19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

October 28, 1985

WINNINGEST COACH
Sir:
Thank you very much for the fine article about The Coach, Grambling's Eddie Robinson (Here's To You, Mr. Robinson, Oct. 14). Rick Reilly's review of the many obstacles Robinson has faced and surmounted, along with his portrayal of Robinson's tremendous spirit and drive, was superb.
ROD MCKINNEY
Park Forest, Ill.

Sir:
As one of the few white players to have had the honor to play for and learn from one of the best football coaches, I say hats off to a man who stands for what America, college, football and life are all about. I nominate Coach Robinson for Sportsman of the Year.
DAVID WINSLOW
Las Vegas

Sir:
The late Paul (Bear) Bryant will always be one of my favorite coaches. At one time I hated to think of anyone ever besting his achievements. But no longer. Bryant's record has been surpassed by a truly class act.

Robinson is a rare breed of man. His humility and devotion to the work ethic are enviable, his integrity shines through in a photograph and his intelligence is reflected in his football record. Americans worry about their children having poor sports role models. I offer an excellent one in Robinson.
BRADLEY P. HARRIS
Lexington, Ky.

WINNER OR LOSER?
Sir:
Ron Fimrite has hit for the circuit with his superb and sensitive story on the Angels' Gene Mauch ("A Man Has To Care," Oct. 7). Fimrite is also a man who cares. The inside baseball stuff was fascinating, but it was the achingly evocative portrayal of Mauch—a manager who has yet to win a pennant—that I found so revelatory and so splendid.
GEORGE P. GUTEKUNST
San Rafael, Calif.

Sir:
We love Mauch here in Southern California. He has done a great job with a team that even SI picked 24th. It wasn't Mauch's fault that the Angels fell from the pennant race by scoring only one run in 31 innings vs. the Royals and the Rangers earlier this month.
JOHN A. FITCH
Cherry Valley, Calif.

Sir:
The 1977 Twins, rather than being an example of Mauch's genius, are a testament to his ineptitude. Armed with the league's two leading hitters (Rod Carew, who hit a sensational .388, and Lyman Bostock), the league's top RBI man (Larry Hisle), a 20-game winner to anchor the staff (Dave Goltz) and one of the best relievers in baseball (Tom Johnson), the best Mauch could do was a distant fourth-place finish in his division.
BRADLEY A. SMITH
Kalamazoo, Mich.

Sir:
An article on Mauch that doesn't mention the sacrifice bunt is incomplete. The rules of baseball wisely provide for three outs per inning. Mauch consistently tries to get by with two, seemingly sacrificing an out every time his team places a leadoff batter on base. I don't think it's necessary to look any further for an explanation of his record of failure.
GERALD LANGBAUM
Randallstown, Md.

THE DOUGH BOYS & CO.
Sir:
I really enjoyed your Hockey 1985-86 preview (Oct. 14). I especially loved your story on the Detroit Red Wings and the salaries their players receive (Go For The Dough, Boys). Why shouldn't hockey players have the same opportunities and benefits that athletes in other major sports have?

What Mike Hitch is doing may not pay off immediately, but in the long run it should. Also, Jack Falla is right—Detroit is the best hockey town in the U.S.!
MARY ANNE MCCASEY
Battle Creek, Mich.

Sir:
I couldn't believe your scouting reports building up the Edmonton Oilers as gods {Above It All). The Oilers aren't even a dynasty. Plus, how could you not mention Philadelphia as a serious contender, if not the favorite, against Edmonton? The Flyers had the best record in the NHL and easily handled the Oilers in the 1984-85 regular season. I'm not discrediting the Oilers, but they won't waltz to the Stanley Cup championship.
JIM HIGGINS
Louisville

Sir:
Paul Coffey couldn't hold Bobby Orr's socks in a clothing store (Move Over, Bobby). Orr was the team; Coffey is who he is only because of the team.
BOB PORTER
Marcus Hook, Pa.

Sir:
You guys are great! First it was George Plimpton and that April Fool's baseball story (The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch, April 1). Now you come up with E.M. Swift's piece on Coffey. "Coffey...Orr...it's tough to choose between them." Really! Who says they don't write good comedy anymore?
JOHN S. DUTY
Leavenworth, Kans.

BLACK, WHITE AND GREEN
Sir:
That was a wonderful article by Jack McCallum about Bill Walton (Filling The Bill In Beantown, Oct. 14), but I object to some unfortunate phrasing about racial matters: "Walton is playing in a town that loves white heroes—the Celtics may suit up eight, and probably no fewer than seven, white players this season."

Your phrasing wrongly implies that the Celtics have been collecting white players just to satisfy some bigoted fans. Red Auerbach, the guiding force of the Celtics, drafted the first black player into the NBA, played five blacks for perhaps the first time and hired the NBA's first black head coach. In fact, he has hired three black coaches, including current head man K.C. Jones. As he has proven so many times, his motivation in building a team is simply to win.
MICHAEL DYNON
Warwick, R.I.

BEAR FENCIK
Sir:
Rick Telander's excellent article on the Bears' Gary Fencik (Pride of the Yuppies, Sept. 30) was thoroughly enjoyable. What keeps coming back to me from the article is that a safety may surpass the great Dick Butkus and become the leading tackier in the Bears' history. This is a tribute to Fencik's agility and toughness considering that at 195 pounds he probably is smaller than 80% of the people he tackles.

So many defensive players today seem to be going for the big hit and forgetting to make a sure tackle. Gary is one player who knows how to tackle.
BRIAN T. COOLOGHAN
Pittsburgh

Sir:
How clever of the Bears to nickname Fencik "Spleen-Splitter" after his hit on Eagles receiver Wally Henry. Yuk, yuk. I just wonder what handle Doug Plank and his buddies might have dreamed up had it been Fencik who lost his spleen.

O.K., granted, the humor goes with the turf. But supply the answers to a few serious questions, please: Did Fencik ever send Henry a get-well card or visit him in the hospital? What has happened to Henry? What are his thoughts these days?
GENE CUBBISON
San Diego

•Henry says, no, there was no get-well card from Fencik, but that there are no hard feelings. "It was a good hit, a damn good hit," he says. "It's a contact sport, and things like that happen." Henry returned to the Eagles that season (1980) and played in the Super Bowl. After three more years—with the Eagles and the USFL Arizona Wranglers—he retired in 1983. He is now the owner of a Philadelphia bar.—ED.

ADDITIONS TO THE LISTS
Sir:
In your Oct. 14 EXTRA POINTS you gave us a Quick Count of the NFL's alltime Top 20 for consecutive games played. Didn't recently retired Ram defensive end Jack Youngblood play 201 consecutive games before missing one because of a herniated disk in his spine?
RUSSELL SPIELMAN
Wantagh, N.Y.

•Yes, he did.—ED.

FAMILIAR FACE
Sir:
While flipping through back issues of SI, I came across the FACES IN THE CROWD section of the July 12, 1982 issue, which included a picture of a young baseball and football player named Vincent Coleman. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this the Cardinals' rookie speedster, Vince Coleman? If so, would you please reprint that item?
BRIAN GREENWOOD
Slidell, La.

•Indeed they are one and the same. Here is the item.—ED.

VINCENT COLEMAN
JACKSONVILLE
Coleman, a senior center-fielder at Florida A & M, stole seven bases against Alabama State to equal the NCAA single-game record. He led Division I in 1981 with 65 steals in 66 games and was twice an all-conference punter in football.

Sir:
Regarding INSIDE PITCH (Sept. 16) and Matthew M. Thomas's letter (19TH HOLE, Oct. 14) concerning major league baseball players who wore 00, please add one other illustrious name to the list. In 1954, after a two-year absence from the majors, former Yankee ace reliever Joe Page made a brief comeback with the Pirates, during which he wore 00. Ironically, his won-lost record in his seven appearances that season was 0-0.
JOHN H. COBURN
North Ridgeville, Ohio

LOOKALIKES
Sir:
I was struck by your photo of Roone Arledge, ABC's president of news and sports (The Big Three Aren't Sold On Seoul, Sept. 23). If Arledge were to put on a New York Mets uniform, I think he could pass for Rusty Staub.
TIMOTHY C. DUNN
Middletown, N.Y.

•For a comparison, see above. Staub is on the left.—ED.

PHOTORICHARD PILLING/FOCUS ON SPORTS PHOTODAVID LEVENSON/COLORIFIC PHOTO

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.

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Eagle (-2)
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