SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
June 19, 1989
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June 19, 1989


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Former members of the Williams College swimming team recently held a reunion, at which they wore T-shirts bearing this message: THE OLDER WE GET...THE FASTER WE WERE.


On June 11, 1955, a Mercedes 300 SLR that was driven by Pierre Levegh of France plowed into the crowd at Le Mans, killing 83 spectators in the worst accident in auto racing history. Mercedes-Benz, which until then had been a powerful presence in the sport, immediately ended its involvement in racing.

Last weekend Mercedes-Benz cars raced the 24 hours of Le Mans for the first time since that accident and finished first, second and fifth. The victorious car, which covered 3,271 miles and was driven by Jochen Mass and Manuel Reuter of West Germany and Stanley Dickens of Sweden, outlasted favored Porsches and Jaguars to win by five laps of the 8.41-mile circuit—more than 40 miles.

The three Mercedes entries ran as part of a joint venture with the Swiss-based Sauber Racing team. But with sales down slightly in the past year, Mercedes will surely take full public credit for its Le Mans success. As if primed for an advertising campaign, its three cars were all painted silver, the traditional German racing color, and bore few commercial markings other than the familiar three-pointed Mercedes star.


For the fourth time in its history, the U.S. Postal Service has issued a stamp commemorating a major league baseball player. The Lou Gehrig stamp, designed by artist Bart Forbes, was dedicated by Postmaster General Anthony Frank in Cooperstown, N.Y., last Saturday during the 50th-anniversary ceremonies at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Past stamps have honored Jackie Robinson (1982), Babe Ruth ('83) and Roberto Clemente ('84).

Gehrig seems an apt subject for a philatelic tribute. In playing in a record 2,130 consecutive games, the Yankee first baseman delivered through rain, heat and gloom of—well, night games were rare in his day. Gehrig would have been taken aback, of course, by the 25-cent denomination of his stamp. When he retired in 1939, postage for a letter was three cents.

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