PENN STATE'S NUMBER
I have just read John Underwood's account of the Penn State-Maryland game (A Lionized Defense, Nov. 13), and I loved it. Seeing the game on TV was great, but reading the article was even better. Long live Penn State Coach Joe Paterno!
Boca Raton, Fla.
If Penn State does not finish the season undefeated and/or national champ, I will never forgive SI for putting Quarterback Chuck Fusina on the cover.
SI readers are familiar with the supposed SI cover jinx. I always maintained that this phenomenon was more coincidence than anything else. And now, for me, anyway, the jinx has been put to rest with the Nov. 13 issue. After Chuck Fusina graced your cover, and after Nebraska upset Oklahoma, Penn State was elevated to No. 1 in both polls!
John Underwood's article on the Nittany Lions includes the question "How good is Penn State?" The answer is: Not good enough to beat Alabama!
THE COWBOYS' CHANCES
What? Doomsday for Dallas (It Could Be Doomsday for Dallas, Nov. 13)? The Cowboys are having troubles, sure, but it's nothing new to see them lose four games. They've done it before and still ended up in the Super Bowl. Come Jan. 21, I think you'll see some old friends in the Super Bowl.
Fairmont, W. Va.
The Dallas Cowboys put it all together against the Green Bay Packers in Milwaukee on Nov. 12 and looked like the world champions they are!
Although we remain optimistic about the Cowboys' chances this season, we would like to remind everyone that what has been predicted for them—a fifth Super Bowl appearance and a third Super Bowl victory—has yet to be accomplished by any team in the NFL.
MONICA DEL DUCA
Sam Moses always captures the down-home flavor of the Grand National Championship circuit. His most recent effort on Cale Yarborough (Nice Meetin' Ya, the Name's Cale, Nov. 6) was, by far, his finest.
Your article on Kentucky's Jim Kovach (What's Up, Doc? Nearly Too Much, Nov. 13) provoked much thought on my part. Kovach is a remarkable individual. Moreover, simultaneously attending medical school and participating in big-time college football is quite an undertaking. However, what got me is that Kovach is also married and has a youngster. If he spends up to 20 hours a day on his two major involvements—med school and football—how can he possibly have enough time to spend with his young son, not to mention his wife? Is all this personal glory and recognition worth it? I, for one, don't think so.
Jim Kovach's determination and Kentucky Coach Fran Curci's understanding are only two of many reasons why Commonwealth Stadium is always filled with 58,000 fans, whether Kentucky wins or loses.
FRED L. CRACE
We at Macalester College are not the vicious intellectual snobs you made us out to be (The Scots Get Scotched, Nov. 13). As a recent graduate, I am pleased with the notoriety the school has attained, but more than that, I'm proud of the education Macalester gave me. Macalester offers one the opportunity to challenge oneself, emphasizing the process rather than the outcome, whatever the game. With its wisdom and sense of humor, Macalester remains "the best of all possible worlds."
MARY JEANNE LEE
The people at Macalester who have been rooting against our football team do not deserve to be called fans. As a real fan, I resent their failure to appreciate the team's courage and tenacity. Not all of us are nihilists.
JOHN (BEANO) WHEELER
In reference to E. M. Swift's article on Pete Rose (Rose Might Not Be Red Anymore, Nov. 6), I think the Reds are making a mistake in not reaching an agreement with him. Sooner or later the Reds will have to change their thinking about free agents if they are to remain in contention with the rest of the league.
Regarding your article Kick It or Get Booted (Nov. 13), I can't understand why those NFL teams suffering from kicking deficiencies haven't contacted George Blanda. His "retirement" a few years ago was premature. He wasn't getting older, he was getting better!
RONALD G. JOHNSTON
When reader Philip McKeon (19TH HOLE, Nov. 13) wonders how many people are interested in a story on the New York City Marathon, he shows himself to be unaware of certain facts. New York's two professional baseball teams drew some 3.3 million fans to 161 home games. The New York City Marathon drew an estimated two million spectators in a single day! Turn off your TV and look out the window, McKeon. You'll find out what interests America.
In less than two years Ron Guidry has risen from a country boy struggling in the Yankee farm system to major league baseball's premier pitcher. A 25-3 record, a 1.74 earned run average and 248 strikeouts are truly remarkable. No other athlete expresses near perfection as well as Guidry. That is why he is my choice for Sportsman of the Year.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
NEALE X. TRANGUCH
KEITH S. LAWRENCE
KEITH (CATFISH) SMITH
MARY ANN PAGAN
As William Leggett stated so well in his account of Exceller's victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Exceller Exceeds Himself, Oct. 23), "Bill Shoemaker. What is there left to say about him? At 47 and in his 30th year as a jockey, he seems to be getting better with each furlong pole he passes."
Speed Skater Eric Heiden.
New York City
Jerry Kirshenbaum's article on Northwestern (Waa-Mu! Waa-Who? Oct. 30) was written with a great deal of insight into the problems of athletics at our institution. But I think it is unfortunate that the piece failed to stress one of the more positive aspects of sports at NU—the success of the women's program. The women's fencing team, for example, went undefeated in dual-meet competition in 1977, has won the Big Ten championship for the last two years and qualified for the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association nationals in 1977, placing 13th, and in 1978, when they placed 12th. Clearly, not all is negative at Northwestern.
LAURENCE D. SCHILLER
I would like to add a name to the list of famed athletes who attended Northwestern back when NU was more athletically inclined. The name belongs to the first U.S. Olympic-gold medalist in women's track and field. The "fastest lady runner" in 1928, she won the women's 100-meter dash in 12.2. She received another gold in the women's 400-meter relay in 1936, despite having suffered a near-crippling injury in a plane crash in the interim. She is in the record books as Elizabeth Robinson and is my mother, Betty Schwartz.
JAINE R. S. HAMILTON
Michael Baughman's article on Chinook salmon fishing (Get the Lead Out of Your Line, Oct. 23) was especially interesting to me because our family owns a cabin on the upper Rogue River. Upstream from us, the Rogue sweeps broadly, almost boringly, at a calm, uniform depth of 18 inches or 36 inches or 72 inches, depending on the season and recent rainfall or snowmelt. Downstream, the river tumbles and boils in a confusion of white water too swift and rocky to serve as more than brief passage for fisher and fished.
But in front of our cabin the Rogue is perfect. We can stand in knee-deep water and have access to all sweet spots with the lightest tackle. One can hook a Chinook with a red ant on an eight-pound leader, and fight it carefully, achingly for two hours until the exhausted fish lies atop the water, and still, during the attempt to bank the salmon for touching, bragging and release, have him break the leader. What does man know of spirit?
Enough of this. My purpose in writing was simply to notify Baughman that upriver spawning areas on the Rogue are closed to bait, lures and weighted-fly fishing during most of the spawning season.
Incidentally, a new dam is across the Rogue now, 30 miles upstream from us. High water may never endanger our cabin again. But lately I've noticed sand in the riffle, where sand never is. Paradise being lost?
My sons Stephen and David and I, Pirate fans all, were scanning the final National League batting statistics recently and were struck by the efficiency of Willie Stargell's run production. Stargell finished with 97 RBIs in just 390 at bats, a ratio of one RBI for every four at bats. By comparison, the other top National League RBI men were much less efficient: Dave Parker 117-581, Steve Garvey 113-639, Dave Winfield 97-587, Jack Clark 98-592, Greg Luzinski 101-540, George Foster 120-604. Only Reggie Smith, 93-447, was close to Stargell, but he took 57 more at bats to accumulate four fewer RBIs.
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