Letters

August 11, 2002

Goodbye, Ted

I am not a Red Sox fan, I have never been to Fenway, and I am
too young to have seen Ted Williams play. I live in Phoenix,
where it was 114[degrees] as I pulled the latest issue of Sl out
of my mailbox (Farewell, Teddy Ballgame, July 15-22). I
instantly got full-body chills from the best cover I have seen
in 26 years of reading your magazine. The man was the essence of
sport.
STEVE SASMAN, Phoenix

I looked hard at the cover photo of Ted Williams and couldn't see
a single steroid-enhanced muscle. Maybe they were hiding under
all that talent.
RODNEY A. WALLACE Denver

As a young boy I saw Ted Williams play whenever the Bosox visited
Yankee Stadium. My dad passed along his love of baseball to me. I
have passed the love of the game to my eight-year-old daughter.
When I showed her the cover, without missing a beat, she said,
"The Splendid Splinter," and flipped the magazine open to read
Leigh Montville's article. It brought tears to my eyes.
ERIC K. SCHWARTZ, Oakland

Slightly Flawed

The 1972 Dolphins (Nobody's Perfect [Except Us], July 15-22)
might get the recognition they feel they deserve if they weren't
so arrogant and bitter. If they would look at the picture of Ted
Williams talking to Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs (LEADING OFF) in
the same issue, they'd see that the correct way to deal with and
get respect from the next generation of players is to root for
them and not celebrate their failures.
DAVID SOLOMON, East Brunswick, N.J.

Despite the deaths of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, there still
is hope for the making of Grumpy Old Men III. It would star Bob
Kuechenberg, Jim Mandich and Don Shula.
RICK ARNOLD, Chesterfield, Mo.

Perfect, Too

While it is true the 1972 Dolphins are the only undefeated team
in NFL history, they are not the only undefeated team in pro
football history. The '48 Cleveland Browns went 15-0--including a
49-7 pasting of Buffalo in the championship game of the
All-America Football Conference. During the four years of the
AAFC's existence, the Browns went 52-4-3 and won four
championships, then joined the NFL in '50, going 10-2 and beating
the Los Angeles Rams 30-28 in the NFL title game. Unlike when the
AFL merged with the NFL, the AAFC's statistics did not carry over
into the expanded league, and many talented teams and players are
not recognized for their accomplishments.
KEN SIMMERS JR.
Lima, Ohio

The Story of O

In 1992, when we were expecting our first child, my husband and I
agreed he would name the boys and I would name the girls. Ten
years and four daughters later, I now understand, thanks to Jack
McCallum's excellent story on Oscar Robertson (King Without a
Castle, July 15-22), why my husband favored the name Oscar
Robertson Lepp. It would have been an honor to have a son named
for the Big O.
KATE LEPP, Los Gatos, Calif.

You stated that Robertson "desperately wanted to go to Indiana,
but in his only meeting with the Hoosiers' coach, Branch
McCracken, he sensed that he wasn't much wanted because of his
color." It would have been interesting to learn how that "sense"
originated. McCracken broke the Big Ten color line in 1948 while
Robertson was in elementary school. In a recent documentary on
McCracken, Walt Bellamy praises his former coach by saying,
"Coach McCracken did not teach me to be a success in basketball;
Coach McCracken taught me to be a success in life." It would seem
that Bellamy, a teammate of Robertson's on the '60 Olympic Team,
never got the "sense" he was not wanted in the IU program because
of his color.
TODD GERMAN, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Mettle Detector

Look around your house. Find your most valuable possession. Sell
it for top dollar and give all the money to the charity of your
choice. Now imagine that you have parted with the most
prestigious individual award in sports (Heisman Trophy) and your
donation was a quarter million dollars. For Paul Hornung (Still
Golden, July 15-22) to have done that makes him not just the
Golden Boy, but a golden man.
WILLIAM J. FARLEY JR., Brielle, N.J.

It could be that Paul Hornung sometimes kept his Heisman Trophy
in the garage instead of in a place of honor in his home because
he knew that absent racism, Jim Brown would have been selected
for the 1956 award.
STEPHEN MATLOW, Livingston, Mont.

Hot Air

In the July 15-22 SCORECARD, golfer Stuart Appleby calls solo
ballooning around the world "a hobby taken to an extravagant,
multimillion-dollar level." That sounds a lot like the PGA Tour.
NATAN MILGROM, Beachwood, Ohio

Tricky Stick

The official master of the hidden ball trick (SCORECARD, July
15-22), as outlined on the back of his 1974 Topps baseball card,
was Gene Michael of the New York Yankees. From 1968 through '74,
he successfully pulled the trick five times.
ANDREW M. STERNHEIM
Berkeley Heights, N.J.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)