THE STEELERS' LAMBERT
I've never before written a magazine to compliment the editors on an article, but Paul Zimmerman's story on Pittsburgh linebacker Jack Lambert (A Rose By Any Other Name, July 30) was the best ever. As a longtime Steeler fan, I was proud to see Lambert's face on your cover. Also pleasing was the fact that you went out of the way to show the other side of Lambert, the off-the-field side.
One more thing: Maybe the second-best story ever written was Curry Kirkpatrick's The Man Who Never Loses on Edwin Moses in the very same issue.
Paul Zimmerman's piece was nothing short of outstanding. All too often images and reputations hide the truth. Thank you for revealing a side of Jack Lambert that too few people knew about, including myself. And special thanks to Lambert for his stand on the impact of professional athletes on kids. Athletes do have a responsibility to fulfill.
I commend Paul Zimmerman on his fine article on Jack Lambert. However, I would like to make one point that I should have made while being interviewed as the former head football coach of Crestwood High in Mantua, Ohio. In the game against Field High that was mentioned in the article, Jack played with all those injuries only after receiving our team doctor's permission. Our doctor was the one who determined whether or not injured players would play.
In Jack's case, the various injuries were not so serious as to warrant holding him out of the game. With proper taping and padding, Jack could play without incurring further injury. Once the doctor gave his permission, it was up to Jack, and Jack chose to play.
Also, Jack downplays his role as a quarterback on offense ("Handed the ball off mostly"). Granted, he was surrounded by many talented players, but in the 14 games he started at quarterback (one as a soph, four as a junior, nine as a senior) our won-lost record was 11-1-2. We were 8-6-2 in our other games. Obviously, Jack's contributions on offense were more important than he implies.
Huber Heights, Ohio
In regard to your cover, at the very least Lambert could have put in his bridgework. Or kept his mouth closed. This issue of SI goes face down on my coffee table.
Imagine my disappointment. I expected the dashing, swashbuckling Seve Ballesteros on the cover after his classic British Open triumph over Tom Watson on the Old Course, only to be attacked by the ugly mug of Jack Lambert. May the ghost of St. Andrews curse you with the yips forever.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The story by Sandy Keenan on female umpire Pam Postema (The Umpress Strikes Back, July 30) was excellent and long overdue. I hope that Postema continues to improve and that, based on her own merits, she will be promoted to the major league level.
I know about the abuse that Postema goes through out there on the field. I have a friend here in Norwalk named Celia who is an Amateur Softball Association umpire, and an excellent one at that, but not a game goes by in which there isn't at least one sexist remark. At the end of an argument on the field, it's common to hear someone say, "Come on, kiss her and make up."
I'm rooting for you, Pam!
I'm an avid male baseball fan, and I enjoyed Sandy Keenan's article on umpire Pam Postema. She has shown what courage and hard work can accomplish. A female ump certainly won't hurt the game. Drugs and salary disputes have done that. Good luck, Pam!
In the story on Pam Postema, it was mentioned that I left the field crying after umpiring one game. I resent that you didn't go on to explain why I cried and quit.
I was defeated by baseball before I started. I worked that game completely alone because of the refusal of the umpire who was supposed to be working with me to work as a team.
If you're going to do a story, tell all the facts. Don't have me be remembered as just crying and walking off the field! Baseball didn't want me, or it wouldn't have had me in court for so many years fighting for my right to be an umpire. I won the court battle, but I couldn't force the umpires to work with me.
As for Postema, she's a great umpire and should be given a fair shot at the majors.
Also, for your information, I did umpire afterwards. I worked games for retarded and handicapped children's benefits. Moreover, I worked semipro games for the Bridgeton, N.J. Invitational, the National Baseball Congress in Wichita, the New York City Police Department, the YMCA and industrial leagues during the period baseball had me in court.
By the way, former Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca, a man, cried when he was defeated in a playoff game for the World Series by the New York Giants. Billy Martin, former Yankee manager, cried on nationwide television when he resigned under pressure. Joe Namath, New York Jets quarterback, also cried on television when Pete Rozelle ordered him to sell his interests in a New York restaurant—or be suspended from the NFL.
First Lady Umpire
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Thanks for your look into the National Senior Women's Grass Court Championships (The Ball Was White, The Grass Was Green, July 30). It's gems such as this piece by Barry McDermott that keep me reading on.
McDermott's report evoked strong memories of my days growing up in Wilmington, Del. and later playing tennis for Barb Mueller at Ohio State. Bunny Vosters and her daughter, Gretchen Spruance, epitomize the way tennis used to be played. Unfortunately those days seem to be gone forever. I remember playing against them in doubles after returning home to Wilmington for the summer from a long season of matches and practice at Ohio State. Even though I thought I was playing the best tennis of my life, I was "taken to the cleaners" by the pair. Maybe they are why I moved from Delaware to New Hampshire!
ANN BEAUDOIN RODGERS
OLYMPIC PREVIEW (CONT.)
As a follower of the Summer Olympics, I must congratulate you on your special preview, The 1984 Olympics (July 18). SI's staff put together the most complete pre-Games coverage I've ever read of the world's top athletes, among them Carl Lewis, Michael Gross and Mary Lou Retton.
Ahhhhh...if only the swimsuit issue could be as large as the Olympic preview!
ROBERT E. SGARLATA
After reading Gary Smith's article about Carl Lewis ("I Do What I Want To Do") in the Olympic preview, I was left with a picture of an athlete who is self-centered, egotistical and unyielding. Such a picture is far from the Carl Lewis I know. Throughout his two-year stay at Willingboro High School, Carl was quiet to the point of being shy. It would be correct to say that he was very calculating and goal oriented—but hard to deal with, or unwilling to cooperate with his coaches, or not team oriented? Absolutely not!
During his high school career, Carl was not only a great individual talent and record setter, but also a versatile athlete who was willing to participate in many events to contribute to the success of his team.
Two other impressions one might have gotten from the SI article are that the coaching staff at Willingboro has limited knowledge about track and field and that it has difficulty dealing with young athletes. This is far from the real picture. The assistant coaches at Willingboro are some of the finest ever assembled. This is proved by the fact that since the doors of Willingboro opened for the first senior class in 1976, the school's track record is 86-1, with the loss occurring in the opening meet in 1976 and the 86 wins being consecutive through 1984.
PAUL A. MINORE
Men's Head Track Coach
Willingboro High School
PINIELLA'S RECORD? (CONT.)
Michael Hembach's letter to the 19TH HOLE (July 30) concerning Ron Luciano's story about Lou Piniella's base-running feat of being thrown out at all four bases in a single game prompted me to dig out an old scorecard. I believe this game, Royals vs. the Oakland Athletics, took place on Aug. 3, 1971 at Kansas City in the old ball park. My scorecard doesn't fully support Luciano's claim, but Piniella did equal the feat of Bobby Grich (SCORECARD July 16) by being thrown out at three bases in one game.
Analysis of Piniella's efforts shows he went 4 for 4 at the plate. In his first at bat he was left stranded at first. In his second appearance he doubled and headed for third, but was thrown out trying to get back to second. In his third at bat he singled and advanced to second on a fielder's choice on a play at the plate on Amos Otis. Piniella then was thrown out trying to score on Chuck Harrison's single. In his fourth turn Piniella doubled but was thrown out at third, this time trying for a triple. I noted the umpires for that evening and Luciano was at first base.
IN DEFENSE OF HARRY CARAY
I enjoyed reading the piece on Red Barber (TV/RADIO, July 23), especially because I'm studying broadcasting in college. But I have to take issue with William Taaffe's depiction of Harry Caray as a boosterist.
I began watching Caray when he became the voice of the Chicago White Sox in the early '70s, and he has yet to cease fascinating me with his flamboyant and charismatic style. Granted, there have been times when Harry has become a little excited in his broadcasts of Cubs games this year, but hey, the Cubs haven't won a pennant in 39 years! Let me remind you that this is the same Caray who, as I clearly recall, once said of a Sox pitcher: "The way he's been throwing lately, he's not worth a salami sandwich."
True, he hollers a bit, but never has Caray been anything shy of objective.
Paul Zimmerman's story on Pittsburgh linebacker Jack Lambert was excellent, showing, by way of one of the best examples there is, the true spirit behind the game of pro football. Lambert's style and attitude are ideals for young players to emulate.
I can almost see why the Steelers rejected the portrait of Lambert by Merv Corning that Zimmerman described. SI's cover photo alone would frighten muggers. But won't you show us a photograph of that "scary" painting?
GARY S. DAWSON
You've got to show us the painting of Jack Lambert. Please?
•O.K., here it is, with a grinning—and be-toothed—Lambert looking on.—ED.
Your special Olympic preview is wonderful and will find a permanent place on my bookshelf. But there is a very important page missing from the section on 1932 Olympic gold medal winners (The Rich Patina of Old Gold). How could you not include Owen Churchill? At 88, Churchill is (to my knowledge) the oldest living U.S. gold medal winner. He recently supervised the reconstruction of the eight-meter Angelica, which he owned and which he skippered to the very first Olympic yachting victory for the U.S., in the 1932 Games.
Angelita is the flagship of the 1984 Olympics, and Churchill, along with the only two of his 11 crew members who are still living, Richard Moore and John Biby, have been out on the water cheering for the 1984 teams.
I've enclosed a picture of Churchill (above) that was taken on the day the lovely Angelita was rechristened. You missed a rare opportunity to meet and talk with a very special man.
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.