As one who lives close by Jim (Super Row) Rowinski's hometown of Syosset, N.Y., I remember going to see the twiggy shooting forward when he played for Syosset High, the school I now attend. Therefore, I appreciated Curry Kirkpatrick's super article (The Prince of Pecs Gave Purdue a Lift, March 5) on Rowinski, the rest of the Purdue Boilermakers and their rise to the top in the highly competitive Big Ten. "Steroid" has come a long way from the slender 6-footer he was to the 6'8" monster that now controls the boards of Mackey Arena. I'm glad he's getting credit.
Jim Rowinski's amazing turnaround began last year when he made an 18-foot buzzer shot against Illinois at Champaign. He was then part of coach Gene Keady's Bench Boilers, who erased a 20-point deficit against the Illini in the final 12 minutes and 41 seconds. Rowinski may often look more like the bull in the china shop than another Russell Cross, but he and the rest of the Purdue squad exemplify what can be accomplished with determination and good, solid team play. Rowinski for Player of the Year, Keady for Coach of the Year and Purdue for Team of the Year!
MICHAEL W. WALKER
Although Curry Kirkpatrick's article on Dwayne (Pearl) Washington (All Syracuse Is His Oyster, Feb. 20) was informative and timely, I still can't figure out why the author chose to reveal the Pearl's "combined 670" SAT score. Even taken in the context of establishing Pearl as "something of a student," the score serves only to emphasize the sham that is big-time collegiate sports. That a well-respected university like Syracuse would admit anyone with such a low combined score, but in particular a revenue-producing athlete, is both hypocritical and demeaning. If I recall correctly, one gets 200 points per SAT for simply writing in one's name. It seems Pearl could average just 135 points per SAT beyond that minimum standard.
My only hope is that the noted Syracuse communications school, in which Pearl is presently enrolled, will teach him some of the finer points of self-expression. Basketball fans, especially those black youngsters who will surely idolize Pearl, deserve a better hero. When asked about Olympic basketball coach Bobby Knight's probable reaction to his nick-name, Pearl should be able to say more than "He'd be flipping out."
New York City
March 19, 1984
•Pearl's first-semester grade-point average was 2.4 (of a possible 4.0).—ED.
Does Bobby Knight really have a choice? Bobby, you can call him Pearl.
I'm addicted to Curry Kirkpatrick's style, his mastery of words and timely remarks. His past articles on the Big East and SEC tournaments, Virginia-Georgetown, DePaul and the 1976-77 Sixer team were classics. Give him a 10-year, $20.4 million contract.
I was touched by Jaime Diaz' profile of Iona guard Steve Burtt (Making It the Hard Way, March 5). Certainly Burtt was forced to grow up quickly, and I admire how well he has done both athletically and academically. His devotion to his grandmother shows another admirable dimension of his character. Despite his painful tragedies, he has succeeded. Thanks for a fine article on a worthy athlete and human being.
Hooray! Jaime Diaz' article on the Gaels' Steve Burtt brought long-awaited national recognition to a fine athlete and gentleman. Although the story captured the sadness of Burtt's life, we think it missed one important aspect of his personality. This cool, "mean" Monsterhead melts at the sight of young children. Before and after every Iona game we have attended, we've seen Burtt mingling, talking and playing with youngsters in attendance, and he patiently signs autographs for all those who clamor around him.
We Iona fans will cry along with Burtt and assistant coach Ken Williamson when Burtt graduates, but I'm sure the children of Iona alumni will always smile, remembering the grin on Steve's face as he entertained them at Mulcahy Center.
MICHELE AND VINCENT BENI
I really enjoyed Bruce Newman's article on the surging Los Angeles Lakers (The Toast of Both Coasts, March 5). The reason for their success is obviously a brilliant blend of youth and experience. How can a team with the greatest big man ever in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the best all-around performer today in Magic Johnson and tomorrow's superstars in the likes of James Worthy and Byron Scott not be the best in the league? The Lakers will soar in '84.
Cedar Lake, Ind.
I beg to differ with Bruce Newman. He stated that Magic Johnson is a better passer than Larry Bird. I think he's wrong. The only reason Johnson seems to be a better passer is that he's a guard. He receives the outlet pass on the fast break and dishes off to one of his teammates, while Bird, a forward, must make the outlet pass and can't get down the court in time for the break. When the Celtics are running a half-court game, I think Bird is a much better passer.
I wish every sports fan could read William Nack's story He's Got the Horse Right Here (March 5) on outstanding trainer Woody Stephens. Maybe then people who don't have a complete understanding of the sport of kings would see that trainers don't come by great horses like Devil's Bag through potluck, that they pay their dues. Hats off to Nack for his research on the thoroughbred industry's No. 1 man, Stephens.
Atlantic Beach, N.Y.
That was a great title—He's Got the Horse Right Here—for a great article about a great and happy man with a potentially historic horse, but what's the name of the song from which, slightly altered, it was excerpted? As a charter subscriber, I deserve an answer before I hum myself up a wall.
ROBERT A. MINKLER
•It's A Fugue for Tinhorns, from Guys and Dolls.—ED.
DODGERS BY OTHER NAMES
In the editor's comment on Jack Lang's letter (19TH HOLE, Feb. 20), you say that Wilbert Robinson was the Dodger manager from 1914 through 1931. This is, in a sense, not so.
For those 18 years "Uncle Robbie" was the manager of the Brooklyn Robins. Before Robinson was hired to guide the club, Brooklyn's entry in the National League in 1890 was nicknamed first the Bridegrooms, then the Trolley Dodgers. When Robbie took over, the team was rechristened the Robins in honor of its new mentor. When he retired, it became the Dodgers.
NORB KEARNS SR.
Howard Beach, N.Y.
•According to the book The Dodgers by Tommy Holmes, the team was given at least one other nickname during that period, when Ned Hanlon (1899-1905) was manager. Holmes says that Brooklyn Eagle sportswriters, among others, rejected the term Trolley Dodgers (or Dodgers)—"one of the gibes [natives of Manhattan Island] tossed at their neighbors across the East River"—as an "intolerable epithet," and, during Hanlon's reign, instead referred to the team as the Superbas, after a vaudeville acrobatic act of the day known as Hanlon's Superbas.—ED.
BEFORE SUPER ROW
I live in Indiana (Go, Big Red!) and follow the Big Ten religiously, but I can't remember ever seeing a before shot of Jim (Here's the Beef) Rowinski. Can you show us a photo of the "wimpy, sand-in-the-face high school junior" before he turned into "Super Row, the Prince of Pecs"?
Fort Wayne, Ind.
•For a look at Rowinski (No. 22) as he appeared in action in the 1979 Syosset (N.Y.) High yearbook, see below.—ED.
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