CARL AND CATHERINE
I happened to see Carl Yastrzemski's smiling visage on the newsstand here in Paris, and being among the Red Sox' most faithful fans since I could heft a bat (I'm now 20), I simply had to buy the December 25 issue of SI as a Christmas present to myself. I am a student here this year, and unfortunately I was forced to leave home during the peak of the American League pressure and miss the greatest excitement Boston has seen in a long time. Reading the article on Carl in the Metro, I was unable to suppress a broad smile, much to the amusement of my fellow French passengers. I must say that your choice of Carl Yastrzemski as Sportsman of the Year and the outstanding tribute you paid him not only lifted my spirits immensely during this rainy holiday season, but also made me all the more proud to be both a baseball fan and an American.
For excellence in one particular field of athletics, none was better in 1967 than Yastrzemski. But your award is for the sportsman, not just the hero. My understanding of a sportsman is one who gives 100% effort to his team, his sport and his country, and accepts whatever benefits he gains with a degree of modesty and appreciation. Carl Yastrzemski's sportsmanship came to an abrupt halt when he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the American League. He deserved this because he definitely was valuable, but he could not accept the fact that other athletes in the American League were also valuable. He was disappointed because he didn't get every first-place vote. This attitude showed what type of man Carl Yastrzemski really is. Evidently, he wasn't giving 100% effort to his team, but was out to reap the benefits of personal glory. In my humble opinion, your selection was a disappointment to the readers of your magazine.
JAMES T. KELLY
Fort Riley, Kans.
Congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for including Mlle. Lacoste in your Sportsman of the Year article. It was particularly gratifying for us here at The Homestead who watched this bubbly 22-year-old golf champion dance the Charleston at night and play those great golf shots by day over the Cascades Course as she moved on her merry way to the 1967 Women's Open Golf Championship.
Congratulations again to Carl and O.J., but a great big merci to Catherine who made our year quite exciting here at Hot Springs.
JOHN M. GAZZOLA JR.
Hot Springs, Va.
The Negro Olympic boycott becomes more confused each day as new parties adhere to one side or the other, and charges are made and refuted. It is not clear to me how the matter of the New York Athletic Club became a central issue in the boycott (A Step to an Olympic Boycott, Dec. 4), but the record should be set straight.
Harry Edwards and his followers have accused the New York Athletic Club of being anti-Negro and anti-Jewish in its policies. If this charge were true, it would be the exclusive business of the New York Athletic Club, since it is a private club and is not even a remote arm of the U.S. Olympic Committee. My personal experience is that the charge is not true. Don Spero (1966 World Single Scull Champion) and I are both Jewish. Both of us have been athletic members of the NYAC and have raced for the club. Though my formal association with the club terminated when I entered the service and left New York City, Don is still a member. Following his world-championship victory he received the Veteran's Award, the highest athletic honor given by the club.
There is one interesting sidelight to this story. When the boycott affair became national news and the accusation against the NYAC became public, I was approached by one of my current teammates at the Potomac Boat Club in Washington. His comment: "I don't understand it. I only know-two oarsmen from the New York Athletic Club, and both of them are Jewish." I'm sure there are many others who don't understand the accusation.
RICHARD A. SCHWARTZ, M.D.
I enjoyed your article Ford Came Flying (Dec.-25) very much. However, considering the 7-liter Ford win at Le Mans last summer and the pressure put on Ford by the "24,000 Porsches" (3-liter), Ford should direct its efforts toward building a car in which engineering is more of a factor than power. Sure, those Fords "went to beat hell"—but on brute strength only. Porsche went to beat hell on engineering and performance.
THE VANDY WAGON
I don't know when I have enjoyed reading an article as much as Curry Kirkpatrick's Getting the Vandy Treatment (Dec. 25). Everything he said about Coach Roy Skinner is true. Playing basketball under Skinner is a pleasure because he "plays the game the way it was meant to be played."
In Nashville, our "treatment" is a community effort with the fans, coaches and team all at their best for every game. With spirit like this the Vandy treatment is going to be around for a long, long time!