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19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER
June 20, 1977
BEISBOLSir:Thanks to Ron Fimrite for his very human story (In Cuba, It's Viva El Grand Old Game, June 6). I anticipate, however, the usual rash of letters that will castigate SI for delving into a political issue. To this expected response, I say if the Fimrite article is political, so is every other article dealing with sports in any publication. What are sports if they are not reflections of the political systems that govern us?BILL SHULMAN Jacksonville
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June 20, 1977

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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BEISBOL
Sir:
Thanks to Ron Fimrite for his very human story (In Cuba, It's Viva El Grand Old Game, June 6). I anticipate, however, the usual rash of letters that will castigate SI for delving into a political issue. To this expected response, I say if the Fimrite article is political, so is every other article dealing with sports in any publication. What are sports if they are not reflections of the political systems that govern us?
BILL SHULMAN
Jacksonville

RANDLE
Sir:
How can you praise a guy like Lenny Randle (One Mindless Moment, June 6)? I admit he is an exceptional ballplayer, but his attacking Lucchesi because of being called a punk was inexcusable. I'm all for Lucchesi taking him to criminal court.
GLEN JONES
San Angelo, Texas

Sir:
The Mets finally have a player who keeps his mouth shut and plays ball. His aggressiveness on the base paths and his batting average have proved that he deserves his $80,000 a year.
JOHN TIERNEY III
Glen Wild, N.Y.

Sir:
No one, not even an athlete as talented as Randle, could return a punt for Arizona State to beat Arizona in a football game and then lead the Wildcats to the NCAA baseball championships later the same year. Randle played for the Arizona State Sun Devils and not the University of Arizona Wildcats. Confusing the two schools may be petty to you, but down here it would warrant reprisal from vigilantes.
GIL HULDEN
RICHARD BEYEA
LEROY THOMPSON
Tucson

A.J. vs. THE BIRD
Sir:
Incredible. On May 29 a man performed a feat never before accomplished in the history of auto racing: A. J. Foyt won his fourth Indianapolis 500, an event that has the greatest single-day attendance of any sport anywhere. And yet, your cover depicted the Bird, a losing pitcher on one of the worst teams in all of baseball.
THOMAS N. OLVEY
MARK A. POPE
Indianapolis

Sir:
One man does not a team make. Yes. Mark Fidrych throws bubblegum at opposing players, uses the biggest bat and draws fans by talking to baseballs. But what about the pennant, the World Series, the total team concept? The Bird is one big turkey and so are the Tigers.
CHRIS NETTER
Pittsburgh

WILLIG AND ABLE
Sir:
Sam Moses' piece on George Willig's journey up the World Trade Center (The Only Way To Go Is Up, June 6) should be adopted by college English departments for its symbolic expression of the meaning of life. It's also good to know that all Americans have not succumbed to the idea that climbing to positions at the top level of government or business is the only road to fulfilling one's existence.
TONY DIFRANCESCO
Scotch Plains, N.J.

Sir:
Real spunk and genius went into both George Willig's climb of the 110-story World Trade Center and Sam Moses' article covering the extraordinary event. Thanks, SI, for recognizing true sportsmanship—the almost forgotten dream of challenging an "unconquered mountain." Reading Moses' personal account of the series of events leading up to the actual climb and his colorful account of Willig's feat really made me want to stand up and cheer.
DIANE M. BRANAGAN
Chevy Chase, Md.

Sir:
When it's all said and done, when the touchdowns have been scored, the dunks have been slammed, the par-fives eagled and the winners have taken all, there will still be only the one man who did with his brain, his muscle and his courage what no one had ever done before. I nominate George Willig for Sportsman of the Year.
ROBERT FRANKLIN
Greensboro, N.C.

Sir:
Your assumption is that the country has been lifted by this triumph of the human spirit, but in my estimation the support given Willig by the press can only be destructive. A few years ago when Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the Center's towers, he apparently triggered the motivation for daredevils such as Willig, and now the tremendous publicity will probably inspire others to seek such instantaneous fame, others who may not be as surefooted as their predecessors. When one of these Petit-Willig prodigies ends up face down in front of a skyscraper, the blame for his death will fall on those who laughed off or actively encouraged the previous attempts.
KEVIN MICHAEL MIMS
Sacramento

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