SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
September 13, 1976
COSTLY FREE AGENTSir:No player is a better example of today's artificial superstar than SI cover figure Reggie Jackson (He's Free at Last, Aug. 30). Not that Jackson isn't a good ballplayer—he is just that. But for anyone to rate him as a giant of the game, a man deserving of the enormous contract he has his eye on, is absurd and regrettable. One recalls his excessive strikeouts and his .265 lifetime batting average and winces at the notion of his being classed with legitimate superstars such as Stan Musial, Henry Aaron or Willie Mays.
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September 13, 1976

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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?Kelly and his U.S. teammates. Bruce Barton, Peter Deyo and Brent Turner, failed to make the semifinals in the 1,000-meter kayak fours. They finished fifth in their preliminary heat (behind East Germany, Poland, West Germany and Hungary) and fourth in their repechage (behind Sweden, Great Britain and Czechoslovakia).—ED.

Congratulations to Richard W. Johnston for his article on the emerging Samoan athlete in college football (Shake 'em Out of the Coconut Trees, Aug. 16). He obviously did his research, and I found the article to be correct in every aspect except one. The quote by Ia Saipaia—"In Samoa you've got only two ways to go—to the gym and school, or to become a thief. You have to make the decision"—is incorrect and very misleading, especially to anyone reading about Samoans for the first time.

To be sure, a young Samoan does not have many options as to where he might go once school is out, especially if he is looking for some kind of organized activity. But life as a thief is certainly not one of those options. The fa'a Samoa, which Johnston mentioned, provides the young Samoan with his sense of values, goals and pride and, especially on the village level, keeps him so busy with family projects that little time is left for him to contemplate ripping off his next door neighbor.

Furthermore, there is not one proper gymnasium in the whole territory. There is not one quarter-mile track, regulation swimming pool, baseball diamond, venue for field events or athletic shower or locker-room facility at any of the four government or two parochial schools, and there is only one regulation football field, located at the Community College. Since 1951 the Department of the Interior has been appointing American governors to administrate these American islands, but not one has used his influence to appropriate the funds needed to build proper athletic facilities. Thus, the emergence of the Samoan football player, as well as other outstanding Samoan athletes such as Olympians Greg Louganis (diving) and Lelei Fonoimoana (swimming) and Tony Solaita of the California Angels, is all the more outstanding.
Former Assistant to the Governor of American Samoa
Oceanside, Calif.

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