GOOD OLD MEN
Your fine four-page photo story of the first U.S. Masters Track and Field Championships (A Masterful Meeting of Two-score Men, July 29) was an outstanding recognition of the city of San Diego and the more than 200 participants representing 25 states. While the pictures humorously portrayed the meet, your readers might want to know of a few of the many fine performances.
For instance, you showed former world javelin record holder Bud Held of San Diego receiving the winner's medal—he won it by a healthy toss of 218'2". Double winner Pete Mondle of Santa Monica, Calif. covered the three-mile in 15:15.0 and the six-mile in 31:28.4. Dr. Richard Packard of Boston traveled the 26-mile marathon in 2:48:51.6.
The outstanding athlete selected was Willis Kleinsasser of Azusa, Calif. He won five of the six sextathlon events as follows: 220 in 24.0; 440 in 53.1; 880 in 2:09; long jump, 18'10"; shotput, 40'10¼". He was third in the mile event.
JOHN T. HALES
Seniors Track Club
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
I enjoyed Mark Mulvoy's article on Super Flake Denny McLain very much (Dizzy Dream for Jet-set Denny, July 29). It really makes your heart bleed to hear that the poor humble guy has to borrow a Lear jet to make his way around. Gee, Denny, we'll be in there rooting for you to get that measly 100 grand next year so you can buy your own Lear just like Arnie's. Meanwhile, keep lucking out the way you have been. With Freehan, Horton, Kaline and Company you've had so many runs to play with that even Pitching Coach Sain could have won 15 games by now. Yes, Denny, you're the biggest flake, but the American League's best pitcher this year is Cleveland's small Cuban god, Luis Tiant.
Iowa City, Iowa
August 11, 1968
If I had anything to say about it, Frank Deford (or Jonathan Swift in guise) would receive the Pulitzer Prize for the best and most potent short satire of the year (My Battle for Our Rightful Place at the Top, July 22).
Only in an article of this type can one see the current restless mayhem that is all too characteristic of the professional sports scene in the U.S. today. Viewing the satire closely, it is easy to see how a group of men get hooked on a new, sensational idea that they try to force-feed the public—they fall in love with the idea because it's their own imaginative creation. And this idea has to be good for the public, egos being what they are. No sampling of public opinion is necessary before ideas are put into action because the top brass already knows what the public wants.
I only have one criticism of Mr. Deford's story. It just may be read by an ambitious millionaire who, taking the words for the gospel, will try to start his own fly-casting league or maybe try to revise the University of Missouri's Crittenden House olivethon on a national level.
What Gulliver's Travels was to British politics "My Battle..." is to American sports. The English changed their ways eventually. Let's just hope the Americans will do the same (but take a little less time doing it).
RAY E. BROWN
Let me commend Coles Phinizy for his article The Best in Any Tank, by George (July 22) in which emphasis was placed not on competition and winning but on the constructive influence one life can have on others'.
People like George Haines and Glenn Hummer are doing much more than turning out winning teams and Olympic stars. They are molding the character of thousands of young people and preparing them well for the responsibilities which they will have to face in their lives that lie ahead.
I initially engaged Glenn Hummer for our swimming program at the Y in the early '30s. George Haines and others like him are what they are today because of his leadership, and now George carries on in the same tradition
W. HAROLD DENISON
The World Alliance of Y.M.C.A.s
THE BLACK ATHLETE (CONT.)
I have been reading your articles on the Negro athlete (The Black Athlete—A Shameful Story, July 1, et seq.) and am very surprised at the way some large and small universities have treated them.
I coach at Purdue-Calumet, which is a branch of Purdue Lafayette (we call them Purdue south), and maybe I have been blessed with unusual Negro athletes, but we have a terrific relationship with our Negro players. Our program is unique and individualized and deserves some attention for the positive side of the racial ledger.
We at Purdue-Calumet are proud of our Negro athletes and we encourage them to participate in social activities and intellectual groups, as well as athletics.
Our Negro center on the basketball team, for example, is the President of our Student Congress, an A-B student, is active in numerous civic and campus organizations and is planning to attend law school upon graduation.
He was educated in all-Negro schools in Gary with little dealings with the white race before coming to Purdue-Calumet. He has come a long way and has even amazed himself. I would not be surprised if he doesn't obtain his present goal of becoming mayor of Gary and maybe go a lot further. This is only one case, we have more.
Since we do not offer athletic scholarships, our athletes play for the love of the game and not for what they receive. To my way of thinking, these are the real American athletes.
Let's tell the other side of the Negro story—it may be interesting, in fact, maybe a lot more interesting than the side that has already been told.
JOHN S. SHIELDS
Head Soccer and Basketball Coach
Thank God I'm white. I wouldn't have the guts to be black.
MARK F. FULLER
Since the black athlete series started I have wanted to write to say how revealing and helpful the writing and reporting of that series has been.
There is no doubt that the series, and perhaps the book that will follow, will be a significant addition to a better understanding of one of America's most critical problems.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Time Inc. are to be commended for taking leadership in this vital area.
Director of Marketing
New York City
Bravo and congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Jack Olsen for the tremendous series on the black athlete!
Your articles have had considerable impact on El Paso, though they have not effected any change in university policy. I, like many others, was grateful to have what I know to be true appear in print with so much authority, and I look forward to seeing the effect of this revealing series in the seasons ahead.
GWENDOLYN D. YOUNG
I feel that Mr. Olsen has failed in one area. He has failed to give recognition to any work already being done to equalize the races in the field of sports. Dan Devine, the athletic director and football coach of Missouri, has done more than many of the coaches across the country combined. In his 13 years of coaching football, only a very few of his football players have failed to graduate. He gives them, both black and white, the understanding they need. He has, in his 10 years at Mizzou, compiled one of the best won-lost records in the country. He has done this by taking high school football players and making them not only excellent football players but also excellent men.
Now that all of the uproar has begun, a lot of colleges are hiring Negro coaches, but Devine hired Prentice Gautt before all of this trouble in the sports world. He saw the need, and he sought to fill this lack as soon as he could.
ADRIAN STEEL JR.
As an ardent Cardinal fan for the past 35 years and the parent of a teen-age boy who lives and dies with the team's fortunes each fall, it was with special interest that I read Part 5 of Jack Olsen's series detailing the woes that befell the team during the 1967 season.
As we watched the Cardinals lose to the Giants at Yankee Stadium last December, we believed—albeit naively, it would now appear—that the concern of the coaching staff and the players was to give their best to try and win the game and not worry whether a man's skin under the jersey he wore was either white or black.
Small wonder that the Giants won the game by a mere 23 points—or that the Cardinals were able to win any games at all!
It would appear the only hope for the Cardinals this season and in the future is that the Cardinal troublemakers have either been traded, retired, or finally grown to manhood. It's tough enough to win in the NFL with 40 men playing as a team. Cardinal fans deserve something better than supporting a group of individuals.
EDWARD T. MONIGAN
Cedar Grove, N.J.