Your article on Tony C (Faith, Hope and Tony C, July 5) deserves special applause. With the rising tide of drug abuse revelations, it's good to read about a man who didn't hide behind his misfortune of 1967 and isn't quitting today though under the most extreme financial, physical and psychological pressure.
Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate brushing drug abuse in sports under the rug. Cocaine-wasted lives and careers are a sickening part of life today. If the Don Reese story ("I'm Not Worth a Damn," June 14) can save one person from a similar fate, a service will have been done to all.
But as long as fighters like Tony C are around to inspire us and remind us of the achievements that are possible, we need not wallow in despair. That service also deserves recognition.
I just read the article on Tony Conigliaro and the goose bumps are still evident. I'm a big fan of baseball and a bigger fan of ex-players like Tony who, against tremendous odds, are still in contact with the world. It's so unfortunate that a player with the capabilities Tony possessed would be the victim of so many horrible events.
July 18, 1982
You can have your Jacksons, Winfields, Benches—in my book, Tony C is the real superstar. Where can we send our letters of encouragement to help Tony through this ordeal?
•Tony C is in the Shaughnessey Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem, Mass.—ED.
Tony Conigliaro is an inspiration to everyone who puts on a baseball glove and dreams of the major leagues. Tony was up, Tony was down, and Tony C will come around. My prayers are with him.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
I'm writing to compliment you on your beautiful article on Tony C. Your title was very appropriate, because faith and hope are what Tony's family will have to have. I was in a car accident in 1971 and the doctors at the time thought I just had a fractured leg—little did they know I would lapse into a coma that would last three months. The purpose of this letter is to let Tony's family know I'll say a prayer for him every day, because I feel the only reason I'm alive is prayers—and the hope that all my friends and family had.
Tony, keep the faith.
Jack McCallum's story on Tony C was very moving. No one who was in Boston in the mid-'60s remained untouched by this brash and handsome young man who grew up to live his dream—and saw that dream become a nightmare. I had to wipe away tears as I finished the article. Three thousand miles and 15 years later, I'm still rooting for you, Tony. You owe us one more comeback. I'm going to hold you to it.
BEST OF THE WORST
Finally, Kent Hrbek gets the recognition he deserves (Local Boy Makes Good, Local Team Makes Bad, July 5). He was a great choice for a cover story. It's too bad they didn't put his name on the All-Star ballot instead of some of the other rookies on bigger-name teams. SI made it clear that the Twins can be proud to have someone like Hrbek playing for them, not only for his playing ability but also for his personality. Thanks again to Steve Wulf for the article.
The photograph of Kerry Hrbek in the article about her brother, Kent, exemplifies another of the ills of having fans select the major league baseball All-Star teams (SCORECARD, May 31). By writing her brother's name "on at least 20 ballots a day," Kerry is guilty of ballot-stuffing. How many friends and schoolmates has she enlisted to send a similar number of ballots daily?
Even more shameful are the television and radio announcers and club officials who exhort the fans to send in votes for local favorites. The entire selection procedure has become a hustle and should be abandoned. Turn the vote over to the managers and coaches or to the electors who select players for the Baseball Hall of Fame. They are the people who care about the integrity of the game.
Thank you for a great article on rookie sensation Kent Hrbek of the lowly Twins. But there's one thing I don't understand. You mention that there were 248 homers in 1961 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, home of the Angels. I thought Wrigley Field was the home of the Chicago Cubs. Was that the name of the field of the Angels, too, or is it a mistake?
•That was indeed the name of the field—the Chicago Cubs used to own the L.A. Angels of the Pacific Coast League—but the city ordered the field razed in 1964.—ED.
I had the pleasure of hosting Don and Jo-Anne Carner (No Fish Story; Golf's Top Lady, July 5), at a cookout about a year ago. It was our first meeting, and I admit to being somewhat starstruck. After the meal, when most were leaning back with a cup of coffee, I was horrified to find JoAnne in the kitchen scraping dishes. Her reaction as I ushered her back to the other guests was typical JoAnne: "Why not? Somebody has to do it." The lady doesn't understand she isn't just "somebody."
JoAnne's winning the USGA's Bob Jones Award was appropriate. I think it was golf chronicler Herbert Warren Wind who once said of Bob Jones, "He's a golfer and a gentleman...and he's all there is of both." With allowance for the difference in sex, the same can be said of JoAnne Carner.
Sandy Springs, Ga.
Carl Schoettler's REMINISCENCE (July 5) about poolrooms in the 1940s and '50s was very accurate and captured the pulse of those halcyon days, which were similar to the ones we experienced here in northeastern Ohio.
Virtually all the regulars had nicknames. Among the many were Blackie, Haircut, Melon, Count, several Butches, Slims and Whiteys, and even a "Bob" Feller, √† la Schoettler's "Cliff' Mapes.
Most of these "parlors" were sleazy, all right, but they also had a certain warmth. Who can forget the in-house shoeshine stands where older pool bettors perched like barons, the talcum powder and spittoons, the room's incoming Western Union ticker tape for breed-improvers or baseball plungers, the time clocks that the usually short and fat proprietors punched, as if they were in a factory. Or the daylong menu of smokies (sausage), hard-boiled eggs, sardines and cheese.
Yes, Carl, those were the days. I loved them.
PAUL A. BAUMGARTNER SR.
You have to give credit where credit is due. I think Bob Ottum did an excellent job of covering the zany Paul brothers (Honin' the Barbarians, June 28), and I know, because they have lived with me in the Venice-Santa Monica area on and off for the past two years. These guys are by far the strongest twins alive, as they claim to be.
I must also add that it's true about the sweaty clothes. I've seen David wear the same socks for three weeks.
Spring Valley Lake, Calif.
That was an excellent piece Bob Ottum did on Peter and David Paul. It's great to see an article about two future Mr. Olympias. I hope SI is there when the twins enter their first competition.
CARL DE IMUS
I'm sure glad you ran the article on the Barbarians. Vomiting off balconies? Never bathing? Getting thrown out of restaurants? Manhandling policemen? Destroying property?
Gee, what swell guys! Just the sort I'd like my sons to emulate.
I was discussing Bob Ottum's article on the Barbarian twins with friends at our local weightlifting gymnasium, and we agreed that these brothers could probably lift the entire building. However, one of the participants in our discussion pointed out what seems to be an error in the article. On page 32, the lower picture illustrates David attempting to bench press what is captioned as "500 pounds." The Olympic bar, weighing 45 pounds, appears to hold six plates, presumably weighing 45 pounds each. Now, if our assumptions and mathematics are correct, 7 x 45 = 315 pounds.
STEVEN E. PFENNINGER
New Castle, Ind.
•You're right. We had made the same estimate, but when we checked with the twins, Peter erroneously recalled the poundage as 500.—ED.
If I lift a bunch of weights and act as boorishly as possible, may I, too, have an article written about me in SI? I'm already up to 24 eggs a day.
ROBERT W. BLESCH
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.