The Indy 500
Since SI's beginning, in 1954, I have read, with rare exception, every issue. On many occasions I have been tempted to write and congratulate you on one article or another. Finally, it has happened. Sam Moses's Mears to the Four (June 3) captured the essence of the technical, human and competitive aspects of the Indy 500. His article left me with the sense that I understand what goes on there.
ROBERT J. LAMBRIX
This is an article from the July 8, 1991 issue
It is difficult to believe that Moses failed to devote even one sentence to the most compelling story of the event. Gordon Johncock, the formerly retired 54-year-old driver and two-time Indy winner, developed a severe case of the flu just before the race. But he elected to drive despite having virtually no energy, a stiff neck and an upset stomach. He started from the last position and then lost radio communication in his car because a connector in his earplugs came apart during the race. Nevertheless, Johncock piloted his 1990 Lola-Cosworth to a sixth-place finish—ahead of A.J. Foyt, Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Danny Sullivan and Mario Andretti, to name a few. Johncock's performance dwarfed even Rick Mears's great run to the checkered flag.
Oil Can Boyd
Thank you for E.M. Swift's fine article about Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd of the Expos (The Can's a New Man, June 3). Juxtaposed with Nicholas Dawidoff's You (Bleep)!, about the growing division between players and fans, Swift's article detailing the Can's newfound love for the game was heartening. Thank goodness the Can hasn't rusted out.
The last time I saw Boyd was after the final game of the '89 season. I was standing with my son, Liam, in front of a souvenir shop on Yawkey Way in Boston when Boyd and his wife and son, in a convertible, smiled and waved as they drove away from Fenway for the last time. There was something melancholy about the smile on Oil Can's face, but the pictures in your story show me a different man and a different smile. His is a great story, and I am glad to see he has the friends and respect he has merited.
EDWARD J. BURKE
Swift ends his story "Free at last. Pity for Boyd, pity for Boston, pity for all of us that Oil Can had to play his baseball in Canada to feel it." Would it be a pity if Boyd had finally found "freedom" in Houston or Cleveland? I am tired of reading articles that put down the Expos and the Blue Jays solely because they are based in Canada. Boyd says, "In Montreal, a black man is just a man." I'm waiting for the day when, in the baseball media, a Canadian team is just a team.
As a Red Sox fan, I am incensed by your story. Swift does a huge disservice to the team by implying that Boyd's problems in Boston were racial. We have a long way to go in America toward racial equality, but I don't think that Canada has found all the answers, either.
SEAN C. BUTTERLY
Jimbo in Paris
Congratulations on Curry Kirkpatrick's wonderful article about Jimmy Connors at the French Open (Prince Valiant, June 10). As the story indicated, Connors's great appeal is his love of the game for more than its monetary incentives.
L. JOSEPH JURIGE
Am I the only earthling who doesn't view Connors's performance as heroic? There's no denying that he played extraordinary tennis, but a professional does not suck up the glory of a standing ovation, then cave in on the next point.
HELEN B. SCHNEIDER
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Why was welterweight Roberto Duran ridiculed in 1980 for saying "No mas" as he quit in the eighth round of his championship fight against Sugar Ray Leonard, while Jimmy Connors is revered for retiring in the middle of a Grand Slam tournament? Connors turned a prestigious tournament round into an exhibition.
I was disappointed that Kenny Moore's story about the NCAA outdoor track and field championships (Cut to the Chase, June 10) failed to mention Frank Fredericks's amazing sweep of the 100- and 200-meter dashes. While the same runner has swept these races 26 times in the 70-year history of the men's NCAA meet, the last one to do so was USC's Clarence Edwards back in 1978. Fredericks (below) finished his BYU career as a 13-time All America and one of the world's top sprinters. Now that his native country, Namibia, has been declared eligible to compete in the 1992 Olympics, we can expect to see Fredericks in Barcelona.
Assistant to the Athletic Director
Brigham Young University
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