Your article on the Phillies was great (Off on a Rampage, Aug. 29), but you were wrong when you said George Foster is the only one who seems likely to challenge Greg Luzinski for MVP. You should have said Greg Luzinski is the only one who seems likely to challenge George Foster for MVP!
Pittsburgh's Dave Parker has a better batting average, more hits, more doubles, more triples, more runs scored, more extra-base hits and more total bases than Luzinski. Parker has as good a shot at MVP as anyone.
The Phillies cover story is just what we Pirate fans have been waiting for. Go get 'em, SI jinx!
I don't care about that jinx. In May last year you had a cover on Mike Schmidt, and the Phillies went on to win the Eastern Division. Carlton and McCarver will keep them on top this year.
Fort Washington, Pa.
September 11, 1977
An article on the Phils without mentioning the best shortstop in baseball, Larry Bowa, is like SI without pictures.
You played down the role of Bob Boone.
You forgot Jay Johnstone, who happens to be hitting .291 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs.
Lou Brock is not just a fine ballplayer but a fine gentleman as well (Make Way for the Sultan of Swipes, Aug. 22). He exudes class. He did in 17 seasons what it took Cobb 24 seasons to do. Brock still is one of the most exciting players around.
East St. Louis, Ill.
Thank you for Jonathan Yardley's wonderful article about Ring Lardner (Everybody Knew Me Al!, Aug. 29). Lardner was Holden Caulfield's favorite author (next to his brother) in Catcher in the Rye and that's good enough for me.
Wouldn't it be great to have a man of Lardner's caliber doing the Game of the Week broadcasts instead of the clowns we have today?
SUSAN B. LENES
New Milford, N.J.
When Hank Stram was at Kansas City he had the best quarterback by far in the AFL, and maybe one of the greatest of all time, in Len Dawson. Now that the "Little Caesar" is in New Orleans (Trying the Patient of the Saints, Aug. 29) he has the gall to compare Archie Manning, an average quarterback, to the man who led the Chiefs to three AFL championships and appeared in two Super Bowls, winning No. IV against the Vikings in 1970.
Long Beach, Calif.
As you say, Alberto Juantorena is quite clearly the finest middle-distance runner in the world today (El Caballo Is Off and Running, Aug. 29). His performance in the recent World University Games in Sofia, Bulgaria established this fact beyond dispute as the Horse won a decisive victory over his only possible rival in the 800 meters, Kenya's Mike Boit. [See page 16, also.]
Athletes such as Juantorena, who runs because he loves competition rather than the wealth and fame his victories could bring him, should serve as an inspiration to all sports fans.
Balboa Island, Calif.
I suggest you give us a parallel story on Tatyana Kazankina of the U.S.S.R., who achieved almost exactly what Juantorena did in the 1976 Olympics: two gold medals and one world record in foot races. I believe she is the first, and perhaps the only, woman to have run the 1,500 in less than four minutes. Practically no notice was given to this feat, which seems to me to be equivalent to Roger Bannister's sub-four-minute mile.
Should Frank Hannigan (A Link to Scotland, Aug. 22) have occasion to be out central Kansas way, he would appreciate Hutchinson, Kansas' fine Prairie Dunes Golf Club with its air (and, yes, its wind) of the game's native Scotland. The very "penal" but beautiful Prairie Dunes architecture contains the same trying elements he mentions at Shinnecock; and as for Shinnecock being stunning, the Dunes is at least that with a Western flair—yucca plants in a few of the many bunkers! While I haven't had the pleasure of Shinnecock, Mr. Hannigan might hesitate a bit before flatly claiming Shinnecock is "the nearest thing America has to a British links." For while that may well be, the Dunes is like Troon—howling, arid, southwest winds and all—and should be included in any comparisons to the true links of abroad.
•Hannigan, who knows Prairie Dunes well and says he yields to no man in his admiration for the course, still feels that the nearness of the ocean makes Shinnecock Hills more like the courses of Scotland.—ED.
I find it ironic that all three letters in the 19TH HOLE section of Aug. 29, replying to Judith Magruder's Aug. 15 letter defending the Raiders, came from Pittsburgh.
Daly City, Calif.
You might be interested to know that Judith Magruder's full name is Judith Madden Magruder. Madden is her maiden name, and Oakland Coach John Madden is her brother.
Palo Alto, Calif.
GOT HER GOAT
Whoops and Saddles in Helena (Aug. 29) made me sick. Being an animal lover, I can't see anything good about a rodeo. This becomes more evident when I read about a "sport" in which a helpless goat is staked in the middle of an arena, seized and thrown, and has its legs tied together, all in a matter of eight seconds.
This is not cruelty to animals? Barrie Beach also adds insult to injury when she says she hates goats, and that they are dumb and smelly.
The smile on her face as she ropes a defenseless, frightened animal only makes me sicker.
SANDRA LEE JONES
The compensatory test case that pro basketball's free agents and struggling franchises supposedly are waiting for (SCORECARD, Aug. 22) has been under way here in California for several weeks.
The case had its beginnings last year when Jamaal Wilkes of the Golden State Warriors decided to play out his option in hopes of being picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers. Although not particularly unhappy with the Warriors, Wilkes was having personal problems (he and his wife were recently divorced), and the thought of returning to his spiritual home in the smog and playing out his career alongside former UCLA teammate and longtime friend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was mighty appealing to him.
The Lakers, naturally, were more than happy to oblige the former All-Pro forward with a contract, but the Warriors were less than thrilled. Wilkes was Golden State's only legitimate star besides Rick Barry, who will be heading for the announcing booth any year now, and when Wilkes signed with L.A., the Warriors sent back word that the only compensation they would accept would be Abdul-Jabbar himself. The Lakers, of course, said nothing doing.
As a result, NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien now has a case on his hands that would make Solomon sweat. The Warriors are perfectly right in contending that Abdul-Jabbar is the only player on the talent-thin Laker squad who could fill Wilkes' sneakers. Nor would a multiplayer compensation help the Warriors, who have depth and talent aplenty, but lack stars. And while a couple of high Laker draft choices might pan out for Golden State eventually, it's hardly a sure thing—especially since the Lakers stand to be making late-round choices for the next couple of years with both Abdul-Jabbar and Wilkes in their lineup.
O'Brien is still cogitating his answer as this is written, but one thing is sure: pro basketball's "Rozelle Rule" couldn't want a better test case.
Thanks to Joe Marshall for his fine article on the San Diego Chargers (New Charge for the Chargers, Aug. 22). This year may just be the year they do something in the NFL.
However, Mr. Marshall says that Charlie Joiner averaged more yards per catch than any receiver except Oakland's Cliff Branch and Baltimore's Fred Carr. All Colt fans know that the best receiver in the NFL last year was Roger, not Fred, Carr.
Breaux Bridge, La.
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