Your "Baseball Boom" cover (Aug. 11) was a thing of immense beauty. I spent an hour studying the amazing cross section of people—men, women and children—united by the common bond of their emotions as they are caught up in the magic of baseball. I found disbelief, concern, consternation, outrage, indignation, exasperation, resentment, anger, etched alike on faces of people who may have little else in common. It isn't so much a big picture as many little pictures. And these are supposed to be people who have become hardened and apathetic thanks to inflation, crime and the evening news. What matter of global intensity could excite them all so? Probably a close play at the plate.
The picture was obviously taken at Fenway Park, where baseball is indeed booming this summer. Thanks for taking me a little closer to it all and also for the best cover you ever printed. I intend to frame it.
My family thoroughly enjoyed your cover photograph of the baseball crowd by Neil Leifer. We looked at each person in this Norman Rockwell-type scene and found a common "Aw, balderdash!" expression on many faces. Please tell us where this picture was taken and what had just happened.
? Neil Leifer took the cover picture on Wednesday, July 30 at Boston's Fenway Park. Although he was too busy concentrating on the crowd in the stands along the first-base line to pay much attention to what was happening on the field, Leifer feels that this particular shot may have come from the top of the seventh inning, when with two out the Milwaukee Brewers scored two unearned runs to go ahead 3-1. They eventually won the game 6-2. Boston had something to cheer about, however. The crowd of 33,850 raised Red Sox attendance over the million mark—to 1,005,397—on the club's 50th date.—ED.
Little did I realize that my short stay in Boston would fulfill a lifetime ambition of mine—to appear on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Now I only hope that the famed SI cover jinx is but a myth.
MARK M. TWOMEY
I feel sorry for those people in Boston. Can you imagine the SI cover jinx falling on 87 of them (I counted) at one time? Those poor people.
It was refreshing and heartening to see a game and its fans featured. For once, the reader was able to delve into an article about the essence of a professional sport, the intricate and sensitive interplay between the game and those who come to view it.
Despite some rules changes and innumerable bat, ball, hat, shoe and sock days, baseball remains intact. As your article made clear, there is something eternally fascinating about a sport that defies the present-day ethic of more leagues, more money, more speed, more contact. Baseball lives and grows because we fans live and grow with it.
New Canaan, Conn.
You managed to run a four-page article on the rise in baseball's popularity because of a "new look" and publicity gimmicks without mentioning the man who is most responsible, Charles O. Finley.
Ten years ago owners and fans alike laughed at his colorful uniforms and gaudy publicity gimmicks. Now other teams are quietly following suit and the fans are coming to the ball park in record numbers. Charlie O. has helped to improve baseball.