THAT REMINISCENT FLAVOR
Believe me when I say that the three Southern gentlemen who spoke their piece on your April 11 cover are not typical of our attitude towards the colored race or our opinions on sports. The flavor of their thoughts is reminiscent of electioneering in Mississippi hamlets. You may have offended custom, such as it is, but you're on the winning side again—this time the right one!
I, A TRUE SOUTHERNER
I am embarrassed beyond words and infuriated to the point of battle, concerning those letters from the good Americans in Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas who thought your cover was "racial propaganda" and "an insult to white women."
As background, allow me to state that I am a native North Carolinian. I lived for 21 years in the same South as these caustic readers, attended an all-white school, rode in the front of the buses, ate and went where I pleased. My ancestors fought on the same side in the Civil War as did theirs, and they got the same tar beat out of them just like all the rest. I, a true Southerner who have lived in New York less than two years, am still admiring what I think is one of the most democratic typically sportsmanlike covers ever printed.
Willie Mays is an American baseball player first, last and always. He waves no flags, he stirs no trouble, his teammates like him, he has no axes to grind. He is the personification of liberty, initiative, democracy and fair play. Willie is a top-notch baseball player; his only discriminations are against opposing pitchers, his only philosophy is to play good, clean baseball.
NORWOOD W. POPE
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
THOSE NEGATIVE REACTIONS
After reading the letters of Messrs. F.M. Odom, E.F. Webb, T.B. Kelso and A.C. Dunn in THE 19TH HOLE (SI, April 25), I was shocked to see that such strong negative reactions to SI's April 11 cover should prevail in this great democratic country of ours. I would like to point out to the authors how warmly the essence of their letters would be received in Moscow, Russia.
I am quite sure that when SI printed the cover there was no intention of South-baiting, recollecting the Civil War, insulting any women or spreading racial propaganda on the part of the editors, as these gentlemen claimed. As a matter of fact, the sooner the authors of these letters and people with similar feelings realize that they are wrong the better off the United States will be in the eyes of the peoples of the world who we are trying to win over to our side in the battle against Communism.
A.P.L. KNOTT JR.
I have never written to a magazine before, but I consider it my duty to do so at this time. I was disgusted at the letters concerning the cover of Willie Mays and Mrs. Leo Durocher. I may be only 15 years old but I have more common sense than any adult with those ideas.
Long Beach, N.Y.
WHAT KIND OF SPORTS?
Referring to the letters to the editor from Messrs. Odom, Webb, and Kelso and Dunn, concerning your cover of Willie Mays, Leo Durocher and Laraine Day.
To be putting it mildly, the aforementioned people are narrow-minded and absolutely poor sports on their criticism of that particular cover. I come from the South myself, and where I come from that sort of letter would be considered completely unfair. I doubt if any one of these people are more model citizens than Willie Mays and they'll have to come a long way to be as successful as he has been under the odds that he's had to face. I think that those people could do well to apologize if they are any kind of sports at all.
ROBERT M. YOUNG
I wish the postal regulations would permit me to address a few words to Messrs. Webb, Odom and Kelso; however, the issue on which they saw fit to deliver their little verbal convulsions won't be an issue too much longer, and thus is nothing on which to waste my deathless prose.