LIONS VS. THE TIDE
As an avid Penn State fan, I enjoyed Craig Neff's article on the Penn State-Alabama game (They're Lion Low No More, Oct. 17). Because Alabama fans were so infuriated by Field Judge Jack O'Rourke's so-called "homer" call on Preston Gothard's apparent TD, I'd like to set the record straight. On Oct. 12, I read with interest a UPI release datelined Centerville, Mass. The article stated that Art Hyland of the Collegiate Independents Football Officiating Association said that a film review of the Gothard reception was inconclusive and, because of the camera angles, it was "impossible" to determine whether Gothard had possession of the ball before going out of bounds. According to Hyland, O'Rourke made the correct call.
Also, according to Hyland, the films did show one infraction for certain—Alabama's tight end was "illegally in motion on that same play." How 'bout them grits, 'Bama?
Spring Mount, Pa.
During the past week I have seen dozens of replays, from several angles, of Preston Gothard's catch, and they all showed that it should have been called a touchdown. A TD would have tied the score at 34-34, and Alabama could have won the game with a successful extra-point kick.
Your excellent photographs show that Gothard did catch the touchdown pass in-bounds. I have one bone to pick, though. In your weekly Top 20 you dropped Alabama from fourth to 10th place. Why? Had the official not made a mistake on that play, Alabama would have been 5-0. Your rankings should be based on what the players do, not on obvious, though honest, mistakes by officials.
A Sugar Bowl rematch between a Southeastern Conference champion Alabama and an 8-3 Penn State might be the best way to resolve the matter. Until then, the polls should treat Alabama as though it had won the game, not lost it.
I'd wish Penn State good luck, but I think it's evident that the Nittany Lions already have it.
BILL KLING JR.
Thanks for the preview by Jack Falla of the 1983-84 NHL season (Oct. 10). It was excellent. His point about "teams that show up for every game—and pay for it" was absolutely correct. Unfortunately, the regular season doesn't give teams much incentive to play all out anymore. As I write this, I notice the Islanders are getting badly beaten by Quebec. Big deal. The last time these two faced each other in the playoffs, it was a four-game sweep for New York. Forget about five Islander Cups in a row; let's talk about six!
South Pasadena, Calif.
Are you serious? The Bruins picked as a team not to make the finals? Come May, it'll be Boston that'll be hanging a banner in the rafters, boys. Sorry, Islanders.
North Dighton, Mass.
Thank you for finally writing a feature article on Rod Langway (Splendid Capital Gain, Oct. 10). It's too bad there wasn't enough space for E.M. Swift to tell how this outstanding young man achieved much of his success. In 20 years of coaching I have never seen anyone work as hard, have more self-discipline or have a better attitude than Rod. He deserves every accolade there is. I am very proud to have been a part of his earlier career.
Randolph High School
NEW PITCH (CONT.)
Now that the baseball season is over, I'd' like to commend Herm Weiskopf on the best new feature in SI in years. INSIDE PITCH. Week in and week out I gathered more information from that section than one would ordinarily glean from a major newspaper in a week. SI has always been more than just illustrations. Text has been as strong a suit, and Weiskopf has earned my Most Valuable Writer award for baseball for 1983.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In his column of Oct. 10, Herm Weiskopf noted that Tim Raines topped the 70 mark in both stolen bases and RBls this season. However, he left Eddie Collins off his list of Raines's predecessors; in 1910, playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, Collins had 81 steals and 81 RBIs.
Collins and Ty Cobb are the only two modern players to achieve the 80-80 double. Cobb had 83 steals and 144 RBIs in 1911 and 96 steals and 99 RBIs in 1915, making him the only 90-90 player in baseball history.
J. KEVIN GRAFFAGNINO
The St. Louis Browns have been maligned throughout history, so let's not deprive them of a rare moment of glory. In INSIDE PITCH (Oct. 10) it was incorrectly noted that after Ernie Koob of the Browns no-hit Chicago on May 5, 1917, "Bob Groom of Chicago returned the favor" the next day.
Groom was actually Koob's teammate on the Browns. It was the only instance in major league history when pitchers on the same team threw no-hitters on consecutive days. The no-hitters themselves weren't consecutive, however, because Groom's came in the second game of a May 6 doubleheader.
There were several oddities regarding the Koob-Groom no-hitters:
Both were in the midst of miserable seasons. Groom, in fact, tied for the American League lead in losses (he was 8-19): Koob finished 6-14.
Koob's no-hitter was originally reported as a one-hitter. An infield single by Chicago's Buck Weaver (later one of the banned "Black Sox") was changed to an error after the game. On May 7, 1917 I.E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune wrote of the second no-hitter: "There was no flaw in Groom's no-hit game. It was free from taint or suspicion which always will cling to the postmortem thing handed Koob yesterday by expunging a hit that had already been recorded."
Before pitching his no-hitter in the May 6 nightcap, Groom had relieved in the opener, saving a win for Eddie Plank. He did not allow a hit in that game either.
The Indiana Gazette
Regarding the quote "Why a duck?" attributed to Groucho Marx from the movie Duck Soup at the beginning of Alexander Wolff's article on the Jones brothers (It's a Mighty Good Road, Oct. 17), I think it would more properly be credited to Groucho's brother Chico in their first movie, The Cocoanuts (Paramount, 1929), based on the George S. Kaufman-Irving Berlin musical comedy of the same name. The dialogue, as taken from the book The Marx Brothers: Their World of Comedy by Allen Eyles (A.S. Barnes, 1966), went as follows:
GROUCHO: NOW here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
CHICO: Why a duck?
GROUCHO: I'm all right. How are you? I say here is a little peninsula and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
CHICO: All right, why a duck?
GROUCHO: I'm not playing ask me another. I say that's a viaduct.
CHICO: All right, why a duck? Why a duck, why-a no chicken?
GROUCHO: Well, I don't know why-a no chicken. I'm a stranger here myself. All I know is that it's a viaduct. You try to cross over there a chicken and you'll find out vy-a-duck.
CHICO: When I go someplace I just—
GROUCHO: It's deep water, that's vy-a-duck. Deep water. Look, look suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream, and you wanted to ford over. You couldn't make it. It's too deep.
CHICO: What-a you want with a Ford if you gotta horse?
GROUCHO: Well, I'm sorry the matter ever came up. All I know is that it's a viaduct.
CHICO: I know. All right, I catch on why a horse, why a chicken, why this, why that. I no catch on why a duck.
GROUCHO: I was only fooling. I was only fooling. They're going to build a tunnel there in the morning. Now is that clear to you?
CHICO: Yes, everything except why a duck.
JEAN M. MULCAHY
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