It's about time Dave Winfield got the recognition he deserves (Good Hit, Better Man, July 9). He is one of the nicest men you would ever want to meet, and his work with youngsters here has won him friends, fans and followers. San Diego loves Dave Winfield, and Dave Winfield loves San Diego.
BRIAN D. ROGERS
I quote from An Ugly Affair in Minneapolis, published in your Best of Sports Illustrated I: "Dave Winfield, who recently joined the Gopher varsity, joined the fray, too, dodging to midcourt, where some Minnesota reserves were trying to wrestle Ohio State substitute Mark Wagar to the floor. Winfield leaped on top of Wagar when he was down and hit him five times with his right fist on the face and head." I think San Diego should take another look at its favorite son.
•Following the 1972 all-court brawl, two Minnesota players were suspended for the season, but Winfield was not penalized.—ED.
I suspect there is nothing wrong with Jack Nicklaus (Jack Comes To Grips With Topic A. July 9), except that he has come down to the level of golf the rest of the pros play on.
July 22, 1979
Nicklaus seems to have created a Catch-22 situation for himself—if he plays frequently, he loses his zest for the game; if he plays seldom, he loses his competitive edge. It appears he must recognize that his business successes are the result of his golfing prowess. When the latter declines, so will the former. Age is not a factor, as witness Player's three consecutive victories last season and Boros' 1963 U.S. Open triumph at age 43.
GEORGE F. PLAITS
Ormond Beach, Fla.
Barry McDermott's comments on Nicklaus' putting miseries reminded me of a very appropriate remark made by Winnie Palmer a few years ago.
While agonizing over her husband's slide she said, "When you're young you think you will never miss a putt. But when you get to be about 35 you begin to think you can never make one."
Seems as though the wives of the two great golfers have a more realistic understanding of their husbands' problems than anyone. They both used to will the ball into the hole when they putted. But that doesn't seem to work anymore, and they and the game suffer because of it.
Frank Deford missed the crux of the Washington sports dilemma (A Home Without Hometowners, July 2). The greater metropolitan Washington area may be the eighth largest in the country, but it is still not capable of providing total support for four pro teams as well as teams from the Universities of Maryland and Virginia (basketball and football), Navy (football) plus Georgetown and George Washington Universities (both into bigtime college basketball). Our fans are fine. Just don't expect us to fill up every seat for every sport.
Short Hills, N.J.
SI should award a Father of the Year trophy, for which the hands-down early leader has got to be Andrea Jaeger's father, Roland (Brace Yourself, Tracy, July 9). After all, buying his own two teen-age daughters ice cream even when they lost tennis matches must come under the heading of above and beyond, well, something. I wonder how many readers of SI were affected, as I was, by that line. I salute you, Mr. Jaeger. You're beautiful, and I hope the kids truly appreciated both the ice cream and your kindness.
R. T. CONNORS
As a junior high school coach and teacher working with kids of Andrea's age, I find that one question always comes to mind as I watch young people develop in sports: Why is it necessary to make faces at spectators, show contempt for opponents and harass linesmen and officials in order to be considered a good competitor? Please, a female John McEnroe is really not needed. One McEnroe, Nastase or Connors is one too many.
No wonder tennis players of today behave as they do. Consider the environment in which they have been raised. The Jaegers' intentions in bringing their children up through tennis may be good, but they should be careful to realize that they are raising daughters and not tennis machines.
Great story on the winning filly, Davona Dale (Doubling Up on the Triples, July 9). Can an expert determine if a horse is male or female from a head photo of the animal?
ROBERT A. HOLLIS
Cape Coral, Fla.
•Not with any certainty, though the heads of young male racehorses tend to be shorter and broader than those of the female. But don't bet on it.—ED.
In FOOTLOOSE (June 18), Dr. Brad Levin is credited with "perfecting the mouthpiece back in the days of Jack Johnson." As a boxing historian, I have found no reference to the mouthpiece before the bout between welterweight champion Jack Britton and Ted (Kid) Lewis of England at the old Madison Square Garden on Feb. 7, 1921. When Lewis came out for the referee's instructions, Dan Morgan, Britton's manager, insisted that Lewis' mouthpiece be removed. A battle royal started between the seconds and managers of the fighters. The fight went on, but Lewis had to do without the mouthpiece. Soon after this, the mouthpiece was used in training and then in fights by all boxers.
Willard, Dempsey and Tunney never used a mouthpiece, but the champions who followed—Schmeling, Sharkey, Camera, Baer, Louis, et al.—did.
WALTER H. JACOBS
New York City
After including in his list of legitimate racquet sports such frivolous amusements as paddle ball and squash racquets, Jim Kaplan has the audacity to call pickleball one of the "arcane offshoots...that seem to be invented almost daily" (BOOKTALK, June 11). Would that we could invent such an immensely enjoyable and highly competitive sport every day! The fact that a game uses a funny-looking ball that happens to be named after a marinated cucumber is no reason to relegate it to the absurd. Enthusiasts everywhere will be vindicated when we field our first Olympic pickleball team.
A GAME ON ICE
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when in the June 25 SCORECARD you criticized the NHL Players Association and its executive director, Alan Eagleson, for making a seemingly unnecessary concession from a bargaining position of relative strength. But had the NHLPA insisted on elimination of the equal-compensation provision as a condition of approval of the merger, you no doubt would have blasted Eagleson for holding a gun to the owners' heads and jeopardizing the stability of professional hockey for selfish reasons.
As an avid hockey fan who also happens to be a union official, I think that Eagleson and the NHLPA should be congratulated, not criticized, for the courage to make a reasonable, though difficult, decision. The players are smart and unselfish enough to realize that Montreal vs. Quebec City or Boston vs. New England is good for hockey and ultimately good for the players.
Amalgamated Transit Union
Local 1580, AFL-CIO
I agree that it is time for Eagleson to doff one of his many hats. Ranger fans have been disenchanted with Eagleson ever since he and NHL President John Ziegler ganged up on Don Murdoch.
The NHL had no business suspending Murdoch for half a season for a drug arrest that had nothing to do with his role as a hockey player. I had hoped that the Players Association would support Murdoch in his appeal of the suspension. But such support was not forthcoming.
Not only did the association not do anything to help Murdoch, but Executive Director Eagleson went out of his way to badmouth him as well. I doubt very much if Eagleson would have sounded so righteous if Murdoch had been one of his clients.
There is also the matter of the disparaging remarks Eagleson made during last season about the future of the Pittsburgh franchise. He made it sound as though the franchise was sure to fold at a time when the team was playing well and management was working hard to attract new fans and solve its financial problems.
The ease with which the merger went through indicated to me that Eagleson has some strange ideas about how best to serve the interests of the players he is supposed to be working for.
MARIE M. KNOX
Stony Brook, N.Y.
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