Thank you for your outstanding coverage of the trends and changes that occur in professional and collegiate sports. Last fall I picked up my SI and read an outstanding article on the use of the 3-4 defense in the NFL (Say Hello to the Fearsome Threesome, Oct. 17). Later, there was a piece on the use of "enforcers" in the NBA (When the Going Gets Rough, Oct. 31). I also enjoyed the article on the alleged AFC supremacy in the NFL (Vince, You Wouldn't Believe It, Nov. 21). But these fine articles have now been topped by your fantastic report on the background and increased use of the four-corners offense, so prominent in college basketball (They're Foursquare for the Four-Corners, Feb. 6). If I simply want to learn the scores or who beat whom, I can read the newspaper. But with SI's comprehensive coverage, my overall sports awareness has been increased. Please continue.
JOHN M. McAVOY
Being a resident of North Carolina I have had numerous chances to observe the four-corners style of basketball. In my opinion, it shortchanges the paying customer, and any coach who uses it is admitting that the other team just might be better than his. Teams that win the big one—that is, the NCAA championship—usually win on strength, not gimmicks.
Basketball is meant to be fast-paced and action-packed. There is plenty of room for strategy without giving the game all the excitement of a chess match. Dr. Naismith must be turning over in his grave at what Dean Smith has done to his sport. To the powers that be in the NCAA I say, please give us the 30-second clock.
J. D. HOLDER
I'm a devout North Carolina State fan and, therefore, anti-Carolina. I despise Dean Smith and his four-corners. It's a terrible offense to have to watch. But installing a 30-second clock would be as bad as banning the dunk. It would take away a whole dimension of the college game. Anybody who wants to see a shot clock can watch pro ball. I like college basketball the way it is.
Pleasant Garden, N.C.
February 20, 1978
RON LeFLORE'S STORY
Your Feb. 6 issue is the finest I have ever read. George Plimpton continues to be the outstanding firsthand-raconteur of our time ("Lord, No More Than Five") and Detroit Free Press baseball writer Jim Hawkins' and Ron LeFlore's collaboration on Stealing Was My Specialty is superb.
My mother and father work closely with lifers and other convicts at a nearby correctional institute, and I know how tough it is for these guys to get a break as ex-cons in our society. I congratulate Ron LeFlore for his efforts to go straight and become one of baseball's great players. I also commend the Detroit Tigers for giving him a fair chance. They judged him on his ability and talent and did not reject him because he was an ex-con. And, finally. I congratulate SI for printing such a fine story.
Ron LeFlore is a special kind of person who has accomplished what many only dream of. He has risen from the depths of human existence to a respected position in our society. For this he deserves all the credit in the world, and I wouldn't deny him that. I must say, though, that while the article was generally good, it devoted too much time to detailed accounts of LeFlore gloating over his illegal accomplishments. I realize that his crimes are part of the story and that they shouldn't be ignored, but perhaps they could have been handled a bit more modestly.
BRUCE J. BERNSTEIN
Whoa! Hold it just a doggone minute! When writing about California's Mineral King Valley and its possible development as a ski area (SCORECARD, Feb. 6) you state, "The skiing needs of Southern Californians remain to be addressed."
As an alpine skier with more than 40 years' experience, and as a longtime alpine ski coach, I have always been a booster of winter sports. However, I certainly take exception to that statement. I see no reason why an agency of the Federal Government should destroy any of the little wilderness that remains just so Southern Californians can have a place to ski.
A lot of people here in New England are interested in surfing. Is the U.S. Government supposed to install a giant wavemaker off the Cape Cod National Seashore just so they can have a place to surf?
Horsefeathers! If the people in Southern California want to ski, let them move to some place where there are ski facilities.
CARL H. WILLIAMS
What about the golfing needs of north Alaskans? The mountain-climbing needs of south Floridians? The snowmobiling needs of East Texans? The deep-sea fishing needs of Kansans? You can't be serious.
THE ORIGINAL SEVEN-PLUS
Okay, you've stumped me. Your LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (Jan. 30) says that Assistant Managing Editor Jack Tibby's retirement reduces to seven the number of staffers whose names appeared on your original masthead. But you don't name the seven.
I have subscribed to SI continuously since Aug. 16, 1954. In fact, I still have some prizes I won peddling subscriptions before Vol. 1, No. 1 appeared. But I don't have a copy of the original masthead, and an inspection of a recent one (Vol. 48, No. 5) reveals that my memory might be slipping a bit. The names of Roy Terrell, Robert W. Creamer, Robert H. Boyle, Frank Deford, Dan Jenkins, Coles Phinizy and John Underwood ring a long-ago bell, but did that bell ring almost 25 years ago? Bill Leggett and I shared many pleasant hours when I was sports editor of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Independent and he was writing baseball, but I don't believe he is a member of the "Quarter-Century Club."
At any rate, I'm sure I am not the only SI fan who is curious about the identity of the "Magnificent Seven." Please tell us who they are.
JAMES C. RYAN
•Creamer and Phinizy go all the way back, and the other five are Bill Bernstein, Art Brawley, Harvey Grut, Merv Hyman and Ginnie Kraft. In addition, Jeannette Bruce, Betty DeMeester, Eleanore Milosovic, Barbara Murray, Catherine Ogilvie and Bob Williams were members of the original staff but did not appear on that first masthead.—ED.
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