NOT PLAIN BILL
Our deepest thanks for your having told the true story about Bill Veeck (Back Where I Belong, March 15).
I am a minor investor in Mr. Veeck's group, an honor and a thrill that is normally reserved for boyhood dreams. There are few men who can enliven, motivate and contribute like Bill Veeck, and we are proud to have him in Chicago and we shall enthusiastically share him with the nation.
He might contend that it is his "last hurrah," but we all feel that there will be a few pennants flying before that occurs, and if not, we will still have lots of fun.
Fascinating wheeler-dealering aside, Veeck's comments concerning Jack Brick-house intrigued me most. I'm a Chicagoan and a Cub fan—barely able to remember the last pennant—and a devoted sufferer through the Dallesandros, Terwilligers, Serenas, Jeffcoats, Minners, et al.
I cheered when I learned of Veeck's opportunity to purchase the Sox. It doesn't surprise me even a little to find that "the Brick" came to his aid. A great many people, big and small, are just plain baseball fans, especially in Chicago. Veeck and Chicago—a worthy match.
JOHN A. HILDEBRAND JR.
Veeck as in "velcome beck!"
C. M. WARD
Those were great stories about Rosi Mittermaier and Franz Klammer (Everything's Rosi, March 15) and the joy in their villages over their triumphs at the Winter Olympics.
Now, what does Detroit plan for Sheila Young—America's outstanding champion in Innsbruck?
WILLIAM E. W. GOWEN New York
Even after you received all those letters protesting the absence of Dorothy Hamill on the cover during your Olympic coverage, you not only omit her picture from the March 15 issue, but you also report on her victory at Goteborg in the figure-skating world championship with a microscopic paragraph in FOR THE RECORD.
I feel that you have done the sport a grave injustice by neglecting to cover what was probably Dorothy's amateur finale—and the first U.S. victory in this event since Peggy Fleming's in 1968—while you saw fit to use five pages to report on two foreign Olympians.
EDWARD A. SLAVIN III
THE SHOE FITS
William Leggett's article on Bill Shoemaker's quest for 7,000 winners (6996, 6997, 6998, March 15) was very interesting. I hope the greatest jockey of them all doesn't hang up his tack until he hits 10,000. But please! Don't cheat Johnny Longden out of six winners. "The Pumper" had 6,032 victories, not 6,026.
•Sorry. Johnny pumped hard but came up with only 6,026.—ED.
Olympic heroes will be a dime a dozen, major league baseball and professional football are sure to produce one or two superstars and Jack Nicklaus may win his grand slam, but let's stop all the arguing now. Bill Shoemaker for Sportsman of the Year.
BRADLEY N. TUFTS
Gerald Strine's attempt to immortalize Eugene Zeek (The Sting, March 8) fell markedly short when he let the readers know that Zeek attempted to reenter the U.S. by offering to return the million-dollar rip-off.
The final analysis showed Zeek to have self-exiled himself in his homemade prison. Granted, if one has to pick a prison, Grenada is a good choice, but at the time he obviously had no idea that he was cutting himself off from his sole lifeline—action.
It seems to me that people who live on action first and dream of the big killing are sadly disappointed if that lightning in the bottle is ever caught. Zeek is getting his just reward without the law enforcement agencies having to intervene.
Keith Mano's article (Say 'Cheese,' Mom and Pop, March 15) about Joe Paterno has restored some of my faith in the credibility of football coaches. Two of my sons have basked in the warm overtures of recruiting followed by the harsh realities of indifference and degradation, so it was most reassuring to read about a compassionate coach.
Mano's article on the one and only Joe Paterno accurately relates the reason for both his successful record and the fine men he turns out.
But please, Mr. Mano, go back and research the words to our Alma Mater!
When we stood at boyhood's gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State....
•Boyhood officially became childhood last fall to accommodate coeds.—ED.
WORDS TO THE WISE
In a world that abounds with rash generalizations, must you allow yet another? I'm referring to the highly prejudiced article on the language of professional athletes by Frank Deford (BOOKTALK, March 8). I agree there are some athletes who do not do justice to the English tongue. However, is this not the case in any profession? I'm confident that many sportswriters, without the aid of proofreaders and editors, would appear to have the intelligence of first-grade grammar school students.
Actually, Frank Deford is fighting a losing battle, per se, in his campaign against "you know." At this point in time his arguments are not really viable, really.
Jocks aren't the only offenders. The Watergate hearings contributed a number of offensive phrases, and one of the most admired committee members perpetuated "I feel like" instead of the grammatical "I feel that."
WILLIAM J. DEMPSEY
In like manner, of course, sports announcers such as Frank Giford and Howard Cosell talk, of course, very classy—at least, of course, on the air. Of course.
MALCOLM D. CLARKE
South Harpswell, Maine
You know, Frank, you're 100% right. But as long as people are allowed to get away with that kind of, you know, stuff, why should they change? That would involve, you know, thinking. I call this affliction Poverty of Thought.
MARY L. LINK
Sincerest thanks for Martha Smilgis' article on Peter Westbrook (Quick Thrust to the Fore, March 8), one of America's finest and most talented saber hopes for this summer's Olympics in Montreal.
I can't help but think, however, that the real focus of the article should have been on Westbrook's coach, Csaba Elthes. West-brook's feeling that he was initially "intimidated" by Maestro Elthes is shared by many. My first lesson with him was far from enjoyable, and this upset me because I love the sport. Amid taunts, red-faced screams and innumerable slashes at my legs (all off target), Maestro Elthes had me realizing in no time that if I did not fence correctly, with great concentration and with no mistakes, well, I would meet Errol Flynn on that great fencing strip in the sky.
Say what you will, B. F. Skinner, on the merits of positive reinforcement. Maestro Elthes' dosage of negative reinforcement will have a student either fencing superbly or hobbling home in the same frame of mind as the 76ers' Billy Cunningham in your article on pain in the same issue.
NEIL H. GRAY
New York City
Thank you for your fine article on Peter Westbrook. You mentioned two other Essex (N.J.) Catholic High School alumni, Marty Liquori and Mark Murro, both track and field stars. It would have been more appropriate to cite Bruce Soriano, who was the NCAA saber champion for three straight years (1970-72) while fencing for NYU's archrival, Columbia. Bruce opted for medical school over the Olympics.
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