In the past you have printed a number of letters pointing out the effects on various losing teams and individuals of your so-called cover jinx. Well, let me congratulate you on your March 4 cover of Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. According to the jinx theory, neither should have reached even the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But look what happened (For Love and Money, July 15).
Thank you for the great picture of Jimmy and Chrissie on your July 15 cover. It fits my dart board perfectly.
You people are incredible! Wimbledon is the biggest event in the tennis season, and you devote a story to only two of the eight big winners.
I think that others, such as women's doubles champions Evonne Goolagong and Peggy Michel, deserved at least a mention.
July 28, 1974
From the time that Wilhelm Steinitz proclaimed himself world chess champion until the death of Dr. Alexander Alekhine in 1946 the world chess championship was the property of the world chess champion. He alone decided the terms of the match, and he alone picked the challenger.
José Capablanca won the title in 1921 and did not accept a challenge until 1927, when he lost the title to Alekhine. Alekhine accepted more challenges than Capablanca but took care that his most logical opponent, Capablanca, would be denied a return match.
After the death of Alekhine in Portugal in 1946 the Fédération Internationale des Échecs took over the administration of the world championship so that it is now possible for any challenger, in three years, to reach a point where his challenge for the world title must be accepted.
Grand-master chess is certainly much more exciting when Bobby Fischer (A King Takes Himself Off the Board—Maybe, July 15) is playing than when he is absent, and it is probably quite true that Fischer could promote his own championship match with suitable support from moneyed interests. But it is difficult to see what any other grand master would gain by supporting Fischer in a revolt against FIDE.
Bringing back the conditions that prevailed before FIDE took over the task of handling the tournaments and matches leading to the selection of a challenger would benefit no one, because even Fischer would lose in the long run.
It will be unfortunate if Fischer persists in his present stand, but it will be still worse if Fischer prevails upon any of the other masters to join him in promoting his own championship match.
Although I cannot excuse the impulsive and uncooperative nature of Bobby Fischer, I can sympathize with him in his present battle with FIDE over the setup for the world championship match of 1975. Fischer, as champion, has the right to determine the arrangement of this match, and his proposal that there be no limit put on the number of games in the match is a very good move. This prompts contestants to play to win, not just to draw, thus heightening both the excitement and the quality of the games played.
As an avid chess fan, I have enjoyed Fischer's past games, and unless the childish FIDE gets its way, I plan to enjoy even more of his future games.
J. MARK JACOBS
Bobby Fischer's egotism may look like confidence to writer Steve Englund, but what kind of "integrity" is it that allowed Fischer to promise to be an active champion and then not play a single game in public?
So the Pied Piper and the Rats are concerned with freedom and dignity (Solidarity with Solidity, July 15). Then the NFL players turn around and use the most oppressive weapon there is to freedom—the strike.
No one is forcing the little darlings to play games for big money, endorsements, speaking fees, etc. They are perfectly free to seek plain employment along with the rest of "free society." I hope they aren't eligible for unemployment benefits. Our taxes are bad enough without supporting payments for Cadillacs, Continentals and Mercedes.
LAWRENCE A. KIMBALL
Thanks to Joe Marshall for shedding light on a situation that could have a major effect on amateur and professional sport as it exists today. It's a mystery to me how the NFL Players Association can expect the relationship between players and management to change overnight. But what is really sad and has cost more points with the public than anything else is the players' apparent obnoxious attitude toward those who stand in their way.
If the owners and the players continue to be at odds, they may have to buy the services of Henry Kissinger to reach a compromise. If nothing else, they certainly have the money for it. However, there is a simple way to forget the troubles of professional football at a comparatively low cost: go see a professional soccer match.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
I have not been able to find a single football fan who has any sympathy at all for the striking NFL players. We know that their ridiculous demands will mean poorer pickings for all but the richest owners. And, too, the pensions the players already have obtained are stratospherically high, not to mention most of the salaries. We, the fans, are going to suffer, both from a spectator standpoint and in our pocketbooks.
EUGENE H. CLAPP
Wellesley Hills, Mass.
Perhaps some interpret Kenny Moore on Roger Bannister (4 Minutes and 20 Years, July 15) differently than I. Bannister came through as less than a god but much, much of a man. Beautiful job.
Assistant Athletic Director
University of Oregon
BALTIMORE VS. BOSTON
My compliments on Mark Kram's article on the Red Sox and Orioles (Rising to the Grand Old Occasion, July 15). Very crisp and succinct. He captured the whole midsummer mood of East Coast baseball in the American League.
It seems funny to me that the name Mike Cuellar was never mentioned. While Mark Kram was very careful to point out each and every drawback of the Orioles, never once did he acknowledge the fact that Cuellar has gotten off to his best start in quite some time. He has taken up the slack that was left when Jim Palmer went on the disabled list. Since Boston has to get along without Carlton Fisk, and Baltimore without Palmer, I think it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. My vote goes to Baltimore.
HARVARD VS. WASHINGTON
It was with great disappointment that I read the article by Dan Levin on the National Intercollegiate Invitational Championship Rowing Regatta (Smooth and Rude and Fast, July 1). For the first time in 122 years there was to be a race that would establish the true national-champion crew. The event in Seattle was the culmination of more than two years of effort initiated by Dick Erickson and the University of Washington Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. From the beginning, Harvard, too, supported the concept, in the desire perhaps of putting to rest the idea that the winner of the IRA regatta, in which neither Harvard nor Washington customarily rows, was the national champion.
Hundreds of hours of effort were expended in organizing and running the Seattle regatta. When the featured varsity race started, two outstanding crews were pitted against each other. Both were made up of superbly conditioned athletes, dedicated young men who had been training as hard ax or harder than any other intercollegiate athletes in the country. We may well watch many a crew before another of Harvard's precision, strength, control and beauty comes by. This was an outstanding Washington crew out-rowed by an even better one from Harvard, which, in the process, broke the course record by 5.8 seconds.
EDWARD K. MCCAGG II
Member, Washington Rowing Stewards
"Smooth and rude and fast" is just the way to describe your article on collegiate rowing. It sounded smooth, but was very rude to anyone who has followed rowing closely this year.
ROBERT D. ESPESETH
Wisconsin Varsity Six Oar
No, the two Harvard oarsmen you wrote most about, Alan (Bomber) Shealy and Steve (Mad Dog) Row didn't go to any "exclusive" prep school. They went to Northfield Mount Hermon, which is a prep school, but isn't exclusive at all.
Every now and then we find a few boys who think they'd like to row. We put them in a shell on the Connecticut River and yell threats and encouragement at them. We feed them well and train them well and patch their blisters and teach them that oarsmen weren't meant to be stoics.
And every now and then we put together a pretty good boat. Like the ones that took the Princeton Trophy in the Head of the Charles race two out of the last four years. That's the largest regatta in North America, and our boats have left Belmont Hill and Andover and Kent gasping in our wake. And some of our rowers go on to the intercollegiate championship victory boat.
But we take little credit for Row and Shealy—just that they were ours for a while. And if any of those Washington youngsters would like to get a jump on their Eastern counterparts, we'd be happy to put them in one of our unexclusive shells and yell at them, too.
JOHN M. RAVAGE
Northfield Mount Hermon School
East Northfield, Mass.
I enjoyed the article on the Harvard varsity heavyweight crew's conquest of the best of the West. There is nothing new under the sun—or under the moon. Who knows when or how it got started, but throwing a moon was developed to a high degree in the early 1950s. It was practiced most proficiently and most often by the Princeton Ivy League hockey champions of 1953 under the name "Gotcha." You "got" someone by catching them looking at your bare derriere. Until the Harvards or anyone else "gets" Grand Central Station at rush hour, a feat accomplished by a member of that victorious and glorious 1953 Princeton team, they have a long way to go.
STUYVESANT B. PELL
Re "Les Mots Justes" (SCORECARD, July 1), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is not the first to recognize the anonymous writer from the day when "sportswriting was sportswriting." When Literary Digest did it back in the 1920s, it referred to him as "a fellow out in Quincy, Ill.," and I believe repeated the line—to my mind his best—about "the long-legged, leather-lunged laddiebucks from the land of illegal liquor" who trounced the Quincy nine when this early hotbed of baseball was in a league with much bigger Midwestern cities.
The writer was, in fact, Gene Browne, a reporter and assistant editor on The Quincy Herald who took a squint at baseball now and then from at least 1896 (he appears with my father in an old photograph of the staff) until he left for California in 1911.
Later, as a distinguished editorial writer on the Los Angeles Times, he may have blushed over his earlier contrivings, but I doubt it. To downgrade him might be to deny a Ring Lardner his roots.
The "land of illegal liquor" was dry Kansas, of course.
ALLEN M. OAKLEY
Pat Jordan's A False Spring (July 1 et seq.) is not only a beautifully written journal but remarkably perceptive in its recollection of the sights, sounds and emotions attendant on life in the minor leagues—at least as it was in the days when all levels of organized baseball flourished. Jordan has aroused nostalgia in all of us who ever "went away." And I love his comments on that magic descriptive phrase.
LLEWELLYN WATTS III
Pat Jordan's excellent story about playing ball in Eau Claire, Davenport, Palatka and other minor league cities exemplifies what the true baseball fan ultimately believes: the game is America.
DARYL J. HOLLIS
Apparently pitching technique wasn't the only thing Pat Jordan forgot. He says he remembers listening to The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Cotton Fields in the spring of 1961.
That would have been impossible, since the former, by The Tokens, was released in December 1961, and the latter, by The Highwaymen, was released in the fall of 1961. I never had a good fastball, but I know my rock 'n' roll.
JOHN M. STALBERG, M.D.
Santa Monica, Calif.
I enjoyed very much the article (Haunting the Arctic, July 8) on canoeing the Yellowknife River in Canada's Northwest Territories, especially Bil Gilbert's description of the mosquitoes. On a canoeing trip to northern Minnesota several years ago, a group of us found the mosquitoes there to be just as fierce. We thought at the time that if California's motto were "Bring me men to match my mountains," Minnesota's could be "Bring me men to match my mosquitoes."
STAUFFER MILLER, D.V.M.
Moorefield, W. Va.
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