Hats off to SI and John Underwood for his in-depth study of one of sport's truly remarkable individuals, Rod Laver (Rocket Heard Round the World, May 31). Few athletes in the history of sport have demonstrated such skill or, indeed, dominated their field as has Laver. Rod has shown that hard work, desire and superb concentration can overcome all obstacles.
PIETER W. CARVALHO
Williamsville, N Y.
John Underwood's Rocket Heard Round the World just has to be the greatest piece of tennis reporting ever. The substance of the man and the spirit of the game are rarely put together in such graphic fashion.
LAWRENCE L. HILLIARD
Arlington Heights, Ill.
Great. That's the only word to describe John Underwood's article on Rod Laver. Laver's brilliant play is second to none and recognition of this fact is certainly due. Tennis is such a publicity-starved sport, the Laver Legend is hardly known. Thanks for making the Rocket heard.
KEVIN M. PATES
THE HOT ONES
After reading three outstanding articles on baseball. Curtain Up on a Mod New Act (April 19), Tightening-Up at "The Fens" (May 24) and Off to a Sizzling Start (May 31), I have come to the conclusion that the Boston Red Sox are the team to watch.
We don't need new uniforms or 20 different days (bat, ball or helmet) to draw the nearly two million fans we do every year. We've proven that we can at least play to a standoff with the now nervous Birds and that Sonny Siebert can beat Vida Blue. Having gone to that game on May 28, I was very much impressed with Blue, but I guess the final score is what counts. And if Earl Weaver should be reading this now, I would like to inform him that while he can't seem to beat Dick Williams and his A's, we can. I guess that's characteristic of a division-winning team.
Roy Blount's article Off to a Sizzling Start was truly impressive. But as a home-town fan, I must stick up for my home-town team. Ralph Garr is a fine ballplayer and will be burning up the base paths for quite a while. But you have failed to mention that he is not eligible for Rookie of the Year. Which leaves the question: Who is the hottest rookie in the National League?
Here are a few clues. He is a Philadelphia Phillie. He was batting over .300, has made the most thrilling outfield catches and has been wearing out Philadelphia Phil and Phillis.
Give up? It is Willie Montanez, Richie Allen's replacement as Philadelphia's longest-ball hitter. Unlike Allen, however, Willie is never booed. In fact, when he comes to bat, The Vet ( Veterans Stadium) goes wild.
Having subscribed to your magazine for the past five years, I look at it as the most accurate and precise sports magazine on the market. But Roy Blount failed to mention the best bet for baseball's next superstar, Bobby Bonds. His rare combination of speed and power go unmatched in baseball. He may strike out a lot, but I recall that he had 200 hits last year. A leadoff man is supposed to score runs, and Bonds is among the leaders in the NL this season.
I really enjoyed Peter Carry's pro basketball analysis (Meanwhile, Back at the Merge, May 24). He made some interesting observations on the status of the two leagues, but I think he made a mistake by underestimating the power of the ABA. The ABA teams have a wide variety of established veterans and a great many topnotch rookies. The only spot on the court where the NBA has the advantage is inside, and that's it.