STILL THE CHAMPION
The Oct. 10 issue marks the 23rd time Muhammad Ali has appeared on your cover (the first time was in 1963). I know because all the others are on my wall, framed. I certainly hope he decides to end his great career before you have to print a tragic No. 24, showing him in defeat.
So Muhammad Ali once again survives in the ring, only to be counted out by the writers and critics (Once More to the Well, Oct. 10). Let the WBA strip Ali of its lofty title if he doesn't fight Kenny Norton or Jimmy Young. Let Madison Square Garden deny Ali fighting privileges there. And let SPORTS ILLUSTRATED continue its tedious argument as to why he should retire. Muhammad Ali is still the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. And that is undeniable.
D. G. RUFF
Henry Aaron, Jerry West and Pel� all came to the realization that their athletic careers had come to an end. Ali, no more immortal than any of these, must now reach the same conclusion. He has been a great fighter, a talker, a social leader and a benefactor, and as long as the media are as honest and accurate as Pat Putnam was in his article, the Ali legend is in good hands.
FREDERICK M. ROSS
I was disappointed to see Muhammad Ali and Earnie Shavers on your Oct. 10 cover and four pages devoted to a mediocre fight, while only two pages were parceled out to commemorate Pel�'s final game (Pel�, Pel�, Pel�). Where are your priorities? That week will not be remembered as the one in which Ali defeated what's his name; it will be remembered as the time when the great Pel� retired from soccer. We are doomed, I fear, to many more Ali vs. what's his name fights. We will never see the likes of Pel� again.
JAMES E. ABBOTT
After countless others failed to sell it, Pel�, smiling all the way, willed soccer to the American people. His real legacy, however, is that he taught all of us what a sportsman really is.
JOHN S. STEELE
On the day Pel� retired, it didn't rain. God cried.
I disapprove of your story on George Steinbrenner (Yankee Clipper, Oct. 10). Although I am not a Yankee fan, I am a New York sports fan. Over the past few years, I have watched this so-called "friend of the little guy" price most of us out of Yankee Stadium by jacking up ticket prices.
Everyone gripes about how players are out to get all they can. No wonder, with people like Steinbrenner running teams. His style, and that of M. Donald Grant, Calvin Griffith and the inimitable Charles O. Finley, is not only bad for the game, but bad for sports in general. But it seems no one, and especially not SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, is bothered by this because Steinbrenner is a winner. Well, some of us are rooting against the Yankees—not because we love the Dodgers, but because we are tired of watching a baseball team run like a shipbuilding company.
Old Bridge, N.J.
Outside of sports, there is no doubt that men like George Steinbrenner are both needed and appreciated. Within the sports world, however, things should be run differently. How can professional sports survive if men like Steinbrenner go out and buy every superstar available so that they can build a "dynasty"? Part of the fun is in watching a so-called bad team build a winner through the draft and a good farm system. Fortunately, we still can look at teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the New England Patriots to see what a solid organization can do without buying a championship team.
BRUCE J. BERNSTEIN
Colonel Jacob Ruppert bought the Yankees in 1915, but he didn't win a pennant until 1921. George Steinbrenner bought the Yanks in 1973 and they had a run at the division title in 1974 and won the pennant in 1976 and 1977. So I say, let George do it.
ROGER D. SPICKLER
South Bend, Ind.