In your Nov. 15 issue, Peter Carry wrote an article naming the Milwaukee Bucks "The Best Team—Ever." I am sure that Mr. Carry must have some doubts about that now.
Most people will agree that the Boston Celtics led by Bill Russell were the most consistent and dominating team ever assembled over the years. However, the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Bucks or the Celtics, showed the basketball world that they were the greatest team ever put together for one season. The records fell before the Sharman Machine Quintet. Never before has any basketball team dominated the game the way the Lakers did this season. It makes our 12 years of waiting all worthwhile.
For the record, what was the Lakers' Dominance Index?
DENNIS M. CHODOROW
Canoga Park, Calif.
•Despite a winning percentage of .841, the highest ever, the 1971-72 Lakers earned a Dominance Index (based on their average winning margin compared with the average margin of the second-best team of the season) of only 111%. The 1970-71 Bucks' Dl rating was 235%, and the 1964-65 Celtics still dominate the list with 277%.—ED.
May 21, 1972
Besides being the main factor behind the success of the Lakers, the winningest team ever and holder of eight modern NBA records, Wilt Chamberlain also dominated Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the last two playoff games of the series between Milwaukee and L.A. Wilt Chamberlain, not Jabbar, Bill Russell or Nate Thurmond, deserves the title of the greatest and most dominant player the game has ever known.
Alter viewing the continued unsportsmanlike tactics of the Boston Bruins in the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals, I can only say that they are not a team of which hockey can be proud. Indeed, the Bruins are a talented, overpowering team, but when championships are won through such blatant acts as attempting to deliberately injure opposing players, I believe a great deal has been lost. True, good guys don't always win, but at least in the world of sports we fans would like to be able to take pride in our champions.
Am I a Bruin hater? No, they used to be my favorite team. Let me just say that I am disappointed and ashamed of their conceited and disrespectful attitude toward the Rangers and toward the rest of the NHL.
The Bruins were sickening in their conduct on Thursday night (May 4); on Sunday (May 7) they were merely disgusting. Bruce Hood should be commended for his stand on Sunday's mayhem, but John (See No Evil) Ashley should be farmed out for his attitude on Thursday night. I can see his point in wanting to get the game over, but a forfeit would have been more proper than his total disregard of the Bruins' tactics.
The simple answer to the problems of the officials is to let the linesmen call penalties, too. But it will take three or four years for the leaders of this "progressive" league to adopt the idea, if they do at all.
Professional hockey will continue to grow, but the actions of teams like Boston put a damper on the spirit of the sport. I think it is about time someone laid it on the line.
La Porte, Ind.
I enjoyed the article The Boys of Spring by William Leggett in your May 1 issue. I am so glad the strike is over and we hear the crack of bats again. The National League West is one tough division, I agree. Being a faithful San Francisco Giant fan, it broke me up to see Willie McCovey sitting in the dugout with his right arm in a cast. There sat 100-plus RBIs and 44 or so home runs. But the Giants will be in the thick of it in September.
Pine Ridge, S. Dak.
Your article on the Dodgers' blazing start was very demoralizing to the Houston Astros, who are neck and neck for the Western Division lead. How can you pick the Dodgers to win the division when the Astros have an All-Star infield and an added home-run threat with the addition of Lee May? Jim Wynn is having a better year than Willie Davis and has already been named Player of the Week. Houston's pitching staff is equal to if not better than the Dodgers'. It had the second-lowest ERA in the NL last year and it will be even better this year with the arm of Dave Roberts.
STRIKING IT RICH
For a longtime baseball fan whose winter months were brightened with anticipation of the usual season's opener, the major league players' strike was not only a disappointment, it also left me at considerable loose ends on weekends. Consequently, and for the first time in more than a decade, I began attending amateur games, particularly at nearby Stanford University. What a delicious, absolutely refreshing rediscovery of the spirit of a beautiful sport.
At an amateur game one can bask in the sun with friends, enjoy the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass, share the enthusiasm of real team spirit and, at the same time, appreciate good baseball, all for the sum of 50¢. Even more, the experience reemphasized for me the great talent necessary to play the game well. The more frequent errors only highlight the difficulties of perfection.
I am beginning to wonder if we, as professional sports fans, have not become anesthetized to the game. Might the pros be literally too good? The most difficult plays are made to appear routine, almost rehearsed; the elements of chance in pro ball, and, therefore, suspense—such as the ball hitting a pebble in the base path—are all but eliminated by synthetic surfaces.
Thanks to the baseball strike, I rediscovered a game I knew as a youth, one millions of youths still know today. The amateur errors, surprises, talent, genuine spirit, awkward but honest goodwill—that's basically what it is still all about, and always has been.
RICHARD C. PEPPER
Palo Alto, Calif.
PITCHERS' RIGHT ARM
I am compelled to write in response to your long-overdue story about a superb athlete and one of sport's real gentlemen, Johnny Sain (In a World of Windmills, May 8). Sain is perhaps the most misunderstood man in organized baseball. I have been a lifelong fan of the Detroit Tigers, but I was very disgusted when I learned the Tiger organization had let Sain go. It was his efforts, not Mayo Smith's, along with the efforts of some determined ballplayers, that made 1968 the Year of the Tiger.
John Sain has never had much to say. He doesn't have to. His results speak loud enough.
JOHN MIZEREK JR.
I have always thought that Johnny Sain was the greatest pitching coach ever. The second that Chicago got Sain, the White Sox started to rise.
When the White Sox arc through with Johnny Sain, or vice versa, I wish he would stop off here in Cincinnati and do his thing for our Redleg pitching staff. He can tell General Manager Bob Howsam that we fans sent for him.
All I can say is what a man!
J. D. FERRY
Your article on Ken Rosewall (Just a Decent Bloke, May 1) did justice to a fine gentleman. He is certainly one of the best players to pick up a racket. I congratulate Jerry Kirshenbaum on a job well done.
It is impossible that Jerry Kirshenbaum, who writes that Rosewall's backhand has long since surpassed Budge's, can ever have seen J. Donald Budge deal that hand. Impossible.
New York City
IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT
It is a fine thing to find that Jackie Stewart is more than the best driver in the world. His racer's diary (April 24 and May 1) shows a well-rounded, sensitive and thoughtful man who is able to separate the real values from an overly commercialized and very dangerous profession. My thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for printing this article; I believe it offers a telling argument, not just for auto racing, but for all sports threatened by the abuses of media, money and excessive mystique.
Having admired Peter Manso's book Vrooom!! and Jackie Stewart's driving and safety efforts, I was shocked at the innuendos directed at Jacky Ickx in their article. Stewart and Ickx respect each other's driving talents, yet differ on many of the safety proposals initiated by Stewart. This does not justify the vague comments concerning Ickx in the article.
Why should Ickx be bound by the majority decision in a sport where individualism is so important? In arguing against some of Stewart's proposals, Ickx brings out the often neglected issue of the sport's obligations to the paying public. He takes this consideration more seriously than does Stewart.
Stewart also states that there is a streak of immaturity in Ickx because he wants to race in the Grand Prix of his home country despite any rain, and because "there is no continuity" in his driving. To me, these are not the indicators of a man's maturity.
Because Ickx says that a driver must accept the possibility of crashing and dying, he is labeled a fatalist. In the sport of auto racing where danger undeniably exists, I would call this dealing with the realities of his life.
I have been with Ferrari at many races and had the pleasure of knowing Jacky Ickx. He is one of the finest people I have ever met. He does not work at achieving an image. He lives his life for his own satisfaction instead of publicity. He does not make the effort to be the center of attention, as Slew an calls himself. He has integrated his fantastic ability into his life rather than be dominated by racing. He has balanced his life. When someone tried to bait him into making an unfavorable comment about Stewart once, he said. "Stewart has chosen his life and I mine; they are not the same because we are not the same person." I hope your readers will have a different impression of Jacky Ickx than the Stewart and Manso article gives them.
WILLIAM R. RICHARDSON JR.
The articles by Jackie Stewart and Peter Manso show that Stewart is not only one of the most articulate racing drivers around. but that he is a truly compassionate human being as well. His initiative in dealing with the deaths of Piers Courage and Jochen Rindt at a time when no one else wanted to get involved was highly commendable.
In addition to his safety crusading and race promoting. Stewart also manages to be the best driver in the world. He epitomizes the true sporting professional.
Shame on you! "But whoever heard of the Westchester County Open." ("Genuflection," SCORECARD, May 1).
Obviously a lot of guys. Would you believe Willie Macfarlane. Bobby Cruickshank, Ben Hogan, Claude Harmon (six-time winner), George McLean, Mike Brady, Johnny Farrell, Paul Runyan, Tons Manero, Mike Turnesa, Herman Barron, Bob Watson, Doug Furd and Terry Wilcox have all held the Westchester Open title at one time or another since 1919?
Collectively these "unknowns" have won seven U.S. Opens, four Masters, five National PGAs, one British Open and. I'll wager, just about everything except the women's Open. What's more, five are members of golf's Hall of Fame.
Suffice it to say the Westchester County Open is one of the nation's oldest district golf championships, staged in the golfingest county in the country: the cradle, the birthplace of golf in America.
Executive Spoils Editor
White Plains, N.Y.
Address editorial mail to Time & Life Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.