THE STRIKE (CONT.)
SI deserves the highest praise for putting its prestige behind the unpopular truth, to wit: It is baseball's owners who have caused the current strike (No Games Today, June 22). Fans who are jealous of players' salaries refuse to admit that in no area of American life except sports is there compensation when a man changes employers. It is ironic that the lack of pressure on the owners from the fans, urging the owners to be reasonable, is perhaps one of the reasons that the owners are in no hurry to see the strike end.
New York City
Lou Gehrig appeared in 2,130 consecutive games, many of them while hurt, sick, even dying. He was typical of the men who played when baseball was America's game. I knew the names and statistics of every member of most National League teams, down to the bat boys. Today the game is a shame, and the overpriced, egotistical, self-indulgent players with their batteries of agents, lawyers and accountants have dulled my interest to the point where I'd rather watch reruns of Father Knows Best. Sympathize with the players? Bah! My dictionary defines a player as "one who takes part or is skilled in some game." Baseball is no longer a game. It's a disgrace. I'm rooting for the owners in this travesty!
WILLIAM T. OCEL
As a longtime Washington, D.C. area resident, I can sympathize with the baseball fans in other parts of the country who are now suffering through an empty summer. I can also understand their bitterness toward players and management. Many of us in this area felt the same way 10 years ago when our beloved Senators were taken away despite our unwavering loyalty. Nobody cared about the fans then, and nobody cares now.
Here's my compensation plan. A team signing a ranking free agent may protect 20 players. The team being compensated may choose three of the signing club's remaining 20 roster players. Then George can decide whom he wants to give away. This will help the weaker teams and maintain competitive balance. Isn't that what the owners want? Sorry, George.
I'm livid! Seething! If I had wanted to subscribe to a business magazine, I would have. Your photographs of Ray Grebey, Marvin Miller and Judge Henry Werker clad in coat and tie have absolutely nothing to do with the fine art of competitive sports. The publication of these photographs and the article accompanying them put baseball in a demeaning role. I hope this will be the last issue wherein negotiators and mediators turn a clean, healthy sport into an obscenity.
Clean up your act, SI, and stick to real sports reporting. Surely you have some photographs of Christie Brinkley that were shot for your Feb. 9 issue but went unused with which you could fill your pages now.
JOEL A. KRAMER
I was elated to find the superb article on Bjorn Borg and his Wimbledon whiskers (The Beard Has Begun, June 22). Curry Kirkpatrick expertly reveals a warm and wonderful side of this spectacular champion. Kirkpatrick has again surpassed his own high standards and brought unusual realism and clear-cut truth to sports journalism.
He may be the greatest player the game has ever had, but two weeks in a row of Bjorn Borg (June 15 and June 22) is unnecessary. It's a shame to waste the talents of a writer like Curry Kirkpatrick on three articles about the same man—I may be a bit premature in saying three, but I think Borg will win again at Wimbledon. Please try for a little more diversity from now on.
PETER J. CLAYTON
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
In his article about the NBA draft (A Repute in Dispute, June 8), Bruce Newman discussed the University of Maryland's Buck Williams and made the following statement, which disturbed me a great deal: "His offensive game seemed limited in college, but that's attributable to Coach Lefty Driesell's helter-skelter offense; so many times last season Williams had great position inside and the Maryland players couldn't or wouldn't get him the ball."
If our offense is so helter-skelter, why is it that in 1980-81 we were first in the ACC in field-goal percentage and eighth in the NCAA's Division I with 53.2%? In 1979-80, Buck's sophomore season, we shot 55%, second in the nation and first in the ACC, and in his freshman year we shot 50.3%. As a matter of fact, my last nine teams at Maryland have shot better than 50%. In 1974-75 we broke the NCAA field-goal-percentage record with 54.7%. In addition, when I was coaching at Davidson during the 1963-64 season, we set an NCAA field-goal-percentage mark of 54.3% that stood for six years. Thus, my teams have twice set an NCAA field-goal-percentage record.