Three cheers for Karl Malone's POINT AFTER (June 14). I, too, have mixed reactions to Charles Barkley's Nike commercial. It is true that people should not abdicate their parental responsibility to athletes, but Malone is right: Fame confers power, which confers responsibility.
STEVEN C. KALAS
It is good to know that in this era when there is so much anger in society, an athlete like Karl Malone still thinks of himself as a role model. A kid on a playground doesn't yell, "A 25-footer by Dad!" Nor do teenagers wear T-shirts bearing pictures of their teachers.
I applaud the stance taken by Nike in its Charles Barkley role-model commercial. For far too long parents have been allowing too much of the child-rearing process to be passed on to teachers, sports idols, etc. Barkley is paid to wreak havoc, grab rebounds and score points on the basketball court. It is not his job to be a role model for America's youth. Instead of asking a child, "Do you think Karl Malone or Scottie Pippen or Charles Barkley or David Robinson would do that?" a parent should ask, "Do you think I would do that?" Maybe some parents are afraid of the answer. I admire Nike for airing that spot and Barkley for taking a controversial stand.
John Schulian's article about the Hollywood Stars, the Los Angeles Angels and the Pacific Coast League (Of Stars and Angels, June 21) rekindled the magic of my childhood. A Star fan, I grew up within walking distance of Gilmore Field. One year my older brother and I won season tickets in a local newspaper contest—perhaps the most exciting moment of my adolescence. Those were real baseball days. You can be sure that the next generation's Paul Simon will not pen the line "Where have you gone. Jose Canseco, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you."
From 1947 through 1952 the Hollywood Junior Chamber of Commerce produced the "Out of This World Series," an annual baseball game played at Gilmore Field. Players and bat girls were stars from the movies, TV and radio, and gave generously of their time. Proceeds from the game went to the Jaycees' youth charity fund. The photo of Gary Cooper and Bob Hope on page 61 of your story was taken in 1951, when they were the team captains in the game between the Cooper Cutthroats and the Bob Hopefuls. The photo on page 66 shows Roy Rogers and Dorothy Lamour in that same game. Rogers was a base runner on his horse, Trigger, and Lamour was one of Hope's bat girls. Also on page 66 is a picture of Howard Duff with Jane Russell and Marilyn Maxwell, who both played ball and served as bat girls in '51. Incidentally, I was president of the Hollywood Jaycees that year.
On page 73 is a photograph of Elizabeth Taylor taken in 1949. The R on her jersey stood for Russell, because she was one of the bat girls for singer Andy Russell, the captain of one of the teams. The other team captain that year was also a singer, Frank Sinatra. And Ronald Reagan played in the 1948 game.
I took my wife, Billie, to Wrigley Field in June 1955 on our first date. Steve Bilko hit a two-run homer for the Angels in the ninth to-tie the game and another homer in the 11th to win the game. Turned out to be the best 10 bucks I ever spent.
The Montreal Forum
Thank you, E.M. Swift—or, rather, Howie Morenz—for taking us on a journey through the Montreal Forum's past (Voices in the Rafters, June 7). The images of the Canadiens' history conjured up by your words were spine-tingling, and the illustrations by Julian Allen were wonderfully nostalgic. It's too bad that such palaces get torn down in favor of bigger structures that lack the mystique. If only we could bronze these special arenas so that future generations could walk past them and dream of the games, the glory and the miracles that once took place there.
By the way, do you have a picture of the front of the Montreal Forum?
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
?Here's the Montreal Forum as it looked in the 1950s.—ED.