NEW YORK VS. BOSTON
I must take exception to your Feb. 12 article 97-Pound Weaklings No More. The New York Rangers only play like 97-pound weaklings in championship hockey games.
Mark Mulvoy must remember that hitting is part of hockey and the Rangers and Bruins have been hitting each other for more than 40 years. It is only recently, however, that New York and Boston have been engaged in playing championship hockey and, as usual, the Rangers have choked.
New York has not had a championship NHL team for more years than I can remember, because the Rangers just do not win big games. The 7-3 victory over Boston that Mulvoy writes about was not the end of the world for the Bruins. We all know that regular-season play does nothing more than make money for the owners and entertain the fans while the players jockey for playoff berths.
When the WHA appealed to the growing greed of professional athletes, the Bruins were dealt a severe blow by the loss of Goalkeeper Gerry Cheevers and Center Derek Sanderson. Now the Turk is back. Watch the Big Bad Bruins beat the 97-Pound Weaklings in the playoffs.
JOHN E. PARISI
Mark Mulvoy did an excellent job of capturing the Rangers on and off the ice. I think the Rangers have proved that when they are healthy they can be one of the toughest teams in hockey. Emile Francis deserves much of the credit for putting together a team of experience, youth and skill.
As for the Boston Bruins, go back to your cage!
Glen Rock, N.J.
It was a long time coming, but nevertheless your article was great. This may finally be the year the Rangers win it all—Stanley Cup, Prince of Wales Trophy and the Vezina Trophy (Go, Eddie and Gilles).
Perhaps the saying "the truth hurts" is applicable here, but I don't think so. Your Feb. 5 and 12 issues featuring the Knicks and Rangers finally winning the big ones over Boston were downright insulting. The Celtics still have the best record in basketball and the Bruins will be Stanley Cup champions again. Anyone is entitled to a letdown, especially with the pace the Celts have set. When playoff time comes, Boston will once again show its supremacy. This year, though, in more than one sport.
MARK D. GROSSMAN
I am thrilled. I didn't know that you knew there was a Pittsburgh hockey team. At last you have recognized the Penguins by letting Jim Rutherford describe how it is to be a goalie (Watch Out, Here It Comes! Feb. 12). Thank you, SI and Mark Mulvoy, for letting the great little goalie from the Penguins take over. And thanks to Melchior Di Giacomo for some excellent photographs.
The pictures were excellent and Jim Rutherford told it like it is. But your failure to include two of the greatest goalies was just too much. Your article would have been complete if you had just pictured Gilles Villemure and Gerry Desjardins. Villemure's record speaks for itself. Desjardins' is terrific but his team's isn't. Nonetheless, thanks for putting in Eddie Giacomin. He is the best goalie of them all.
Hurrah for Steve Smith (He's Raising the Roof, Feb. 12)! Hurrah for Ron Reid! This article was one of the best I've read in your magazine, and track and field's biggest attraction deserves all of the praise you've given him.
Incidentally, Smith doesn't look like a duffel bag filled with bowling balls. To me he looks more like a duffel bag filled with granite.
In regard to your article on Steve Smith, it looks as though Apollo 17 will not be man's last voyage to the moon!
Los Alamos, N. Mex.
In regard to your article Eleven Days That Shook the Colts (Feb. 12), it is only fair to say that the shaking has just begun. For a once loyal Colt fan it is agonizing to see one of the greatest professional football teams of all times dismantled piece by piece and shipped away. Joe Thomas seems much like a spoiled child who has grown bored with his new toys.
George Plimpton's Everyone Can't Be First String (Dec. 18) beautifully depicted the circumstances under which the Colts are now operating, and in rereading that article, my mind skipped back even further to ABC's presentation of Plimpton's The Great Quarterback Sneak, in which we watched the champion Baltimore Colts—a family of men, one single unit—win, lose or tie as only champions could. Alas, the days of the champions are long gone.
JOSEPH E. NORRIS JR.
I could see the trading of Johnny Unitas, but to trade Newsome, Curry, Matte, Logan and Bulaich is ridiculous. There goes most of the power that was left on the team.
Baltimore will be lucky if it gets into the winning column next season.
CHARLES W. ANDERSON
New Carrollton, Md.
The article shows that next season the Colts are going to have a young, strong football team.
I liked the article, but I don't think Bert Jones will back up Marty Domres. I think he will start or at least share equal time. The Ruston Rifle has everything needed to be a pro quarterback. Come pro football season in Baltimore you'll hear a lot of chanting about Bert Who of LSU.
DPH, LITTLE LEAGUE STYLE
The "nay" vote on the designated-pinch-hitter rule attributed to Little League Baseball in Bill Leggett's excellent piece The 10th Man Cometh (Feb. 5) is only partially correct.
Paradoxically, the pitchers among our two million regular Little Leaguers also represent the class of the batting order, so there is no need for designated pinch hitters and we did vote no. However, this is not the case in our 16- to 18-year-old Big League division. In support of the American League's decision to accommodate a designated pinch hitter for the pitcher, it should be pointed out that four years ago Little League innovated an even more liberal (and so far, highly successful) variation of the rule for its Big Leaguers: a designated pinch hitter may be used for any player in the lineup. And, as a way of further utilizing special skills, a designated pinch runner may also be employed once each inning.
ROBERT H. STIRRAT
Little League Baseball
When UCLA defeated Notre Dame for the Bruins' 61st consecutive win (Who Are These Guys? Feb. 5), news media throughout the nation proclaimed the streak the longest in college basketball history. 'Tain't so! Tarleton State College of the Lone Star Conference, formerly John Tarleton Agriculture College, stretched a winning streak of 86 consecutive games across the years of the mid-1930s for a record that has never been challenged by a college team.
Although a junior college at that time, Tarleton played a number of senior colleges and the Phillips Oilers in its four years of undefeated play. After dropping a 27-26 decision to San Angelo Junior College to end the streak at 86, the Plowboys, as they were known back in those days, came back to win an additional 25 straight games and give Tarleton a 111-1 record in a six-year period. The architect for the 86-game streak was Coach W. J. Wisdom, who resides in Stephenville, Texas, home of Tarleton State College, and still attends Tarleton basketball games regularly.
J. LOUIS EVANS
Tarleton Station, Texas
Horror story or not, if the facts presented by Kent Hannon in his article Say It Ain't So, Cliff! (Feb. 12) are as he reports, then college basketball must resign itself to a future of stark reality. Assuming that the three talented and promising young basketball players mentioned—Cliff Pondexter, Jackie Robinson and Richard Washington—do eventually wind up at UCLA, then indeed the Bruins' future is forever. I say more power to UCLA, for it well deserves the top spot.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
Speaking (unofficially) for Elgin Baylor, Austin Carr, Jerry Chambers, Dave Bing and other stars of the area, we must protest. Kent Hannon's failure to mention the most prominent basketball city in the nation is unforgivable. Washington, D.C. is, in the words of that genius Red Auerbach, "the hotbed of raw basketball talent in the country."
Hannon compounds the problem by failing to mention the most gifted schoolboy in the land, Adrian Dantley of De Matha High School of Hyattsville, Md. On a recent road trip Dantley and his teammates beat the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams of New York State within a 24-hour period. Surely this area deserves some attention.
Just a short note to thank you for the complimentary article about James (Fly) Williams and Austin Peay State University (One Fly They Can't Swat, Feb. 5). I'm sure we'll be hearing more about their basketball prowess in the future.
It's a shame that it takes a great basketball star such as Fly Williams to bring out the fact that the Ohio Valley Conference even exists. True, Austin Peay has a great player, but recognition should also be given to the fact that he plays in one of the toughest little conferences in the nation, the OVC.
Newport News, Va.
CHRIS SCHENKEL (CONT.)
In my opinion Jack Olsen, as a writer, and Chris Schenkel, as an announcer, are very proficient in their specialties. However, I must take umbrage concerning the article Virtue Is Its Own Reward (Jan. 22). I was appalled when I read that Chris considered the late, great Dan Parker, sports editor of the New York Daily Mirror (and, before that, the Waterbury American) for approximately 40 years, "the big phony."
Fellow Waterburian Parker was not only one of the top sportswriters of this century but he was well known for his kindly and generous nature and his tremendous sense of humor. From its inception, he headed the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund for Cancer Research with the late Walter Winchell.
Reading Parker was a daily ritual for millions of readers along the Eastern Seaboard for more than 40 years. He was one of the most modest, yet most brilliant men that I have ever read and known.
I feel sure that Parker did not intend to insult Schenkel or ridicule Bippus, Ind. Dan was famous for his kidding style and witticisms, and he undoubtedly was having some fun with Schenkel. In other words Schenkel was being introduced and accepted in the "Big Apple."
HENRY (DUKE) DEL PO
It was with a great shock that I read the article on Chris Schenkel written by your Mr. Jack Olsen. I have been a subscriber to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since its inception. Mr. Olsen quoted Schenkel as saying he disliked broadcasting from Los Angeles Coliseum because of the "smell of marijuana." I challenge you or anyone else to prove that. And the statement that he saw people drop their pants in front of an audience is an absolute untruth.
Having been manager of the stadium for some 27 years, I have no knowledge of either of the alleged happenings having taken place in our stadium.
I don't mind fair criticism, but when journalists stoop to the point of spreading mistruths, it is time to call the shot. I expect a retraction on this article.
W. H. NICHOLAS
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
It seems rather ironic that a moral perfectionist who accepts nicotine, caffeine, barbiturates and "three or four Scotches" should find the smell of marijuana reason enough to dislike broadcasting from the Los Angeles Coliseum.
I am writing to thank you for your fine article on Chris Schenkel. If it were not for him, I would be a very unhappy football widow on many Sundays, Mondays and Saturdays of the year. Thanks to his excellent and enthusiastic coverage of the New York Giant football games during the 1960s, I became the most loyal fan of anyone I know. Now on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights I sit right beside my husband in front of the television screen to whoop and cheer my heart out for my very favorite team. And I'm not ashamed to say I love it.
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