You blew it this time (Sportsman of the Year, Dec. 24). O. J. Simpson rushes for 2,003 yards, Secretariat wins the Triple Crown, and you pick Jackie Stewart of Scotland because he wins a handful of auto races and then retires. No, sirs, O. J. Simpson is the Sportsman of the Year—by a mile.
Rocky Mount, Va.
I am more than a little surprised at your choice. The year 1973 has given us two of the greatest runners ever, Secretariat and O. J. Simpson. Besides "talent, intelligence and discipline," they have the quality that makes a thoroughbred in the best sense of the word—spirit, the willingness to give everything and then some.
For my money, 1973 will always belong to the Superhorse and the Juice.
LYNN HUDSON GREEN
In light of the current fuel shortage, your naming Jackie Stewart as Sportsman of the Year is tantamount to giving Nero an award for fire prevention. Granted, the amount of fuel consumed by racing cars is minuscule compared to that used by leisure and business vehicles; the point is that racing de facto is not conserving fuel.
JOSEPH M. GALEOTA
Mt. Rainier, Md.
January 6, 1974
I thought that in at least one of these last two years you would have selected Jack Nicklaus, who has attained a plateau of achievement unmatched by any other golfer.
The LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (Dec. 24) stated that only two winners of the Sportsman of the Year award "have not been athletes." It should be added that the 1973 recipient is not only a nonathlete but, unlike past winners Pete Rozelle and John Wooden, he is not even associated with athletics.
Thanks, at least, for giving it to a human being.
KENDALL W. NEVILLE
I would have been truly insulted if "that horse" had been selected as Sportsman.
EDWARD J. NIEBUHR
Mililani Town, Hawaii
How can we ever thank you, especially Robert F. Jones, for the fantastic article on a tremendous individual, Sportsman of the Year Jackie Stewart (Leaving with Love, and the Loot). He more than deserves the honor, but we are a bit surprised (and very delighted) that you stuck your necks out to present the award to someone like Jackie, who probably is not as well known in the U.S. as O.J.
Camp Hill, Pa.
A great choice. Your insight into a sophisticated and uniquely challenging sport is appreciated. Jackie Stewart has been a tremendous credit to auto racing and truly deserves the recognition.
UCLA Coach John Wooden was a star basketball player at Purdue during the early 1930s. He was named an All-America guard three straight years (1930, '31, '32). In 1932 he set a conference scoring record of 154 points in 12 games.
He also was a star basketball player at Martinsville (Ind.) High School and his team won the finals of the Indiana high school basketball tournament one year.
I would say that John Wooden was an outstanding athlete.
PAUL A. DAVID
TIME OUT FOR EXCELLENCE
As an impartial viewer, I would like to make a comment on the recent UCLA-North Carolina State basketball game (Half of Big Red Is Too Much, Dec. 24). Several times in the past I have read letters from your readers stating that if UCLA played in the Atlantic Coast Conference it would not have the continued success it presently enjoys. While I agree that the ACC is an excellent basketball conference, I can no longer see how anyone can lay claim to UCLA's No. 1 rating.
Other readers argue that the only reason UCLA has remained unbeaten is that it doesn't play any real competition. I wonder if Lefty Driesell and Norm Sloan would agree with those statements?
It seems that whenever a dynasty appears, whether it be the Yankees of the 1950s, the Packers of the 1960s or the Bruins of the 1970s, the American fans attack it. If the success of UCLA were related to luck it would be different; instead, it is a tribute to the greatest coach the game has ever known, and to many of the greatest players.
In a time when excellence is so hard to find, we should all sit back and enjoy what little we have, and UCLA definitely represents excellence.
ARTHUR WITTERS JR.
Keith Wilkes led the Uclans with 27 points, did a super defensive job on David Thompson, played the entire game and was the outstanding player on the floor.
Being on the same team with Bill Walton makes it hard for Wilkes to get the recognition he deserves, but certainly his effort against North Carolina State must put him on the All-America teams.
KRKC Radio and KRKC-TV
King City, Calif.
That was an enjoyable account of the recent UCLA victory over North Carolina State. However, I believe that Curry Kirkpatrick failed to report a particularly inspirational aspect of the game. Monte Towe is a rare example of a truly small guard who excels at the highest level of amateur basketball. Towe's performance against the Bruins was lackluster when compared to most of his previous efforts, yet at 5'5½" Towe demonstrated to a national television audience the kind of quickness and finesse that every under-six-foot guard strives for. Other so-called small men have thrilled collegiate and professional audiences. But Nate Archibald, Ronnie Lyons and Bill Keller are really of average stature when viewed apart from their long-legged teammates. Towe couldn't play forward for most junior high school teams. Yet, there he was, arching a layup over rangy Ralph Drollinger, throwing in 25-footers and deftly operating around, over and under UCLA's tall and gifted athletes.
If Monte Towe can look that good against the defending national champions, think how well the rest of us watch-charm guards should be doing against the 6'2" slobs down at the gym.
Some months ago SI printed a poignant article about Major Murphy Neal Jones, former Tulane University football player, former North Vietnamese POW for 6½ years (Opal Two Comes Back, April 23). In the story Major Jones commented that his wife sent him the results of the Tulane-LSU football series during his tenure at the "Hanoi Hilton" and that spirited competition and wagering took place with an LSU supporter regarding the outcome of the then one-sided contests. Major Jones said he expected Tulane to defeat LSU in 1973.
Before 85,598 fans on Dec. 1, the largest attendance ever at a football game in the South, Tulane defeated LSU 14-0, ending 24 years of frustration.
President Herbert Longenecker of Tulane had a special guest at the game: Major Murphy Neal Jones. After Tulane's clear-cut victory, Major Jones was ecstatic. But he would not enter TU's dressing room, as he feared a shower and he had not brought extra clothes.
I thought I would pass on this story to you, since very few of the things we read today have as happy an ending. Or maybe a beginning, if you are a Tulane fan.
DONALD L. LEVY
Congratulations to Robert Cantwell for illuminating with such grace and perspicacity the sportive side of Marcel Proust (Bright Threads in His Tapestry, Dec. 17). How delightful when a piece ostensibly on sport can so transcend the realm of reportage and become, moreover, a work of art. And how equally delightful to discover that sports are not simply for the hairy bruisers or the massive troglodytes, but for us effete intellectual snobs as well. Hounds, anyone?
I am especially pleased and thrilled to offer my congratulations, compliments and thanks for your fine Proust selection. It was like seeing Katharine Hepburn star in the local follies. Of course, there really isn't enough sport in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as it is—but that's all right. Please be assured that I enjoy, appreciate and am grateful for what sport there is.
CARL G. CROYDER
Bantam Books wishes that SI's William Johnson had found space at the close of his two-part series on sport in China (An Eager People in the Swim, Oct. 1) to mention that the quotations from Mao Tse-tung's poem Swimming were taken from the new English-language translations of Mao's poems (Bantam, New York, 1972). Yet the translator, Willis Barnstone of Indiana University, and Bantam Books are glad that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED chose to close the fine series with the lines it did.
New York City
I have just finished reading your articles on the Caribbean (Dec. 24) and I cannot believe that you have overlooked the island of Cuba.
Perhaps you cannot photograph some of the Cuban athletes of today, but you can mention those who are playing professional baseball in the United States, or have you forgotten Tony Oliva, Bert Campaneris (my choice for MVP in the World Series) and others who in the past have contributed so much to the U.S. sports world.
Besides that, how can you overlook Cuba when it is the largest of the Caribbean countries? I agree, the government leaves a lot to be desired, but the people are there and they contribute what they can. Remember the Olympic Games and the Cuban boxers, or the Pan American Games and the baseball team? ¬øQué pasa aquí?
ISRAEL MENCHERO JR.
I noted with personal interest the story in your PEOPLE section (Dec. 3) on the "Great Turkey Race" and the "friendly" wager between Congressman Abraham Kazen Jr. and myself. The article incorrectly states that "Zwach had to pay...."
The fact is Congressman Kazen and I wagered only on the last heat, which the Minnesota turkey Tom Foolery won handily.
While I appreciate the mention, I felt it was my duty to set the record straight.
JOHN M. ZWACH
Member of Congress
Your story on the fabulous Hs, Hull and Howe (Lessons from the Old Masters, Dec. 10), was a pleasure to read. However, you apparently missed the game played in the Quebec City Coliseum against the Nordiques on Nov. 18, where at 12 minutes and 11 seconds of the first period the house announcer came on the P.A. system to proclaim a Houston goal by Mark Howe assisted by Marty Howe and Gordie Howe. How's that!
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