I am a Bobby Orr fan. However, I have to hand it to the Boston Bruins for not paying an astronomical price for him (Bye-Bye Boston, Chicago Buys, June 21). If more teams had the attitude of Boston, maybe there wouldn't be all these problems concerning salaries in pro sports.
And I thought baseball owners were crazy!
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Professional sports will never recover until the self-seekers like Marvin Miller, Alan Eagleson and Jerry Kapstein are put out of business.
EUGENE H. CLAPP
Wellesley Hills, Mass.
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Rookie), eight-time winner or the James Norris Memorial Trophy (Out-standing Defenseman), three-time winner of the Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player), two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy (leading scorer in the regular season—the first defenseman ever to win it) and two-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy (Out-standing Playoff Player). After watching Bobby Orr these past years, I have only one thing to say to the Chicago Black Hawks and their fans: you got him dirt cheap.
July 4, 1976
Hockey currently is the only major professional team sport in which an effective system of compensating teams for the loss of free agents remains in operation. Thus, the Chicago Black Hawks were, and are, faced with the prospect of giving the Boston Bruins players, draft choices and/or cash approximately equaling the value of Bobby Orr. Yet Alan Eagleson was still able to wangle an unconditional $3 million five-year deal for his client—a livable wage even by the standards of Catfish Hunter and John Riggins, to name two one-time free agents who shopped around without the cloud of "compensation" hanging over their heads. Further, we are told by J. D. Reed, even teams such as the Kansas City Scouts and Detroit Red Wings joined in the bidding for Orr. What say you now, Ed Garvey?
On the occasion of the 200th birthday of this still best of all possible nations, it is quite fitting that we American sports lovers make a Bicentennial wish regarding the future of sports in our land.
Let us hope that it will not be too long before politics, appellate court decisions, reserve clauses, Rozelle rules, free agents, option years, annuities, multimillion-dollar contracts, spoiled athletes, greedy owners, deferred payments, Charlie Finleys, Walter O'Malleys and Bowie Kuhns will have gone the way of King George III and the Stamp Act. And then maybe we will again be able to view the world of sports the way it should be viewed.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
FOR LOVE, NOT MONEY
A few weeks ago you wrote about the financial woes of the San Diego Mariners of the World Hockey Association (SCORECARD, April 26). After playing in the NFL for seven years, I had the great honor in 1974 to be the quarterback for the Florida Blazers of the World Football League. The Blazers stopped receiving paychecks on Sept. 13 of that year. But they went on to win their division before losing the first and only World Bowl championship to the Birmingham Americans, 22-21, in December.
You state that one of the Mariner players had to cut out buying cashews and potato chips and fill snack bowls with popcorn instead, and that another player was forced to substitute draft beer for the more expensive bottled variety during payless weeks.
I kept a diary for the entire season and, without going into great detail, I can tell you that the Florida Blazers went many times without a meal, some were evicted from their apartments, others were threatened with having their electricity and phones shut off, and at the end of the season many did not have enough money to get back to their hometowns. The situation was so pathetic that Coach Jack Pardee's wife was publicly embarrassed when a grocery store manager refused to cash her check.
WFL officials told us that if we did not play, the league would fold. They also promised us all our back pay as soon as the situation could be resolved. Finally, the Blazers decided that money or not, they were going out there to play for themselves and the coaches, and to show that there is more to a professional athlete than a paycheck.
The Blazers were not only fine athletes but fine individuals, and I will always be proud to say that I was a member of that team.
PLAYER AND COACH
It seems that Brooks Robinson and George Brett (George Fills the Royals' Flush, June 21) have one thing in common—they both wear No. 5. Brett is at the stage Robinson was in 1960—he can both hit and field. If he continues, Brett could one day be baseball's premier third baseman.
What number did Pie Traynor wear?
JAMES P. MANNING JR.
Your article on George Brett was also a recognition of Charlie Lau. In these days of declining batting averages, a batting instructor of the caliber of Lau is invaluable to a team. Lau began his coaching career in Baltimore, where he helped the Orioles win the pennant in 1969. He went to Oakland in 1970 with excellent results and then moved to Kansas City. That is the Royals' and Brett's good fortune.
I read with great interest your report on Howard Cosell's recent teaching stint at Yale (TV/RADIO, June 21). This was not the first time Cosell participated as a visiting fellow at Silliman College. In May 1969 Cosell spent four days at a series of academic and social functions. These included a debate on the philosophy of sport with the distinguished professor of philosophy, Paul Weiss, as well as a memorable night around the television set watching Bill Russell in the dramatic seventh game of his last NBA championship season. As I remember, Cosell returned his retainer to our college-activity fund. Thanks for reviving some delightful memories.
NEIL J. WILKOF
The "Open and Shut Case" for Jones (June 14) is not as decisive as Hannigan's article contends. In their respective 11-year periods, Hogan's average finish at the Open was second (2.54), while Jones' was third (3.27). Jones may have been the better golfer, but not on the basis of his Open record.
ARTHUR V. JOHNSON II
As a Minnesota Twins fan, all I can say about Pitcher Bert Blyleven (The Stuff and No Nonsense, June 14) is "good riddance to bad rubbish." What more can one say about a man who expresses his "deep regret" over his "hasty and thoughtless" gesture only after realizing a large fine was inevitably heading his way if he had not?
1) In almost every issue you mention that someone is suffering from tendinitis. What's a tendin? I always thought it was a tendon. I realize this is a common misfire, but it is none the less illiterate.
2) June 14 issue, page 72: "...she and the other trappers were getting flack...." No way. Ask any old Broadway entertainment-business hand what a flack is and what he does. You mean flak, which is the German abbreviation for fliegerabwehrkanone—meaning, originally, bursting anti-aircraft shells.
•On No. 1, Webster prefers "tendinitis." On No. 2, "flak" is right.—ED.
BRAND OLD GAME
Eddie Andelman (SCORECARD, June 14) has indeed come up with excellent suggestions for sports-figure brand names ("Put a Bob Locker in your clubhouse," etc.), but I believe that he has missed the most obvious pitch—Al Kaline batteries.
Andelman only touched the surface. For instance, the average sports fan would borrow money, when necessary, from Dave Cash Savings and Loan. He'd keep his car filled up with regular stops at Bum Phillips' 66, and go to Gale Goodrich Automotive when the car needed repairs. Our sports fan would get his clothes from Otis Taylor Shops. He could be expected to frequent such fast-food places as Brent's Tasty Musburgers and Harry's Caray-Out Food (the latter of which would no doubt be famous for that delicious dish, Holy Cow!). His sweet tooth doubtless would be satiated by Jabbar's Kareem-filled Sandwiches and Arledge's Lorna Roones. And, of course, when he eventually went to the great domed stadium in the sky, the services would have to be handled by Tom Grieve Funeral Parlors, Inc.
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