Before all of the votes for Walter Alston, Jerry West, Jack Nicklaus, John Bench and George Allen come pouring in, I would like to nominate for Sportsman of the Year a refreshing and deserving athlete, 18-year-old Craig Virgin of Lebanon, Ill. Virgin's record as a runner borders on the unbelievable.
After vowing to top Steve Prefontaine's national high school two-mile mark of 8:41.6, Craig ran the distance in 8:41. He has appeared on our country's national junior teams for the last two years while only 16 and 17. As the 1972 and 1973 junior three-mile champion, he beat the Russian juniors in the 5,000-meter race this year. Craig also holds a variety of age and class track records.
Last Nov. 25 Virgin placed a highly impressive 13th out of 266 in the National AAU Cross Country Championships in Chicago. This feat is incredible for a high-schooler since most if not all of the other competitors were collegians, foreigners or club runners.
Craig Virgin is unsurpassed in the combination of dedication and quality. His dedication to the sport he loves is further exemplified by the fact that Lebanon High has no track. I urge SI to consider this athlete who has made it by himself without the help of sportswriters and media publicity.
TOM SHELL WORTH JR.
Major league baseball needs a lesson in geography. Both St. Louis and Chicago are west of Cincinnati and Atlanta, respectively, yet the Cardinals and Cubs are in the East Division of the National League, while the Reds and Braves are in the West. If the National League were aligned according to geographical location, consider, for example, what the standings would have looked like as of Saturday morning, Aug. 25:
The Cardinals, leading in the East Division by 2� games, would have been in fourth place in the West, 13� games behind the front-running Dodgers. The Cubs, who were in third place, four games back in the East, would have been in fifth place in the West, trailing by 17� games.
On the other hand, the Reds, doing well but trailing the Dodgers by four games, would have been in first place in the East, holding a whopping 12-game lead over the Pirates. The Braves, in fifth place in the West and 18 games down, would have been in third place, 14 games behind in the East.
The 1973 season is over now, but what about next year? When the San Diego Padres move to Washington, D.C., will they remain in the West Division? That would be about as ridiculous as it is to have the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League, who are about as far west as you can get, in the East Division of the NHL.