Your article by Jack Nicklaus (Do I Deserve To Be There?, July 3) was, to say the least, superb. I was particularly pleased with Jack's comments on his preparation for a tournament. Very few people realize how hard he works, not only to prepare, but to maintain his competitive edge.
You gave the reader a chance to see Jack's reaction to his good shots as well as his feelings about the magnificent back nine at Pebble Beach which took apart the best golfers in the world.
DAVID E. CHAMPAGNE
Jack's play on the final day at Pebble Beach was a magnificent display of courage and depicted a true artist under the most extreme conditions. I have never seen finer golf under such intense pressure on a course which demands everything and gives up nothing.
Sharing with us his nightmarish feelings about its 17th and 18th holes certainly endeared us to Jack Nicklaus the man—not just a machine.
LEON D. FRIGARD, M.D.
July 16, 1972
As long as sports have been played, can you name the greatest hitter in baseball, the best quarterback in football, the quickest and strongest boxer, and so on down the list? And without argument? Gentlemen, we have no such dilemma in golf.
And all who have followed sports before us, and all who will follow them long after we are gone, may never be able to say, as we can, that they have witnessed the feats of a man who was the best that ever lived in his chosen profession. Thank you for this opportunity, Jack Nicklaus. Excuse me. Mr. Jack Nicklaus.
I enjoyed John Underwood's revealing piece on the seniors of Nebraska's football team (The Graduates, July 3). But the chosen title for the article is obviously a misnomer. Since only eight of the 19 seniors actually were eligible for degrees, a more accurate title would have been The Nongraduates.
HIGH AND BEAUTIFUL
Your small piece, George is Right (SCORECARD, July 3), was exceptional. It was very refreshing to read about George Blanda, who needs no stimulation to play football. "All I need to get high for a game is to have somebody play the national anthem," says George. Beautiful!
Your article praising the Pirates (Four Murderers in a Row, July 3) brings to mind the comments after last year's World Series of Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver who said, "We still have the best damn team in baseball and we'll win 100 games next year." There is no doubt in my mind that the Pirates will win 100 games in 1972. The only question is whether they will do it before the end of July.
Fairmont, W. Va.
WHO'S IN CONTROL?
Re "Vote No" (SCORECARD, June 19), I could not agree with you more that a Federal Sports Commission should not be established. Sports have a hard enough time policing and regulating themselves, and they know their problems better than anyone else. The farther one gets from the problem and its source the harder it is to effect a logical and reasonable solution. Congress could certainly be considered the epitome of the latter situation.
I sincerely hope that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, with its focus, audience and abilities, will do its best to help prevent government intervention in sport where it is not needed. You are in a situation where you not only represent the sports news media, you serve as a dais for the interested and involved fan. I certainly hope you continue to make known logical and reasonable opinions in the realm of all legislation involving the governing and operation of sports in America.
J. N. PENNELL
Your recent SCORECARD comment that people who control sports, including fans, should abhor federal control of sports is hilarious. Since when do fans control sports? The mistreatment of fans by the owners is exactly the reason why sports legislation is needed.
The Senate Commerce Committee's hearing on a Federal Sports Commission has already indicated its fairness by calling two ordinary fans to testify. A Federal Sports Commission is absolutely necessary to protect the interest of the fan, who otherwise has no avenue of appeal other than expensive litigation.
ANGELO F. CONIGLIO
Our local Fort Lauderdale sports editor, a rabid Dolphin fan, took great delight in publishing Lou Harris' poll showing that football had topped baseball in popularity.
But now you tell us ("Countdown," SCORECARD, June 19) the poll was financed by the National Football League.
How about SPORTS ILLUSTRATED taking a poll on the fans' reaction to last year's World Series and Super (super?) Bowl. I'll chip in five bucks to help finance it.
Here is an article that appears on page 136 of the 1971 Baseball Dope Book concerning the most popular sport in this country:
NO SPORT (AMATEUR OR PROFESSIONAL) CAN APPROACH BASEBALL IN EXPOSURE
A recent survey on the radio and television time devoted to live-action baseball, conducted by an independent organization, produced some almost unbelievable facts. The report stated in part:
"Impressive evidence of baseball's place in the heart of America is furnished by a study of the number of persons who watch and listen to the broadcasts of major league ball games over television and radio each year. Just the bare statistics of major league broadcasting are so stupendous that they are almost incomprehensible to the imagination.
"Just how can one visualize an audience of more than four billion persons? Or a programming that encompasses almost 300,000 hours of broadcasting time?
"No other sport commands a fraction of the audience or the broadcasting hours devoted to major league baseball. In fact, no other programming feature except the playing of phonograph records occupies as much broadcasting time as baseball."
Add to that countless reams of space devoted to the game by the nation's newspapers and magazines and you realize it is an irrefutable fact that baseball is exposed to the public (not only in America, but in other spots around the world) to a degree which no other sport could ever approach.
I hope this information helps your readers understand the June 19 SCORECARD item "Countdown."
San Mateo, Calif.
SMOKE SCREEN (CONT.)
Dick Allen's baseball career has been a very controversial one. He has been with four teams in four years. He has been called a troublemaker. Yet he remains one of the most respected hitters in the game.
I must ask those who wrote about your June 12 cover picturing Allen smoking a cigarette if this picture really harms the image, right or wrong, that we have of Dick Allen? As Jim Bouton's book Ball Four pointed out, professional athletes are human beings, not gods. Why then should they be expected to act any differently than you and me? Why should they be presented to the public as something more than what they are?
Perhaps the picture was in poor taste, but I don't think so. It wasn't the first time I had ever seen a major-leaguer with a cigarette. It never affected me before and it doesn't bother me now.
I didn't even notice that Dick Allen was smoking. That is, until I read the letters in the June 26 issue. I then looked again at the June 12 cover and ta-da! Big deal! If he smokes, that's his own problem, but it shouldn't be any secret.
I am astounded by many of the reactions you received concerning Dick Allen smoking in uniform. Perhaps if they, the concerned parents, would stop smoking, their children might look up to them once in a while. It seems to me that parents have been placing this responsibility on the shoulders of sports figures for too long. What kind of effect is it going to have on a child if a parent with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth says, "Look up to Dick Allen, son, because he doesn't smoke"?
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.