A Classic Magazine
When I received your issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED CLASSIC, my first reaction was irritation. I'm not a nostalgia buff, so why did you have to dump this on me? But once I sat down with the magazine, I couldn't stop reading. My kids were home from school and ripping up the house, but I didn't care. Almost every issue of SI has something memorable in it, but this special issue is the best thing you've put out in the 25 years that I have been a reader. A few of the stories made me tear up in sympathy and affection.
I read every word in your special issue—in one sitting. In his piece about former Celtic Bob Cousy and other NBA greats (Could Cousy Play in Today's NBA?), Alexander Wolff concluded with an appropriate thought: There is no reason to compare heroes of one era with those of another. Love 'em all.
Not many readers, I suppose, pay much attention to photo credits. I was struck, however, by the fact that six of your 25 Classic Moments were illustrated by photos from United Press International. For me, a former employee, this testament to UPI's essential role in American journalism comes at a particularly poignant moment: The company is in Chapter 11 for the second time in six years and may be near death. I counted the photos you ran from archrival Associated Press—four. For wire-service people, that victory is as sweet as winning the World Series.
Your Red Grange cover brought back wonderful memories. I attended the Michigan-Illinois game the day Memorial Stadium was dedicated, Oct. 18, 1924, when I was a 17-year-old high school senior. Grange's exploits that afternoon were truly extraordinary, but I have two other vivid memories of the occasion.
December 9, 1991
I remember that literature concerning the safety of the new facility was distributed in the stands before kickoff. Some considered the stadium to be unsafe, and a record crowd of 67,000 was expected. Obviously, the structure was safe. It is still the beautiful home of Illinois football.
In addition, rains had made the construction area around the stadium extremely muddy. As a happy throng exited at the game's conclusion, I stepped in deep mud. One of my new shoes was pulled off my foot. I stopped to retrieve it, but the press of the huge crowd pushed me forward, and it was lost. The shoe was important to me that day, of course, but now it's just part of a great memory.
MARY FREESE LEE
I'm surprised you failed to mention the most exciting sports event I ever witnessed on TV—Jack Nicklaus winning the '86 Masters.
JOHN B. STAUB
Franz Klammer taking the gold in the downhill at the '76 Innsbruck Olympics—that's what I call a classic moment.
Bill Mazeroski's 1960 home run not on your 25 most unforgettable list? It remains the only Series-ending home run in the 88-year history of the World Series.
Your FROM THE PUBLISHER column on photographer Ozzie Sweet reminded me of the Ozzie Sweet I knew in 1943 and '44 in Tampa. At the time, Tampa was the headquarters for the Third Air Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Swede Larson, and it was also the home base for the Third Air Force's football team, the Gremlins. The official photographer for the Gremlins was a young lieutenant named Ozzie Sweet, noted for his disregard of military protocol when he was trying to get his pictures.
DONALD F. CONAWAY
Some readers of your DATELINE piece about the Cleveland Browns' 35-10 destruction of the Philadelphia Eagles on the opening day of the 1950 NFL season, may not be aware of the happy postscript to the Browns' debut in the league: They won the NFL championship that year by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 30-28 in the title game. To my knowledge, no other rookie franchise in any established pro league has ever won a championship.
TED R. BAUMGARDNER
Winter Park, Fla.
Bennie's Big Day
As a Boy Scout usher at the 1925 Michigan-Illinois game in Champaign, I watched in awe as Red Grange was stopped. As I remember, his longest gain was seven yards. The main reason he gained so little yardage was the defensive play of a first-year end named Bennie Oosterbaan (left). Oosterbaan went on to become a three-time All-America in football and a two-time All-America in basketball. He earned nine letters in three sports in all, and coached the Wolverines from 1948 to 1958. He and Grange passed away within a few months of each other about a year ago.
Palm Bay, Fla.
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