Billie Jean King (There She Is, Ms. America, Oct. 1) soundly beat Bobby Riggs and the Sugar Daddy became just another all-day sucker.
By earning $100,000 in his loss to Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs has proved that it is better to have lobbed and lost than never to have lobbed at all.
Money isn't everything. My husband promised to feed our new baby for seven nights if the Sugar Daddy lost. He said, "Let's make a bet that'll really hurt." Thank you, Billie Jean, for a week of uninterrupted sleep. Tennis, anyone?
While I am for Billie Jean King in her drive for greater recognition for women, I must give credit to Bobby Riggs. In the past few months he has done more for tennis than anyone else has done in a lifetime. The whole episode has been great. But what chauvinist pig picked Rosie Casals to help on the broadcast? She set Women's Lib back 10 years.
DAVID W. BRYANT
October 7, 1973
The match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was good tennis and fine entertainment, but the steady flow of venomous remarks from Rosemary Casals detracted from the enjoyment of the occasion. Had her words been the least bit witty or humorous, they would have been tolerable. As it was, she simply sounded childish and spiteful—and very unsportsmanlike. She made me want Bobby to win.
ANN N. EPES
Virginia Beach, Va.
Billie Jean King did the improbable when she beat Bobby Riggs three straight. But Rosie Casals accomplished the impossible when she made Howard Cosell seem like the perfect gentleman.
DAVID J. TIMMER
As a Pittsburgh Pirate fan I thoroughly enjoyed your article Churned by the Gut-Grinder (Sept. 24). You have reported the frantic National League East race perfectly. But why did you put Danny Murtaugh on the cover? All year the team or player featured on the cover has proceeded to drop out of the lead in the division or gone on a losing streak. Starting off on April 9 was Steve Carlton, who has had a bad season. Next, on April 30, were the San Francisco Giants, who eventually dropped out of first place. Wilbur Wood was on the June 4 cover and ended up having a losing streak. The hot New York Yankees followed (July 2), and they soon turned cold. Carlton Fisk and the Red Sox (July 30) barely touched first place. Everybody was sure the Dodgers would win a division title this year, but after being on your Aug. 20 cover they lost their big lead. Now we come to the Pirates, who rose out of last place to take over first—but not for long. My poor team lost seven of its next 11.
The rumor that any team or athlete appearing on your cover is jinxed was certainly enhanced when Texas, which you so boldly proclaimed No. 1 on your Sept. 10 cover, was defeated in its very first game. Then the next week you turn right around and select the Miami Dolphins, thus breaking their string of victories. Could you arrange a cover story on Navy in late November?
HENRY S. LARSEN JR.
Lieut. Colonel, USA
West Point, N.Y.
In the past eight decades Texas has failed to win its opening game very few times (eight out of 81, to be exact). Thus, with Miami's upset win over the Longhorns in their opening game of the 1973 season, my worst fears have been realized: there is a curse associated with SI's No. 1 ranking, and it is alive and well and living in Austin.
USC 7, Oklahoma 7? I don't believe it. Did you have to put Anthony Davis on your Oct. 1 cover?
Undoubtedly you will receive numerous letters from disgruntled Nebraska fans because, so far, you have failed to place them among your top three college football teams in the Midwest. They will be especially miffed because UCLA, a team the Huskers rather handily embarrassed, has been rated third in the West.
There will be a few writers who will be gracious enough to admit that perhaps Michigan and Ohio State have teams as good as the Huskers or better. However, your putting Notre Dame, a team that had yet to play a game, ahead of Nebraska will be just too much for them to comprehend. The fact that Nebraska completely annihilated the Irish in the last Orange Bowl will not help.
However, there are a few Cornhusker breast-beaters who are laughing and giggling and very pleased by your nonsensical snub. That is because we know why Texas got beat by Miami and mysterious fumbles. We know how powerful your selections and especially your cover are. Without a doubt the SI cover is the greatest jinx since Jonah. So on behalf of all of the knowledgeable Big Red rooters, I can only say thank you, SI. Thank you!
H. T. LEWIS
I am tired of seeing the National League East Division referred to as mediocre, as in the "Subtraction Division" or the "National League Least." I suggest another adjective: balanced. As a whole, the NL East has a winning percentage of .484. The American League West shows only .488, but I don't hear anyone screaming about how poor that division is. My vote for excitement goes to the NL East with its extraordinary balance, not mediocrity.
State College, Pa.
THE LIONS' ROAR
Thank you for the article on Penn State and its fine head coach, Joe Paterno (State Proves East Is Not Least, Sept. 24). It certainly beats the seven words you wrote about the Nittany Lions when they defeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl two years ago.
You did a fine job of previewing the 1973 college football season (Sept. 10), and it was especially gratifying to see the small-college teams get equal billing with the majors. You failed, however, to mention one of the most important recent additions to the game on either the major-or small-college level. The NCAA has instituted a playoff system for the top College Division teams. No longer will controversy rage as to who truly has the No. 1 squad. That will be determined (for Division I teams) on Dec. 15 in Sacramento, Calif. when the two best square off to decide a winner with blocks and tackles instead of statistics and press releases.
University of Delaware fans would like to think that this innovation came about because of a courageous stand taken by last year's "tallest of the smalls." The Blue Hens risked their No. I ranking in the polls and decided not to go to the NCAA's Eastern championship, the Boardwalk Bowl. Delaware had won this bowl four years running, but it had not been able to play other top-rated teams, such as last year's No. 2 team, Louisiana Tech. So as a form of protest the Hens did not go to Atlantic City.
Surely these playoff games are a test balloon sent up by the NCAA. If they are successful on the College Division level, the logical extension would be to introduce them on the major-college level.
CHARLES T. RAU
Lake Hiawatha, N.J.
•The NCAA says Delaware's refusal to play in last year's Boardwalk Bowl had nothing to do with the establishment of its new playoff system for College Division teams. Nonetheless the Blue Hens—if they can make it to the playoff final—now will have the chance to prove they are the best.—ED.
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