SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (CONT.)
I too agree with Mr. G. W. Fleming's philosophy in regard to the selection of the Sportsman of the Year (19TH HOLE, Nov. 10).
I would like to nominate one of America's most distinguished gentlemen, as well as a sportsman: Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
His contribution to America and the free world as a jurist, author and world traveler, plus his undying love of the great American outdoors, should be proof enough to his fellow men that here in every sense of the word is a very fine sportsman.
H. J. VANDERSAL
Any man can look good when success crowns his efforts, but it really takes a man to look good in defeat.
It seems to me that Bennie Oosterbaan of Michigan, in the face of reverses and criticism, has conducted himself in a way which deserves special commendation.
Even with this season's results, his coaching and playing career can only be considered tops.
?By and large the greatest number of the votes received so far have been for Oosterbaan, a fine gesture on the part of his many friends on the eve of the announcement of his replacement as coach of a faltering Michigan team.—ED.
Although the year still has a while to run, I wish to offer my nomination: Rafer Johnson. I feel that this man as a great all-round champion and an outstanding student leader measures up better than any of 1958's many luminaries to the standards of the Bannisters, Musials, etc. of past years. His record, to an extent, speaks for itself. The agility of a 13-foot pole vaulter, speed of a 48.2 400-meter runner, power of a 238-foot javelin thrower combined with the adaptability to come back from a long layoff in basketball and make a major college's first string—all bespeak a great athlete. The endurance and visceral demands of the decathlon are obvious. That Johnson overcame debilitating injuries is admirable, too.
But, of course, there are many with records as outstanding, or nearly so. It is the drama and symbol of Johnson's victory at the meet with Russia's Kuznetsov that make 1958 his year. He saved America's international prestige as a track and field power while many of his teammates were folding under pressure. The fact that he is a Negro, student body president of one of our largest universities and quite probably the greatest athlete in the world for this year, at least, makes the drama seem almost Hollywoodian, considering the international hassle in the background and all.
Long Beach, Calif.
My man is Percy Cerutty, the man who inspired Elliott to inspire himself.
GEORGE P. BROWN