I wish to congratulate you on your excellent article about an extraordinary man, Willie Mays (Yea, Mr. Mays, July 27). He is a credit to the game of baseball, not only because of his achievements on the field but also because of his attitude toward the game and toward life in general. I commend Roy Blount for writing the finest article I have ever read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
One hopes that Willie Mays will eventually decide to become a manager and that baseball will provide him with a plethora of opportunities. He already possesses more ebullience and leadership qualities than many of the sport's mediocre managers.
DAVID A. HIRSHEY
In your article saluting Willie Mays, you state that Henry Aaron is the only other star of such magnitude. In stating this you are doing a grave injustice to the best all-round player in baseball today. Apparently you won't recognize his name, but Pirate fans will—Roberto Clemente.
I write to comment on the present strike against the owners of NFL teams by the Players' Association (The Owners and Players Fumble On in Philly, Aug. 3). The positions taken by both sides in this dispute seem unrealistic and unhealthy to me. For the players' part, their demand for exorbitant salaries in exchange for six months' play is totally without justification in a nation with the problems of social welfare that are ours now. For the owners' part, their control of pro football has produced a Leviathan that now attacks athletics in general and manages to pollute the minds of young athletes with false goals and materialistic values. I know; I am a coach of high school football and I see in young men the psychological press applied to their growing personalities by big-time sport.
Perhaps the strike will do us all a favor by sparing us from another year of endless interviews with overinflated egos and the drivel of commentators trying to provide a cushion between commercials—which is what makes the money, which is what it's all about, which, after all, is what the whole trouble is.
Let us all pray that the strike continues. Maybe there's a chance yet that we can save athletics for people.
Green Bay, Wis.
When the Players' Association can sit down to the bargaining table with the club owners and ask for a pension fund that will pay a king's ransom, that, my fellow fans, is not greed, it's robbery. It's sad, but the fans, not the owners, are made to pay.
Virginia Beach, Va.
I am a sports fan who buys tickets for pro football games, and the recent outrageous prices have just about forced me to my choking point. My reaction to the labor dispute between the players and the National Football League, which will raise the prices of tickets no matter how they settle the hassle, is as follows: the pro football players are far less exploited than any other group of employees, including migratory farm workers, and the team owners evince no more greed than their players, who are demanding absurd pension benefits. A plague on both their houses!
If the pros and their owners won't play ball and give due consideration to the fans, let college football reap the harvest—even on Sundays.
Silver Spring, Md.
I just finished reading Mark Kram's article on Karl Wallenda (The Smell of Death Was in the Air, July 27). What marvelous writing! It put me right there at Tallulah Gorge (which I have visited) as I read and felt every word, like a marvelous fairy tale. The character study of Wallenda was as clear as a bell, and the spectators also came to life. I had goose pimples before I finished the article.
MRS. R. E. GLENN
Palm Beach, Fla.
Your report on the world soaring championships (Red Baron in the Wild Blue Yonder, July 13) made many of the U.S. soaring fraternity fighting mad. As you stated, the competition was to determine two champions—standard class (sailplane wingspan limited to 49.4 feet) and open class (ship with unlimited wingspan). Each class competed over a two-week period on different assigned tasks each day. George Moffat of the U.S. was the top man in the open class. Helmut Reichmann of Germany won the standard-class championship.
But Robert F. Jones said that Reichmann outflew them all, including Moffat. It is difficult to understand how the author came up with this conclusion. The fact that Reichmann's score (8,663 points) was higher than Moffat's (8,323 points) has absolutely no relationship, because points were not scored between the two classes. We who are deeply involved in soaring would hesitate to determine whose performance was best. It is like comparing apples to potatoes.
Moffat is the World Open Class Soaring Champion, and he is an American. We in the U.S. should be really proud of this accomplishment. I think SI should have given him a real pat on the back.
Schweizer Aircraft Corp.
I would like to thank you for the article on drag racing (Speed to Bum, Baby, Burn, July 27). Although drag racing has been receiving more coverage from the press, many people still misunderstand what it is. Thanks to your article, I'm sure many people have been set straight about this sport.
PROPER MEASURES (CONT.)
Your article Funny Ball, Funny Bounces (July 20) by Herman Weiskopf is clearly the best that has come along on the characteristics of the major-league baseball and how the game is affected. I hope that the article inspires greater consistency and control in the manufacture of the baseball.
My interest in the game has extended to comparing fence distances and heights of major-league ball parks in terms of home runs that would be expected. This led necessarily to climatological factors, and we dropped baseballs from a little higher and photographed the bounce with a movie camera. The results obtained were consistent with those in your article.
As a matter of companion interest, your article mentions that high humidity during the game will curtail the flight of batted balls. I'm sure you mean this happens because of the effect of humidity on the resiliency of the ball itself. However, a lot of people also feel that high humidity or high proportions of water vapor in the air tend to slow down the flight of the ball. On this point my research has indicated that dry air is actually more dense than air containing large amounts of water vapor such as would be characteristic of high humidity. This pertains up to the point of any precipitation such as mist, fog or rain—which would naturally slow down the ball. However, the difference in a ball passing through dry air (low humidity) in contrast to high humidity is extremely small. So when the ball does not go far because of humidity, it is only because of moisture acting on the ball itself, as you describe in your article.
ROBERT H. KINGSLEY
Short though it was, your article on the great Jim Hall (Box? Bar of Soap? No, It's a Car, July 20) was the best of its kind I have read in your magazine in at least a year.
I think Jim Hall's new vacuum 2J is the best new idea for racing since the turbine cars. Let's hope the Chaparral 2J doesn't end up sitting uselessly in a museum like the turbines.
I was very pleased to see your July 6 cover picture of George Frenn. Your story on George a few months back was also very good, although you failed to mention many of his accomplishments. In addition to being a fine hammer thrower, George holds the American records for the 35-pound and 56-pound weight throw. George is also a very devoted weight lifter. Last May he exceeded the records in the 24½-pound class for the squat (770 pounds) and the dead lift (775 pounds). As far as I know, George's total in these two lifts is more than any man has ever moved in two lifts, even men weighing as much as 100 pounds more in the next higher class.
I believe that George should be recognized for these additional records. To be efficient in one sport is great, but to excel in many sports is far greater.
North Phoenix Baseball Club
Santa Ana, Calif.
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