Your line articles on baseball 1974 (April 8) were well thought out. However, your choice of Pete Rose to fill your cover and symbolize the game this year was not quite as good. Who had the best season in the majors last year? Who led the National League in home runs, RBIs, doubles and slugging percentage and batted .299? Who is playing on a team you pick to win the most interesting division in baseball? Who is a perennial All-Star outfielder? Who has been the most consistently good ballplayer the last three years and showed every indication that he will continue his supremacy by his spectacular spring performance in exhibition games? He is the same man who should have been on your cover: Willie Stargell of the Pirates.
Whoever chose the cover photo for your April 8 issue certainly did a bum job. He should have used the inside picture showing Rose starting the fight with Bud Harrelson in last year's playoff. It would have shown what a "big" man Pete Rose is.
When Gertrude Stein said, a "rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," it is obvious that she didn't know Pete.
As a sports enthusiast in general and a baseball fan in particular, I would have preferred seeing a five-page pictorial account of Pete Rose playing baseball, rather than Pete Rose wrestling with Bud Harrelson.
The intensity with which Rose plays the game sets him apart from many of today's businessman-athletes, who seem more interested in their personal finances than their professional performances. Rose is a throwback to yesterday's athlete who, driven by personal pride, not money, participated in sports the way they were meant to be participated in—passionately.
There is nothing as purely exciting—or as excitingly pure—as watching a fiercely proud man compete. In today's commercialized world of sports there is nothing as rare.
According to publicized comments made by Gary Davidson, the World Football League president, the April 15 cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was all set to feature the WFL (No Longer Such a Small World). With all due respect to Henry Aaron's 715th home run, just what exactly did you have in mind?
New York City
PICTURES AND WORDS
Neil Leifer deserves credit for a terrific photo of Ken Norton on his way down (Buenas Noches, Senor, April 8). Both feet are still on the mat, knees straight, arms upward, unable to break his fall. Occasionally, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED comes out with a picture that tells a story all by itself. This one shows Norton at his worst, George Foreman at his awesome best and Howard Co-sell with his mouth open—as usual.
G. CRAIG BOLDEN
Tex Maule's vivid article made it quite clear that George Foreman is still the heavyweight champion of the world.
University Park, Pa.