSU, winning or any of the other mundane yardsticks by which greatness is inevitably measured, but he cares only about Pete Maravich and what a flashy show he can put on.
Pistol Pete will inevitably lead the nation in scoring, make All-American and lead LSU to a mediocre—if not poor—season playing against second-rate teams. He will probably then be a high draft pick and be paid a large bonus to lead some professional team to a number of flashy losing seasons.
The only hope is that the managers of professional basketball and Pete Maravich realize before it's too late that what really draws crowds and determines greatness is not razzle-dazzle, taunting crowds, referees and opposing teams, but winning.
Maravich may go around the league putting on his show, but there is one team he never has, and never will, put on a show against. In his four previous meetings with Tennessee's Volunteers he has been held anywhere from 20 to 25 points below his per-game average. The only show was put on by the men playing against him.
Undoubtedly, Pete is a great player but the Pistol has a strange habit of getting jammed when he sees orange.
Your story on Pistol Pete Maravich was both interesting and fascinating. While he may be a candidate for the Harlem Globetrotters, let's wait until he plays in the pros and then we'll see if this hot dog can cut the mustard!
Attention rescue squads, firemen, police, hospitals, doctors and to whom it may concern: Throw away the stomach pumps! Let the patient (victim) read Pete Maravich's story. The same results will be achieved without all the messy manipulations.
Hazel Green, Ala.
After having read Plight of the People Bird by Virginia Kraft (Nov. 17), I feel compelled to object to your allowing the advocacy of Virginia Kraft's theory.
To urge that hunters, in person, pay landowners for the right to hunt or fish on their land makes hunting and fishing available only to the wealthy. I can't believe this is the policy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
As a professional natural-resource biologist, I am certainly aware that habitat is the key to wildlife numbers. Today's most productive and profitable farming practices do not leave good pheasant habitat. If we are to expect the farmer to lose money for pheasants, I agree he must be given an equal compensation. However, this compensation cannot come from individual hunters or groups of hunters, as the vast majority could not compete for desirable hunting. The payment must come through our various state and federal agencies which are responsible for the management of the natural resource in question. In this way the end product would be equally available to all hunters. Also, the amount of payment would not be set by the ability to pay, with the rights going to the highest bidder.
I hope this method of attempting to solve the pheasant habitat problem can be given equal publicity in the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
In his story about the USC-UCLA game (Make Way for the Wild Bunch, Dec. 1), Dan Jenkins failed to even mention what could have become the bonehead call o the year by Coach John McKay.
In the event of a tie game, USC would have gone to the Rose Bowl because it had the better conference record. However, when his team scored with a little less than two minutes to play, making their lead 13-12, instead of trying for a two-point conversion which would have given them a lock on the game, Coach McKay sent in his kicking unit for a completely useless extra point to make the score 14-12.
This left the door open, and UCLA could then win by getting a field goal rather than a touchdown. For a while it looked as if the Bruins might do exactly this when they reached the USC 38-yard line with time left in the game. Another first down and Coach McKay might have had a long winter to sit and regret that untried two-point conversion. An interception saved the day.
THOMAS C. DUDDY
FLAG WAVER (CONT.)
As to who innovated the penalty flag (SCORECARD, Nov. 10), I believe my claim will antedate that of Dwight (Dike) Beede (19TH HOLE, Nov. 24).
After graduating from college in 1934 I served as head linesman for Port Allegany (Pa.) High School (where I played football in 1927 and 1928) for the next several years. During the season of 1934 I was accused by partisan fans of calling offside only because their team had made a long gain. Therefore, in the season of 1935 I tied a large bandanna handkerchief to a heavy metal nut. Thereafter I called offside not only by blowing the horn but at the same time I hurled the bandanna high in the air. Thus the spectators were aware of an infraction of the rules before the play developed.
This helped the sideline fan to know what was going on and at the same time insured my continued good health when visiting the bistros and pubs in neighboring cities.
JAMES M. HELMER
Virginia Beach, Va.
Would that I could be so eloquent in describing my enjoyment on reading The Longest Silence (Dec. 1) as Thomas McGuane was in writing it. I lived every second with him. If circumstances were only slightly different, I would have been in a skiff close-by.
JOHN H. MEIERDIRCK
I have just finished reading Mark Kram's report of the Benvenuti-Rodriguez fight (Nino's Hook Stopped a Roman Riot, Dec. 1), and, in truth, I must say it was one of the most disgusting pieces of sports coverage that has ever been contained between the covers of SI.
Nowhere in the article is any credit given to the super left hook thrown by Nino. That punch would have stopped a bull elephant!
According to the announcer of the last Italian fight I witnessed on TV, three warnings relating to a major infraction (butting, low punching, rabbit punching, etc.) were grounds to disqualify a fighter. Rodriguez was warned four times.
Don't blame Italy, the Italians or the referee for Rodriguez' loss; give the credit to a paralyzing left hook thrown by Nino Benvenuti.
R. F. MCDERMOTT
Regarding your article on Dr. Robert Kerlan (Doc Kerlan: Rx for Athletes, Nov. 24). Recently I was a student at Loyola University of Los Angeles and a member of the rugby team. During the 1968 season I injured my shoulder during a game in San Diego. It was diagnosed as a bad bruise. Six months later, after much pain, the university sent me to Dr. Kerlan.
After inspecting my shoulder, Dr. Kerlan said I had a separation. The doctors in San Diego, with the use of X rays, had not found the separation. Six months later—upon sight examination—Dr. Kerlan made the right diagnosis.
It was not only his medical sense that made me a believer in Dr. Kerlan. It was the fact that he treated me with as much compassion and professionalism as he had treated the Dodgers, Lakers and Rams.
Arlington Heights, Ill.
Your humorous article about Paul Haber (Just Like a Green Bay Tree, Dec. 1) and his method of living while winning handball championships was a real scream. I am sure it will be very funny to youth and genuine lovers of youth who are making an honest effort to set high standards of personal conduct and accomplishment. But then it was a really funny feature, and that's all we really care about, isn't it?
M. D. HANKS
Salt Lake City
As a cigarette-smoking, nonhandball-playing beer drinker, I nominate Paul Haber as the Sportsman of the Year.
I would like to nominate Bill Toomey for Sportsman of the Year. This year Toomey completed eight decathlons. In six of these eight he scored over 8,000 points. He has scored 8,277 for an American record. This year he also set a world pentathlon record with 4,123 points—44 points beyond the old world mark—and won the AAU title for the fifth consecutive time.
I would like to nominate Tex Maule for Sportsman of the Year. To come back for another year as a football analyst after his pre-Super Bowl article belittling Joe and the Jets (as well as his continuing anti-AFL propaganda) is courage at its best.
The team of the year is the New York Mets. The sports event of the year was the Mets doing the impossible.
Maybe they weren't the strongest team in baseball, nor the best in player-for-player performance. But they had the will to win against heavy odds. And the guiding spirit of the Mets was their manager, Gil Hodges. A year ago he was recovering from a heart attack. This year he led the Mets to the top. For years as a player and now as a manager he has displayed the finest qualities of sportsmanship: dedication, courage, teamwork, and he has been a source of inspiration to others.
Gil Hodges for Sportsman of the year.
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
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