As a charter subscriber to your fine magazine, let me extend kudos to you for publishing An African Journal, beginning with Miss Mary's Lion in your Dec. 20 issue.
Ernest Hemingway, to my way of thinking, was the greatest user of the English language.
K. M. BENNETT
Granted Ernest Hemingway was an accomplished artist—in my opinion you have done him a grave injustice by printing Miss Mary's Lion. I wager not one out of a thousand of your subscribers who started this article ever condescended to waste the time it would take to finish it.
I consider SI a sports magazine, and this is so foreign to sports I question your staff for its inability to save you the embarrassment of publishing this type of nothingness. How you could publish such a fine magazine and, in this particular issue, do such a wonderful blood-and-guts story on one of the best golfers—no, the best golfer—who has yet to hit the golf world, and then ruin the whole issue with Miss Mary's Lion is inconceivable to me.
JOE B. CRONIN
Plaudits are indeed due you and Ray Cave for publishing Miss Mary's Lion by Ernest Hemingway. The initiative was commendable and the execution superlative. Hats off.
Your choice of Lee Trevino (A Common Man with an Uncommon Touch, Dec. 20) as Sportsman of the Year is ridiculous. This guy reveals his skills a few times a month and then disappears to count his money. What about the real athlete who, day after day, continues to stand out in the sport in which he plays? Such a person would be Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. It would not be enough to give the statistics Howe compiled in 25 long years of service, although you could fill an entire issue with just those. On or off the ice, Gordie Howe is a great athlete as well as a great person. The word "great" is often misused in the world of sports, or it is used too early in an athlete's life. But not in the case of Gordie. He has already proved his greatness.
Dearborn Heights, Mich.
Vida Blue brought back baseball as our national pastime. During the World Series Roberto Clemente became the god of hitting. Kareem Jabbar dominated a sport of superstars. Joe Frazier made sure that the heavyweight championship was no longer in doubt. Ken Dryden led the Canadiens through a string of startling upsets. These are just a few of the athletes who deserved your award more than a golfer with a good personality.
Choosing the most qualified candidate for the title of Sportsman of the Year is indeed a dubious undertaking. Past controversies over some of your earlier selections bear this out. However, if you receive any criticism this year (and you undoubtedly will), rest assured that it will be entirely unjustified.
Every year there are outstanding sportsmen, and every sport has its share of them. But who can deny the 1971 Sportsman of the Year honor to a man who accomplished so much, overcame so many obstacles and still was able to give back to his sport and to life in general much more than either ever permitted him to start out with? Here's to your choice of Lee Trevino. Remember him when you choose the Sportsman of the Decade.
WILLIAM C. GASSMAN
New Ellenton, S.C.
Congratulations on your selection of Lee Trevino as Sportsman of the Year. He has indeed given the game of golf to all economic and social levels, exactly where it belongs.