I really enjoyed Bruce Newman's article on the surging Los Angeles Lakers (The Toast of Both Coasts, March 5). The reason for their success is obviously a brilliant blend of youth and experience. How can a team with the greatest big man ever in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the best all-around performer today in Magic Johnson and tomorrow's superstars in the likes of James Worthy and Byron Scott not be the best in the league? The Lakers will soar in '84.
Cedar Lake, Ind.
I beg to differ with Bruce Newman. He stated that Magic Johnson is a better passer than Larry Bird. I think he's wrong. The only reason Johnson seems to be a better passer is that he's a guard. He receives the outlet pass on the fast break and dishes off to one of his teammates, while Bird, a forward, must make the outlet pass and can't get down the court in time for the break. When the Celtics are running a half-court game, I think Bird is a much better passer.
I wish every sports fan could read William Nack's story He's Got the Horse Right Here (March 5) on outstanding trainer Woody Stephens. Maybe then people who don't have a complete understanding of the sport of kings would see that trainers don't come by great horses like Devil's Bag through potluck, that they pay their dues. Hats off to Nack for his research on the thoroughbred industry's No. 1 man, Stephens.
Atlantic Beach, N.Y.
That was a great title—He's Got the Horse Right Here—for a great article about a great and happy man with a potentially historic horse, but what's the name of the song from which, slightly altered, it was excerpted? As a charter subscriber, I deserve an answer before I hum myself up a wall.
ROBERT A. MINKLER
?It's A Fugue for Tinhorns, from Guys and Dolls.—ED.
DODGERS BY OTHER NAMES
In the editor's comment on Jack Lang's letter (19TH HOLE, Feb. 20), you say that Wilbert Robinson was the Dodger manager from 1914 through 1931. This is, in a sense, not so.
For those 18 years "Uncle Robbie" was the manager of the Brooklyn Robins. Before Robinson was hired to guide the club, Brooklyn's entry in the National League in 1890 was nicknamed first the Bridegrooms, then the Trolley Dodgers. When Robbie took over, the team was rechristened the Robins in honor of its new mentor. When he retired, it became the Dodgers.
NORB KEARNS SR.
Howard Beach, N.Y.
?According to the book The Dodgers by Tommy Holmes, the team was given at least one other nickname during that period, when Ned Hanlon (1899-1905) was manager. Holmes says that Brooklyn Eagle sportswriters, among others, rejected the term Trolley Dodgers (or Dodgers)—"one of the gibes [natives of Manhattan Island] tossed at their neighbors across the East River"—as an "intolerable epithet," and, during Hanlon's reign, instead referred to the team as the Superbas, after a vaudeville acrobatic act of the day known as Hanlon's Superbas.—ED.
BEFORE SUPER ROW
I live in Indiana (Go, Big Red!) and follow the Big Ten religiously, but I can't remember ever seeing a before shot of Jim (Here's the Beef) Rowinski. Can you show us a photo of the "wimpy, sand-in-the-face high school junior" before he turned into "Super Row, the Prince of Pecs"?
Fort Wayne, Ind.
?For a look at Rowinski (No. 22) as he appeared in action in the 1979 Syosset (N.Y.) High yearbook, see below.—ED.