Thank you for the brilliant cover photograph of Dr. J and Larry Bird (April 28). They are perhaps the best forwards ever to play the game. Each is great in his own way. You couldn't ask for a better scorer and team player—a rare combination—than Larry Bird, and I don't think anyone in the game has or had more natural ability than Julius Erving.
Whom would a coach pick if he could have only one of them? I wouldn't be able to decide. This matchup really gave fans a lot to cheer about.
The beauty of a Larry Bird jump shot over the outstretched hand of should-be MVP Julius Erving makes your April 28 cover the best I've seen on any magazine.
Finally you decided to put the game's best player on the cover, but you blew it. The Doctor plays even better at the other end of the court.
May 11, 1980
In regard to your article on the Bucks-SuperSonics playoff series (Super Series to the Sonics, April 28), I am surprised and upset that Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee's unsung rookie, was left out. In the second game of the series he scored 16 points, six of them in overtime, to lift the Bucks to victory.
Moncrief didn't get the kind of recognition accorded this season to other rookies like Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson and Bill Cartwright, but surely he deserved it.
I assure you that the title of the Bucks' theme song. Green and Growing, in no way describes "some type of fungus." It describes a young, talented and exciting NBA team. The seven-game thriller against the Sonics proved to all that, with a break here or there, the Bucks are as good as the defending NBA champs.
Daniel Okrent's baseball adventure (26 Teams in 13 Days, April 28) is every fan's dream. My congratulations to him, and thanks to you for printing his story. In 1977 my brother and I saw a game in each of the 26 major league parks in 31 days. Unlike Okrent, we drove across the country, from stadium to stadium: 26 games. 26 ball parks, 31 days and 14,000 miles.
Daniel Okrent captured the hold baseball has on America, especially when he told of walking into a park during batting practice and hearing the sound of bat meeting baseball. I almost enjoy that pregame ritual more than the game itself. The sounds of batting practice are one of the game's great attractions.
RICHARD P. HENNIG
Congratulations to Daniel Okrent, and to Sandy Huffaker for his cartoons. They depicted the fans to a T—especially Chicago Cubs rooters, who are truly devoted to their team.
I demand an apology from Daniel Okrent for referring to the New York Mets as a "charmless excuse for a ball club." Why malign the Mets? A nicer young ball team is hard to find. So what if they lose all the time? Is winning everything? They're ours and they try hard. And there's magic, as the team's new ads say, if you look hard enough and believe. And we love them.
As for stadiums, despite the roar of jets overhead, I'll take Shea over one of those AstroTurfed abominations with hyperactive scoreboards and guys in chicken costumes.
But Okrent wouldn't understand any of this. Why should he? He's not a Met fan. It's too bad. If there were more Met fans in the world, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. Try a little believing.
New York City
LONE STAR HOPES
Your April 21 issue could have been called TEXAS SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. The excellent stories on the Astros (A Whiff of Spring in Houston) and Al (Scoop) Oliver of the Rangers (You Don't Know Me, Says Al) show that we're well on the way to a rootin'-tootin', high-flyin' all-Texas World Series. Yee-ah!
You are to be commended on Steve Wulf's fine article on Al Oliver. However, the baseball writers on the national scene need not feel too guilty about their failure to extoll Oliver's wealth of talent, because, as I recall, even the media in his hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio have always given him backpage coverage. Oliver must not make as good a story as the other local stars. Those heroes—Larry Hisle, Don Gullett and Gene Tenace—have all had ups and downs in their careers. Al Oliver has had only ups.
Al Oliver underrated? Not in my house. I have two Oliver pages in my scrapbook, all of his baseball cards and an Oliver poster—and an Oliver poster is hard to find. He is one great player.
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
I went out too fast in this year's Boston Marathon and, judging from the splits in Kenny Moore's article (Mastery and Mystery, April 28), I was imprudently three-quarters of a mile ahead of the leading women runners by the halfway point in Wellesley. By 20 miles I was cooked, and as I jogged and walked to the finish, one by one the top women, most of whom I know, passed me. Jacqueline Gareau had a slender lead over Patti Lyons, with the third woman out of contention. I never saw Rosie Ruiz, except later on television.
I am not certain whether Ruiz deserves our contempt or our pity. But I do not entirely absolve officials of the sponsoring Boston Athletic Association of blame. They thrust the laurel wreath on the head of Ruiz too rapidly. Last year Oscar Miranda of Tampa temporarily "won" the masters division by reportedly pulling a jump-from-the-crowd stunt. The BAA had an entire year to figure out how to deal with impostors and failed to do so.
A Chicago TV weatherman once claimed to have an "assistant in charge of looking out the window," so he would not miss the obvious. Maybe the BAA should appoint someone in charge of looking down the course.
Michigan City, Ind.
The Boston Marathon officials got exactly what they deserved—a fiasco! Whether or not Rosie Ruiz ran the whole race, the point is: women marathoners are still being ignored. The officials in Boston have made little progress since the days when they used to pull the numbers off the women's backs to keep them from running. Today they let them run and just pretend they aren't there!
I have a feeling that, in the future, marathon officials, in Boston and elsewhere, will make it a point to monitor the front-running women as well as the men. Phenom or fraud, Rosie has at least contributed that much to the sport.
ROBERT E. CAIN
Hats off to Rosie Ruiz for making the Boston Marathon something it has never been before—interesting.
THE REV. LOUIS E. LOTZ, D.D.
The First Reformed Church
The otherwise excellent story on the Boston Marathon by Kenny Moore was marred by the omission of what was the most amazing performance in that race: a double amputee from here in Orem named Curt Brink-man rolled over the finish line in 1:55. "beating" the marvelous Bill Rodgers by more than 17 minutes.
Brinkman is the first wheelchair athlete to "beat" the runners in a marathon, and his remarkable time knocked a total of 39 minutes off the previous wheelchair record set in 1978. Surely a performance that lowers a marathon mark by more than 25% deserves mention.
JAMES R. MOSS
Thanks to Herman Weiskopf for the article on pro bowler Marshall Holman (Too Bold To Cut the Mustard? April 21). Holman may be "the perfect hot dog," but he certainly has the talent to back up his act.
Your three pictures sum up Holman as perhaps no number of words could. In a game that requires tremendous concentration, Marshall's release of emotions only helps to sharpen that concentration. The results are impressive—a 217 average and $100,000.
Mark Roth and Earl Anthony were the two top bowlers of the 1970s; Marshall Holman will be the No. 1 bowler of the 1980s. I, for one, will be rooting for him all the way.
East Millstone, N.J.
I have known Marshall Holman since he was 16 years old, and he is now the best bowler in the world. His antics may offend some people, but if those people don't take the time to get to know Holman, that's their misfortune. I was on the tour when he won his first tournament—he beat Carmen Salvino in Fresno—and, believe me. without people like Holman, the tour would be a drag. As for those pros who "hate his guts," that's because they can't beat him.
In your April 14 TV/RADIO column on bowling announcer Nelson (Bo) Burton Jr., Stan Isaacs stated that the ratings were up for the Pro Bowlers Tour. Could this rise be attributed in part to the exuberant style and look that Marshall Holman has given to the tour? I think so. On a recent telecast, I recall seeing the usually tranquil Earl Anthony show some emotion as he threw a clutch strike late in a game. The tour needs more personalities like Holman.
Stan Isaacs was correct in pointing out that my favorite sports announcer. Nelson (Bo) Burton Jr., has junked the time-honored bowling term "gutter" for the sanitized "channel." However, SI missed the mark on the title of the report: The Bowling Tour Is Rolling Down the Right Alley. Along with his ABC cohorts, Chris Schenkel and Dave Diles, Bo has discarded the time-honored word "alley" for the un-trashy "lane."
By the way, I was disappointed when Johnny Petraglia got only three measly lines in FOR THE RECORD (April 7) for winning the $100,000 PBA national championship. You didn't even mention the fact that, in winning that tournament, Petraglia also won the third jewel in bowling's Triple Crown—only the second man ever to pull off that feat!
MRS. WILLIAM J. EILERMAN
Thank you for Craig Neff's article on half-miler Joetta Clark (She Chose the Road to Adventure, April 28). All of us here in the Maplewood-South Orange (N.J.) area are proud of her, and know she'll win a gold medal in 1984.
I must comment, however, on Neff's assessment of Joetta's school, Columbia High: "a middle-class public school known for academic rather than athletic excellence." Lest your readers get the wrong idea, let me offer some facts about Columbia athletics. The girls' volleyball team has won 49 consecutive matches since its inception four years ago and is currently ranked No. I in the state. As of this writing, the boys' lacrosse team has a winning streak of 23 games and is No. 1 in New Jersey; the boys' soccer team has just won its second straight state championship with a record of 24-1; and the baseball team is 9-1 and ranked third in the state. As for tradition, Columbia may have been the first high school in the U.S. to have an indoor swimming pool, it being installed in 1936.
South Orange, N.J.
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