SI Vault
May 12, 1969
OIL AND WATERSirs:Someone once said that we read about man's successes on the sports page. SI, however, has shown sport's success is becoming relevant to the pressing problem of conservation. I thank you for taking time out to contribute a valuable public service in publishing Ross Macdonald's Life with the Blob (April 21).VINCENT W. MOONEY JR. Goleta, Calif.
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May 12, 1969

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Let's compare the two. Home-run championships: four each. Batting crowns: Aaron 2, Mays 1. RBI championships: Aaron 4, Mays 0. Before the beginning of this season Mays had 587 lifetime home runs and Aaron 510, nearly 80 behind but he is closing the gap fast. Lifetime base hits: Aaron 2,792, Mays 2,812. Lifetime RBIs: Mays 1,654, Aaron 1,627. Aaron this season was batting .380 at last count, and his .314 lifetime batting average speaks for itself. Mays is hitting .366 but will probably slip below .300 as Mickey Mantle did. Mays did steal his 300th base the other day, but Aaron can steal bases too, 28 of them just last year. Mays is one of the alltime greats and will probably retire in a year or two. Aaron is still hitting as he was 10 years ago when he hit .355 and will surpass Mays in nearly every department.

Atlanta's young improved pitching staff and Aaron will be in the World Series this year; then you will have to have an article on Hank Aaron and the Braves.
Edmonds, Wash.

Thank you for your fine article on the Indiana Pacers (Solid Hit in the Funny League, April 28). The Pacers, as you mentioned, led the league in attendance with an average of more than 6,000 a game. With stars such as Mel Daniels, ABA Most Valuable Player; Roger Brown; Bob Netolicky; Freddie Lewis; and defensive giant Tom Thacker, the Pacers indeed have a surplus of talent. But so does the rest of the ABA. Superstars in their own right are the incomparable Connie Hawkins, Doug Moe, James Jones and Louis Dampier.

Let the NBA laugh on, but basketball experts, such as Bill Sharman, coach of the ABA's Los Angeles Stars, say that players like Hawkins and Brown could easily become well-known household and TV names. The ABA is not short on stars but on publicity and exposure. In other words it has been ignored.

With the determination of the owners, coaches and players of the ABA, they will overcome all of the obstacles facing them.

At the end of the article Tom Thacker is quoted as saying that the ABA will be comparable to the NBA in a few years. First they'd better convince the people of the ABA cities. Indiana and Oakland might be able to draw people, but what about Miami, Houston, New York and the other teams? I've noticed on several occasions that the attendance has been well under 1,000 and even less than 500. Lew Alcindor turned down the ABA because he was thinking of his future. How can they give him a future when they are not even certain of their own? Indiana might be a good team and draw people to their games, but a whole league can't be built around one team.
Wilmington, Del.

As a Canadian subscriber to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I was rather disturbed at the sparse mention given George Knudson in your article on the Masters (After the Others Had Gone, George Was Left, April 21). You mentioned Knudson only once while providing us with long-winded descriptions of the other runners-up and Charles Coody.

Your article also implied that Knudson faltered late in the fourth round. This was not so. Knudson was never far off the pace, finishing the tournament as he had started, with fine steady golf. George Knudson did not hide "behind his shades." But he was hidden in your article.
Islington, Ontario

As president of the Foundation For Help to Uneducated Sportswriters, I would like to offer congratulations to Dan Jenkins of your magazine. Mr. Jenkins has been selected as the 1969 winner of the coveted "Unconscious Writer of the Year" award. He exemplified all of the prerequisites necessary in his article on the "giveaway" Masters.

Your ordinary, run-of-the-mill sportswriter would have said something like this: " George Archer, winner of more than $150,000 on the 1968 tour, won the 1969 Masters. Archer, who was never farther back than third place during the tournament, stood up under the pressure of competing with one of the greatest, Billy Casper. But it is Archer, the former caddie, who is wearing the green coat now, not Casper (or Palmer or Nicklaus or God, either). Billy Casper didn't lose the 1969 Masters, George Archer won it!"

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