THE LOUIS LEGACY
Billy Conn (The Boxer And The Blonde. June 17) and Joe Louis (Black Hero In A White Land, Sept. 16 and Triumphs And Trials, Sept. 23) in the same year—great! For an old boxing fan. it is like sunshine after a rainstorm, steak and eggs on a cold wintry morning. I look for these features to become TV specials or full-length movies or both.
Palm Desert, Calif.
As a homemaker, weaver of tapestries and mother of two, I rarely find the time to read many of the articles in SI. But I generally glance at them anyway. The cover of your Sept. 16 issue was graced by one of the best artistic endeavors I have seen in years. This, of course, led me to read the story behind Malcolm T. Liepke's portrait. Wonderful!
Chris Mead has captured, with remarkable clarity, a picture of America in transition. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Louis for his role in advancing the cause of black people.
The array of fight tickets in the opening picture of Part I, however, clearly shows that blacks were not the only ones struggling with discrimination. The ticket for the Joe Louis-Ezzard Charles fight on Sept. 27, 1950 has printed on it LADIES NOT ADMITTED.
WILLIS E. (SNOOPY) SMITH
I was born in 1945, so I can't remember any of Joe Louis's fights, but I can remember my father telling me about them in great detail: the horrendous punch that took Schmeling out, the Billy Conn fights, the sorrow of the Rocky Marciano fight, and other stories.
The thing that I remember most is the feeling of respect my father would convey when relating these fights to me. It wasn't until I was in junior high and Floyd Patterson was champion that I learned that Louis was a black man.
Thank you for publishing this article. Sport does offer more to America and the world than diversion and cheap thrills.
DAVID E. LIEB
Jeffrey City, Wyo.
Chris Mead indulges in the same race-distorted politicized games practiced by sports-writers in the '30s, but from the opposite court. Joe Louis was admired by great sections of white America, not because of Uncle Tom press agentry but for what he did in the ring. Louis was a classy fighter, never a slashing, retreating rope-a-doper. He was scrupulously sportsmanlike, hence a "gentleman."
How did those wonderful photographs of Joe Louis's mom and of the Louis-Schmeling weigh-in get mixed up with that smug piece about old-time sports reporting? You guys seem to think Chris Mead is a clever young researcher. I can't wait for the paperback version to come out: It'll be easier to burn.
Bethel Island, Calif.
OFF THE TRACK
What's all this stuff about a Subway Series (The Apple Of Their Eye, Sept. 23)? An all-Missouri, intrastate Series seems more likely. Yes, it could be Kansas City and St. Louis in the 1-70 Series.
There's a very good chance that we'll have a Freeway Series between the Dodgers and the Angels. You can stick that Subway Series article in your ear!
DONALD C. OSTERLUND
Huntington Beach, Calif.
ON THE BALL
Thanks to Craig Neff for the innovative, insightful article on Pete Rose's record 4,192nd hit (Truly A Baseball Immortal, Sept. 23). Telling the story from the point of view of the ball was simply fantastic, and Neff deserves the highest praise for his creative efforts and thoughts. But how could you not put Rose on the cover?
What an unusual, excellent and amusing article on ball No. 4,192! It is one we will long remember.
THELMA K. BROWN
Neff's story on The Hit should accompany ball No. 4,192 to Cooperstown.
Martins Creek, Pa.
Bob Dean III (19TH HOLE, Sept. 16) had an interesting premise when he calculated that Pete Rose ran 71.4 miles from home to first in ringing up 4,192 hits.
But I believe he missed an important point. Since Rose runs out everything—walks. HBPs, passed balls, etc.—I would speculate that his mileage for running from home to first is about as far as that from Philadelphia to Cincinnati!
JEAN D. HANSFORD
THE QUIET MAN
Craig Neff should have a talk with a few of the baseballs that Cincinnati Rookie Tom Browning served up on the evening of Pete Rose's record hit. Overshadowed by all the hoopla, this young man, who has four shutouts for the season, picked up his 16th win. At this writing Browning is 19-9, having won 10 straight, and could become one of the "quietest" 20-game winners ever as a rookie.
•Browning got his 20th win on Saturday, in a 5-2 victory over the Astros.—ED.
In the Aug. 26 INSIDE PITCH, Henry Hecht reported that Texas Ranger pitcher Greg Harris wants to become major league baseball's first ambidextrous pitcher. Becoming a successful switch pitcher would be quite an achievement. Unfortunately, however, Harris is about 100 years too late in his quest to be the first.
A colorful figure named Tony Mullane—his nicknames were Count and The Apollo of the Box—hurled from both sides during his career in the late 1800s. A native of Ireland, Mullane pitched for several teams from 1881 to 1894. including the Cincinnati Reds. His slightly eccentric nature is aptly alluded to in The Baseball Encyclopedia by the unusual notation "BB TB" (Bats Both, Throws Both).
I enjoyed your SCORECARD item (Sept. 30) on the naming of streets after athletes. However, you neglected to mention one located in my congressional district and named after one of the greatest basketball players in history—Hal Greer. Hal Greer Boulevard runs adjacent to Marshall University in Huntington. W. Va., where Greer led the Thundering Herd to great heights.
NICK J. RAHALL II
Member of Congress
I know that Michigan and Notre Dame consistently field fine college football teams, but have I missed something? Did these two teams recently join the National Football League? If not, then why was Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh pictured carrying an NFL football over the goal line (A Cure For Bo's Blues, Sept. 23 and below)?
DEAN DAVID DAUPHINAIS
Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
I've heard of preparing for a career, but come on!
New York City
•Colleges are permitted to use any ball that measures up to NCAA specifications. Michigan—along with a number of other schools—prefers Wilson's NFL ball to its college model. One reason: It's shorter and broader, and thus easier to pass. However, the NCAA has ruled that after 1986 "professional football league logos [will be] prohibited."—ED.
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