SI Vault
July 08, 1968
ARNIE'S ALLIESSirs:To me and, I am sure, to tens of thousands of others, the most dramatic and moving part of the closing of the U.S. Open was not the smile of the winner, Lee Trevino, or his engaging welcome to his new role as the hero in this rags-to-riches story. It was not the champion himself or the dream of the golden throne he would perhaps soon enjoy that riveted attention. It was the courage, the smile and the unbending spirit of the man whom ABC so shamefully made a spectacle of in his walk down the road of defeat—Arnold Palmer. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED also contributed to this show of a lack of integrity and loss of judgment in sportsmanship in the article Lee's Fleas Cheer "Super Mex" to Victory (June 24)—beginning with the phrase, "since Arnold Palmer, whoever that is, came along," and continuing with a series of smears throughout the article.
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July 08, 1968

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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As a person, Williams was an overgrown child and, like all children, he was capable of great charm and generosity but also of great boorishness and selfishness. He failed badly to give the Sox the leadership he could have given them. A good day at bat for Ted was a good day, even if the team lost, and vice versa. Boston won only one pennant during his long career.

As a hitter, Williams was certainly a great one. But he never ranked at the top among the clutch hitters in the league, perhaps because a pitch an inch off would be taken for a walk rather than swung at for the hit that was sorely needed.

I think your articles on Ted Williams are extremely interesting, well written and, most important, factual. Having been a Red Sox fan for many years and having had access to the Boston newspapers during this time, I can honestly say that Ted Williams has had more half truths and deliberately distorted stories written about him than any other man in sports history.

To give you an idea of what he was up against, one of his many Boston writer-critics recently referred to the Celtics as the Smeltics because they lost an important playoff game. Is it any wonder that Ted had troubles with this type of reporting?
Somerville, Mass.

It's about time someone finally defended Ted Williams, even if it did have to be Ted Williams himself. Never have I heard of a group of people, like those Boston sportswriters, persecuting a man with so few reasons. I don't blame Williams for wanting to be alone and for not associating with the press when everything he said was quoted out of context and distorted to the point that he looked like a castoff from a Hell's Angels camp.

I believe we need more men like Ted Williams who are not afraid of saying what's on their minds and who, at the same time, never argue with an umpire, a fellow player or management. Could you really ask for a better record?
Ruston, La.

Jack Olsen's screamingly funny story on driving to the Mexican Olympics (!Vengamos, Gringos! June 17) offered your readers far more scream than fun. Screaming through any farm community at 75 mph, in Mexico or the U.S., is certainly to be deplored, and I'm glad he takes the Mexican Highway Patrol to task for not being more alert to his dangerous driving.

No, speed killers are not wanted. But for the average driver who looks for a varied drive through a country that starts at the border as an arid desert, then drops down to lush, tropical sea level and proceeds to climb a heavily forested mountain, the drive from the U.S. border to Mexico City is a treat that more than 800,000 motorists enjoyed with car and camera last year. I hope your readers will forgive some show of pride in the fact that the safety records for Mexico show its traffic death rate to be only one-fifth the rate of the U.S.

One statement in the article is neither funny nor true! No cars will be turned back at the border. There are no restrictions on the number of cars entering Mexico, and none will be imposed. Mr. Olsen may have misunderstood the communiqu� we did issue that all visitors to Mexico City during the period of the Olympics must secure a ticket to an Olympic event for each room reservation, and a room for each day they request a ticket. But this regulation is in the interest of improving on past Olympic experience when hordes of sports enthusiasts arrived at the Games with tickets to everything and no place to spend the night, while some hardy souls had the best rooms to stay at but could not get a seat at any of the competitions.

We certainly appreciate the tone of the article, which makes it clear that—in his words—the ugly American will receive the same courtesy he has expected everywhere else in the world. But we would not impose on him the penalty Mr. Olsen suggests—namely, "to spend the rest of their lives ordering dinner in Spanish in Decatur, Ill."

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