NEW YORK'S BUDDY
I would like to congratulate Alfred Wright on an article that was well done and long overdue (...And a Mighty Met Is He! Sept. 7). I have always considered Bud Harrelson to be one of the greatest things that could ever have happened to New York.
STEVEN J. KNAPP
Glen Ridge, N.J.
I'm glad someone finally gave our Buddy some well-earned recognition.
Your article has explained to the rest of the country what Met fans have known all along: you don't win with superstars alone. Sure, the Mets have one superstar, Tom Seaver. However, the Mets' backbone is made up of the little men, like Buddy and Jerry Grote and Wayne Garrett.
Alfred Wright and SI have finally recognized one of the finest shortstops in baseball. But please, next time you ask a man to pose like that, go get George Frenn or Randy Matson or somebody else, not a featherweight like Bud Harrelson. I like Bud, but that picture on page 22 turns me off.
New Haven, Conn.
September 20, 1970
In your article on Bud Harrelson and the Mets you call the Houston Astros a collection of whozats. I'll have you know that the Astros have literally buried New York in series play. Before the 1970 season, Houston held an 87-49 lead on the mighty Mets. This year New York won five of the first six games with Houston, only to give up and finish 6-6. Houston also gave Seaver three of his 11 losses. Not bad.
That collection of whozats called the Houston Astros was your pick (in the April 13 baseball preview) to win the NL Western Division. The SI writers are the collection of whozats this time.
Alfred Wright's wonderful story captured George Allen in what must be a unique paradox in the history of pro football (You Win! You're Fired! Sept. 7). As a season ticket holder for Ram games, I'm always amazed to find that no team—except the home team—plays an "away" game in the L.A. Coliseum. There are always more people rooting for the opposition than for the Rams. It seems Dan Reeves knows what he and his L.A. fans want, a loser—not George Allen.
As a loyal fan of the Rams I feel that Dan Reeves would be making a grave mistake in firing George Allen. If 38 of the 40 members of the team stood up in support of Coach Allen, the team must really need him. Dan Reeves had better think about what he is doing.
Everyone wants a winner and will come to see a winner, but the loser will draw only a few hard-core fans. Mr. Reeves has searched for many years for a coach who could give him a winning team. Now that he has Mr. Allen, whom I feel to be one of the finest, if not the finest head coach in football, it would be a shame to see Reeves let him go just because he cannot get along with him.
GEOFFREY L. BERMAN
The article by Pat Ryan (Belly Up to the Bar, Boys, Sept. 7) added further injury to a sport that you have already insulted. Your attitude concerning weight lifters makes me wonder whether your faces have been splattered with sand. In the Sept. 12, 1966 issue Associate Editor Mark Kram made the remarkable generalization that "all lifters...are similar in this respect: they have misshapen, even grotesque, bodies, and they derive the same satisfactions from the sport." The current photographs by Neil Leifer apparently were chosen to perpetuate this "opinion."
Perhaps you are not aware that there are nine weight classes—beginning at 114 pounds and under and ending at 242¼ pounds and over. Not all superheavies, and certainly not all those in the lighter classes, "waddle" or "belly up to the bar." An Olympic sport should be treated with at least the same dignity afforded professional football or any other professional sport. After all, these minority members of the sporting world do spend years in training to represent the U.S.
As a former weight-training enthusiast who left the dumbbells in his garage the day his best shirt felt tight in the arms, I am appalled by the appearance of the superheavyweight weight lifters who will be competing in Columbus, Ohio. In my opinion, they have prostituted what was intended to be merely a useful aid to physical conditioning and development. By making their bodies the means to an end, they place themselves in the same class as the bicycle racers and football players who exist on stimulants and pain-killers. What price victory?
S. M. SCHWARTZ
I thought the best article in the Sept. 7 issue was the one on weight lifting. The photographs were excellent (Neil Leifer really caught the expressions), and the story was just great.
Old Bethpage, N.Y.
ON THE BOTTOM
It was most fitting that SI should place stories on professional golf and professional marathon swimming (How to Make a Slow Buck) back to back in the Sept. 7 issue. This provided an interesting comparison between the remunerations offered for individual athletic efforts in the play-for-pay sports at the top and bottom of the scale. Dan Levin's piece hit the nail right on the head.
Marathon swimming races are crowd pleasers. The sixth annual Hamilton, Ontario race on July 26 drew an estimated 40,000 spectators—which is two-thirds of the four-day spectator total at the Dow Jones Open (although, in fairness, I must add that none of the 40,000 had to pay $7 to see the race). But the phenomenally conditioned athletes who compete in these races will continue to swim for peanuts until their sport is rediscovered in the U.S. Our thanks to SI for giving its attention to the paupers of professional sport.
World Professional Marathon
I am somewhat puzzled by an apparent trend to accord great admiration to parents who push their children toward a goal in sports or other careers at the possible expense of a "childhood." Your article on the swimming Job family (The Impatience of Mrs. Job, Aug. 24) seems to indicate this. While this method of child rearing may have proven successful in the case of the Job children, I doubt that it would be a sound practice if commonly applied. I am in my late teens and can look back on a delightful childhood. I think a childhood is sacred and should be treated accordingly.
I found no resemblance between your story of the Jobs and the Job family I know. As the Trumbull County (Ohio) Catholic Youth Organization director, I wish many more parents were as interested in their teenage sons and daughters. Very few parents encourage their children by giving them the high ideals in sports, music and religion that Mr. and Mrs. Job have inculcated in their children. I feel your reporting lacked the depth that is necessary to do justice to this family and its life pattern. Mary Job is an outstanding mother who deserves a pat on the back for what she has done. And I wish Brian good luck in the '72 Olympics.
THE REV. ROBERT COLEMAN
The article about the incredible swimming Jobs is one reason I've been reading SI for years. Brian Job is my kind of speed freak.
Raymond Hull, the dog hater who you said is writing a book which documents all the bad things he could find about dogs (SCORECARD, Aug. 24), does not know what a dog is. He's never owned one, so how could he know? He says he wants to be "the first author to tell the truth about them." The truth is that dogs are nice and lovable animals who can protect a home or save a life. Dogs are the greatest animals.
Hull also says he doesn't hate dogs. Of course he does or he wouldn't write about how to cook and eat them. I don't think he will make much money selling his book.
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