Thank you for indicating the winner of the Kentucky Derby; too bad we were not smart enough to bet it. No. 7 won the Derby and you showed on your May 8 cover two baseball players, one wearing No. 16, which, added, will give you 7, and, of course, Mickey Mantle, whose number is 7. In his fine paintings on the Derby in the same issue, Paul Davis also displayed the lucky 7—No. 6 on one jockey and No. 1 on the other jockey. And Whitney Tower's article pointed out that Proud Clarion "may be the sleeper of the whole lot." Thank you again for an outstanding job!
With the Preakness coming up, see what you can do for us in the way of a second chance!
THE BOYS AT MOORE FORD SALES, INC.
In handing out bouquets for the Kentucky Derby, don't forget Barbs Delight, who led for 1 3/16 miles. The pace of Barbs Delight was the challenge that made Proud Clarion run the third fastest Derby (2:00 3/5) in history on a damp track.
Barbs Delight is not the product of a multimillion dollar racing establishment, but rather the result of a dream on a shoestring. The fact that he appeared in the Derby at all is a tribute to the sporting blood of the owners and trainer who were willing to pit him against the biggest and richest stables in the country.
He was bought as a yearling at the Keene-land Sales by Gene Spalding for $5,000 and brought along patiently through his 2- and 3-year-old racing career by Hal Steel Jr., his trainer and part-owner (with Spalding and Guy Huguelet Jr.). He ran an outstanding second-place race in the Derby, on top of an impressive victory in the Derby Trial on May 2. Barbs Delight will certainly have to be reckoned with in the remaining two jewels of the Triple Crown.
JOSEPH S. WILE JR.
If America is ever visited by a people from some distant planet, I hope a copy of the May 8 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will be available for perusing. It will be more reflective of our true American ethic than our most celebrated documents and statements by so-called great Americans. Your laudable story, Taps for the Champ, will surely draw gasps of surprise and disbelief.
In the annals of journalism, no story I can recall has been more faithfully and objectively reported. Except for very subtle traces of regret, or sorrow, for the champion, you have taken adequate space to report an American tragedy minus the prejudice, hysteria, emotion and hypocritical indignation that has characterized nearly 99% of the news releases on Muhammad Ali. Not once did you portray the stripped champion as anything other than a dignified human being who is caught in the midst of a very unfortunate plight (or plot). Not once did you resort to the insulting "bracket reference" to Muhammad Ali that has been typical of almost all news media that insist on "Cassius Clay."
My view is only an opinion. Nevertheless, it seems to me that what you have done is representative of the ideals of religion, of America and of responsible reporting. My sincere thanks for giving us a news story that permits the intelligent being an opportunity to draw his own conclusions and prejudices.
THE REV. LEWIS P. BOHLER JR.
Episcopal Church of the Advent
Congratulations to Edwin Shrake, who let Cassius do the talking and kept his own editorializing to a minimum. I hope to wake up some morning and see on the front page of the paper a picture of Clay thumbing his nose at the rest of the world from the safety of Mecca or Cairo. Let the draftees who have no respect for their own freedom step forward for the oath, then march off in meek submission. It's wild self-delusion to think patriotism is going along with something the only alternative to which is jail.
It takes more guts to buck the system than to go along, and Cassius' behavior indicates why he has been a winner in every challenge he has undertaken. As for the eliminations to find a successor to his title, you may as well rerun the basketball NCAAs—without UCLA.
PETER C. BLAKE
I have just completed reading Taps for the Champ. As a sequel, here are my "Tips for the Chump." If he doesn't love America and what it has given him enough to fight for it, why doesn't the self-styled minister move to a place he would be willing to defend?
"The Champ Turned Chump" will never live down the shame he must feel. He is a disgrace to every Negro serviceman in the armed forces and an insult to every family that has a Negro serviceman buried somewhere in the world. These men gave up what they had, in some cases their lives, so that he could enjoy the opportunity of living in the U. S. free to do and say what he pleases.
But what will he say to any children he may father when they ask, "What did you do in the Vietnam war, Daddy?" Lying in jail may not be answer enough for them.
JULIAN G. SILVER
I believe that you were very unfair to Muhammad Ali in your recent editorial, "A Matter of Principle" (SCORECARD, May 1). How can you call him "an apologist for his so-called religion" when he has said (much as a Quaker or Jehovah's Witness might say): "It is in the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted into the armed services."
If Ali were a "demagogue," I daresay he would have more vociferously exhorted others to follow his lead than he has. Finally, his Vietnam views, quite opposite from "not deserving rebuttal," are creating considerable emotional impact and are widely shared by those who note our economic support of apartheid, manifest destiny in Southeast Asia, etc.
DAVID L. WRIGHT
In the face of news media that have found near unanimity in their condemnation of Muhammad Ali, SI stands as a refreshing example of unbiased journalism. You are to be congratulated for your frequent editorials and articles on this complex personality which, I believe, accurately present both the criticism and the sympathy which the champ deserves.
Thank you for the article on badminton and Judy Hashman (Judy Takes a Final Curtain Call, April 24). But may I call your attention to a few factual errors? First, Judy has retired from singles competition only. Second, her various titles in the All-England (the unofficial world championships) number 17—10 singles and seven doubles. Her total number of U.S. championships is an astounding 31—12 singles, 12 doubles and seven mixed doubles, a record that is not likely ever to be broken.
JACK H. VAN PRAAG
American Badminton Association
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
With regard to reader Kjell Carnbro's comment on Russia's fine national hockey team (19TH HOLE, May 8), it seems generally agreed that we of the U.S. have difficulty putting together a good representative, and I am of the impression that our 1967 team is typical. Where, oh, where are the boys from the East—boys like Tom Ross, an All-America from Boston University; Jack Ferreira, an All-America from Boston University; Dennis O'Connell, Boston University captain on the 1966 NCAA finalist team? All three are U.S. citizens residing in New England and would make fine representatives.
With a little more effort we can put our best on the ice and put such phrases as "valiant in defeat" (read "outclassed") out of use as applied to our Olympic hockey team.
May I further suggest, and strongly recommend, that Coach Jack Kelley of Boston University be asked to help. I'll bet a lobster dinner he's ready and willing, too.
L.C. (JOCK) HAMILTON
I could not help but disagree with Mr. Kjell Carnbro's statements that l) the Russian national hockey team has run out of amateur competition and 2) the NHL people could not be sure of a win in a game against the Russians.
In answer to his first statement I must refer him back to the final game of the Centennial hockey tournament, played in Winnipeg, Man. on Jan. 7 of this year. The final score of the game was 5-4, but the Russians were on the losing end. The winner was the team that flopped bitterly in Vienna at the world title tourney: Canada. The major reason for the Canadians' win in Winnipeg was the play and attitude of former NHL Star Defenseman Carl Brewer. Brewer played some excellent hockey at the Centennial tourney and easily made the All-Star team. Just this one incident proves that the so-called unbeatable Russians are not the hockey power they have been in the past few years.
Concerning his skeptical outlook on a clear victory by the Chicago Black Hawks over the Russians, I would have to say that Stan Mikita and company would win by five goals playing NHL rules and by three playing international rules. I have also seen both teams in action this year, and in my opinion the Russians wouldn't cross the Hawk blue line playing NHL or free body-checking rules. I must agree, however, that the only way to prove our points of view on the second subject is to have a game between the two teams.