I applaud your selection of the Celtics to repeat as world champs.
The secret of the Boston Celtics is in the picture on page 42 of the October 24 issue for all the world to see. Five Celtics inside all the Lakers but Baylor, ready for a possible rebound and then the fast break.
New York City
Thanks to John Underwood for exposing the Big Ten as a myth and a fraud (State Wins the Numbers Game, Oct. 17). While astute football fans have realized this, sports-writers haven't. Please, fellas, cover the SEC and the SWC, but let the Big Ten repose.
In John Underwood's article about the Big Ten he attempts to make the point that, because of the lack of talent in the Midwest, Big Ten coaches have been forced to recruit elsewhere, notably in the South. He cites Duffy Daugherty, whose Michigan State team has been the only truly successful one in the Big Ten, as his prime example. We do not deny the fact that the South does produce many fine football players, but we contend that the breeding ground of stars has not been confined to any one geographical area. After all, one of the finest southern players in years, Joe Namath, is a Pennsylvania product.
We agree that Alabama and Nebraska have fine teams and on any given Saturday might beat the Big Ten's best. However, the SEC's small, fast linemen and backs might find it rather difficult to cope with the large, slow teams from Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan on successive Saturdays without a Chattanooga or Memphis State thrown in to bolster their confidence.
JOHN JOSEPH DUNN III
STEPHEN COLE WERNER
Notre Dame, Ind.
Congratulations are certainly in order to John Underwood for a fine article. At last the facts are brought to light in black and white—and by an impartial magazine. However, we SEC fans have been preaching this for years.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will doubtlessly receive a flood of letters from the land of stone-age football (i.e., three yards and a cloud of dust). But, as the saying goes, never tell a man he is wrong, because the only way to win an argument is to avoid it.
I read with interest that one of your weekly "Faces in the Crowd" (Oct. 17), a ballplayer named Jerry Gramly was "reinstated as an amateur after two years of minor-league baseball." If amateurism is something that can be turned on and off like a water faucet, why can't whoever has jurisdiction over this matter turn octogenarians back into middle-aged men? Or reinstate wayward girls as virgins?
Where was this omnipotent reinstater lurking when Jim Thorpe had to return the Olympic trophies he won in Stockholm in 1912 because he was a "professional"? According to Grantland Rice's book, The Tumult and the Shouting, page 230, all Thorpe did was play "a little summer baseball," on a semipro (not even a minor-league) team while he was at Carlisle "for eating money." For the millions of sports fans who admire Thorpe, why can't whatever board or committee it was that "reinstated" a minor-league player as an "amateur" do the same thing posthumously for Jim? It would be good to place a plaque of this reinstatement on some athletic field made famous by the Carlisle Indian under words spoken to Thorpe by King Gustaf V of Sweden (one thing the AAU has never been able to get back from him): "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world."
JOSEPH W. WELLS
?Amateurism means different things to different people. Canadian hockey players can shift their playing status from amateur to professional and back again with relative ease. Under the rules of the USGA, an amateur golfer becomes a pro if he accepts even a dime in "expense money," except in rare special circumstances. The American Amateur Baseball Congress decided that six months away from pro ball was sufficient to purge Jerry Gramly of his past and make him an amateur once more. Unfortunately, the AABC has no authority over Olympic athletes, dead or alive.—ED.