RED AUERBACH'S TEAM
It was a pleasure to open your Jan. 14 issue (LEADING OFF) and see the aging but smiling faces of NBA immortals. Frank Deford's article No. 2 In The Rafters, No. 1 In Their Hearts describes the success of the single most influential person in sports, Red Auerbach. He has done more for team athletics than anyone else in American sports history, and, mind you, that comes from someone who is not a Bostonian.
Looking at the 27 men in the Celtics' reunion picture was like flipping through a Who's Who of Pro Basketball. A loyal Celtic fan could examine the strata of the Celtic dynasty with the cigar-smoking architect of the Celts' 15 world championships seated in the middle. That these diverse ex-professionals, some of them approaching Social Security age, rallied around their mentor for one more time and rained praise on him certainly was a beautiful tribute.
You are to be commended for your reportage on the Boston Celtics. I was especially gratified by William Taaffe's sidebar on longtime Celtics radio announcer Johnny Most. I have been an avid listener of his since 1953, and I will be the first to admit that his bias toward the Green has remained untarnished. My most memorable listening experience, however, occurred when Most lost some fans—my wife for one—the time he let his bias carry him a bit too far. Can you imagine anyone screaming into the mike, "And Chamberlain stuck his eye in Russell's elbow!" My wife said, "Enough is enough." The next day, we Most fans just howled in laughter as we told and retold that episode.
JOHN P. FLANAGAN
The Celtics' reunion photo displays perhaps Red Auerbach's greatest legacy to basketball. Not only was he the mastermind behind 15 world championships, but he also gave the NBA 10 head coaches ( Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, John McCarthy, Don Nelson, Bill Russell, Satch Sanders, Bill Sharman, Paul Silas) as well as several NBA assistants and head coaches at the college level. All spread the Gospel According To Red.
Attending the Celtics Legends Game was like seeing the Hall of Fame incarnate. It was simply kelly-green ecstasy for Celtics fans of all ages. My 7�-year-old son Andrew said, "Hey, Dad! Bob Cousy is a totally awesome dribbler. Could he jam?"
STUART SCHNELLER, M.D.
I beg to differ with Frank Deford's statement, "But, truth be told, there has been no franchise like the Celtics in American sports...." If you want to talk about one single franchise dominating the American sports scene, I'd like to remind everyone of the record of the New York Yankees—33 American League pennants and 22 World Series victories. If that doesn't make them the dominant franchise in American sports, then I guess I'll just have to keep my NO. 1 Yankee hat on while I root for the No. 2 Celtics.
It was nice to read about the alltime great basketball writer, Jerry Tax (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, Jan. 14). With all due respect to your current writers, Tax was the best. I had wondered how he was. It's good to know that he's alive and well. Now I wish you would persuade him to write a cameo article for old times' sake.
THOMAS J. RICHARDS
I read your SCORECARD item (Jan. 7) about the lawsuit the Chicago Cubs have filed asking the Illinois Circuit Court to block enforcement of city and state laws designed to prevent night games at Wrigley Field, and I agree with you that it would destroy a shrine to change Wrigley Field or have the Cubs move out of it. I have a very simple solution that would satisfy both the traditionalists and the money grubbers of baseball: temporary lights. The state could change the law to allow lights for such occasions as playoffs and the World Series, while the real fans could enjoy what baseball is all about during the rest of the season.
I love Wrigley Field and what it stands for, and I believe that its charm is one of the main reasons Cub fans have been the most loyal in baseball. They don't need artificial turf, domed stadiums, electronic scorecards, lights or even convenient parking. All they need is Wrigley Field and a team that will play its heart out for them.
I grew up in Chicago and have vivid memories of spending glorious afternoons watching Ron Santo run down the third-base line and click his heels after a win and Ken Holtzman, on leave from the Army, flipping vicious curveballs past the hitters. I remember Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and the ivy and the fresh green grass.