SHOW SOME RESPECT
Last fall I read with particular interest, in your special college basketball issue (How Do You Like Your Hoops? Nov. 20), the no-holds-barred debate among Curry Kirkpatrick, Greg Kelly and Alexander Wolff as to which is the best college basketball conference. I concluded that the three of them didn't know what they were talking about. Now, after watching the NCAA tournament games, I am certain that I was right. To call the Southeastern Conference nothing but a football league, as Kelly did, was absurd. Which conference put all four of its invited teams into the Sweet Sixteen? The ACC? No. The Big East? No. The Big Ten? No way.
Furthermore, three of the SEC's four teams—LSU, Kentucky and Auburn—went on to the Elite Eight. The fourth, Alabama, got knocked out by another SEC team (Kentucky). Thanks to the NCAA Selection Committee, three of the conference's teams were put in the same regional. Maybe next year the SEC will not be underestimated!
Congratulations on Bruce Newman's excellent, long-awaited article on Philadelphia 76er forward Charles Barkley (A Double Feature All By Himself, March 24). As for his being a force at both ends of the court, two thoughts come to my mind when Barkley gets his hands on the ball under the basket. My first is. Wow! Then I thank the genius who invented collapsible rims.
While rummaging through some old copies of SI, I stumbled upon an article (Born Free And Living Up To His Name, Jan. 22, 1979) that proclaimed the superstardom of Lloyd (now World B.) Free. It also berated the Sixers for giving up Free in 1978 to the then San Diego Clippers in exchange for a mere first-round draft choice in 1984. You apparently suffered from the same nearsightedness as the Clippers. That seemingly meaningless 1984 pick has now taken the imposing form of Charles Barkley.
BART D. COHEN
I am upset. Your March 3 LEADING OFF picture showed Jim Heffernan of Iowa in a near-fall situation. This is an embarrassing position for any wrestler, but salt was added to Heffernan's wounds when the score of the match was erroneously reported as 12-5 (the correct score was 6-4).
I anxiously read the next three issues hoping to see a statement correcting the score, but all I found was Jaime Diaz's story about 190-pound NCAA champion Duane Goldman and Iowa's national title (Iowa Was Good As Gold, Man, March 24). I was upset again. Certainly all 10 of the NCAA wrestling champions deserve a little more recognition than was given.
St. Edward High School
THE BIBLE OF BASEBALL
What must have been a labor of love for Roy Blount Jr., his story The Sporting News (March 17), brought many warm memories for this reader. As a young boy growing up in Southern California in the '60s, I could be found either outside playing baseball or inside reading about the game. The Sporting News delivered what I wanted most: baseball all year long.
Certainly there are many baseball fans who share my appreciation of the Spink family for its immeasurable contribution to baseball through the years.
Please convey to Sporting News chief executive officer Richard Waters and editor Tom Barnidge that this yuppie is obsessed with baseball. Save the box scores!
WILLIAM R. CUNNINGHAM
The world record for the men's 100 meters is 9.93 seconds, which works out to 33.04 feet per second. Could Cool Papa Bell, or anyone, really run 270 feet in eight seconds (33.75 feet per second), even on a straightaway, let alone around the bases from home to third?
I, too, ran from home to third in eight seconds. I had the good sense to take the direct route and skip first and second.
STEPHEN M. HASHIOKA, D.D.S.
DITMAR DID IT
I would think that the last person on earth who would want to reopen the question of whose pitches "cost the Yankees the 1960 World Series" would be Art Ditmar (SCORECARD, March 24). Although Ditmar did not throw the pitch that Pittsburgh's Bill Mazeroski hit for a home run in Game 7, he started and lost both Game 1 (lasting only‚Öì inning) and Game 5 (lasting only 1‚Öì innings). If any pitcher cost the Yankees that Series, I would say it was Ditmar and not Ralph Terry, regardless of who threw to Maz.
AN AUTHOR RESPONDS
In the 19TH HULL of April 7, Michael V. Gannon accuses me of having played fast and loose with a quotation of his that I used in my article on Catholic colleges and basketball (A Heavenly Game? March 3).
Mr. Gannon's quotation was: "Original research became original sin" (at many Catholic schools). He claims that I took this thought out of context, that he originally employed it only to refer to Catholic education in the years before 1960, and that I unfairly applied it to Catholic schools today.
In fact, I did no such thing. The paragraph in which the quotation appears is, contextually, historical. Indeed, the operative word "historically" appears prominently in the opening sentence. But even granting any ambiguity in my words, how in the world can Mr. Gannon suggest that I am twisting his words to relate to the present when those words of his are indisputably in the past tense: "Original research became...."
The main point of my piece is only reinforced by Mr. Gannon's letter. I agree: The humble, parochial origins of most Catholic schools have been overcome, so that many can boast a (in his words) "quite respectable...research record." But precisely because those schools stake so much of their reputation on big-time basketball, their more admirable scholastic attributes are overlooked.
DUNK DEJA VU
Your March 17 cover showing Duke's Mark Alarie dunking against Wake Forest brought back memories of my high school days. Mark and I both attended Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, where he was Player of the Year for the state in 1982. Having had the opportunity to play in pickup games with and against him, I can attest to his unselfishness, which makes him a great team player. I am happy to see that Mark is finally getting the national attention he deserves.
Enclosed is a cover shot of Mark that appeared in Brophy's magazine, Round Up, when I was the editor. This picture and SI's cover are strikingly similar, despite a four-year and 3,000-mile difference in when and where they were taken.
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.