Coming from the man who rode Swaps, Dr. Fager and Fiddle Isle, Bill Shoemaker's statement that Forego was the best horse he's ever ridden (Any Distance, Any Weight, July 24) carries almost as much weight as the old warrior ever did.
Forego didn't break Kelso's career earnings record and he never won a Triple Crown like Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, but you should measure a great horse by heart, not statistics. And in heart, Forego finished second to none.
I applaud the decision to give Forego the rest he so richly deserves. May he enjoy his clover.
NORA B. EHRLING
The adjectives slovenly, gluttonous and lascivious are accurate descriptions of Leon Spinks (Sometimes a Guy's Gotta Swoop, July 24). I am surprised that a magazine of your quality would waste its time on such a person. I hope Ali regains the title and relegates Spinks to oblivion.
JOHN F. NAUGHTON III
Leon Spinks says, "You can't take the ghetto out of the nigger," but there are many successful, hardworking black athletes who have overcome severe social adversity without compromising their ethnic heritage in any way. These athletes return to the neighborhoods not to "swoop" or swill beer from a quart bottle but to share their success by making real contributions.
DANIEL L. HEBERT
I was severely disappointed that SI sank to the level it did in its character assassination of Leon Spinks. The article was based at least partially on hearsay and had little bearing on athletics. If Spinks were the first athlete who smoked, caroused and drank, then the article might have been printed with justification. A cheap shot at a man who is already, in many respects, down.
The authors of your series on money in sports (SI, July 17, et seq.), Ray Kennedy and Nancy Williamson, deserve multi-year, no-cut, megabuck, fringe-benefit contracts.
In Part I, we read about how greedy, evil owners rip off the players and fans. But in Part II, dealing with high salaries, there was little in that vein about the players (For the Athlete, How Much Is Too Much? July 24). Instead, you tell us that athletes take physical beatings in their jobs. Well, what do you think a factory worker or a fireman endures? You also note that athletes are around only a short time. Don't they think they should have to work when their playing careers are over? There was even mention of "slave wages." Not many slaves I've heard of take up to five months vacation every year, work six hours or less per day, get to visit 18 to 24 cities, receive meal money away from the plantation, are paid to make speeches and sign autographs, get freebies on things for which the "lousy fan" pays full price and bask in the admiration of millions.
Do David Thompson, O. J. Simpson or Larry Hisle deserve to earn more than Jimmy Carter?
SAUL A. BEHAR
Lafayette Hill, Pa.
The free-agent system and all those high salaries would not have come about if the owners had treated the players like people instead of chattels.
Wheatley Heights, N.Y.