The Immaculate Reception and Other Miracles (Aug. 20) reveals to the whole country why Myron Cope is himself rapidly becoming an institution in this city, rivaled in wackiness only by our politicians, Bob Prince and Steeler history. He would be a great humorist in any field. Lucky for you he chose sports. Lucky for us he chose Pittsburgh.
Myron Cope unquestionably captured the elation and zeal of all Pittsburgh and Steeler fans. Only Myron, who grew up in the Steel City, could relate the "sweetness of that 40th year" so well and with such color.
Franco's Italian Army is only part of the reason why everyone in Pittsburgh has a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes. The big reason for this jubilation is the Steelers themselves.
DIANE M. BRANAGAN
I would like to commend you on your article about the Steelers. The part about Fran Rogel, the former Steeler fullback, interested me the most because he is now the football coach of my school, Highlands Senior High, Natrona Heights, Pa. In just two short years he has transformed a losing cause into a winning team. He still sticks to the play he was noted for on the Steelers: hi-diddle-diddle, somebody's always going up the middle.
September 2, 1973
I have always considered SI talented and big enough to be above crudity and bad manners, but now you come up with an example of both plus something artistically and professionally worse, sophomorism. Your title The Immaculate Reception and Other Miracles has all the charm and cleverness of a slap in the face, not unlike the unsubtle vulgarities of a mediocre stand-up comedian. It may indeed be, as your subhead put it, that "The Pittsburgh Steelers arose from the slag heap last season," but Myron Cope, color man for Steeler radio broadcasts, or Sharon Levosky or whatever journalism student dreamed up this headline has yet to rise.
Naturally, if I didn't consider yours a great magazine in its field I wouldn't bother to write. One doesn't waste time on mediocre comedians.
JOSEPH T. MCGLOIN, S.J.
Although it was long overdue, I wish to commend William Leggett for his fine article about the Los Angeles Dodgers (Wheelin' Away Out West, Aug. 20). Whether they can withstand the second-half surge of Cincinnati or not, they certainly have revived the tradition of exciting Dodger teams.
Mission Viejo, Calif.
I was pleased to see that you have finally decided to acknowledge the fact that the 1973 Dodgers are indeed for real. However, your story was rather unreal. A caption to a picture of Ron Cey states that his homer helped defeat the Giants. The Dodgers lost that game 3-2 in 11 innings. The article says, "Los Angeles flopped off to its worst start ever (1-6)." Wrong again. In 1964 the Dodgers won their opener and then lost seven straight.
I find it hard to believe that Jack Nicklaus was not on the cover of your Aug. 20 issue. He established himself at Canterbury as the greatest golfer who ever picked up a club. Instead you found it more fitting to feature a couple of Dodgers whose team hasn't even clinched its divisional pennant. Come on, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, put the true champions of sport on your illustrious cover.
Dan Jenkins' article on Jack Nicklaus and the PGA (Jack Goes One Up on a Legend, Aug. 20) was up to his usual standard. Nicklaus is the greatest golfer ever and Jenkins told the story well.
But I wish he had given Don Iverson more than one sentence in a paragraph lumping all of the contenders together. I predict Iverson will be one of the stars of the future and that SI will get another chance to recognize his achievement. Better keep your eye on him.
KENNETH O. BLANCHARD
La Crosse Tribune
La Crosse, Wis.
Granted, sportswriters are a breed apart. Granted, one of them is entitled to a bit of license when a favorite hero finally makes the mark that the scribe has looked forward to for well over a year. But how can Dan Jenkins put Jack Nicklaus' "Book the hunt" in the same rhetorical league with the gems of Neil Armstrong and Abraham Lincoln?
We very much appreciated and enjoyed your Aug. 20 article (No Place in the Shade) on James (Cool Papa) Bell. It was both sad and infuriating, however, to read of the hardships and frustrations encountered by these magnificent and talented players throughout their careers.
One thing stands out in the reading of the article, and that is the utter exuberance and joyful dedication the black players displayed in pursuing the national pastime in spite of its frustrations and shortcomings. If dedication is a measure of greatness, the black players and their leagues are unsurpassed.
RICK, DONNA and GLENN TANNER
Thank you for the moving story about Cool Papa Bell's career and life. Even though there are no written records of the accomplishments of the men who played in the old Negro leagues, I am sure that many of them could have played in the majors and perhaps have attained the fame of a Ruth, Gehrig or Cobb. I hope that Bell can now gain some portion of the recognition that is his due by being inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.
JAMES W. YOUNG JR.
Congratulations are in order for Mark Kram on his fantastic article on Cool Papa Bell and life as it was in the Negro leagues. This remarkably revealing piece gives us an insight into the desperate, concerted effort to get even a single black player into the big leagues. Had blacks come up to the majors 20 years earlier, Cool Papa never would have had to wait this long to get into the Hall of Fame.
Fort Pierce, Fla.
VALE OF TEARS
Whitney Tower (Marlboro Country Is a Vale of Tears, Aug. 13) may be disappointed in the way Secretariat has been commercialized, and I agree that Mrs. Tweedy has overplayed her hand. Yet let us not get so disparaging because our superhorse has lost a race. I'm looking forward to his race against stablcmate Riva Ridge, and the others, regardless of whether Secretariat wins or loses. He may have failed to "fire" in the past race, but this has only served to fire my interest to see whether he will come back, like a true champion.
WILLIAM T. SEMPLE
Secretariat's defeat Aug. 4 in a mediocre field of older horses tends to prove what I have long believed—that he is a very good but not great horse who has benefited from lightning-fast tracks, a weak 3-year-old crop and terribly poor fields.
Whitney Tower says that horse racing is dying in New York. It is not dying, it is being killed, not only in New York, but nationwide by the high confiscatory tax take.
RAYMOND M. BERNHARDT
As a young man soon to enter college, I find that the simple, exciting memories of boyhood will be all that I shall soon have; therefore, I was quite taken with Terrence Des Pres' article (Memory of Boyhood, Aug. 13). This summer I have been working away from my home state, Louisiana, and I have missed all the fun and adventure of fishing on a quiet moonlit lake or frogging on a smoothly flowing stream. The story reminded me of the times my father also tried to hand down to me his knowledge of hunting and fishing lore, which had been given him by my grandfather.
Robert F. Jones' story on the 1973 skeet world championship (Hottest Guns in the South, Aug. 13) was outstanding from beginning to end.
However, there was one error that needs correcting. The 762 birds that captured the 12-gauge championship this year was not a record. The record was established at the world championship at Kansas City in 1968 by Tom Heffron Jr., Groton, N.Y., and Allen Buntrock, San Diego, who powdered 800 clays in overtime for a record 1,050 straight. These All-Americas were declared co-champions. Heffron was a former member of the U.S. Air Force shooting team, Lackland AFB, and Buntrock, until his retirement in 1970, had been the leading member of the All-Navy skeet team for many years.
Jones must be a shooter as well as reporter—he captured the flavor of Savannah right down to the 95% humidity.
M. L. TALBOTT
Commander, U.S. Navy
APPLES AND ORANGES
I had quite a shock when I read Joe Marshall's article about George Reed (Running at a Record Pace, Aug. 13). When an NFL reject is compared as a running back to Jim Brown, I think this is going too far. It is true that Reed has really excelled in the CFL and he must be a great athlete to set such records, but the record of Jim Brown in the tougher competition of the NFL speaks for itself.
Come on now, fellows, comparing Jim Brown with a great CFL runner is a little out of bounds. Let's put things in their proper perspective. Like the width of the Canadian football field!
Jack Nicklaus may be the greatest ever. He has been the leader of his sport for a decade and has set the standard against which all others are measured.
Even though he is perhaps the most interviewed and most pressured athlete of our times, he has always met victory with humility and defeat with grace. His talent, his manner and his solid family life make him a remarkable man.
In my opinion, Henry Aaron is the man.
I am an opinionated individual who has several nominations for Sportsman of the Year: Jackie Stewart, who set a new record for Grand Prix victories; Henry Aaron, who will set the home run record this year; Yvan Cournoyer, who was brilliant in the NHL playoffs; and Bobby Riggs, the old guy with the racket.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.