I commend SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for printing An African Betrayal (May 5) by Ernest Hemingway. This touching story-within-a-story depicts the majesty of an aging elephant, the uncertainty of a young man and the somewhat callous attitude of two hunters in a manner that exemplifies Hemingway at his best.
Walt Spitzmiller's portraits of Hemingway are utterly magnificent and his illustrations of the story itself inspiring. My hat is off to Spitzmiller and SI for capturing and furthering the legend of Hemingway.
TIMOTHY G. ORLANDO
Thank you for the Ernest Hemingway story. I attended the same high school (Oak Park and River Forest) and wrote for the same high school newspaper (Trapeze) that Hemingway did and have always been intrigued by his life and his works. It's a great pleasure to see Papa's ursine portrait on the cover of your magazine.
ANTHONY GARGIULO JR.
River Forest, Ill.
An African Betrayal was a delight to read. But Walt Spitzmiller's superb paintings went beyond words. I think Papa would have felt upstaged.
May 18, 1986
I eagerly awaited the delivery of your May 5 issue. I thought for sure that this would be the week that hockey would grace your cover. To my astonishment, I gazed at a deceased author and an elephant.
Have the elephant-hunting playoffs started already?
In the article on the NHL playoffs (Shock After Shock After..., May 5), E.M. Swift stated that it was a shock for Calgary to be winning games in the series with the Oilers. But if you outplay, outhustle, outgoalie and out-intimidate another team as the Flames did against the Oilers, how can it be a shock when you win?
BOB HEALEY JR.
According to the hockey experts, the Edmonton Oilers were supposed to be one of the greatest teams of alltime. They were bound to win the Stanley Cup year after year.
If they played in the Patrick Division, I think the Oilers would have a hard time making the playoffs. Maybe now these so-called experts will realize how great the four-time champion New York Islanders really were.
It was a nice change of pace seeing Dominique Wilkins on your April 28 cover (Dominique Had Himself A Picnique), instead of the same old NBA faces we've seen all season. The sudden, unexpected success of this year's Atlanta Hawks has been a sheer delight to their devoted fans, who (along with the rest of the country) have discovered how much excitement this young team has to offer.
'Nique and Spud Webb and the rest of the gang are having fun out there, and it's contagious.
I enjoyed Jack McCallum's article on Dominique Wilkins. There's only one person who should get the MVP this season, and it's not Larry Bird or Alex English. It's the Human Highlight Film himself, Wilkins.
Jack McCallum's article about Dominique Wilkins and Alexander Wolff's companion piece on Michael Jordan (Smash Performance In A Limited Run) said that both superstars had historic playoff scoring performances. Jordan set the record for points in a single game with 63 in Chicago's second game against Boston. Could you please give the top 10 scorers in NBA history for a playoff game?
•Sure. Jordan is followed by Elgin Baylor, who had 61 points for Los Angeles against Boston in 1962; Wilt Chamberlain, 56, Philadelphia-Syracuse, 1962; Rick Barry, 55, San Francisco-Philadelphia, 1967; John Havlicek, 54, Boston-Atlanta, 1973; Chamberlain, 53, Philadelphia-Syracuse, 1960; Jerry West, 53, L.A.-Boston, 1969; West, 52, L.A.-Baltimore, 1965; and Sam Jones, 51, Boston-New York, 1967. Wilkins's 50-point performance against Detroit matched the mark achieved by five other players.—ED.
WHO'S CRYING NOW?
Your article on the Cardinals' red-hot start (They're Having The First Laugh, April 28) was undoubtedly enjoyed in St. Louis. But I suspect that most of the laughs were emanating from New York, because by the time your cover date rolled around, the Mets led the National League East by 4½ games.
MICHAEL R. HOWLAND
I'm usually not superstitious, but because of the "SI jinx," I cringe every time I read an article about the St. Louis Cardinals in your magazine. In 1983 you wrote about the best infield in baseball—Ken Oberkfell, Ozzie Smith, Tom Herr and Keith Hernandez. Shortly after the article appeared, Hernandez was traded in one of the worst deals in the club's history. During the 1985 World Series, Ozzie Smith appeared on the cover. The next week, the Cards lost the Series they should have won. In your April 28 issue, I found yet another Cardinal story. Sure enough, the Redbirds are now mired in a hitting slump and their pitching is showing signs of weakness.
Please let the Mets have all the media hype. The Cardinals need the wins!
THE FARMINGTON RESOURCE
Thank you for the colorful and accurate view of the opening day of trout season (Ready, Set, Fish!, April 21). Indeed, that third Saturday in April on the west branch of the Farmington River in Riverton, Conn. is a "ritual of respect" for the river and the trout.
Anglers and other Farmington River recreationists, however, should not become complacent about the resource. Had a water supply diversion proposed in 1981 become a reality, that stretch of the Farmington would have become virtually a dry riverbed.
Several towns and organizations in the region remain vigilant to ensure the future viability of the river. Currently there is a Congressional bill which will further protect the west branch of the Farmington. If it passes, there will be greater assurance that opening day of trout season can be enjoyed in River-ton for the next 35 years and beyond.
SUZANNE C. WILKINS
Farmington River Watershed Association
Thank you for the marvelous piece on Jim Murray (King Of The Sports Page, April 21). He's revered here, too, as the only conceivable reason to visit Los Angeles.
Even a Jack Nicklaus partisan like me cannot permit Rick Reilly (Day Of Glory For A Golden Oldie, April 21) to give Jack credit for another "first" by winning three major titles in his 40s. Unless my arithmetic is faulty or Ben Hogan's birth date (Aug. 13, 1912) has changed, Hogan's unprecedented Triple Crown of 1953—he won the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open—would seem to have seniority over the Golden Bear.
But Reilly did a truly masterful job of capturing the moment at Augusta. Bravo!
RICHARD V. LEVIN
THE WIZARD'S BAT
In your story on the St. Louis Cardinals (They're Having The First Laugh, April 28), I couldn't help noticing the photograph of shortstop Ozzie Smith holding what appears to be a well-used aluminum bat. Surely the major leagues have not yet permitted the use of these "metallic Wonderboys." Could this photo explain the recent "pop" in the Wizard's batting stroke?
•The bat is an aluminum Top Hand introduced this year by Switch Hitter Baseball School of La Mirada, Calif. and used in the majors for training and on-deck warming up. Designed to promote quick hands and improve specific hitting techniques, it is hollow with a sliding weight inside. When swung properly, it simulates the feel of a solid hit. Smith's batting average has jumped from .276 to .325 since he began using the Top Hand. Other users of the bat who are off to good starts: Reggie Jackson and Wally Joyner of the Angels and Darryl Strawberry of the Mets.—ED.
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