Since our state's interest in basketball is much greater than that of any other—a fact pointed out by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—you should certainly understand our reluctance to use valuable time on the Senate floor simply to restate the obvious.
WALTER D. HUDDLESTON
WENDELL H. FORD
United States Senate
I must commend Dwight Stones and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the candid article This Stones Left None Unturned (April 2). It brings to light questions that have been in my mind for years. Is it fair that our amateur athletes must compete with foreign "amateur" athletes who are subsidized by their governments for what they do? No! Is it fair that these foreign "amateur" athletes are able to practice their sports day in and day out, while being paid by their governments, when our athletes must practice between whatever jobs they have to hold to make a living? No! And how can the Soviet hockey team be allowed to compete in the Olympics when it is also allowed to play U.S. professional teams for money?
I have always been a great fan of Stones, and Ron Reid's article has not changed that at all. I admire Stones' courage in coming forward as he did. I can only hope that more athletes will follow his lead and do the same Maybe then the AAU and other amateur sports organizations will realize that suspending Stones and other athletes in his situation is a great injustice. These talented men and women are only doing what they must to survive in the world of "amateur" sports. In Jim Thorpe and Stones, not to mention others, we have lost two great competitors, sportsmen and personalities. It would be a shame to lose any more.
Cos Cob, Conn.
Dwight Stones is one of the best athletes track and field has ever seen, and worth every penny he can get. Besides, can you blame him?
Dwight Stones stooped awfully low in the high jump. It is never a high note to hear that someone failed to toe the mark when others have done so. I remember the Mike Agostini sham reported in SI (My Take-Home Pay as an Amateur Sprinter, Jan. 30, 1961). And I still think that the retort by miler and steeple-chaser Phil Coleman in support of the simon-pure amateur (Idea of an Amateur, March 6, 1961) was the best and final word on the subject—from SI or anyone else. Coleman concluded: "If Mike Agostini wants to get paid for his sport, I will let him. If the time comes when track is run on a semiprofessional basis, I'll be relieved that my friends who want to earn money can do it openly without fear of expulsion. I do ask of the Mike Agostinis that they stop implying that because they do something, everybody does, and insisting that because they do it, it's right."
REID K. MARTIN
I had forgotten just how successful Gene Conley was in his dual career as a major league pitcher and a center-forward in the NBA until I read Michael Hilton's account (Doubling His Pleasure, April 2). And in addition to his athletic ability, Conley displayed a real sense of humor. He was a practical joker without ever hurting anyone in the process. What with inflation, pollution, threats of nuclear disasters and other pressures and problems, we need more people like Conley. A little levity goes a long way these days!
WILLIAM A. MARKS
One day when I went to Fenway Park last season, someone in the stands hung out a banner that said, WHERE'S GENE CONLEY WHEN WE NEED HIM? Thanks to Michael Hilton for answering the question.
New Bedford, Mass.
Here is one for trivia fans. Who started at center for Boston on Feb. 27, 1959 at Boston Garden when the Celtics scored the most points ever in an NBA game? Answer: Gene Conley, who subbed for an injured Bill Russell. The Celtics beat the Minneapolis Lakers 173-139.
As a boy who grew up only a few blocks from Connie Mack Stadium, I remember Gene Conley as nothing but a first class guy. He would always stop to sign autographs or to chat with the newspaper boys outside the park. There was one Sunday afternoon I will never forget. "Big Gene" was pitching in relief in the second game of a doubleheader and when his turn came to bat and he took a swing at the ball, his bat broke into several pieces. One piece flew into the stands and hit my friend. After the game Conley showed up at the first-aid station and took my friend home in a cab. How many big-leaguers would do that today?
Even when the Celtics came to Philadelphia to play against the old Philadelphia Warriors I would always secretly root for Conley against the home club.
MICHAEL F. TORPEY