It was with great disappointment that I read the token recognition of what has to be one of the most tragic occurrences of modern baseball. Your coverage of the death of Roberto Clemente (SCORECARD, Jan. 15) does very little to convey the essence and personality of one who without a doubt must be classified among the top five players of the past 20 years.
Those of us who follow baseball and sports in general are continually disheartened by the misguided priorities of many of those who either direct or participate in sports today. If there ever was an exception to what is becoming an unfortunate rule, it was Clemente. The records and awards that he compiled during his career will serve as testimony to his excellence and exceptional skill as a baseball player. However, it would not be doing him justice to allow your description of him to be the sole testimony registered in tribute to his excellence as a human being.
Certainly he was a proud man, and he had every right to be. The level of stardom he achieved, given his very humble beginnings, serves as an inspiration to young aspiring ballplayers in Puerto Rico and the countries of Latin America. But you make no mention of his works as a humanitarian, despite the fact that the circumstances surrounding his death provided all the evidence that you would need to acknowledge how sincere his desire was to help his fellow man.
The real tragedy in the death of Roberto Clemente was in the loss not of a man who had accomplished so much, but of a man who had so much yet to do. His dream for the youth of Puerto Rico, ciudad de deportes para ni�os, a sports city for the underprivileged youth of the island, was still in its infancy. Hopefully, the cornerstone that he laid will be expanded upon as a fitting memorial to one of his lifelong ideals.
These are only some of the things that reflect the true personality and nature of the ballplayer named Roberto Clemente. These, along with his four batting titles, 10 Golden Glove awards, Most Valuable Player awards for both a season and a World Series, a .317 lifetime batting average and a competitive drive that made him a source of inspiration to all who played with him, are the factors that made him the outstanding man he was.
It is indeed unfortunate that even after his death you have not deemed it suitable to give Roberto Clemente the recognition that he deserved but never truly received during his years as a professional athlete.
LOUIS A. MARTIN-VEGA
I loved Roberto Clemente and I am still sick with the knowledge of his death. My sickness worsened after I glanced through your Jan. 15 issue. I truly believed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would pay just tribute to one of the greatest athletes and men in sports on the occasion of his untimely and tragic death. You did not. Maybe enough has already been said, but not by you. As tall as Roberto stood in sports, I believe it was your obligation as the king of sports magazines to honor him in a way that would make your readers fully aware of our genuine loss of a superstar. Your magazine has always been a winner, but this time you lost.
FRANK J. BOCH III
North Irwin, Pa.
It was with great relief that I read Tex Maule's preview of Super Bowl VII (It's the Top-of-the-Hill Gang, Jan. 15). I had nearly begun to believe all that " Washington by three points" talk when along came Tex and his Washington by 10 and possibly by 21 prediction and I knew Miami was a shooin. Maule is still fighting the old AFL-NFL war, and he refuses to accept any old AFL teams on a par with his sacred NFL.
I am sure that Tex, had he been around, would have picked Goliath in three rounds, Napoleon in one at Waterloo, Custer because of his determination at the Little Big Horn, and Dewey in a landslide in '48.
Love and kisses and all that jazz to Tex, who consistently restores one's faith in the fallibility of man.
LEO T. KENNEDY