The portraits by Walter Iooss Jr. of Sportsmen of the Year Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw (Dec. 24-31) were brilliant. The warmth, admiration and good cheer emanating from the cover photograph alone were striking, a wordless evocation of the Pirates' 1979 anthem We Are Family. And whoever thought of posing the two in a steel mill should get a medal—never before has the spiritual link between a community and its sporting representatives been so vividly captured. You have given us not only the Sportsmen of the Year, but also the pictures of the year.
Thank you, Ron Fimrite! The article on Willie Stargell, Terry Bradshaw and the city of Pittsburgh (Two Champs from the City of Champions) was excellent, terrific, super! His praise for Pittsburgh is truly appreciated.
However, in giving credit, you forgot a few more of the city's champions: the Pittsburgh Triangles, winners of the World Team Tennis title a few years back; the Duquesne Dukes, who have one of the highest winning percentages in college basketball and who, during the 70s, won the first Eastern Eight crown (1977); and Duquesne's 1973 national champs in club football.
Even if our Steelers don't begin the '80s by again winning the Super Bowl, we fans have a lot to be thankful for: a successful decade and a nice tribute to two of our stars.
McKees Rocks, Pa.
January 7, 1980
Congratulations on choosing two great performers. Terry Bradshaw and Willie Stargell are perhaps the most team-oriented players in sports. Each is a sportsman in every way.
After the way you blew your Sportsman of the Year award last year by picking Jack Nicklaus over Ron Guidry, I am pleased you have redeemed yourselves with your selection of Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw. Two better choices couldn't have been made.
I wholeheartedly agree with the choice of Willie Stargell. But Terry Bradshaw? You must be kidding.
That's so typical of Willie Stargell to be smiling (on your cover) when he is sharing something with someone else.
Terry Bradshaw's own teammates did not see fit to select him as the Steelers' most valuable player. Instead, they selected Huntsvillian John Stallworth. Your Paul Zimmerman (The Gospel According to Paul, Dec. 24-31) didn't even put Bradshaw on the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED All-Pro team. Come on, wise up!
BILL KLING JR.
Terry Bradshaw deserves every bit of recognition he gets. What a great athlete and person! I'd call him Sportsman of the Decade.
Do you really feel that Stargell and Bradshaw contributed more to the world of sports than diminutive Sebastian Coe of Great Britain did in setting world records in the 800-meter, 1,500-meter and mile runs? I think historians will look back on Coe's summer of '79 as one of the greatest achievements in sports. Be honest, you goofed!
DENNIS P. JUERGENS
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah should have won the award.
Gentleman Earl Campbell is the real Sportsman of'79!
RICHARD R. HARVIN
Obviously, Bjorn Borg and Bill Rodgers will have to settle for a recording of the Rolling Stones' Time Is on My Side. When their careers are over—with or without SI's recognition—they will have taken their places as the greatest their sports have ever known.
Excuse me, but after reading your article I'm still slightly confused. Who really won the Sportsman of the Year award? Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw? Or de Burgh?
MICHAEL P. GEROW
Golly, that Pittsburgh sounds like one terrific place. I can't wait for your reviews of Cleveland and Buffalo. Incidentally, Myron Cope makes Howard Cosell sound like Sir Laurence Olivier.
JO ANN THABET
Your story should have been titled: "It's the Pitts, or Terry and the Pirate."
The Saginaw News
Terry Bradshaw and Willie Stargell are truly great professionals and deserve the credit that they are now receiving. However, in our city we have a saying: Baltimore is Best.
I agree with Paul Zimmerman's All-Pro selections (The Gospel According to Paul, Dec. 24-31), except for his omission of a very important kicker, Mark Moseley of the Redskins. How can Zimmerman leave out the best at his position in pro football? Given the opportunity, Moseley would have saved as many games as he was asked to. And on Dec. 16, when the clock ran out while the 'Skins were trying to call time, Moseley was denied a chance for a 62-yarder against the Cowboys that no doubt would have won the NFC Eastern Division for Washington. Remember, also, that Paul never wrote the Gospel, but Mark did.
Ellicott City, Md.
Who is Paul Zimmerman anyway? To my knowledge, Mark Moseley is the only kicker who made all his extra-point tries in '79. Who cares how many games a kicker has won? Dependability and scoring are what count. And in those departments, Moseley can match any kicker in the league.
If you were aware that Walter Payton "played hurt most of the time and the Bears had no passing attack to take the heat off," then the fact that he won his fourth consecutive NFC rushing title should have weighted your decision in his favor.
Choosing Ottis Anderson over Walter Payton is the craziest thing I've ever heard of. I admit Anderson is a good runner, but Payton is in an entirely different class. He's proficient at all aspects of playing his position. I suggest you take a poll of all 28 coaches as to whom they would rather have in their backfield. I am sure the consensus would be Walter Payton!
Your Paul is a prophet. His selection of Brian Sipe as the All-Pro quarterback showed great insight.
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Granted, Brian Sipe is an excellent quarterback, but he hasn't had the season Roger Staubach has. Also, the Browns are at home, while the Staubach-led Cowboys made it to the divisional playoffs.
Roger Staubach is the All-Pro for 1979 and the quarterback for the decade. No ifs, ands or buts!
I've never even heard of Louie Wright! Lemar Parrish should have been Paul Zimmerman's "automatic" choice at cornerback.
Who is Harry Carson? Randy Gradishar at least deserved to have his name mentioned.
I am thrilled that Keith Krepfle made your All-Pro team, but I am furious that Charlie Johnson, the Eagles' middle guard, wasn't mentioned. Johnson could handle your center, Mike Webster, any day.
What do you mean "The Bruins Are in Ruins" (Dec. 24-31)? You can't judge a team on how well it is doing after only five games. UCLA lost to Notre Dame by only a couple of free throws and played a good game. Wait until the Bruins start losing big before you say they're in ruins.
UCLA basketball may be lower than it has been for some time, but the Bruins at ebb are still better than most teams riding a crest. I would hazard a guess that most of the schools in the country would be glad to swap squads with Larry Brown. Instead of being omnipotent, like the teams of the past, the Bruins have "fallen" to being merely potent.
It may not happen this year, but before long Larry Keith may be forced to begin an article with the line "The Bruins are back." Many fans will reply. "They never left."
ROY L. RICHTER
Montgomery City, Mo.
I distinctly remember your doomsaying "End of an Era" cover story on UCLA (April 1, 1974), which was followed by the Bruins' 1975 national championship. Obviously. Larry Keith forgot.
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Larry Keith's article will come back to haunt him in March.
THE STRENGTH OF SAMPSON
As a student at the University of Virginia, I was pleased with your cover and article on Ralph Sampson (His Future Is Up in the Air, Dec. 17). However, I was a bit disturbed by Larry Keith's statement, "For the first time in their undistinguished history the Cavaliers have been winning more on talent than on execution." Let me remind you, the Cavaliers have had two straight NIT appearances with all-conference players Jeff Lamp and Lee Raker; they were ACC champs and NCAA tournament participants in 1976 with Wally Walker, now of the Seattle SuperSonics; and they were ranked in the Top Ten in 1972 with All-America Barry Parkhill, who went on to the ABA.
Who are Lee Raker, Mike Owens, Jeff Jones, Terry Gates and Garland Jefferson? If you don't know, they are basketball players for the University of Virginia. Although you did mention Jeff Lamp briefly and stated that he was last year's ACC scoring leader with an average of 22.9 points per game, the only other thing I read was Ralph Sampson, Ralph Sampson, Ralph Sampson. It takes more than one player to make a good basketball team. Nothing less than a combined effort will be required to turn the Cavaliers into championship material.
TORCHY, BO AND ROCKY
I was raised and still live in the Fox Cities in Wisconsin, and I therefore was very happy to read your excellent article on Central Florida Coach Gene (Torchy) Clark and his son Bo (He's a Tough Gun of a Son, Dec. 17). One additional item that may interest your readers is that while Torchy was coaching at Xavier High School in Appleton, Wis. one of his football and basketball players was Rocky Bleier. During the years Bleier played, Xavier never lost a football game and won 49 basketball games in a row, a state record.
Even though I have been a subscriber for 20 years, this is the first letter I have written to SI. After reading Frank Deford's article on motor sports' Ruttman family (Now Joe Must Carry the Flag, Dec. 17), I felt compelled to congratulate him on such a superb effort.
Most racing fans—and I am an ardent one—know who Joe and Troy Ruttman are, but until this sensitive article was written, few probably really knew them well. Thanks to Deford I now feel as though we have all been introduced.
Congratulations to Frank Deford on a wonderful and moving story about the Ruttmans. There are so many deserving drivers every year at Indy, it is difficult to have a sentimental favorite. But it will be hard not to root for Joe Ruttman to win the big one this May.
KENNETH R. LYON
HUNTERS VS. LANDOWNERS
I just finished reading Michael Baughman's VIEWPOINT (Dec. 17) concerning the conflict between hunters and landowners. He described the situation very well, but since my husband and I are landowners, there are a couple of other points I'd like to bring up.
First, it has always irritated me that the state thinks it has the right to sell other people permission to hunt on my land, and many hunters feel that their hunting licenses guarantee them that right. After all, if all hunters were restricted to government property, they would be packed in shoulder to shoulder.
Second, why should we landowners have to buy a license to hunt on our own land? It doesn't seem fair.
To illustrate the point to those hunters who think they should have free rein over all open land, whether it is privately owned or not, I have always wanted to go into Omaha, walk into someone's backyard, turn on his barbecue grill, stretch out on his patio and watch the fireworks explode. Can you imagine what would happen when the owner came out and found me there? It's really all the same thing—someone trespassing on someone else's private property.
I am not a supporter of hunting for sport, but I was impressed by Michael Baughman's logical conclusions. My response, however, is directed to his remark about the rights of a landowner who has come from out of state to restrict a third-generation Oregonian in the use of his native state.
In the course of my travels I have often heard the rights of the native defended against the rights of the non-native. Yet in my own state of California, where my family has resided for more than 100 years, the recent arrival seems to reign supreme, no matter what crime he may commit against the natives or the environment. This seems to be especially true in the southern part of the state.
California is a sportsman's paradise, as your magazine has so often pointed out. I do not wish to deny this paradise to anyone. I do wish to go on record as saying that I object to the vast hordes who descend upon this state and claim as inalienable their right to destroy, pollute and monopolize, to their own advantage, the beauty and pleasure that are here for all to enjoy. I ask those who use California's facilities to stop and consider their actions and to appreciate the history and the future of this Golden State.
FROM HEAD TO FOOT
After reading your article on NBA trainers (Dispensers of Love and Liniment, Dec. 17), I don't know who is most responsible for setting the profession back 25 years—SI, the NBA or those trainers mentioned.
As a group, trainers have been striving for respectability, both educationally and professionally. We want to be recognized for our ability to prevent, manage and rehabilitate injuries to athletes. Apparently, there are still a few who maintain the less desirable image of the ankle taper, the gofer and the court jester. I sincerely hope that the general public reading this article does not think that your sampling of NBA trainers is typical of the entire profession.
NICHOLAS PASSARETTI, M.ED., R.P.T., A.T., C.
Chief Athletic Trainer/Therapist
Fantastic! I thought your article on trainers was great—and funny. It showed that trainers do more than just play doctor. They keep the team happy and organized. Without them, teams would be totally disorganized. Trainers are just as important to a team as the players.
The story on NBA trainers was very enjoyable. Having been a Marine drill instructor during World War II, I was especially interested in the drawing at the bottom of page 55 [above]. Your basketball player has two right feet!
JOHN P. DALY
South Bend, Ind.
•When asked about the two right feet. Artist Michael Ramus said, "I've been known to do this before." And so he has (see left), in his illustrations for Si's article on hockey goalies and their bizarre beliefs and rituals (Reincarnation and 13 Pairs of Socks, March 28, 1977). In explanation Ramus says, "I must have some deep psychological problem." We note, however, that Ramus always draws two right feet, never two left.—ED.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.