THE LEGACY OF JOE DELANEY
Having had the privilege of being a teammate of Joe Delaney's (Sometimes the Good Die Young, Nov. 7) at Northwestern State University, I have many fond memories of him and his ever-present smile and good humor. It did not surprise me that Delaney risked his own life to try to save three young boys from drowning, because he was always an unselfish person. His death was a tragic accident that deeply saddened many of us, but my memories of Joe are very dear and plentiful. Frank Deford's superb article brought tears to my eyes but also joy to my heart with the knowledge that Joe had touched the hearts of so many other people. There were two kinds of people in Delaney's life: those who loved him and those who had to defend against his awesome athletic ability on the football field.
Little Rock, Ark.
Frank Deford's heartwarming story of Joe Delaney left me with mixed emotions. I didn't know whether to feel happiness that in this day and age someone who seemingly had everything to live for would risk his life to save the lives of others, or a pang of remorse—not because football lost one of its top-quality players, but because the world lost such a fine example of a man. Faced with Delaney's choice, not many of us, including myself, would have made the same courageous, unselfish decision.
Thank you for Frank Deford's moving article on Joe Delaney. It's too bad so many of us failed to appreciate Delaney until he died. As Deford points out, there was much to admire him for. Unfortunately, this letter comes from someone who became a Joe D. fan only on June 29, 1983, the day this heroic man drowned trying to save the lives of three boys.
During the past year we've seen many "great" athletes prove themselves to be anything but great by their conduct off the field. Many examples of this kind of athlete can be cited, but very few athletes can be classified as truly great. Joe Delaney displayed exceptional athletic ability on the football field as the leading rusher for the Kansas City Chiefs, and he exemplified the qualities of a true hero when he died last summer in an attempt to save three drowning boys. In Delaney we saw what we like to see in a professional athlete: a caring man with exceptional talent who used that ability as best he could. I nominate him for Sportsman of the Year.
November 21, 1983
Joe Delaney is unquestionably my candidate for Sportsman of the Year.
Is there a better writer in America than Frank Deford? Is there a guy a man would rather have a drink with? Or invite to his bachelor party? Or his sister's wedding? Or buy a cigar for on the day his daughter is born?
I don't know Deford, and he may be a regular s.o.b., but if he ever dries up, or thinks life is too much, or has nothing left to say, I will hunt him down and make him pick up pen and paper again. Deford is a reason to read.
New York City
THE GAMECOCKS' VICTORY
SI has been kind to name two members of the University of South Carolina football team as Players of the Week this year, but please don't take a victory away from the Gamecocks. There were 69,400 spectators in attendance at South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium on Oct. 29, and they will tell you that the score was 31-17 in favor of the Gamecocks, not North Carolina State as you reported (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, NOV. 7). All loyal Gamecock fans who read SI would very much appreciate a "We were wrong."
•We were wrong.—ED.
BUGS BAER'S WORDS
In response to reader Jerry Utter's letter (19TH HOLE, NOV. 7), I believe the observation, "He had larceny in his heart, but his feet were honest," correctly belongs to Arthur (Bugs) Baer, not Red Smith as Utter said.
BOB (BERNIE) BERNHARDT
St. Petersburg, Fla.
•It does. Baer said it of the New York Yankees' (1918-21) Ping Bodie after the 5'8", 195-pound outfielder was thrown out while trying to steal second. The humorist's exact words, according to his son Arthur Bugs Baer of New York, who read them to us the way his father wrote them, were, "His head was full of larceny, but his feet were honest." In 1936 Damon Runyon quoted Baer as saying: "I had used [the line] on 'Germany' Schaefer in Washington several years before I used it on Bodie, and it didn't seem to get much of a laugh. Its reception in New York made me realize that it makes a big difference where and when and how you say a thing—that it's a matter of what the stage people call timing." Incidentally, it was Bodie who said of his gallivanting Yankee teammate, "I room with Babe Ruth's suitcase."—ED.
Although Bay City Blues (TV/RADIO, Nov. 7) features some fine performances and reveals a basic understanding of human failings and emotions, the program is far from complete in its portrayal of minor league baseball.
Unfortunately, the general public is pretty much unaware of how many hours of hard work go into running a successful franchise. Individuals such as the general manager, the assistant general manager, the clubhouse attendant and the groundskeeper are the backbone of all minor league operations, yet they have been invisible elements in the Bay City episodes that we have seen.
Who do you think goes out and sells those outfield-fence signs and all of the program advertisements? What minds do you suppose conjure up all those unique promotional ideas to attract fans to the park? Who is it that takes care of the equipment and the uniforms? And in what magical way does the field round itself into top shape?
Bay City Blues is certainly an entertaining program, but an accurate account of minor league baseball? Hardly.
BOB KITCHEN, General Manager
JON KAUFMAN, Assistant GM
SAM CLARK, Clubhouse Manager
DAVE NASYPANY, Groundskeeper
GETTING READY FOR SARAJEVO...
Hooray for Bob Ottum's delightful story and the wonderful photographs of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Just the Perfect Couple, Nov. 7). Not only was it nice to see figure skaters profiled in such a lengthy article, but it was also good to see well-deserved attention focused on the sport of ice dancing. Torvill and Dean, as well as America's own Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert, have changed the face of ice dancing with their unique styles. They have made the sport better just by being in it.
DIANA COATE HUBBARD
Dan Levin's article on Rick McKinney and the sport of Olympic archery (On Target for the Games, Oct. 10) was most informative. However, for the readers who did not have their metric conversion tables handy, I'd like to point out that 90 meters, one of the distances over which an Olympic archer shoots, is about a yard and a half short of the length of a football field, and his arrows are aimed at an inner gold circle of about eight inches, which scores a 10. The outer gold scores a nine. It's hard work to hit so small a spot at so great a distance.
Also, my compliments for choosing McKinney as an Olympic subject. In my eyes, he is the antithesis of the so-called elite athletes who are beginning to pervade amateur sports. McKinney simply works, trains, gets it all together and then goes for the gold. Surely that's the way it should be.
Watchung Bowmen of Union County
Many thanks to William Oscar Johnson and Jerry Cooke for giving us a look at the host country for the 1984 Winter Olympic-Games (A Trip East with West, Oct. 24). During the 1980 Olympics, when I found it agonizing to watch the proceedings from my distant vantage point in front of my television set, I promised myself that I would save my money for the trip to Sarajevo. But as February approaches, I find I will once again be restricted to my living room to view the scenery, color and festivities of the Games. Thus my sincere appreciation for your article. Johnson's revealing and intriguing description and Cooke's photographs of that land made it the best vacation I've had in a long time. If I can't be there for the 15 days in February, I feel very fortunate to have gone to Yugoslavia for 15 minutes in October.
THE REV. LEE A. NEUJAHR
Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Mission. S. Dak.
A professor of mine used to say that journalism is one profession in which one needs no mathematics. I am a high school math teacher, and your item in SCORECARD (NOV. 7) concerning the NCAA rule specifying that a player fielding a punt be given at least a two-yard berth by would-be tacklers made me cringe. A two-yard square—or any size square—makes no sense whatsoever. However, if my students had answered, "A circle," for the correct interpretation of the rule, that would have been incorrect, too.
Because a player is three-dimensional, the area encompassing him by two yards on every side would have to be described as a cylinder surrounding his body with a radius of two yards from the level of the field to the top of his helmet.
To be precise, the cylinder would have the same contours as those of the player's body, so it would not be exactly circular. This cylinder would also be topped by a hemisphere with a radius of two yards.
Perhaps Dave Nelson of the NCAA rules committee should attend some of the classes that the athletes attend, to brush up on his geometry.
DANIEL B. HIRSCHHORN
Oak Park. Ill.
Enclosed is a photograph (above) of my 34th-birthday present. I thought I would share with you the tribute from my girl friend—she designed and knitted this "Dr. J sweater"—and me to Julius Erving, our alltime favorite basketball player. We took a little poetic license in adding to the design two other great players, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Unfortunately, we haven't seen enough of these players the past few years because we've been residing in the Netherlands.
JEFFREY P. STONE
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.