Jefferson Street Joe Gilliam isn't the only "bubbling spirit" in Pittsburgh (Gillie Was a Steeler Driving Man, Sept. 23). Every fan in the Steel City has been jumping for joy since Joe made his big splash as starting quarterback. He has the arm, he has the agility, but most of all he has a great Steeler team to back him up.
Maybe it isn't "classic" for a quarterback to "smile and bounce around with both hands in the air after a successful play," but it keeps the team's and the fans' spirits high.
Who needs your cover headline " Pittsburgh's Black Quarterback"? I don't think Chuck Noll considers Joe Gilliam his "black" quarterback. Nor does the team. Nor do the Steeler fans. Nor does Joe Gilliam. I think all of the above consider Gilliam their No. 1 quarterback.
Despite his statement, "But let us not play this thing too much in terms of race and revolution," Roy Blount Jr. seems to have a race/color hang-up. Witness four paragraphs later when he falls into the following analogy: "...the convergence of Holmes and White having turned him [Domres] into the center of an Oreo cookie."
Remember, Joe Gilliam is purely and simply one heck of a No. 1 quarterback. Leave him that way.
RICHARD J. VESELY
It is about time an NFL team gave a black quarterback a fighting chance. Blacks have proved themselves in other positions, yet few NFL teams are willing to take a chance on a black quarterback. One hopes Jefferson Street Joe will make other clubs realize that a black quarterback can lead his team to victory. Maybe by this time next year more black quarterbacks will be starting in the NFL, but I doubt it.
Regarding your cover caption " Joe Gilliam bombs the Colts," you have featured a fine young quarterback who was instrumental in defeating the Colts. However, I think you have pictured the wrong Joe on the cover. The man most responsible for the Colts being bombed, the man who turned one of the best teams of the 1960s into one of the worst teams of the 1970s simply by trading away most of the team's top players is Colt General Manager Joe Thomas, and he should get the credit he deserves.
Owings Mills, Md.
I read it but I couldn't believe it. Jim Kaplan actually had the nerve to suggest that Lou Brock's base stealing does not help the St. Louis offense (Tiptoeing up on a Record, Sept. 23). Brock has been the sparkplug of the Cardinals for the past 10 years. In those 10 years the Cardinals have been in the World Series three times and won twice, thanks in very large part to Brock. In your earlier article on Brock (Thief at Work, July 22) the statistics showed that Brock has scored more than 50% of the time after he has stolen a base. If that's not the sign of a sparkplug, I don't know what is.
You say that Brock's base stealing has hurt the Cardinals. What I have to say to that is unprintable, because without Brock the Cardinals would be giving Chicago competition for bottom-of-the-heap honors.
I cannot understand why Jim Kaplan wanted to minimize the importance of Brock's stolen bases. Obviously, he has been observing the Cardinals only since Lou got close to the record. I thought it amusing, when considering his article, that two days before I received it I listened to the Cards and Pirates play a thrilling 13-inning game. Gibson gave up five hits in the first four innings, and the Pirates went hitless in the remaining nine innings. That night Brock stole his 108th and 109th bases. With the score tied 1-1, Lou led off the 13th with a single. The announcer said that Sizemore would sacrifice Lou to second. Not so. On the first pitch to the plate Lou stole second, then Sizemore sacrificed him to third, and after Reggie Smith drew an intentional walk Brock scored on a sacrifice fly by Simmons. Al Hrabosky then fanned three (two men got on base) in the bottom of the 13th to give the Birds a 2-1 win. There is no question in my mind who the MVP in the NL is for 1974.