FOOTBALL AND THE NAVAJO NATION
I have long believed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED regularly provides intelligent analysis of issues in and around sport. Even with that as background, I was pleasantly surprised by the mention in your Sept. 10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL column of the Northern Arizona University vs. New Mexico Highlands football game that took place on Navajo Nation lands. N. Brooks Clark wrote sensitively on issues of concern to the Navajo people. As he noted, the game itself was somewhat less than competitive, but that didn't deflate the good feeling the two schools generated among both Navajo and non-Navajo spectators.
I'm the attorney for the high school that made its field available for the game, and all of us in the Window Rock Schools district appreciated the opportunity to participate in the festivities. We hope that our students will heed Dr. Annie Wauneka's halftime exhortation to "go forward, stay in school and go to college." Certainly this game, lopsided though the score was, was a better advertisement for the true value of college athletics than the Florida-Miami game (covered in the same issue), which was played against a background of sordid goings-on at the University of Florida.
Window Rock, Ariz.
I enjoyed Douglas S. Looney's article on the University of Pittsburgh's outstanding offensive lineman. Bill Fralic ("I Know I'm Different," Sept. 10). While Joe Moore, Pitt's line coach, certainly has an incredible record of producing fine linemen, I'd like to point out a similarly fantastic achievement at the University of Southern California.
The Trojans have turned out 20 first-team All-America offensive linemen in the past 20 years. The list reads like a Who's Who of future NFL greats, from Ron Yary, Steve Riley, Marvin Powell and Pat Howell to Brad Budde, Keith Van Horne, Don Mosebar and Bruce Matthews. Many of those All-Americas—eight to be exact—were coached by Hudson Houck, now in his second year with the Los Angeles Rams. During his seven-year stay at USC, all but four of Houck's senior Trojan starters went on to play in the NFL.
There's a good chance, too, that many of this year's starting linemen—players like Ken Ruettgers, Tom Hallock, James FitzPatrick and Jeff Bregel—coached by Pat Morris, an ex-Trojan lineman himself, will soon make a name for themselves in the pros.
USC Sports Information Director
Bil Gilbert's story (Pitchin' Shoes) in the Sept. 24 issue was a delight. We here in the cold North pitch, too, while the wheat and sunflowers approach harvest time. Unfortunately, winter comes all too soon and drives us in, but then, that's what pinochle was invented for.
I find one fault, though. Surely Dr. James Naismith turned over in his grave when his brainchild, basketball, was excluded from the list of "honest-to-God, might-as-well, where's-it-at American games." Surely basketball, too, has "flourished in our space and culture" as it has no place else.
Grand Forks, N. Dak.
•SI's editors raised the same point, but Gilbert's feeling—and his story is written from a very personal point of view—is that basketball failed to qualify for his list because it's an "indoor" game. "It started in a damn gym." he says, "whereas rodeo, baseball and pitching horseshoes are part of the environment of the country, they're part of the land."—ED.
As a transplanted Hoosier from Frankfort, Ind. living in Minnesota, I have for years been telling stories about the legendary Curt Day and his ability to pitch shoes. At long last, SI has given me some credibility. Thank you.
ANDREW I. COULTER
If I were a baseball manager, I'd be kicking dirt on your shoes after finding 11 pages of the Sept. 24 issue wasted on horseshoe pitching.
JUNE E. COOLEY
San Jose, Calif.
What's next, cow-chip tossing?
Enclosed are photos of a 7½-foot tall mechanical Mark Gastineau. Through a series of ropes and pullies, I can move his torso, arms and head in all directions.
The NFL rule prohibiting the real Mark Gastineau from doing his sack dance (No! No! No! Gastineau, 1984 College & Pro Football Spectacular, Sept. 5) prompted me to create a dancing Mark. Now, when the real Mark sacks the quarterback, mechanical Mark can dance for him.
Mount Kisco, N.Y.
CY YOUNG CANDIDATES
Steve Wulf is right, there are at least four contenders for the National League Cy Young Award (They're Making a Strong Pitch, Sept. 24), but none stands out like Rick Sutcliffe. He has the highest winning percentage among starters with 10 or more victories (.769 for his combined 20-6 National and American League record, .941 for his National League record only); he's among the top 10 in strikeouts and tied for second in shutouts; he has a solid ERA; and he kept the Cubbies on top in the National League East.
JEFFREY J. LYNN
I like Rick Sutcliffe—but I love Dwight Gooden. He's as awesome a fireballer as the National League has seen in some time, and he's only a rookie.
Sure, Sutcliffe's record is impressive. But as his 4-5 mark in Cleveland shows, you're only as good as the support your team gives you. Sutcliffe gets plenty of support in Chicago. Behind Gooden, the Mets have been inconsistent.
White Plains, N.Y.
Rick Sutcliffe and Dwight Gooden deserve to share the Cy Young Award as National League co-winners.
Sutcliffe should be cited for having provided the Cubs with numerous clutch-pitching performances that propelled the team to a well-deserved divisional title. And Gooden should be recognized not only for his pitching feats but also for giving me and countless other baseball fans across the country the pleasure of seeing the game's most memorable rookie debut.
Your assessment of Detroit's Jack Morris ("There's still some support for Jack Morris of the Tigers, who has 17 wins, but he's had a poor second half) lends even more credibility to his candidacy for American League Cy Young honors. Here's a pitcher who struggled for the second half of the season and still racked up some of the best statistics in the game. A poor second half and 19 wins for the season—would any team turn that down?
FAR-FLUNG CUB FANS
In your preseason scouting reports (Baseball 1984, April 2), Ron Fimrite's final comment on the chances of the Chicago Cubs winning their division this year was "Alas, this team passeth understanding." All I can say is: Amen, Ron! I've been a Cubs fan since I was eight. The last time the Cubs won the pennant I was minus-six. I was born in the States—I grew up in Chicago—and now that I live in Quebec, I consider myself Canada's most avid Cubs fan. Can you imagine the emotional high we Cubs fans have been on all summer? Who says God doesn't take sides? The dynasty hath begun!
I've had the June 11 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover ("How 'Bout Them Cubbies!") hanging on the wall of my bedroom ever since I received it. The "jinx" is over!
Peace Corps Volunteer
In his preview article, The Orioles Will Bite the Dust (April 2), Bruce Anderson correctly noted baseball's unpredictability, but he struck out on "Some things you can take to the bank." He said, "The Detroit Tigers won't even though Sparky Anderson keeps saying they will." Ask him if he'd like mustard or catsup on those words.
NORMA L. SPLRLOCK
East Detroit, Mich.
Steve Wulf's vivid description of the Cy I Young plaque was laudable, but it fell short of the proverbial 1.000 words. How about showing us a picture?
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