OLYMPIC PREVIEW (CONT.)
As a follower of the Summer Olympics, I must congratulate you on your special preview, The 1984 Olympics (July 18). SI's staff put together the most complete pre-Games coverage I've ever read of the world's top athletes, among them Carl Lewis, Michael Gross and Mary Lou Retton.
Ahhhhh...if only the swimsuit issue could be as large as the Olympic preview!
ROBERT E. SGARLATA
After reading Gary Smith's article about Carl Lewis ("I Do What I Want To Do") in the Olympic preview, I was left with a picture of an athlete who is self-centered, egotistical and unyielding. Such a picture is far from the Carl Lewis I know. Throughout his two-year stay at Willingboro High School, Carl was quiet to the point of being shy. It would be correct to say that he was very calculating and goal oriented—but hard to deal with, or unwilling to cooperate with his coaches, or not team oriented? Absolutely not!
During his high school career, Carl was not only a great individual talent and record setter, but also a versatile athlete who was willing to participate in many events to contribute to the success of his team.
Two other impressions one might have gotten from the SI article are that the coaching staff at Willingboro has limited knowledge about track and field and that it has difficulty dealing with young athletes. This is far from the real picture. The assistant coaches at Willingboro are some of the finest ever assembled. This is proved by the fact that since the doors of Willingboro opened for the first senior class in 1976, the school's track record is 86-1, with the loss occurring in the opening meet in 1976 and the 86 wins being consecutive through 1984.
PAUL A. MINORE
Men's Head Track Coach
Willingboro High School
PINIELLA'S RECORD? (CONT.)
Michael Hembach's letter to the 19TH HOLE (July 30) concerning Ron Luciano's story about Lou Piniella's base-running feat of being thrown out at all four bases in a single game prompted me to dig out an old scorecard. I believe this game, Royals vs. the Oakland Athletics, took place on Aug. 3, 1971 at Kansas City in the old ball park. My scorecard doesn't fully support Luciano's claim, but Piniella did equal the feat of Bobby Grich (SCORECARD July 16) by being thrown out at three bases in one game.
Analysis of Piniella's efforts shows he went 4 for 4 at the plate. In his first at bat he was left stranded at first. In his second appearance he doubled and headed for third, but was thrown out trying to get back to second. In his third at bat he singled and advanced to second on a fielder's choice on a play at the plate on Amos Otis. Piniella then was thrown out trying to score on Chuck Harrison's single. In his fourth turn Piniella doubled but was thrown out at third, this time trying for a triple. I noted the umpires for that evening and Luciano was at first base.
IN DEFENSE OF HARRY CARAY
I enjoyed reading the piece on Red Barber (TV/RADIO, July 23), especially because I'm studying broadcasting in college. But I have to take issue with William Taaffe's depiction of Harry Caray as a boosterist.
I began watching Caray when he became the voice of the Chicago White Sox in the early '70s, and he has yet to cease fascinating me with his flamboyant and charismatic style. Granted, there have been times when Harry has become a little excited in his broadcasts of Cubs games this year, but hey, the Cubs haven't won a pennant in 39 years! Let me remind you that this is the same Caray who, as I clearly recall, once said of a Sox pitcher: "The way he's been throwing lately, he's not worth a salami sandwich."
True, he hollers a bit, but never has Caray been anything shy of objective.