April 15, 1991
April 15, 1991

Table of Contents
April 15, 1991

Bird And Magic
Baseball Preview 1991
Point After


Hobey Baker
I would like to thank Ron Fimrite for his article about Hobey Baker (A Flame That Burned Too Brightly, March 18). It was refreshing to learn of an enormously gifted athlete with such noble character. Baker's time was nearly 80 years ago, but some of today's athletes could learn from his achievements and his code of behavior.
Maiden Creek, Pa.

This is an article from the April 15, 1991 issue

The story of how my grandfather, Leverett Saltonstall, outskated Baker to score the winning goal against Princeton in 1914 was frequently repeated in his household. Grandpa Saltonstall was always quick to point out that he was one of the substitutes who had just been sent in fresh, while Baker had played the entire game. Wearing those same skates and using the same stick (he was a true Yankee) 45-plus years later, he gave my brothers and me our first taste of skating and hockey. My brother Leverett Saltonstall Byrd played hockey at Harvard ('74). My grandfather's goal-scoring skates and stick now occupy a corner of hockey coach Ron Tomassoni's office in Dillon Field House and have become symbols of Harvard hockey tradition.

Even after his years of service as the governor of and a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, my grandfather remembered this early triumph over Princeton and Hobey Baker with the greatest pleasure.
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The qualities of aggressiveness and tireless ambition that Baker exhibited so successfully on football fields and hockey rinks were the same qualities that caused his tragic and untimely death. Baker's determination to gain that extra yard back to the airport, rather than electing a controlled, off-field landing, reminds me of the axiom, There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

I've grown weary of hearing that fatal accidents are a result of suicidal tendencies. Race car drivers Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt have spent their entire adult lives in a risky business, and now in their 50's they continue to do so. Why? Because it's exhilarating and fun. It's a love of life that they and people like Hobey Baker express, not the pursuit of death.
Northglenn, Colo.

Scud Attack
I read with great interest William Nack's article about the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team {Shalom, March 11). I was in Israel watching Maccabi's game with the Pop 84 Split team on Israeli TV on Jan. 24 when the air alert sounded. The game was replaced on the screen with a notice, in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian, telling viewers to go to their sealed rooms. I turned on the radio in my sealed room and heard the announcer say that there was 1:20 left in the game. Because listeners would be able to watch the rest of the game on tape, she would not give the final score. Shortly thereafter, Brigadier General Nachman Shai, the Israeli military spokesman who normally told the populace the status of an alert, came on the air. First he described the missile attack, and then he said he wanted to give the score, but a different score: "Patriots 4, Scuds 0." The fact that Maccabi Tel Aviv won, 72-70, was secondary to the fact that no one was killed in that Scud missile attack.
West Hempstead, N. Y.

All-American Indian
I am impressed with the accuracy of the article written by Gary Smith about basketball on the Crow reservation and Indian basketball in Montana in general (Shadow of a Nation, Feb. 18). However, as a member of the Assiniboine tribe, I would dispute the claim that Don Wetzel of the Blackfeet is the only Indian to come off a Montana reservation and play for an NCAA Division I team (Montana, 1968-69 to 70-71).

Our high school team, Wolf Point, was the Big 32 state champion in 1968, and I twice made a high school All-America team. After graduating from Wolf Point High in '69, I played Division I basketball under a full scholarship for Montana State. In my sophomore year, when I averaged 19.9 points a game, I was second team All-Big Sky Conference and was an honorable mention academic All-America. No other Indian player in Montana has played the caliber of competition I faced, such as the late Pete Maravich of LSU and James Edwards of University of Washington, who now plays for the Detroit Pistons. I received a written invitation to try out with the San Diego Conquistadors of the old ABA, while Wilt Chamberlain coached the team. Alcohol and drugs, however, cut my career short as, after several knee operations, I sought relief and false escape.
Lewiston, Idaho

•Weeks, shown below at Montana State, is now an independent contractor in the oil and gas industry.—ED.


Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.