What an article about what a man—and wife (A Firm Hand on a Carefree Cat, June 17)! And how timely can you get?
Lee Trevino is the greatest thing to happen to golf since the sand wedge. Man, how his color and tough fiber stand out among our "golf executive" tournament pros, including that group decked out like a bunch of drunk piano tuners who can't hack it when the situation gets really hairy.
Winter Park, Fla.
You must have known something when you ran the feature story on Golfer Lee Trevino in the week of the U.S. Open, which he went on to win so dramatically. Your timing was uncanny. Congratulations.
BOUQUETS AND A BRICKBAT
I appreciated very much the article by Danny Blanchflower (Just One Truth for Me, June 10). I never played soccer and have seen only a very few matches, except on TV. This lack of familiarity with the game resulted in very little interest or appreciation of soccer, but Mr. Blanchflower's commentary was noteworthy because of its refreshing candor and because it contributed greatly to my efforts to understand the game.
June 30, 1968
Mr. Blanchflower hit the nail on the head when he not only deplored the general attitude of TV toward sports and the public but accurately pointed out that "the public knows most sports television has a deliberate phoniness about it."
A case in point was a recent Game of the Week broadcast. Tim McCarver, Cardinal catcher, was running down a foul pop. As he neared the dugout steps, several Cardinals moved to catch him in case he fell. Mr. Peewee Reese noted this and added something to the effect that, if McCarver had been in the vicinity of the Mets' dugout, he would have been accorded the same solicitous attention. Baseball, we were given to understand, was a game of gentlemen and sportsmen—a not-whether-you-won-or-lost-but-how-you-played-the-game sort of thing.
A few moments later J. C. Martin of the Mets found himself pursuing a foul near the same Cardinal dugout. But, as he neared the steps, not a single Cardinal moved a muscle, epitomizing what we all know about baseball: the name of the game is win. There was no comment by Mr. Reese.
We are constantly being told, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, that something is wrong with this nation, that our young people are sick (this college professor professes that they ain't). Well, one thing that is certain is that we are pretty sick of not being told the whole truth—a fact that is obvious to discerning watchers of TV.
In a society and world that have come to admire and worship mediocrity, athletics remains one of the relatively few fields of human endeavor where excellence is still the only criterion of judgment. Danny Blanch-flower tells us just how close to extinction this last sanctuary of real values is. His words, "just one truth for me," mark him as a true champion of that morality which must govern not only sport but life as well.
SI has spoiled its own record for demanding integrity in the sports world and championing the cause of good sportsmanship. Photographer Jerry Cooke's obvious delight in his subterfuge and success in breaking the rules forbidding photography at Royal Ascot, and his ridicule of this British tradition (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, June 17), place him in the same class with those people who feel justified in disregarding laws which are not to their liking or which interfere with their pursuit of success. For you to publish the report of Mr. Cooke's unsportsmanlike behavior is to condone his tactics and to subscribe to the philosophy that the end justifies the means.
While other magazines and news media devote their efforts to exposing sickness in our society, it has always been refreshing to spend a few hours each week with SI, reading about the basically healthy world of sports. Now I'm forced to wonder. Don't you demand the same high standards of conduct from your staff as you do from figures in the sporting world?
ANNE C. THOMPSON
I first met Ted Williams in 1947 when he lived down the street from me in Brighton (a suburb of Boston). Our mutual bond was photography, and we became fast friends because of this interest. Ted is actually a fine photographer, although today fishing takes up most of his time. Because he knew that I wouldn't try to sell any pictures I took of him or his family, I was the only one allowed to photograph his daughter, Bobby Jo, when she was a baby. SI used one of these pictures in the second installment (Hitting Was My Life, June 10 et seq.).
I got a great kick out of reading how he refers to himself several times in his story as Teddy Ballgame. This is a nickname that my oldest son, Lee (now 11), gave to him when he first met Ted in 1961, at the age of 4. Being a close personal friend of Ted's, I regularly visited him at his home, often taking Lee along with me. The first time he was introduced to Ted he said, "Hi, Teddy Ballgame," and Ted cracked up. From that time on that's the name we used in referring to him, and Ted likes to use it sometimes in referring to himself.
I'm enclosing a picture [below] of Lee hitting a balloon with his favorite toy bat, while Ted talks on the phone. Incidentally, Lee is now playing for the Bank of Marin, a Little League team here in San Rafael (most of their home games are played at San Quentin's field), and he's hitting almost .500 and playing a real great center field.
San Rafael, Calif.
A man of Ted Williams' stature hands you the best baseball memoirs ever published, and you don't even put his picture on the cover!
•Wait till next week.—ED.
Are there any sound reasons for making baseball a commercial issue? I believe the expansion policy of both leagues is quite illogical. The economic "benefits" will only hinder the national game. The extra cash will glorify the name of baseball, but it will not help its quality. Old pros will continue to play two to three years beyond their span. The younger players will see major league action two to three years before they are ready. Each team will be leveled with players who have limited ability, and the action will be dull as compared to the present-day game. The result will be quantity baseball.
True, there will be new parks. The developments will be scenic, and more people will get the opportunity to see big-league baseball. But will it be big-league baseball? Does our country need the inflation that this expansion will bring, or does it need a national pastime? These are the questions that the major league owners should ask themselves.
ANTHONY J. IACONE
MAN WITH A MISSION
After reading the article "Start of a Campaign" in SCORECARD (May 13), I have the feeling that the reporter doubted my statement that "if a certain number of serious individuals were to urge me to seek the presidency of the Olympic movement at the October election in Mexico, I could only accept, even if, in the event that I would be elected president, I found myself obliged to neglect my personal affairs...."
Let me assure you that I do not intend to change a single word, as I am absolutely determined to follow the lines mentioned. If I am elected president of the International Olympic Committee, you can be certain that I will not change my mind and would devote myself entirely to the great mission then entrusted to me.
JEAN DE BEAUMONT
Although your baseball articles are normally good, I must object to Mark Mulvoy's obviously biased story, The Giants Find It Tough (June 10). First, films of the game showed that Dietz did not try to get out of the way of Don Drysdale's pitch. Because a rule is "seldom remembered," this does not mean that it should be ignored. Umpire Wendelstedt should be commended for his courage and knowledge of the rules.
Mr. Mulvoy certainly has the right to be a Giant fan, if he likes. Unfortunately, his type of writing belongs to booster-club papers, not in a national magazine.