A Tale of Two Men and One City (Sept. 29) is a masterpiece. Having met Ernie Banks on a few occasions and having observed him on a hundred, I would say that Mark Kram has perfectly captured the mood, personality and quality of this rare man. For years we've heard the expression "Beautiful Wrigley Field," but a more fitting use of the adjective would surely be "Beautiful Ernie Banks." We spent a recent week at Wrigley Field and saw one very striking example of the love of the Chicago fans for their Mr. Cub. A batter came up for the Cubs in a crucial situation and was greeted by the fans with the exhortation, "Come on, get Ernie in the World Series."
After reading Mark Kram's feature on Ernie Banks, Mr. Chicago Cub, I think the title of the article should have been changed to A Man for All Seasons. Ernie Banks' soul is too big for one city.
Thank you for writing a feature on Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs. However, I was surprised that you did not mention Ernie's many extracurricular activities. Ernie is a tremendous person, and he spends so many evenings working with the Boy Scouts, the Boys' Clubs, the YMCA and all community projects. Mr. Cub is the most sought-after speaker for local community meetings.
Ernie is a great man and a sports hero, a civic leader and a real American. Even on a losing team, he has been a standout and a real leader.
You might also have mentioned that the team Banks works for has signed its players long before other teams, and Mr. Wrigley deserves credit for having a team with contracts, day baseball and a harmonious organization. Too bad they had their cold spell at the end of the season.
Another year ahead for the Cubs with the Lion, and they will win it all. And right there will be No. 14, Mr. Cub, and he will make everything go.
CLAUDE W. OTTO, M.D.
After having read so many articles expounding the loyalty and devotion of Chicago's Bleacher Bums, I have a question: where oh where have the Bleacher Bums gone? Certainly not to Wrigley Field. Following the Cubs' fall from first place in the Eastern Division, the Bleacher Bums became scarce. During a two-game set with Philadelphia, the Cubs had a total paid attendance of slightly less than 12,000 fans. In a game with Montreal a week later, they barely drew 3,000 fans.
Although this was partly due to the low standings of Montreal and Philadelphia, the fact still remains: the Bleacher Bums had given up. Despite all their banners, cheers and other demonstrations, the Bleacher Bums became the type of fans who only support a winner. They have shown that they are not the superfans they proclaimed themselves to be.
The Met fans are just the opposite. They have stayed with the Mets throughout the season. Even when the Mets were 9½ games behind the Cubs as late as Aug. 13, the fans kept coming. They have shown the Bleacher Bums what baseball fans really are.
PHILIP E. MCLAUGHLIN
Staten Island, N.Y.
BLACK AND WHITE
Congratulations on your article about Jimmy Jones and the University of Southern California team (Getting by Nicely Without O.J., Sept. 29). It was a good article, but it lacked a few minor details about Jim. He played his high school football at John Harris High School, Harrisburg, Pa., the home of the best football in the country
Jim and his senior teammates at Harris never lost a ball game in junior or senior high school. They also started an amazing winning streak that was ended last year. But Harris' won-lost record over the past five years is still 50-1.
I just thought that these facts might be of some interest to your readers.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw your Sept. 29 cover. I used to think you really had to be something to rate this kind of publicity, but now I don't know. This young man completed eight of 15 passes in the only major college football game he's ever played in and already he rates the cover of this nation's leading sport magazine. Maybe it's because he's from USC, or maybe it's because he's a black quarterback. I imagine it's one of the two. But just for your information, there are several established quarterbacks in the college ranks who merit this kind of attention (Montgomery of Arkansas, for example). And what was the name of that young sophomore quarterback from the University of Florida who ripped highly regarded Houston apart? I really think you should devote your magazine to other sections of the country. There are many more teams playing ball than USC and Notre Dame.
JOHN D. HILL
On the night of Sept. 12 Alcorn A&M (the defending national black football champion) beat Grambling College 28-7 before 60,000 people in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Last year Alcorn beat Grambling 28-13 en route to a 9-1 season, which included a 36-9 victory over Florida A&M in the Orange Blossom Classic.
In compiling this record, Alcorn held its opponents to an average of 8.8 yards rushing per game. Seven of the opponents were members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which produces 30 plus pro draftees a year.
Despite Alcorn's recent convincing victory and an impressive record from last season, your magazine continues to overlook the team. No mention was made of it in your Sept. 15 preseason ratings of the top small colleges. Your mistake in not covering the game in Los Angeles borders on negligence. But even that mistake was small compared to the one made by the sportswriters of the Associated Press, who ranked Grambling third in their first small-college poll after Grambling was crushed by Alcorn. Alcorn was not ranked.
Isn't it about time that your magazine and others recognized the other black schools that also play football?
HALF A CUP
Congratulations! You managed to take a hard-fought 5-0 Davis Cup victory by the U.S. and conclude that it wasn't really an important match anyway—since the best players (the pros) were not present (Second Best Is Good Enough, Sept. 29). If this is true, then the Olympic Games don't mean anything either.
Many people consider amateurism closer to the true meaning of sport than professionalism, since the motivation is love of sport rather than money.
If, as you state, the Davis Cup is no more than a runner-up bowl: 1) why did you fail to mention (or even hint at) this fact in your Davis Cup preview issue of Aug. 25? 2) why is it true only this year? The rules have been the same for many years; 3) why bother to make eight excuses for the losing team? Not one of these excuses was mentioned in the preview issue.
The Davis Cup preview concludes with glowing anticipation of the match: "It should be fun." Now, look at the first sentence of your article on the results: "...if this is the best [they] can amuse themselves with, then the Establishment is on shaky ground." About face!
"Second best is good enough" is pure hindsight and sour grapes. It is easy to be a poor loser. But wait—we won!
Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.
I agree wholeheartedly with your two observations regarding the Davis Cup. The competition must be open to everyone—pros, registered players, amateurs and whatever other classifications there are. And to have the defending champion wait all year for a challenger is tantamount to having the New York Jets take an 11-month vacation until someone emerges to challenge them in the Super Bowl.
Despite this, I witnessed and enjoyed the final day of competition in Cleveland; that is, until 4-0 in the fourth set of the Arthur Ashe-Ion Tiriac match. At this point Tiriac walked to the side of the court, and the referee announced that due to a previous agreement, Tiriac had to "retire" because the Rumanians had to catch a plane!
A full 15 minutes passed with Tiriac talking to Dell and to others on the court, and then came another long delay with the USLTA officials waiting for both teams to come back on the court for the presentations. From the time the announcement was made of the "retirement" until the Rumanian team finally walked off the court following the ceremonies, 40 minutes had elapsed!
What time was that flight, anyhow, fellas? It was strictly a bush climax to the 1969 Davis Cup Challenge Round.
Please tell Juan Peimbert (SCORECARD, Sept. 29) that the notice of the trademark "Super Bowl" has been published in the Official Gazette of the U.S. Patent Office, and it also has been registered in Mexico by professional football. Should Juan wish to come to New Orleans, we would be pleased to have him attend the Muy Gran Juego.
JAMES L. KENSIL
New York City
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