I wish to congratulate you on your excellent article about an extraordinary man, Willie Mays (Yea, Mr. Mays, July 27). He is a credit to the game of baseball, not only because of his achievements on the field but also because of his attitude toward the game and toward life in general. I commend Roy Blount for writing the finest article I have ever read in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
One hopes that Willie Mays will eventually decide to become a manager and that baseball will provide him with a plethora of opportunities. He already possesses more ebullience and leadership qualities than many of the sport's mediocre managers.
DAVID A. HIRSHEY
In your article saluting Willie Mays, you state that Henry Aaron is the only other star of such magnitude. In stating this you are doing a grave injustice to the best all-round player in baseball today. Apparently you won't recognize his name, but Pirate fans will—Roberto Clemente.
I write to comment on the present strike against the owners of NFL teams by the Players' Association (The Owners and Players Fumble On in Philly, Aug. 3). The positions taken by both sides in this dispute seem unrealistic and unhealthy to me. For the players' part, their demand for exorbitant salaries in exchange for six months' play is totally without justification in a nation with the problems of social welfare that are ours now. For the owners' part, their control of pro football has produced a Leviathan that now attacks athletics in general and manages to pollute the minds of young athletes with false goals and materialistic values. I know; I am a coach of high school football and I see in young men the psychological press applied to their growing personalities by big-time sport.
Perhaps the strike will do us all a favor by sparing us from another year of endless interviews with overinflated egos and the drivel of commentators trying to provide a cushion between commercials—which is what makes the money, which is what it's all about, which, after all, is what the whole trouble is.
Let us all pray that the strike continues. Maybe there's a chance yet that we can save athletics for people.
Green Bay, Wis.
When the Players' Association can sit down to the bargaining table with the club owners and ask for a pension fund that will pay a king's ransom, that, my fellow fans, is not greed, it's robbery. It's sad, but the fans, not the owners, are made to pay.
Virginia Beach, Va.
I am a sports fan who buys tickets for pro football games, and the recent outrageous prices have just about forced me to my choking point. My reaction to the labor dispute between the players and the National Football League, which will raise the prices of tickets no matter how they settle the hassle, is as follows: the pro football players are far less exploited than any other group of employees, including migratory farm workers, and the team owners evince no more greed than their players, who are demanding absurd pension benefits. A plague on both their houses!
If the pros and their owners won't play ball and give due consideration to the fans, let college football reap the harvest—even on Sundays.
Silver Spring, Md.
I just finished reading Mark Kram's article on Karl Wallenda (The Smell of Death Was in the Air, July 27). What marvelous writing! It put me right there at Tallulah Gorge (which I have visited) as I read and felt every word, like a marvelous fairy tale. The character study of Wallenda was as clear as a bell, and the spectators also came to life. I had goose pimples before I finished the article.
MRS. R. E. GLENN
Palm Beach, Fla.