Growing up in Louisiana, I remember how Beryl Shipley began the path that broke down the racial barriers that still existed in sports during the 1960s and '70s and how my father, a staunch Southern conservative, admired his achievements on and off the court. Shipley's life shows how our most flawed heroes can shine the brightest.
Kevin Bihm, Eunice, La.
I was Southwestern Louisiana's sports information director from 1971 to '73 and had the privilege of working with Coach Shipley (An Accidental Hero, May 2) during his final three years at the school. He was an unassuming leader of basketball integration, choosing to recruit the best talent regardless of race, even though he knew his actions would create controversy. Shipley's friendship enriched my life, and I am happy that I had the privilege to know him.
Jim Paul, El Paso
Shortly before he was forced to resign, Shipley was suspended by the Southland Conference for calling it a Mickey Mouse league. While announcing his resignation, Shipley was asked if he would apologize for anything he'd said. He said he would apologize—to Mickey Mouse.
North Hollywood, Calif.
A Little Too Wild
I agree with Joe Sheehan's belief that an additional wild card team in the playoffs (INSIDE BASEBALL, May 2) would further dilute the importance of baseball's regular season. Unfortunately the dollar signs flashing in front of MLB and the TV networks make the move to 10 playoff teams almost inevitable.
Matt McCabe, Madelia, Minn.