Happy days are here again in Pittsburgh and you have finally come to your senses and put the Pirates on the cover (It's Hard to Pass the Bucs, May 30). It's been worth the wait.
I liked the cover picture of Dave Parker. It's good to see someone besides the overrated Reggie Jackson on the cover of a national sports magazine.
Your article on the Lumber and Lightning Gang from Pittsburgh hit many of the Pirates' bright spots but missed Bill Robinson, who is very versatile and always seems ready.
Every team has its unsung heroes and the Bucs are no exception. Look at Duffy Dyer and Phil Garner. "The Duff" has been a pleasant surprise and, though platooning with Ed Ott, has been a steady catcher and is hitting in the .300s. As for "Scrap Iron," as Garner is called in the Steel City, his batting average may be low, but his great hustle and fielding ability aid the team as much as Dave Parker's liners.
June 12, 1977
My father has been a Cub fan all his life, as have my three brothers, my sister and myself. My father hasn't seen a World Series on the North Side since 1945 and we have never seen one. The closest we came was in '69 when the Cubs pulled the "el foldo."
My father is a good, honest citizen who pays his taxes and gives to a number of charities. This year he will be 50 years old. As a favor to me and my family, please do not do any cover stories on the Cubs until they win the World Series. Jinx or no jinx, I'm taking no chances.
STEVEN PETER SCHRAGER
You showed the Pirates to be unpassable, and we Cub fans despaired for the upcoming Cubs-Pirates series. Well, it seems the Cubs didn't read your article. They swept the series, not only passing the Bucs, but pushing them out of town and out of first place.
Oak Park, Ill.
I'd like to know the age of the Chicago columnist who called the Madlock-Murcer trade "the worst in Chicago history" (Cubs Join the Club—Maybe, May 30).
He must not date back to 1964, when the Cubs traded Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio. Broglio went on to win a total of seven games in 1964, 1965 and 1966 for the Cubs before fading out of baseball. The last time I heard of Brock he was still with St. Louis and gaining some fame.
That's the worst trade in history—and not just Chicago history.
King City, Calif.
THE COLLEGE TRY
Good article on the University of Miami and Coach Ron Fraser (He's a One-Man Hurricane, May 30). I have long believed that college baseball is an exciting and interesting sport, and your story carried this message to those not as fortunate as I was to see fine college baseball in Texas.
El Cerrito, Calif.
Recognition should also be given to another college baseball team from the Deep South. The University of South Alabama, coached by Eddie Stanky, finished the season 42-13, ranked No. 2 in the nation and set the home-run record for a single season, hitting 92 in only 55 games. The old record was 87, and it was made by Arizona State in 1976 during a 77-game schedule. The Jaguars' Jerry Postan hit 21 homers to lead the nation.
East Brewton, Ala.
The Bill Walton vs. Abdul-Jabbar duel isn't the only one among big men (L.A. Couldn't Move the Mountain, May 23). Bob Lanier and Kareem have been going at it for years. Lanier outplayed both Abdul-Jabbar and Walton during their head-to-head matches this season. This included a 40-point outburst against Walton, and a 29-14 subduing of Abdul-Jabbar. Let's face it, there are many good centers around—McAdoo, Cowens, Gilmore, Lanier, Walton and Abdul-Jabbar among them. Walton and Abdul-Jabbar are not in a class by themselves.
MARK A. DAVIS
After watching the brawl in Game Two of the Blazer-76er series (There's No Place Like Home Court, June 6), it is obvious to me that something must be done to prevent such outbreaks of violence.
Because most of the contact results from offensive picks and man-to-man defenses, the most sensible solution is to legalize the zone defense. It is high time that the NBA realized fans appreciate good defensive strategy and stopped hamstringing clubs that rely on quickness and sophisticated team play rather than on sheer physical size and muscle.
Port Angeles, Wash.
In my opinion, Frank Deford does not review The Greatest (MOVIES. May 30) but instead wages personal war on Ali.
Mr. Deford claims Ali puts on a "tired old act" in the movie. He should have known Ali's antics necessarily would be in a movie about Muhammad Ali. When I saw the movie, it seemed to me that the audience enjoyed this so-called "tired old act."
I agree with Mr. Deford that The Greatest could have been better, perhaps, as a documentary. However, Mr. Deford's obvious resentment of the fact that in the movie the white guys play dirty roles makes the entire column very unprofessional.
IN THE TUBE
Awwrright! Thank you for providing us with a sampling of Warren Bolster's photographic masterpieces (All Aboard the Tunnel Express, May 30). The Coronado sunset shot on page 36 ranks as the finest I have ever seen in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
I could not believe those amazing surfing photos by Warren Bolster. He really captured the beauty and the grace of surfing.
DAVID N. COHAN
East Brunswick, N.J.
So often SPORTS ILLUSTRATED excites readers with its photography, but here you have reached your absolute pinnacle. The stunning photos by Warren Bolster are beautiful, especially the surfer's tube at sunset. Perfect!
ROBERT C. STACY
OVER THE JUMPS
Thank you for Frank Deford's profile of high jumper Dwight Stones (The Mouth That Soars, May 30). In his examination of this complex man and his mysterious art, Deford has not only captured the dimensions behind the much-maligned public Stones, but he has also tried to answer one of the questions that we eternally ask about great athletes: "Why is he (or she) so good?" And he has done it with clarity, compassion and a sizable amount of imagination.
SCOTT A. CONROE
Who can blame Stones for being so cocky? After all, he knows he's the best high jumper in the world, so why not say so?
I agree with Stones that "nobody cared for high jumping 10 years before me." I didn't like it, but Stones has brought a new excitement to this "discipline" and now I love it!
Your article exposed an individual who is insensitive to people but expects to be understood by all. Unfortunately, because of the rain in Montreal on July 31, 1976, he was unable to give a record "to those 60,000 obscenity people screaming at me." Those present, as I was, were not screaming in rage, but rather were elated that this abrasive and egotistic individual could not match his mouth at such a crucial time.
I have but one comment on Stones: Hooray for individualism.
I, too, was a "scientific-approach" high jumper. But more important, then as now I prided myself on being an individual in a group-oriented society. How fantastic it is to know there are those who dare to be different and remain happy at the same time.
I may not agree with all of Stones' remarks, but he does have the right to say what "needs to be said." As someone once said, you can't be happy with everything else until you are happy with yourself.
R. L. PYLE
You say that in February Kevin Byrne (Byrne, as in Blazing, May 23) of Paramus (New Jersey)-Catholic High ran an 8:59.7 indoor two-mile, the fastest two-mile in the nation this year until Brett Hoffman of St. Petersburg, Fla. ran an 8:54.9 outdoors, a clocking nearly five seconds faster than Byrne's. Both these times are slower than that run by Tom Graves of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill. At an invitational meet held in Palatine, Ill. on April 30, Graves ran an outdoor two-mile in 8:52.8. Kevin Byrne may be the best high school miler in the country but Tom Graves surely can outdistance him.
ERIC M. BUCK
Orland Park, Ill.
Bert Jones and Jim Palmer would both get off much lighter than you say (SCORECARD. May 30) for throwing things at people engaged in a sporting event. For Jim Palmer to throw 4,000 pitches in Memorial Stadium, he would have to start approximately 40 games there, and Bert Jones would have to average 49 passes per game in the Colts' seven home games. I don't expect either Jones or Palmer to achieve these figures.
Highland Lake, N.Y.
What ever happened to the idea Chicago White Sox President Bill Veeck had about his team wearing shorts? Did somebody veto it?
•The Sox wore shorts in three games last season. On some sultry unannounced day this summer, the club says, they will appear in them again.—ED.
A QUESTION OF TIMING
Please, in the interest of accuracy, do not credit Mike Boit with a 1:45.87 time for 800 meters (A Night for Stars, Both Born and Reborn, May 23). As a non-collegiate runner his time must be converted to tenths of a second, making it 1:45.9.
It's a small thing (three hundredths of a second), but important. The switch to automatic timing in hundredths, plus the invention of the electronic stopwatches, which time in hundredths, has greatly confused the timing situation.
Unfortunately, each governing body has different rules. Internationally, all times must be recorded in tenths, except for automatic times at distances not greater than 440 yards. NCAA rules, however, call for hundredths when automatically timed, regardless of distance; for tenths in hand-timed distances up to one mile; and for fifths in hand-timed distances over one mile. High school timing is in tenths throughout.
Too many officials do not understand these simple, although confusing, rules. Consequently, press reports frequently are wrong and/or confusing. And this doesn't take into consideration widespread confusion over what constitutes automatic timing.
Track and Field News
Los Altos, Calif.
In BASEBALL'S WEEK of May 23, Mark Lemongello is quoted as recalling that in 1975 he pitched a game on Friday the 13th for Evansville against Omaha in the International League.
Let me assure him that neither of these teams is in the International League—this year or in 1975.
•Evansville and Omaha are (and were) in the American Association.—ED.
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