Coming from the man who rode Swaps, Dr. Fager and Fiddle Isle, Bill Shoemaker's statement that Forego was the best horse he's ever ridden (Any Distance, Any Weight, July 24) carries almost as much weight as the old warrior ever did.
Forego didn't break Kelso's career earnings record and he never won a Triple Crown like Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, but you should measure a great horse by heart, not statistics. And in heart, Forego finished second to none.
I applaud the decision to give Forego the rest he so richly deserves. May he enjoy his clover.
NORA B. EHRLING
The adjectives slovenly, gluttonous and lascivious are accurate descriptions of Leon Spinks (Sometimes a Guy's Gotta Swoop, July 24). I am surprised that a magazine of your quality would waste its time on such a person. I hope Ali regains the title and relegates Spinks to oblivion.
JOHN F. NAUGHTON III
August 6, 1978
Leon Spinks says, "You can't take the ghetto out of the nigger," but there are many successful, hardworking black athletes who have overcome severe social adversity without compromising their ethnic heritage in any way. These athletes return to the neighborhoods not to "swoop" or swill beer from a quart bottle but to share their success by making real contributions.
DANIEL L. HEBERT
I was severely disappointed that SI sank to the level it did in its character assassination of Leon Spinks. The article was based at least partially on hearsay and had little bearing on athletics. If Spinks were the first athlete who smoked, caroused and drank, then the article might have been printed with justification. A cheap shot at a man who is already, in many respects, down.
The authors of your series on money in sports (SI, July 17, et seq.), Ray Kennedy and Nancy Williamson, deserve multi-year, no-cut, megabuck, fringe-benefit contracts.
In Part I, we read about how greedy, evil owners rip off the players and fans. But in Part II, dealing with high salaries, there was little in that vein about the players (For the Athlete, How Much Is Too Much? July 24). Instead, you tell us that athletes take physical beatings in their jobs. Well, what do you think a factory worker or a fireman endures? You also note that athletes are around only a short time. Don't they think they should have to work when their playing careers are over? There was even mention of "slave wages." Not many slaves I've heard of take up to five months vacation every year, work six hours or less per day, get to visit 18 to 24 cities, receive meal money away from the plantation, are paid to make speeches and sign autographs, get freebies on things for which the "lousy fan" pays full price and bask in the admiration of millions.
Do David Thompson, O. J. Simpson or Larry Hisle deserve to earn more than Jimmy Carter?
SAUL A. BEHAR
Lafayette Hill, Pa.
The free-agent system and all those high salaries would not have come about if the owners had treated the players like people instead of chattels.
Wheatley Heights, N.Y.
I cannot believe you left Walter Payton off the all-underpaid team. At less than $100,000 for last year's MVP performance, Payton was the best bargain in sports.
Putting Vladislav Bogicevic on the all-overpaid team is unfair. Before joining the Cosmos, Bogie played for the Yugoslavian national team in 47 games. He was one of Europe's finest players. He definitely deserves the money he is making.
East Brunswick, N.J.
SCORING THE SCORERS
The solution to baseball's official scorer problem (Do They Really Know the Score? July 24) is to let a fifth umpire handle the job. He should sit in a booth with a good view and have access to instant replay. In addition, he should recognize errors of "omission" as well as "commission." For instance, a player who fails to cover a base should be charged with an error. And when a run scores as a result of a pitcher's own error, it should count against his earned run average.
I was fascinated to learn that scoring decisions in St. Louis are complicated by Busch Stadium's synthetic turf, which makes baseballs "accelerate after they hit the ground." If this is true, this magical surface can be put to better use. First, enclose the playing field with walls and a ceiling made of the same synthetic turf. Then drop in a few hundred baseballs. These balls—accelerating each time they hit—soon would be whizzing around at thousands of miles per hour. You could harness this fantastic energy and light the entire city of St. Louis.
JOHN KELLY KARASEK
This morning my son said to me, "Dad, I never knew you'd been in jail." I never knew it, either. He had been reading a history of Ivy League football published by Stein & Day, in which, to my astonishment, there were four or five paragraphs about me. I have a Columbia B.A. but I was too heavy for the lightweight team and too light for the regular team.
The book said I had been "hauled off to jail" during the 1968 Columbia riots. It seems that erroneous statement had originally been made in your publisher's letter for March 15, 1976, an issue in which an article of mine appeared. To set things straight, I was not hauled anywhere—just shoved around a bit in the confusion.
D. KEITH MANO
Blooming Grove, N.Y.
Having recently watched Nancy Lopez at the Mayflower Classic in Noblesville, Ind., I particularly appreciated your cover story on her (Nancy with the Laughing Face, July 10). At the Mayflower, Nancy was obviously aware that much of the crowd had come to see her but she encouraged us to appreciate the play of other golfers, too. When Sandra Spuzich hit an approach shot deep into a sand trap, then blasted out onto the edge of the green, the fine shot didn't escape Nancy. "Great shot! Super out!" she yelled. Great lady! Super golfer!
Black Mountain, N.C.
As a logical extension of baseball's All-Star Game player selection system, Bowie Kuhn might consider letting the fans elect the four division winners, too. Teams with poor records the preceding year would be left off the official ballot but could be written in. Once and for all, the commissioner could give the game of baseball totally to the fans.
RICHARD L. PACELLE JR.
New Haven, Conn.
Now you've done it. After your excellent coverage of the World Cup, you go and recommend changing the name of soccer to kick-ball (SCORECARD, July 17). How typically American. First, we change the offsides and tie-game rules, now we talk about changing the name of the game. Why not just change the name of soccer to football and the name of football to gridiron football, the expression used in England, where true football was invented?
Columnist Bob Matthews is crazy. Our game of football has become an institution, and its name likewise. Why change it?
STOP THE MUSIC
Last fall 1,674 chairs were used in a game of musical chairs at Northern Michigan University, 474 more than Paul Joseph Roberge and his colleagues at Notre Dame and St. Mary's College used in what he confidently claims was a world record game (19TH HOLE, July 17). Mr. Roberge's bumps and bruises may have been worth it but it certainly wasn't a world record.
JAMES D. TOTZ
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
I hate to break Mr. Roberge's heart, but I'm afraid I must. I took part in a game of musical chairs at Penn State in which 1,900 students participated. I made it to the final 25. Imagine all my bumps and bruises, Paul.
NO TIME TO STUDY
The Oklahoma State scandal (Deep in Hot Water in Stillwater, July 3) calls to mind Dr. Roseberry, the football coach in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel Player Piano. Dr. Roseberry was recruiting a potential player and finally signed him for a paltry $36,000.
" 'And I could study, too?' the player asked. 'You'd give me time off for classes and study?'
"Roseberry frowned, 'Well—there's some pretty stiff rulings about that. You can't play college football and go to school. They tried that once, and you know what a silly mess that was.' "
Dr. Roseberry's Cornell team was so cheap it actually had to live on campus. Tennessee kept its team in Miami Beach, and Yale bought the whole Texas A&M backfield.
DR. ROGER D. METCALF
Grand Prairie, Texas
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