I really enjoyed your Baseball Issue (April 12), but it raised a few questions. First, how can Dave Concepcion and Joe Morgan win Gold Glove awards two years in a row (Morgan won three in a row) and not be the National League's best double-play combination? (Jim Kaplan says Cash and Bowa are the best!)
Second, Chicago Cub Manager Jim Marshall says, "Second Baseman Manny Trillo [.248] is the best in the league at his position." After saying that, did he happen to glance at your cover photo of Morgan? There's a $200,000 MVP he may have forgotten about.
The Pirates No. 1 in the National League East? I just hope Jim Kaplan doesn't come to Philly. Our town already has one ding-dong with a crack in it. He'd make two.
In his scouting report on the American League East Mark Mulvoy asks many questions concerning the 1976 Red Sox. We wonder if he remembers the number of questions that were asked about last year's Red Sox. During the 1975 regular season, the playoffs and the World Series, the Red Sox proved themselves an unquestionably good team.
April 25, 1976
Pinch me! Oakland's trading away of Reggie Jackson can't be anything more than a nightmare.
The A's can rid themselves of their sunglasses now, because there are no windows in the cellar.
REDS BADGE OF CONFIDENCE
The article about Joe Morgan (The Little Big Man, April 12) was one of SI's alltime best. Everyone knows Morgan as a complete baseball player, but Mark Mulvoy brought out the fact that he is also a complete person.
Isn't that Superman on your cover?
Thank you for putting Joe Morgan on the cover. If it had been Fred Lynn or Jim Rice, I'd be looking forward to the 1977 season.
After reading your excellent Baseball Issue, I noted two things as being true beyond a shadow of a doubt: 1) Joe Morgan is a great ballplayer; and 2) Joe Morgan won't hesitate to tell you that he is a great ballplayer.
The article just proves my theory that the Cincinnati Reds are without a doubt in love with themselves.
Congratulations to Jim Kaplan on his fine article Pair Without Parallel (April 12). I'm sure those two super sophs, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, will not go into a slump. The way Kaplan writes, they are already in the Hall of Fame, and that may not be far wrong.
Glenwood Springs, Colo.
I just want to remind you that Al Bumbry hit .337 in 1973. Your article said that Fred Lynn had the highest batting average by a rookie since 1948. By simple arithmetic, Bumbry hit six points higher than Lynn. If you are going to say that Bumbry did not bat the required 502 times to qualify for the batting championship, you are right, but he did bat enough times (395) to win Rookie of the Year. By the way, the rookie combination of Bumbry and Rich Coggins hit .337 and .319, respectively, which is better than the Lynn-Rice duo.
T. PATRICK HENNEGAN
Fred Lynn and Jim Rice are by far the best rookie teammates in baseball, and I am a fan of both. However, Tony Oliva has been slighted, for you barely mentioned his name. As a rookie in 1964, Oliva led the American League in batting average (.323), runs (109), hits (217), doubles (43) and total bases (374)—the most total bases in the AL since 1956. Oliva also hit 32 homers and was a major factor in the rise of the Minnesota Twins, the 1965 AL champions.
Although some of Oliva's statistics are not as good as Lynn's, I feel that this is another case of Oliva being overlooked but not outplayed.
Although Joe Jackson is not in the Hall of Fame, 1911, his official rookie year (he played in only 20 games in 1910) was quite memorable. In 147 games for Cleveland he had 126 runs, 233 hits, 45 doubles, 19 triples, seven home runs, 83 runs batted in and a batting average of .408.
THE JACKIE JENSEN STORY
I thought I never would see another article on my boyhood idol, Jackie Jensen (A Fear of Flying, April 12). I grew up in a suburb of Boston, and to me Jackie has always epitomized what a baseball player should be: powerful, strong arm, good instincts, injury-free, fast and a giver of 110%. However, I was not aware of the internal conflicts Jackie lived with during his playing days. This revelation only magnifies the greatness of his Bosox days. The Jensen story also clearly proves that happy endings are not restricted to fairy tales.
I used to read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED primarily for in-depth coverage of the big game or the big fight. During recent years, however, I have come to anticipate even more your literate and totally human approach to those athletes who enriched our American sports heritage in bygone days.
Ron Fimrite's sensitive and touching biography of the introspective Jackie Jensen was fine reading. The true hero is the man who deals with all the downs and ups of real life and manages to land on his feet in spite of himself.
JO ANN MARCUS
I was extremely interested in Bill Leggett's story on the various announcing changes for major league baseball teams (TV/RADIO, April 12). Here in San Francisco we have also had a change. Announcer Lon Simmons has returned to do the Giants broadcast. He joins Al Michaels, which gives the Giants the best radio announcing team in the majors.
In fact, both Michaels and Simmons are so good that they are doing other play-by-play work, too, Michaels for ABC-TV and CBS-TV and Simmons for the San Francisco 49ers radio network.
Enthusiasm for the Giants and baseball has been rekindled here in the San Francisco area (A Giant Step in the Right Direction, April 19) and Michaels and Simmons, along with Gary Park on television, are major reasons why.
San Francisco Giants
Last fall in your NBA preview (Oct. 27) you said that only a "nurd" or a Cavalier fan would pick any team but the Bullets to win the Central Division. Well, the nurds of the world (not to mention all Cavalier fans) are very glad that you were wrong.
MARY BETH PETTEK
My hat is off to John Underwood for his fantastic article on Missouri's Jim Kennedy (The Student, April 5). For too long many have thought that the life of a college athlete is nothing but fame and glory. As a former student-athlete myself (Tulane golf team 1970-74), I am glad to sec someone show a college athlete as he really is—in many ways just a typical college student.
It was an excellent insight into the often overlooked daily life of an athlete.
John Underwood's article was well written, but it must have been embarrassing for Jim Kennedy, the rest of the University of Missouri basketball team, the whole University of Missouri campus and student athletes in general.
As related by Underwood, Kennedy's attitudes toward his studies, his team's racial problems and women serve only to reinforce the bad connotations of the word "jock." Why not write an article on any one of the thousands of college athletes who really are students?
Thank you for an accurate and thoroughly enjoyable article on Jim Kennedy and the University of Missouri. John Underwood could have replaced Kennedy's name with that of nearly any other male member of Missouri's 23,000 student body and the story would have been the same, since that is the way life is at Mizzou. There should be no denials or apologies from anyone for being a fun-loving guy at a fun-loving university.
DAVID M. STRAUSS
As a typical journalism student at the University of Missouri, I would like to respond to John Underwood's article. I have never bought clothes at Woody's, nor have any of my friends. Button-down collars and sweaters make me sweat, and plaid pants only clash with my "Dancing Harry" hat.
Your item in SCORECARD (April 12) about a plastic playing surface for hockey sickened me. Why must artificiality be allowed to infiltrate the world of sport any further? Artificial turf was bad enough for baseball and football, but now the ice is being removed from hockey. Soon it will be called plastic hockey.
The removal of ice also takes away a great deal of the risk that makes hockey the fast-moving, suspenseful game that it is. Tom Colley of the American Hockey League says that the waxlike lubricant "doesn't rut," which makes falls less likely, which in the end makes it a different game. In short, ice is the essence of hockey. Take it away and you give the game to the money-grabbers, who are the only ones who will profit by the change.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
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