A gold medal for your outstanding special preview. The 1984 Olympics (July 18). Soviets or no Soviets, these Games should be dandy.
When SI's special preview. The 1984 Olympics, arrived on my desk, I couldn't believe it. More than 500 pages. Wow! My sympathy is extended to anyone who misses seeing this massive publication, which is so timely, so well done.
W. NICHOLAS KERBAWY
State of Michigan Sports
Hall of Fame
Thank you for the Olympic preview. Your staff outdid itself. The special issue made for fine reading and brought back fond memories of past Olympic medal winners. I'll save my copy for my grandchildren.
ROBERT T. EHMER
Frank Deford's article Talk About Strokes of Genius (July 16) was one of the best on an athletic event I've ever read. I especially enjoyed what he referred to as the "highlight film." It was fitting that Deford's creativity paralleled that of the two Wimbledon champions, who play the serve-and-volley game so creatively.
July 29, 1984
Your July 16 cover photograph of John McEnroe is one of the best ever taken of a tennis perfectionist in action. As a teacher of tennis, I plan to use this picture to illustrate many points that can't be adequately explained in conversation or with drawings. McEnroe's head is upright. His eyes are on the ball. His right hand is extended for balance. The racket is in front of his body, with the face open. His grip is firm. His toes are pointed downward, which shows he wasn't running flat-footed.
McEnroe may have had his disagreements with photographers, but Steve Powell's shot shows why Mac is a great champion.
Vero Beach, Fla.
As an avid fan and admirer of John McEnroe, I'm glad he revealed by his behavior at Wimbledon how classy he is. Despite the bad press he got leading up to and during the tournament, he showed us that he's a champion, a true pro and a pleasure to watch.
Move over. Fuzzy Zoeller and Greg Norman. Here comes John McEnroe for Sportsman of the Year.
Thank you for the fine article on America's Mr. Nice Guy, John McEnroe. But I like the old McEnroe better. His temper and questioning of the judges' calls made him unique, colorful and plain entertaining to watch. So the next time Mac shows outstanding sportsmanship, please don't put him on the cover of your magazine. It just might start something!
Bravo to Chris Evert Lloyd for making fools of the "experts" who had her checking into a retirement home. She showed them what she's made of—integrity, guts and, above all, class. Her baseline game is better than ever, and she's just as quick and as nimble as before.
For now, Chris is the challenger—the only one, too—to Martina Navratilova, but there's no doubt in my mind that she'll once again rise to reclaim the crown, which only she wears with such poise, elegance and style.
As a long-suffering fan of the Cleveland Indians, I was gratified to read Steve Wulf's article St ay in' Alive in the Temple of Doom (July 16). After all, publicity for "the sorriest, saddest team in captivity" is to be appreciated, despite the fact that it's based on the Tribe's perennial ineptitude.
I would like to add one more curse theory to explain the Indians' desultory performances over the last 30 years. In 1955, at the age of eight, I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame with my family. I proudly purchased a Cleveland Indians drinking glass with savings from my allowance. Arriving home late that evening, I dropped and broke my treasured souvenir. Even though my father artfully glued it together, I've always associated the Indians' shattered pennant hopes each year with that shattered glass. So relax, Bobby Bragan, it's my fault!
Nevertheless, there are those of us who, like John Adams, will beat the drums as long as it takes for the Tribe to rise again!
At last, recognition for us long-suffering but ever-optimistic Tribe fans! Those of us who recall the days of Leon (Daddy Wags) Wagner and Rocky Colavito have spent many a year in agonizing frustration. I hope new owner David LeFevre provides the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel.
RONALD L. LIPP, D.D.S.
New Middletown, Ohio
Here's a more complete list of active and recently retired players lost by the Indians through trade, expansion draft or free agency.
Catchers: Alan Ashby, Rick Cerone, Bo Diaz.
Infielders: Buddy Bell, Bruce Bochte, Chris Chambliss, Alfredo Griffin, Toby Harrah, Duane Kuiper, Graig Nettles.
Outfielders: Oscar Gamble, John Grubb, Pedro Guerrero, Von Hayes, George Hendrick, John Lowenstein, Rick Manning, Jerry Mumphrey, Jorge Orta, Lou Piniella, Lonnie Smith.
DH: Cliff Johnson.
Pitchers: Len Barker, John Denny, Dennis Eckersley, Tommy John, Jim Kern, Sid Monge, Gaylord Perry, Dick Tidrow, Milt Wilcox, Ed Whitson.
To list the paltry talent the Indians received in return would only strengthen Jim Kern's point ("The first thing they do in Cleveland, if you have talent, is trade you for three guys who don't") and further embarrass those responsible for the current state of affairs in Cleveland.
As a longtime Atlanta Braves fan, I was very disheartened when they traded outfielder Brett Butler to Cleveland last October. He's a spark plug who had a great deal to do with the Braves' uprising. But I now have hope: The way the Indians trade, maybe we'll jet him back!
Is this National Pick on the Indians Month? In three straight issues you went out of your way to ridicule them. I realize Cleveland's record is very poor, but to suggest disbanding the team, as Henry Hecht did (INSIDE PITCH, July 2), is taking it a little too far. You followed that with a story on the Maine Guides (The Maine Attraction, July 9), in which being called up to the Indians is described as being about as wonderful as a moose drowning. To top it off, you poke fun at Cleveland's greatest fan, John Adams. I've sat in the $2 bleachers with Adams at countless Indian games and cheered with him. I, too, may be a cockeyed optimist, but it's better than being a dead pessimist.
Silver Spring, Md.
Cleveland is a wonderful sports town. In 1948, when the Indians won the World Series, Cleveland set an American League attendance record. When the Cavaliers got to the NBA playoffs in 1976, they drew 19,000-plus spectators per game in a series against the Bullets. If the Browns draw fewer than 60,000 fans a game, the owners start wondering what's happening.
The Cleveland Indians haven't been the same since Frank Lane traded Rocky Colavito and everyone else, including the manager.
Cleveland wants a winner. It needs a winner. It deserves a winner. And I'll tell you one thing: If the Indians ever get to a World Series again, I'm going, even if I have to travel by dogsled, snowshoe, ice skates or even a broomstick. One way or another, I'll be there, and old Cleveland Stadium will be rocking.
UNLUCKY DAY FOR THE WEST
As a longtime fan of the Kansas City Royals, I've always been angered by any mention of the dominance of the American League East over the American League West. My attitude changed, however, when I picked up the sports page for games played on Friday, July 13.
Every team in the East beat every team in the West that Friday night, not only in the American League but also in the National League, including two doubleheader sweeps and four extra-inning games. Is my triskaidekaphobia overactive?
ANDREW M. LEWIS
Your SCORECARD (July 16) item about Bobby Grich is a bit misleading, according to Ron Luciano. In his book The Umpire Strikes Back Luciano talks about Lou Piniella's being the "worst baserunner of all time," and says that when he was with Kansas City, Piniella was thrown out at every base in a single game. After Piniella had been nailed at home, first, second and, finally, third, Luciano says the fans "cheered him off the field with a standing ovation." So Grich would not have been the first to run for the cycle.
MINOR LEAGUE BALL
With your story on Jordan Kobritz and the new Class AAA Maine Guides ball club (The Maine Attraction, July 9), you have discovered yet another source of material that is fresh and interesting.
I may be somewhat biased, but please don't stop your coverage of minor league baseball with this article. Minor league ball, Classes AAA through A, is played in 154 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and more than 18 million fans attended games in the minors in 1983. Minor league teams bring the game to those fans who can't travel long distances to a big league park, and they're part of the reason baseball has replaced horse racing as the No. 1 spectator sport in America.
One wouldn't have to dig very far to find a story as unique to each baseball city as the Maine Guides are to Old Orchard Beach.
Assistant General Manager
Fresno Giants (Class A)
Don Mattingly (A Yank of the First Rank, July 9) proves once again that box scores and batting averages are far more important than controversy and headlines. Bruce Anderson's captivating profile of the All-Star Yankee first baseman is a giant step toward informing baseball fans that Darryl Strawberry isn't the only phenom in New York.
GARY W. HERVIOU
Little Silver, N.J.
I was looking through my dad's 1979 Sis when I found this item (below) in FACES IN THE CROWD in the July 16 issue.
Mattingly. 18, an outfielder-pitcher, batted .500 and .552 over the past two seasons to lead Reitz Memorial High to a 59-1 record. He had 140 RBIs in four years for the Tigers, equaling the highest total ever in scholastic baseball.
Isn't this the same Don Mattingly who now plays first base for the New York Yankees?
•Yes, it is.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.