OUT OF THE PARK
In the photograph accompanying Rick Telander's article about Rich Buhrke, who collects baseballs hit out of Wrigley Field (At the Other End of the Rainbows, April 25), I see a football and six hockey pucks. Is he branching out?
•The football came off the toe of Lou Michaels of the Baltimore Colts, who kicked an extra point out of Wrigley Field in a game against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 8, 1967. Five of the six pucks sailed into the stands (and Buhrke's grasp) during games played by the defunct Chicago Cougars of the WHA at the Amphitheatre; the sixth came from a Black Hawk practice session at Chicago Stadium.—ED.
I really appreciated the article on Rich Buhrke. It's about time someone connected with a sport was written about besides the overpaid, bellyaching players.
In Sacramento in the summers of 1960 and 1961, I chased, caught and fought for batting practice and home-run balls at Edmonds Field, home of the AAA Sacramento Solons, a la Rich Buhrke. My prize possessions were home runs hit by Willie Mays (in an exhibition game), Willie McCovey of the Tacoma Giants and Willie Davis of the Spokane Indians. There aren't many major league parks where it is still practical and possible to chase homers. I hope the shaggers will be able to continue the art—shagging does require special talents and tenacity—for a long time.
MICHAEL N. KATAYANAGI
May 8, 1977
WHITE-COLLAR BLUE JAYS?
So Toronto has a baseball team (Tip of the Hat, Cut of the Bat, April 25). Big deal! Having visited "the good gray lady," we cannot understand the placing of a team playing an American game in so bland a Canadian city. Why not put a team in Buffalo instead? Here is an American city that supports the Sabres, Braves and Bills. Buffalo would draw on Toronto's millions and add to it more than a million and a half of her own population. What a slap in the face to the American worker that a team should be placed in white-collar Toronto rather than in blue-collar Buffalo.
MICHAEL F. DONOVAN
JOHN W. JERARD
You omit a very significant bit of information about Blue Jay first baseman, Doug Ault: he bats right-and throws left-handed. In 1976, 426 non-pitchers were listed on the spring-training rosters of the then 24 major league teams. Not one batted right and threw left!
The last major leaguer who did so was Cleon Jones of the New York Mets. Most baseball scouts show little interest in signing a B-R, T-L prospect.
ROBERT W. MILLER
West Seneca, N.Y.
Are Maury and Bump Wills (March 28) the first father-and-son pair to make the cover of SI at different times?
•No. Bold Ruler (1957) and Secretariat (1973) were.—ED.
I'm surprised that neither SI nor its readers have commented on basketball's counterpart of baseball's "phantom" double play that officials continue to permit.
I refer to the running start obtained by most players in the process of making a breakaway dunk. From slow-motion replays it is apparent that players take three, four, often five steps without putting the ball on the floor—well in excess of the step and a half permitted by the rules.
Perhaps officials around the leagues have been instructed to be lenient in this respect, so as not to diminish the flashiness of the slam dunk that has proved to be such a crowd-pleaser.
BRENDAN J. DOWNING
Miami Lakes, Fla.
STICKING TO IT
That was a great article on lacrosse (You Can't Beat This Game With a Stick, April 25). The best part, though, was the pictures. They were superb.
PAUL (BEAR) LIVESAY
Chevy Chase, Md.
You dodged the issue by saying that winning a face-off involves a "bit of cheating." In fact, the lacrosse face-off is an antiquated stick-in-the-mud aspect of the game that cheats players and fans alike. Basketball long ago discarded the center jump following every basket. The inequity is clear. One tall center can keep the ball away from an entire opposing team. So it is now in lacrosse. I have witnessed Maryland's fine team score eight consecutive goals without my beloved University of Virginia having once touched the ball.
BRUCE W. RADFORD
Lacrosse has crept into more places than you think. There are now clubs in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. I'll bet you'd find that there are 500 guys who might be interested in a pick-up game out on the Great Plains—20 at a time, that is.
Iowa State Lacrosse Club
Lacrosse is thriving in Florida. In five years the number of clubs has grown from four to 111, and the sport has spread into every part of the state.
The Pacific Northwest Lacrosse Association now has four university and three club teams. The PNLA tournament is becoming a major event.
Thinking about Joe Namath makes you sick (Hollywood or Bust for Off-Broadway Joe, April 25). Banana-Nose Joe is the worst quarterback in the league. He has no right to ask for even a $150,000 salary. To me he is not worth a penny. Joe should stay with his women and his popcorn poppers. At least he can't be intercepted during a commercial!
Yarmouth Port, Mass.
With Super Joe as the Rams' quarterback, they are a cinch to win Super Bowl XII.
New Paltz, N.Y.
WINDUP IN ATLANTA (CONT.)
It's a shame that those readers who condemned Dean Smith's four-corners offense in your April 18 issue don't know what they're talking about. Before reaching the NCAA finals, North Carolina had already beaten N.C. State and Virginia for the ACC tournament championship, Purdue, nationally ranked Notre Dame and nationally ranked Kentucky for the East Regional crown and nationally ranked Nevada-Las Vegas in the NCAA semis. Smith called for some type of this much-maligned offense in all of these games. How convenient for adversaries to forget.
Yes, Dean Smith is Coach of the Year and no other man has ever deserved it more. Considering several unfortunate injuries and a possible lack of superstars, the Tar Heels went farther in the NCAA tournament than anyone imagined they could. No. 2 in the nation is quite an accomplishment and we're all very proud of Smith and his team.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Congratulations to William Leggett on his article Trashsport Should Be Canned (April 18). I agree 100% with his opinions on the trash we sports fans have to put up with on television. The Superstars, Challenge of the Sexes, Battle of the Network Stars just add more money to the pockets of already overpaid athletes and actors at the expense of the gullible fans.
LARRY DAVID LEWIS
In reference to "Trashsport," or "sports created for television," in Leggett's words, I'm afraid he is laboring under an unrealistic view. Professional sports exist because they provide entertainment for the paying spectator, be he in attendance or a TV viewer. Without this entertained, paying spectator there would be no Super Bowl, no World Series, no Masters golf tournament. Ilie Nastase is a promoter's dream not because he is the most naturally gifted tennis player in the world today. No, Mr. Leggett, it is because he is the most entertaining player in the world today.
If some activity more entertaining than "real" sport came along in this country, the millions of fans would switch over and soon there would be no more "real" sport. So let's not draw too harsh a distinction. Sports in this country survive for the same reasons that All in the Family and Charlie's Angels survive: they provide entertainment.
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
I deeply appreciated your article As I Did It by Bob Cairns in the April 18 issue. I especially enjoyed the paragraph about Russ Hodges and the 1951 pennant. I feel that Russ, my grandfather, was one of the greatest sportscasters in the athletic world. I'm proud that he was part of the golden age of sports. The Brooklyn Dodger-New York Giants rivalry is something that will not come again.
Baseball is not guts, grits and spirit anymore; it's a contract under the power of the almighty dollar. The true spirit of baseball is gone forever.
Thanks very much for paying tribute to the good old days of baseball.
JOHN DAVID NORTH
Satellite Beach, Fla.
A vote of thanks to Bob Cairns for a great trip into baseball nostalgia.
Isn't it interesting that Gunner Prince with his "Quail at first..." would become "Dead Duck" Prince and help to cause so much of Mr. Cairns' and my griping on Monday nights last summer?
WILLIAM A. STOLZER, M.D.
Fort Pierce, Fla.
GEORGE DID IT
Two points on SCORECARD, April 18: 1) Bob Haines. The greatest swimming coach in the world's first name is George. 2) If natural gas is not to be used for heating swimming pools, then it is also not to be used for such things as the production of fertilizer for golf courses (natural gas is the principal energy source used in the production of man-made fertilizer).
North Palm Beach, Fla.
SAD AND SICKENING
If the annual seal kill by the Newfoundland fisherman (A Dirge for the Harp, April 18) is, as Dan Levin puts it, "a rite of almost religious import," then the so-called human beings who commit this barbaric injustice must have the intelligence quotient of a herd of yaks.
You can almost always determine the intellect of a culture by the way it treats dumb animals. I applaud Brian Davies in his efforts to stop this sad and sickening event.
HENRY T. HAMMOND
Huntington, W. Va.
How quickly one forgets. This is said in reply to Curry Kirkpatrick's question, which if not fictitious was at least unwise, as to whether the Doctor actually has an antidote for the strong Abdul medicine (At Full Tilt into the Playoffs, April 18).
Have you forgotten what Julius did to Kareem in the All-Star Game? Granted Jabbar is currently the best center in basketball, but Dr. J is the best forward ever to play the game.
ROBERT J. CLARK JR.
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