Paul Zimmerman's story on the Super Bowl (This Was the Time for One Good Man, Feb. 2) was superb. Because of all the excitement up here, I didn't get to watch very much of the game. However, Zimmerman's piece filled me in on all that I missed. Most people will remember Super Bowl Sunday's final score as Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10, but those who shared in the joy of having the hostages return home will always remember it as: U.S.A. 52, Iran 0!
CADET CHRISTOPHER A. KOZAK
West Point, N.Y.
Although I greatly admire Raider captain Gene Uphsaw, I totally resent him saying. "We're not a bunch of choirboys and Boy Scouts."
I happen to be a 13-year-old who is a Boy Scout, nearing the rank of Eagle Scout, and I can assure you that we are not a bunch of Dexters or "nice boys."
JOHN J. SPILLANE
Taking nothing away from Rod Martin, Jim Plunkett belonged on your Super Bowl cover. I feel you owe Jim an apology for snubbing him after the AFC championship game in favor of Mark van Eeghen and now ignoring him on your Super Bowl cover.
February 16, 1981
Thank you for Steve Wulf's profile on Rod Martin. No offense to Plunkett, but Martin's Super Bowl performance and his professional attitude toward the game should have won him the MVP award.
After reading Roy Johnson's article on Gus Williams (No Gus, No Glory, Feb. 2), it made me wonder what Seattle owner Sam Schulman's problem is. Over the last three seasons (not counting 1980-81) there has not been a better team in the NBA than Seattle. The Sonics were in the NBA finals two years in a row and were beaten by the eventual NBA champs in the Western Conference finals last year. This season, though, it looks as if they won't even make the playoffs. If Sam isn't willing to pay good money for a great player then he doesn't deserve to own a championship team. Seattle has led the league in attendance the last two years, so there can't be that much of a financial problem.
Come on, Sam, snap out of it, pay Gus Williams what he's worth.
As I sit reading my $1.50 SI and sipping my 40¬¨¬®¬¨¢ can of beer, my middle-class heart hangs heavy for Gus Williams as he spins his $25 basketball while seated on his $35,000 Mercedes Benz.
Gus is a tremendous basketball player with immeasurable talent; he is also typical of the many greedy professional athletes of today.
Their get-all-you-can-while-you-can attitude is hurting all sports, especially baseball and basketball. It's not a matter of whether or not the owners will go broke but when.
Barry McDermott gives us a fine look at the "clinical" Beth Daniel (The Game Is Her Life and Only Love, Feb. 2)—Beth the golfer, Beth the competitor. But after finishing the article, I felt something was missing.
As a frequent golf partner of Beth's and as a personal friend, I think Mr. McDermott missed parts of Beth the person. She is a genuinely nice person, compassionate, with a quick wit. During his short stay in Charleston, Mr. McDermott might have missed that. But it's part of the Beth Daniel I know.
THE INDOOR GAME
In calling Steve Zungul of the MISL's New York Arrows the "lord of all indoors" (SI, Feb. 2) you slighted veteran Striker Carl-Heinz Granitza of the NASL's Chicago Sting. Granitza has been scoring goals and assists at an electrifying pace during the indoor season. In just 13 games he has 40 goals and 26 assists. This is an average of 3.1 goals and 2.0 assists per game vs. Zungul's 2.7 goals and 1.2 assists. Granitza has been shut out in only one game, which he played with a high fever and a bad case of the flu. Chicago's big West German is truly a superstar.
LEE B. STERN
Owner and President
The Chicago Sting
The introduction to Frank Deford's profile of Bobby Knight (The Rabbit Hunter, Jan. 26) consists of a quotation from William Faulkner: "Success is feminine and like a woman; if you cringe before her, she will override you. So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling."
I am surprised and outraged that you printed it. Once again, the public is presented with the image of females as needing a stern backhand to keep them in control, keep them crawling. This type of quote perpetuates the theory that violence against women is O.K.
It is disgusting and degrading. As a woman, I demand an apology.
The first day of a physical education basketball class taught by Bobby Knight at Indiana University. The 50 ex-high school and college athletes come to a dead silence as Knight enters the room.
KNIGHT: "How many of you guys have ever had a coach you just hated?"
(Almost everyone in the class raises his hand.)
KNIGHT: "Well, there are a lot of us coaches who don't like you a——s either."
(The place breaks up.)
As a former high school basketball coach. I read Frank Deford's superb article on Bobby Knight with great interest. Deford wants to understand Knight the person, and in his probing of Knight's personality and habits, which add up to a case of arrested social development, Deford makes some interesting points.
What struck me is that Deford was apparently unable to make the obvious connection among Knight's obsession with winning, his coaching habits and the personality he presents to the public. The quotes are there in the article; Deford simply misses a major point, I believe.
At one point Knight says, "I've never gotten over West Point. Winning had to be more important there, and I had a point to prove. I was just coming off a playing career during which I didn't do as well as I'd hoped." To me, this last line is the key to understanding coaches like Knight. Earlier in the article, Deford had written that "the best thing that ever happened to Knight was that after high school...he didn't amount to a hill of beans as a player."
Here's precisely where I disagree with Deford. To me, the worst thing that ever happened to Knight—and probably to hundreds of high school and college coaches like him—was that his love for and obsession with a marvelous kid's game wasn't matched by the kind of personal success in it that he hungered for. Is it possible that the frustration engendered by this has implanted an almost monomaniacal need in some coaches to experience vicariously as an adult the satisfactions in being successful on the court that many young men experience as teen-agers? I think so. And I think almost everything else that Deford has written about the brilliant and misguided Knight fits into place with this notion.
HALL OF FAME
On behalf of the Baseball Writers' Association of America I am replying to your Jan. 26 SCORECARD item "Second-Guessing the Scribes."
As the man who has tabulated the Hall of Fame vote for the BBWAA for the last 16 years, I can assure you that the so-called "bullet ballot"—one in which the voter submits only one name on his ballot—has had a minuscule effect on the outcome of the elections, and the statement from my New York Daily News colleague, Bill Madden, that "some of the older members don't think any players of the modern era are worthy of the Hall of Fame" is not only idiotic but also totally unfounded. Of the 401 votes cast in the 1981 election, for instance, there was only one bullet ballot and that was for Bob Gibson, the eventual selection of the writers.
I will not argue the Hall of Fame merits of Harmon Killebrew or Juan Marichal except to say I myself voted for them. But perhaps the comment that accompanied one writer's ballot will explain not only his feelings but also those of some of his colleagues when it comes to voting for players eligible for the first time: "My reasoning is: to get a vote in the first year of eligibility, a player should be an alltime great beyond the shadow of a doubt, a super, super superstar."
In the 45 years the writers have been voting, only 11 players have made it to Cooperstown on the first try, excluding those admitted to the Hall in its first year, 1936. When you realize that the list of first-timers includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Jackie Robinson, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Ernie Banks, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax and Gibson, you can realize the value the majority of writers give to a first-year vote.
Fort Salonga, N.Y.
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