SI Vault
November 04, 1968
BLACK SOXSirs:After seeing the telecast of the medal presentation to Tommie Smith and John Carlos and hearing the reading of the statement by the U.S. Olympic Committee, I feel compelled to comment on both.
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November 04, 1968

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Twenty-three years we've waited and what credit does SPORTS ILLUSTRATED give the world's best baseball team? Two lousy pages and a couple of black-and-white pictures.

It's our guess that you already had the pictures and story of how the Cards captured two straight World Championships.

You blew it.
Lansing, Mich.

Your scouting report on the ABA (Oct. 21) was extremely interesting to me, especially because former Eastern Professional Basketball League players Frank Card, Larry Jones and Willie Somerset were mentioned as potentially among the top players in the ABA.

There are quite a few other former Eastern League players with ABA teams and in most cases owners of the Eastern League teams were not compensated for players lost to the ABA.

The NBA teams, on the other hand, pay for all players they receive from Eastern League teams. Inasmuch as we are essentially a weekend league, we have a policy of not preventing outstanding players from advancing to major leagues. We do believe, however, that the ABA method of obtaining players from our league is extremely unethical, if not illegal.

The ABA will never be truly a major league, in my opinion, until it begins to conduct itself like one. Ask George Mikan about the former Eastern League players who are stars in the ABA and how their services were acquired. An honest answer could result in a more interesting story than your one-page scouting report.
Hazleton, Pa.

We second H. C Brown's nomination of the Boston Celtics' Bill Russell as Sportsman of the Year for 1968 (19TH HOLE, Oct. 14). The comeback performance of Russell and the Celtics in the 1968 NBA playoffs was incomparable. Jerry West of the Lakers put it best when he said, "They can talk about individual players in any sport, but I tell you what, when it comes to winning, there is no one like him. Some of these guys in other sports, in baseball and football, I know they're great, but in comparison.... I play this game, and I know. What has this man won? Ten championships in 12 years. Has there ever been anyone like him? Is there any greater tribute in sport than the simple one of being a winner? Is there? This guy here is the greatest of them all."

Need we say more?
Haverford, Pa.

I can really sympathize with your editorial board when it comes to choosing this year's Sportsman of the Year.

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