I've just finished reading your special issue, The Year in Sports, and would like to compliment you on the extensive coverage of the spectacular events of 1978. Being a Kentucky fan, I especially enjoyed the pictures of the Wildcats on their way to their fifth NCAA championship. Jack (Goose) Givens was golden.
MICHAEL G. MUDD
West Point, N.Y.
Another great year in sports. Another great year in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
I was impressed with the superb photography. But did you have to split the picture of Bucky Dent between two pages? I carefully razored both halves of the picture out of the magazine and taped them together, and now Dent graces my refrigerator door.
Forty whacks with a riding whip for stating that Seattle Slew ended his year with a loss. Slew ended the year and his racing career on Nov. 11 at Aqueduct with a 3¼-length victory in the Stuyvesant Handicap—and under 134 pounds to boot!
February 26, 1979
Michigan State's Earvin Johnson may be the Magic Man, but SI upstaged him with a trick of its own. The photograph on page 92 that purportedly shows Johnson dunking is, in fact, a picture of No. 32, Gregory Kelser. Johnson (No. 33) is that tiny speck in the bottom right-hand corner.
All's forgiven, though. The cover of your 1978-79 college basketball issue (Nov. 27), showing Johnson in full magician's regalia, more than makes up for this snafu.
DAVID S. KAGAN
May a thousand flies descend upon the head of Bruce Newman for his shoddy article on Larry Bird (Flying to the Top, Feb. 5). Having been lucky enough to watch Bird on local TV for the past few years, I expected a description of why he is the best college player since Lew Alcindor, with emphasis on his grabbing rebounds and throwing floor-length passes in the same motion, swishing 25-foot jumpers, making unbelievable tip-ins and over-the-shoulder passes. Instead, the leading sports magazine comes up with flies, a divorce, a suicide and solid waste.
I agree with Bird: on the court and off are two separate places, and SI is holding the ball in the wrong court.
Bruce Newman contends that Larry Bird has been the best player in college basketball for the past two years. Bird would have trouble carrying Phil Ford's equipment bag, Mike Gminski would eat him up, and Earvin Johnson would chew him up and spit him out. Come NCAA tournament time, all the cupcakes will be gone and Indiana State will have to play a few real teams. Maybe Bird & Co. can convince me then, but I hope you won't blame me if I don't hold my breath.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
In addition to being accompanied by breathtaking photography, Bil Gilbert's article Cold Place for a Walk (Feb. 12), describing the elements and his adventures on Baffin Island, contained such riveting prose that, reading it late in the evening at my job in a small shop, I was reluctant to pull myself back from Baffin whenever a customer came in. I felt exhilarated just reading about such an awesome place and such remarkable people.
As an addendum to your Jan. 29 SCORECARD item on the drug-testing and research program at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, it should be noted that the New York State Racing and Wagering Board has already contracted (on Jan. 18) for prerace drug testing at the state's thoroughbred tracks.
New York was the first state in the country to mandate prerace testing for harness tracks (1972), and now, with the start of the summer meet at Finger Lakes in July, a pilot program of prerace testing will be instituted—the first at a thoroughbred track.
Based on the Finger Lakes experience, the program will later be expanded to include all thoroughbred tracks in New York State.
Director of Public Relations
New York State Racing and Wagering Board
New York City
Prerace testing has been used on a regular basis in harness racing since 1965, first at Scioto Downs in Ohio and now by all harness tracks in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and by the larger harness tracks in Ohio. We agree wholeheartedly that prerace blood testing is a deterrent to the use of illegal medication and prohibited drugs, and we hope that thoroughbred racing will join us quickly and widely in the use of this effective procedure.
STANLEY F. BERGSTEIN
Executive Vice President
Harness Tracks of America, Inc.
Thanks for the article by Frank Deford on Hot Rod Hundley, the voice of the New Orleans Jazz (TV/RADIO, Feb. 5). We Jazz enthusiasts swear by Hot Rod. He is the only sports announcer I have heard who has a refreshingly positive approach to covering sports events. He very rarely takes sides or negatively criticizes when he announces a game. But he does follow the play, understands exactly what is going on, knows the players, and describes the play so succinctly and vividly that hundreds of Jazz fans sit with radios glued to their ears as they watch the action inside the Superdome.
Yes, Hot Rod is "hidden down in New Orleans," as Deford reports, but only because we New Orleans fans know a good thing when we hear it, and we don't want to lose it.
HONEE A. HESS
One of your Jan. 29 SCORECARD items refers to the Major Indoor Soccer League in complimentary terms, for which we are grateful. But after admitting that our game is lively and quick and noting that we score an average of nearly 12 goals a game, you ask, "Is it soccer?"
No, it isn't. It's indoor soccer, and that's why it is proving so popular with fans in our six league cities. Don't compare it to soccer or anything else—just sit back and enjoy it.
MICHAEL JAY KALTER
New York Arrows
Great Neck, N.Y.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.