Bravo! The Feb. 16 issue was the best in memory. In particular, the article by Henry Hill with Douglas S. Looney on the alleged Boston College scandal (How I Put the Fix In) was fascinating as well as disturbing. Also, Curry Kirkpatrick's article on handslaps was excellent. A high five to SI on this one.
Starting with the first paragraph of Henry Hill's story, I got a strange, sickening feeling that grew stronger as I continued reading. My reaction stemmed from the knowledge that your publication actually sought out this lousy punk and gave him a national platform from which to dispense his absolutely disgusting philosophies.
If your aim in printing the article was to warn youngsters what can happen when they come in contact with characters like Hill, you missed the mark badly. It's much more likely that the tone of the story and the fact that SI saw fit to print it have made Hill a hero to hundreds of similar creeps who lurk on the outskirts of sports waiting for similar prey. Very bad editorial judgment, in my opinion.
WILLIAM C. CROWLEY
Vice President, Public Relations
Boston Red Sox
A man is innocent until proved guilty, and the men Hill names haven't even been formally accused of anything. They and their families have no obligation whatsoever to speak to your bloodhounds, and as far as I'm concerned their refusal to do so is proof of nothing. I suggest you apologize.
March 2, 1981
I commend you for publishing the story on Henry Hill's point-shaving scheme. As a high school athlete, I am glad you have brought this to my attention and to the attention of other readers. It is a sorry day for sports whenever amateur athletes put money above the game. Perhaps this vital information will influence young athletes of the future to use good moral judgment.
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
I question Henry Hill's statement that he and the three alleged Boston College point shavers were not involved in "dumping" or "blowing" games. In those games BC entered as the underdog, the three BC fixers were reportedly concerned solely with losing by more than the betting line. If this is true, then obviously the three players made no effort to score an upset; on the contrary, they did everything to prevent it. I suggest that this constitutes dumping or blowing games.
Lake Ariel, Pa.
I greatly enjoyed Curry Kirkpatrick's informative article on the history and variety of the handshake (Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On, Feb. 16). There is another variation that he overlooked. Here, at the University of Richmond, the baseball team has devised the Spider handshake, Spider being the nickname of our athletic teams.
Players extend their right hands toward each other just as in a regular shake, but instead of clasping hands, they randomly wiggle their fingers with the hand remaining stationary.
Philadelphia Phillies' Pitcher Ron Reed was once observed performing a variation of the Spider handshake as he extended only two fingers and wiggled them. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that the Spider handshake originated at Richmond, and more than likely, it will remain here.
Dusty Baker's assertion that everything starts in the Bay Area is interesting in light of the San Francisco Giants' version of the high five: players congratulate one another with three medium-high fives, the last of which culminates in a modified soul shake. I have tried it with friends and co-workers and have found it very satisfying.
Curry Kirkpatrick said that Gene Banks and Kenny Dennard of Duke are working on a new handshake in which they fake the high five, continue to whirlwind their arms down low and then slap and clasp hands in a reverse, behind-the-back position. Well, they're too late. The basketball team at my school—Brownsville (Pa.) Area High—has been doing this before every game since the start of the season, and it's too smooth for any other team to copy.
I'm sorry to disappoint Gene Banks and Kenny Dennard, but their "terrific new number—a sort of charade five" has already been invented and perfected. It was concocted at Villanova University by the school band's intramural basketball team (5-0). Contrary to what Dennard says, this spectacular shake carries no risk of breaking an arm—only of dislocating a thumb. I know. I was a victim.
King of Prussia, Pa.
The high five has even migrated to suburban Bloomfield Hills, Mich., but with tragic results. During a particularly intense high school intramural basketball game, one of the players raised his hand to receive the standard high five. A teammate reared back to give it his all. But he missed the first player's hand and ended up with a separated shoulder and in a sling for six weeks.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Ridiculous! Gentlemen still use and always will use the "old fashioned" firm handclasp!
EDWARD V. MORITZ
St. Charles, Mo.
Everyone knows about SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S annual Sportsman of the Year and bathing suit issues. But I enjoy SI's less publicized annual: Curry Kirkpatrick's Biggest Rear End in the Game of Basketball issue.
Last year, Kirkpatrick said that Louisville's Rodney McCray had "what may be the most gigantic rear end in the sport" (Louisville Is an Uzzle-Pay, Jan. 14, 1980). This year, the award obviously goes to Oregon State's Steve Johnson, whose derriere Kirkpatrick describes as "what may be the most massive rear end in the history of the game" (No. 1 and No. 1A, Feb. 9).
While I look forward to more of Kirkpatrick's insightful reporting on the game, I can hardly wait to see who wins next year's coveted award.
•Perhaps it should be noted that DePaul's now "fairly svelte" Mark Aguirre received an honorable mention from Kirkpatrick as the former "Ziggy the Elephant and Big Drawers" of Chicago's Westinghouse High (Hello, America, We Came Back, Dec. 1).—ED.
TOO MUCH TOO SOON?
Must SPORTS ILLUSTRATED celebrate 6-year-old boys who score 83 goals in one soccer season, including 14 goals in one game (FACES IN THE CROWD, Jan. 19)? I don't mean to belittle the boy's achievement—he's undoubtedly a fine athlete—but who benefits from publicizing such a one-sided display? I challenge you to send a reporter to Solana Beach next year to find out how many of the boy's humiliated opponents are still playing soccer. Particularly interesting would be an article on the goalkeeper or keepers who gave up the 14 goals in one game. And what about the boy's teammates? Did any of them ride the bench while the stupendous score was being rolled up? Ten or 20 years from now you might do a follow-up story on the 6-year-old scoring machine to tell us what happens to a youth when the goals and glory don't come so easily. In the meantime, I would appreciate any tips you can give me on how to communicate to my own youth teams the importance of team play and sportsmanship. I've always told my young players that scoring goals is not the only measure of success in soccer games. But perhaps you would argue that I have been wrong.
Van Nuys, Calif.
Swish! Boom! The hurrah of the week goes to SI and Frank Deford for a terrific article on New York sports announcer Warner Wolf (TV/RADIO, Feb. 9). It's too bad the entire country can't enjoy Wolfs reports and enthusiasm. He's wonderful!
I've often left the dinner table early to see Warner Wolfs nightly sports report. Not only does he spend hours looking at game tapes, as you mentioned, but he also has taken the time to personally respond to two of my letters. I'll gladly take his "swish!" and "boom!" over the average ho-hum sportscaster.
Warner Wolf? Give me a break! He isn't even the best sportscaster at his station! Len Berman is more articulate, more creative and easier to take.
Port Washington, N.Y.
I just finished your article on Warner Wolf, and it annoys me when people start their spoken sentences with the word "hey." If that's what we've been missing since Wolf bombed on ABC, then, I'll just say, "Hey, Big Apple, you can have him."
JAMES P. SULLIVAN
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.