THE 1983 SERIES
Congratulations on your Oct. 24 cover shot of Baltimore Catcher Rick Dempsey and your fine articles on the World Series (The Orioles All Pitched In). Ronald C. Modra's photograph captures the spirit of winning baseball. Dempsey is about the best example of a player one can find these days: He loves the game, plays it hard and, most important, has fun doing it. It's nice to see someone like him rise to the occasion and emerge a star.
The cover picture of World Series MVP Rick Dempsey was beautiful, but Dempsey's real ability was caught in your previous issue's fantastic photograph by Jerry Wachter, in which Dempsey was blocking home plate while tagging out Chicago's Vance Law in a key play.
I've been an American League fan since the 1950s, but deep in my heart I've always known that the long Yankee dominance of that era weakened the league and that the National League has played superior ball since 1964 or so. This year, you people came right out and said it! The National League is superior (It's the Nationals' Pastime, April 4).
So what happens? The American League creams the National League in the All-Star Game, and then the Orioles run the Phillies out of the park in five games in the World Series—making 1983 the first year that the American League has won both an All-Star Game and the Series since '62.
To me, the real story of the '83 Series was that all those old National League giants of the 70s—Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Steve Carlton—went down to defeat in their last hurrah. And who is there to take their place? Most of the rising young stars are in the American League now.
I think in your April piece you caught an era just before it turned into something else. F. Northcote Parkinson said that great institutions always build their spectacular headquarters just when they reach the pinnacle of their powers and start going downhill. I think we're now in a period when, once again, the two baseball leagues are roughly on a par. You've performed the historian's task of anointing an era just as it was coming to an end.
Watching Joe Morgan running the bases during the World Series brought to mind a wonderful line I read during my days as a Brooklyn Dodger fan. I believe it was Red Smith who wrote of another aging base stealer, "He has larceny in his heart, but his feet are honest."
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Marcus Dupree fiasco (He'd Sooner Be at Home, Oct. 24) typifies the sorry state of college athletics. I can shrug off the ramblings of an immature and spoiled Dupree, but when a supposedly responsible adult like Oklahoma Academic Counselor Jin Brown utters such words of madness as "When we give a kid an athletic scholarship, it's to represent us in games. Because he doesn't cut it scholastically, how can you hold him out of games?" It's time we raised our eyebrows. The truth is, the system stinks.
Of course, everyone now points the finger of blame at everyone else. The fact is, they're all lo blame! The administrators of the university and of the football program should hide their heads in shame for allowing Dupree to continue as a non-student. Dupree—and all the spoiled, coddled ones like him—should grow up and be thankful for the talents they've been blessed with and quit sticking their hands out so far.
All in all, it's further sad commentary on the American educational system. I always thought our educators were supposed to lead society, not reflect its ills. What happened?
Newport News, Va.
How interesting that a picture of an Oklahoma State fraternity banner reading ROSE'S ARE RED/VIOLET'S ARE BLUE/MARCUS IS HISTORY/AND SO IS OU should appear in the same article as the statement that at Oklahoma Marcus Dupree had done "Zip. Nothing" in the classroom this year. It's obvious that the Oklahoma State students who constructed this banner have also done zip, nothing, in their English classrooms this year.
HENRY J. MONACO
John Underwood's article on former Tampa Bay Quarterback Doug Williams (Gone With the Wins, Oct. 24) reveals Williams for what he is: a greedy, prejudiced, mediocre quarterback who thinks everybody owes him something. His hope that the Buccaneers go 0-16 this season shows how unfeeling he is toward his former teammates and the coach who stuck with him during bad times. I'm not a Buc fan, but I wouldn't be a bit disappointed if they won the rest of their games.
Port Neches, Texas
I noted Doug Williams' statement. "If I was white, don't you think I'd have gotten what I wanted?" Vince Ferragamo is white and asked for less money, and he still ended up in Canada. Williams seems to be proof that racism is not just a white man's disease.
El Toro, Calif.
Why is it that when a black man is race conscious he is said to be "obsessed with race," while the entire white American system, with its institutionalized obsession with color, is viewed as normal? It isn't necessary for a white quarterback to think consciously of how many whites are on a team. He knows that the system has not regulated entry of people like him into pro football or any other profession. More important, he knows that he can count on positions like quarterback, center, middle linebacker and. above all, coach, to reflect his ethnocentric expectations. Were Tampa Bay Coach John McKay as sensitive to racial issues as he thinks he is, he wouldn't say such things.
State College, Pa.
ON THE RUN
Thank you for putting the Rams' sensational rookie running back, Eric Dickerson, on your Oct. 17 cover. In his story (The Run Also Rises), Paul Zimmerman pointed out that Dickerson's six-game rushing stats projected over a full season would give him 2,099 yards. He would also have 27 touchdowns and 162 points. Readers should be prepared to see Dickerson on SI's cover often. This is only the beginning.
Stony Point, N.Y.
Once in a while I get halfway through an article and say, "This guy is a good writer!" Every time I say this, the author turns out to be Paul Zimmerman. However, I'm getting to the point now where I know he's the writer without having to refer back to the opening page of a piece, because his stories are so superbly done.
Paul Zimmerman says the run is making a comeback in the pros. However, I agree with Buffalo Coach Kay Stephenson: "If there's a trend developing, I'm not aware of it, or at least it's not that noticeable." Even if rushing yardage has increased—by an average of a meager 13 yards per team per game—the passing attack doesn't seem to have been thwarted. Maybe your article simply should have said that offenses in general are tending to overpower the defenses.
EVAN C. NELSON
BASHINSKY ON PERKINS
John Underwood's article on Alabama Football Coach Ray Perkins (The Dawning of a New Day, Sept. 19) contains erroneous information about me and Golden Flake Snack Foods, Inc. Underwood quotes me as saying of Coach Perkins, "The way he's doing business, he'd better win." I have never made this statement. In fact, I have never spoken with Underwood or with any other representative of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED about Coach Perkins.
The statement which Underwood attributes to me is untrue and certainly does not represent my feelings about Coach Perkins and the Alabama football program. I support Coach Perkins and will continue to do so, and I have expressed this to him personally.
SLOAN Y. BASHINSKY SR.
Chairman of the Board
Golden Enterprises, Inc.
In response to reader Randy Durr's letter and Montana license plate touting the Chisox (19TH HOLE, Oct. 10), I think my plate (above) is more appropriate. After a 13-year wait, this New Yorker says: Be proud of your Orioles, Baltimore, and enjoy your world championship. You deserve it!
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SHORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.