Thank you for recognizing the Buccaneers' dramatic turnabout (Time for Good Times in Tampa Bay, Oct. 1). The change has been as big as the change in the Tampa weather shown in your photographs. Up here in Minnesota it is hard to get news about teams other than the Vikings, but when I got my copy of SI in the mail and saw Dewey Selmon on the cover, it was like being back home in Florida.
New Brighton, Minn.
I have looked at your Oct. 1 issue more than 100 times. From 0-26 to the cover of SI in less than four years! How sweet it is.
KENT LE BLANC
The recent success of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can be attributed to many things, but two of the most important factors are faith and patience. Faith on the part of the Bucs' management in Coach John McKay. Patience to let a young team develop through its mistakes and growing pains. Perhaps the Bucs will be an example to others and help curb the almost fanatical drive for overnight success, which often results in many coaches being overnight failures.
Sure, Tampa Bay has some great players, but it takes more than a handful of players to make a good team. Buccaneer fans would really find out what kind of team they are cheering for if Tampa Bay played such teams as Dallas, Pittsburgh, New England and San Diego. About the only way the Bucs can make the playoffs is by being in the very weak NFC Central Division.
In recent issues I have read comments about which team has the ugliest uniforms in the National Football League (the Seattle Sea-hawks). But no one ever mentions which team has the best-looking uniforms. In my opinion it's Tampa Bay.
PRODUCTS OF JACKSON STATE
You omitted two great athletes who are Jackson State alums in the article on Perry Harrington (Harrington Is Unharried, Sept. 24): Pro Bowlers Ben McGee, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Willie Richardson, formerly of the Baltimore Colts.
It may interest you to know that as tremendous a player as Coy Bacon is, he was overlooked on the bench at Jackson State because there was so much talent on the team.
PAUL T. B. HEMPHILL
Coles Phinizy (We Know of Knute, Yet Know Him Not, Sept. 10) is somewhat inaccurate in relating the recruitment of Notre Dame All-America Halfback Marchmont Schwartz by Knute Rockne in the late '20s. Phinizy quotes Schwartz, who had originally enrolled at Loyola University in New Orleans to play football, as saying that he left that university for Notre Dame when he "found out that there were about 10 players on the [Loyola] squad who were taking only a one-hour course at night and were still eligible.... I wanted to leave after two weeks."
In fact, there were 21 players on the freshman squad that included Schwartz, and of these, 19 are listed in the university registrar's records as being enrolled as full-time students (12 or more semester hours). One carried five hours; one carried three hours. The varsity squad of that year (1927) was comprised of 24 players, and of this group 21 earned degrees from the university. These records hardly support the implication of the quote attributed to Schwartz.
The remark has surely done a disservice to Loyola, an institution of long-standing integrity. I am happy to set the record straight for your readers.
FELIX A. GAUDIN
Loyola University Alumni Association
The marvelous anecdotes about Japanese baseball by Robert Whiting (You Gotta Have "Wa", Sept. 24) were entertaining yet serious enough to offer an important lesson. If athletes and coaches can properly discipline themselves to make a common effort, the team is always a winner. However, I think the strict regulations of Japanese baseball rob the individual of his free-spiritedness, which American sport thrives on. Still, American superstars would do well to humble themselves with this thought: most great players are the result of great teams, not the cause of them.
Bessemer City, N.C.
If the Japanese think the behavior of some of our baseball players is atrocious, imagine what they would think of the carryings-on of some of our coaches or managers, such as Billy Martin, Lefty Driesell, Woody Hayes or Tommy Heinsohn. If deposed Japanese managers are sent to the U.S. to learn how to play baseball, perhaps we could send some of our athletes and managers to Japan to learn respect and how to act in a mature fashion.
The Japanese practice of team unity or wa is weird. Why should a self-respecting jock put good manners and team welfare ahead of his own ego? The old adage—It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game—was never intended for professional sports. The Japanese pro athlete should put his priorities in order: 1) No. 1, 2) winning or losing, and 3) how you play the game.
PAUL LA BOTZ
Re Oh, the Joys of Losing Fish (Oct. 1), Tred Barta is quoted as saying (after supposedly seeing the light and switching to six-pound-test line for big-game fish): "In our society the only thing that counts is a fish on the dock—results." And referring to his "pre-enlightenment days," he says, "Ha, the Tred Barta of those days would be out there with a harpoon, filling the boat with sharks, to impress the people on the dock."
And what is he doing today? Spending an inordinate amount of time and money losing fish and "spending up to 25 hours a week studying kinetic-energy tables, test strengths, hook designs, reel drags and reel-spool dynamics." So as not to impress the people on the dock? Come on! He is trying to set light-tackle records to impress people on the dock and readers of the IGFA record book.
If Barta really wants to be a sportsman, let him realize fishing is a contemplative and relaxing sport. Let him, like the best big-game anglers today, enjoy the fish for the fight, then tag and release it for migration studies. True fishing is not a competitive sport.
Field & Stream
New York City
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.