THE 1983 SERIES
Congratulations on your Oct. 24 cover shot of Baltimore Catcher Rick Dempsey and your fine articles on the World Series (The Orioles All Pitched In). Ronald C. Modra's photograph captures the spirit of winning baseball. Dempsey is about the best example of a player one can find these days: He loves the game, plays it hard and, most important, has fun doing it. It's nice to see someone like him rise to the occasion and emerge a star.
The cover picture of World Series MVP Rick Dempsey was beautiful, but Dempsey's real ability was caught in your previous issue's fantastic photograph by Jerry Wachter, in which Dempsey was blocking home plate while tagging out Chicago's Vance Law in a key play.
I've been an American League fan since the 1950s, but deep in my heart I've always known that the long Yankee dominance of that era weakened the league and that the National League has played superior ball since 1964 or so. This year, you people came right out and said it! The National League is superior (It's the Nationals' Pastime, April 4).
So what happens? The American League creams the National League in the All-Star Game, and then the Orioles run the Phillies out of the park in five games in the World Series—making 1983 the first year that the American League has won both an All-Star Game and the Series since '62.
To me, the real story of the '83 Series was that all those old National League giants of the 70s—Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Steve Carlton—went down to defeat in their last hurrah. And who is there to take their place? Most of the rising young stars are in the American League now.
I think in your April piece you caught an era just before it turned into something else. F. Northcote Parkinson said that great institutions always build their spectacular headquarters just when they reach the pinnacle of their powers and start going downhill. I think we're now in a period when, once again, the two baseball leagues are roughly on a par. You've performed the historian's task of anointing an era just as it was coming to an end.
Watching Joe Morgan running the bases during the World Series brought to mind a wonderful line I read during my days as a Brooklyn Dodger fan. I believe it was Red Smith who wrote of another aging base stealer, "He has larceny in his heart, but his feet are honest."
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Marcus Dupree fiasco (He'd Sooner Be at Home, Oct. 24) typifies the sorry state of college athletics. I can shrug off the ramblings of an immature and spoiled Dupree, but when a supposedly responsible adult like Oklahoma Academic Counselor Jin Brown utters such words of madness as "When we give a kid an athletic scholarship, it's to represent us in games. Because he doesn't cut it scholastically, how can you hold him out of games?" It's time we raised our eyebrows. The truth is, the system stinks.
Of course, everyone now points the finger of blame at everyone else. The fact is, they're all lo blame! The administrators of the university and of the football program should hide their heads in shame for allowing Dupree to continue as a non-student. Dupree—and all the spoiled, coddled ones like him—should grow up and be thankful for the talents they've been blessed with and quit sticking their hands out so far.
All in all, it's further sad commentary on the American educational system. I always thought our educators were supposed to lead society, not reflect its ills. What happened?
Newport News, Va.