PICKS AND PECKS
I think that the Dallas Cowboys are the greatest, and I have never seen you or anyone else cover a subject better (Pro Football, Sept. 16). My hand is extended to Tex Maule and to Edwin Shrake for their superb articles.
Please fill in the blanks.
Number of times Tex Maule has picked the Cowboys to win the NFL title____.
Number of times the Cowboys have won the title __0__.
September 29, 1968
Laguna Beach, Calif.
Sorry, Tex Maule, but it just ain't gonna happen!
The Green Bay Packers still have the greatest team in the world of pro football.
TED R. ROOSE
I was most displeased by Tex Maule's appraisal of the Baltimore Colts. Mr. Maule spreads the fallacy that the team revolves around Johnny Unitas and that it will not be able to function properly without him. I am not trying to repudiate Unitas' golden career and record, but I do wish to make clear that the performances of Quarterback Earl Morrall and the Colt team as a whole should not be discredited when Johnny Unitas is out of action.
In 1967 Sonny Jurgensen of the Washington Redskins was the leading passer in the NFL in spite of a seemingly overwhelming handicap: no consistent running game. In 1968, after a slow recovery from an arm operation and only 60 minutes of exhibition-game experience, Jurgensen threw four touchdown passes against the leading pass defense of 1967 in an upset win over the Chicago Bears.
All this and Jurgensen is virtually ignored in your Pro Football Issue. How is this possible?
JOHN A. YERRICK
Silver Spring, Md.
I regret to inform you of an error in the September 16 edition of SI. Apparently you haven't heard. The Chinese were wrong. This is the year of the Ram.
Thanks for the fascinating insights provided in your September 16 Don Meredith cover story (A Cowboy Named Dandy Don). I have seen every Cowboy game on TV for several years and have become convinced that the Dallas fans are the most unknowledgeable and unappreciative football fans anywhere. Perhaps this article will give them a new understanding of the agony a professional quarterback must endure almost matter-of-factly.
I for one would hate to see a football world peopled with the drab perfection of dozens of Bart Starrs. The real enjoyment and sanity to be found in pro football come from the imperfections of a handful of colorful players such as Meredith. Don has been good for pro football, much better than pro football has been to him, perhaps.
DAVID F. HILL
Edwin Shrake's article on Don Meredith was fantastic. It showed one of football's greatest players on the field and off. If the Cowboys take it all this year, Dandy Don will be the reason.
Having followed tennis rather closely over the years, I have watched with more than usual interest the career of Arthur Ashe, the first Negro to attain top ranking in the men's division and our present Amateur and Open Champion. I was pleased when he was recently awarded the Harold A. Lebair Memorial Trophy for "good sportsmanship" exemplifying the finest traditions of tennis." Besides his brilliant game, I have been impressed by his exemplary demeanor during a match, whether winning or losing. His graciousness as a loser and his modesty as a winner are qualities worthy of emulation. Such qualities not only tend to melt away domestic racial barriers, but they are also of distinct value in furthering international goodwill as Lieut. Ashe continues to represent the U.S. in forthcoming Davis Cup ties. I heartily go along with the title of your article on the U.S. Open Championships, Arthur All the Way (Sept. 16)!
G. M. W. KOBBÉ
New York City
Sportsman of the Year: Arthur Ashe.
I see where that chronic complainer, Jack Nicklaus, has taken a big slap at Leo Fraser, PGA secretary (Rebuttal to a Searing Attack, Sept. 16). The man he attacks has probably done more for the advancement of professional golf than any one person. His work for charity in this section is well known: he donates his club for charitable tourneys; he is a strong supporter of the J. Wood Piatt caddie scholarship trust, which has given more than a quarter million dollars to worthy caddies for college tuitions.
Nicklaus complains about the way the Westchester Classic was run, but he smiled prettily when handed his check for $20,416. He had no complaints when he pocketed $25,000 in the American Golf Classic and another $26,000 in the Western Open. But when he blew to a 79 in the PGA and missed the cut, he cried about the eligibility rules that have been in effect for years.
I think Mr. Fraser had every right to defend the PGA. Remember, the PGA is for the rank and file; the APG is for itself.
M. H. MCKEAN
I could not wait to see what you had to say about the Patterson-Ellis fiasco. In the Quarry fight, Patterson lost because he was not the stronger puncher. In Sweden he was the stronger in everything, and he still lost. He can't win.
The article Snydered in Springfield (Sept. 2) is one of the more obnoxious pieces of reporting that I have read in some time. No town or city is without its shortcomings, and Springfield is no exception. As a member of the Springfield Country Club, I was disappointed when the board voted to deny the request to use the course again for the Ladies' World Series of Golf, and I am not proud that only about 5,000 persons each year attended these events. Perhaps Snyder Park Golf Course does not compare favorably with Augusta National, Winged Foot, Scioto or some other plush club, but to ridicule a city that provides excellent park facilities for its residents to have family picnics and play golf (even if they pull their own carts) is hitting a bit below the belt.
Had Curry Kirkpatrick taken the time to investigate, he might have mentioned some of the praiseworthy things our city has to offer, such as its tennis facilities and program, a summer arts festival, a symphony orchestra, opera and theater groups, an art center, a university, Head Start and Upward Bound programs for its youth, to mention but a few. And while he was mentioning the International Harvester Company, Mr. Kirkpatrick might have added that the new, multimillion-dollar factory built for them was voted one of the top 10 new plants in the nation by Modern Manufacturing magazine. Nor is Springfield a one-industry town. There are few cities its size that can compare with it in the diversification of its manufacturing plants.
If we have citizens who tried to undertake something big—perhaps too big at the time—might it not be better for all concerned to encourage them? Little in this world would have been bettered if it had not been for the men and women who had vision and the courage to translate that vision into action.
Your article Snydered in Springfield has created quite a turmoil with many sports-minded people, and even with those who aren't, in this one-horse town located midway between Columbus and Dayton.
The author must have been stranded in Springfield one cold winter night to knock the town as articulately as he did. This is not to say that Mr. Kirkpatrick fails to call a spade a spade. As a matter of fact, he describes the everyday movement in and around Snyder Park as it actually happens. His descriptions are quite amusing; you almost have to be a resident of Springfield to really appreciate them.
What is perturbing, though, is the lack of credit given to the sponsors, Springfield residents for the most part, who have staged a women's golf tournament that in 1968 paid to the last-place finisher more money than she could have won for finishing first in almost any other tournament on the tour. The women golf pros so far have received very little in the way of prize money for their excellent show from any city or locality in the nation—except maybe in the one-horse town of Springfield.
L. G. YOUNGBLOOD
I would quibble with only two of Author Bil Gilbert's points about national parks and the American public's idea of the good life—i.e., parking a $6,000 camper next to others to form the most mobile outdoor ghetto of all time (Boondock Heresy, Sept. 2). First, he is glad that the tastes of the mob and the backpacker seeking virgin land are so compatible. He shouldn't be; they aren't. Most of the drivers in traffic-jammed Great Smoky Mountains National Park that day would have liked—and actually will press for in the future—a road to Andrews Bald, where Mr. Gilbert found such welcome solitude.
Second, national parks have become a travesty of themselves, and Mr. Gilbert does a most descriptive job of telling it like it is. But when he suggests that perhaps the 99% of the public that doesn't hike is entitled to have lots more roads built so that they wind through 20% of the park land he is on shaky ground. It might be more logical to have absolutely no roads in national parks. The parks were established to conserve something of the original country, and there are lots of roads in the 98+% of the U.S. outside of the national parks.
The campers Bil Gilbert describes, and many of the ones I have seen, would be just as happy in a shopping-center parking lot, if only it had a name they could drop once they got home.
DON H. COOMBS
Palo Alto, Calif.
I found Bil Gilbert's article on Great Smoky Mountains Park highly amusing and entertaining. I fail, however, to follow or understand the logic that led to his last-paragraph conclusions. It seems highly inconsistent to spend the major part of the article ridiculing the parking-lot kind of life most people consider suitable exposure to the park and then to suggest that natural-scene preservationists should be unconcerned if a larger portion of the park were given over to expanded parking lot-souvenir town activities. Would it not be more desirable to educate people to the pleasures of hikes to Andrews Bald and similar areas?
I also question the validity of using requests for campfire permits to indicate slight use of park trails and back country. This, for example, would not have included the numerous one-day hikes my family has taken on two enjoyable visits to the Smokies.
GERALD C. GERLOFF