Three years ago I felt sorry for a fine and unfortunate young athlete whose career was tragically interrupted. Now I realize he never needed anyone's pity—he had enough himself to fill Fenway Park. I was disappointed to read the play-by-play description of an immature and self-centered man's epic struggle from "near death" to the pinnacle of glory and publicity, which he so coveted. The article said more about the praise Conigliaro was constantly expecting from Williams and never once gave Williams' point of view!
I was greatly disturbed by the statements Tony Conigliaro made in his book, Seeing It Through, concerning Boston's ex-manager, Dick Williams. It has become acutely apparent to myself and many others that the Red Sox are a team made up mainly of prima donnas. It was also obvious that Dick Williams, after the 1967 season, did not hold the reins of the club. Many so-called superstars, such as Conigliaro and Carl Yastrzemski, were repeatedly allowed to go over Williams' head and complain to the higher management every time he tried to retain some form of discipline on the team. True, Williams was not always a gentleman, and at times even openly criticized his players. However, one can only wonder how a gutsy, competitive man such as Dick Williams could contain himself in the country-club attitude of the Red Sox.
It was apparent to me that Conigliaro was criticizing Williams' manliness when he complained of Williams' indifference to him. This is completely discounted by the actions during a recent exhibition game in Montreal where Dick Williams was coaching. Before the game, a select few of the Red Sox, including Conigliaro and Yastrzemski, could not even face Williams, whereas George Scott, a man whom Williams criticized greatly, had a lengthy conversation with his old skipper.
For the record, give me a team with Williams as manager (1967 American League Champions) rather than one without him and with Conigliaro (32-34 as of June 25, 1970).
The fact that it takes a great amount of courage for Tony Conigliaro to step into that batter's box every time up doesn't seem to make much of an impression on Boston fans. They have been booing him incessantly the last few weeks for a few fielding losses and acting as if it's all his fault the Red Sox are 40-36 and eight games behind the Orioles. At this writing Tony is hitting .290 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs. If these so-called "fans" want someone to boo, look out at the mound. Not one Sox pitcher, starter or reliever, has an ERA below 2.81. So keep blasting them, Tony. Maybe someday Boston will get some pitchers with as much courage as you have.
The reports from Mexico City (June 22, 29) on the World Cup matches were excellent. Tex Maule showed in these articles and the two articles he wrote about the Chelsea-Leeds F.A. Cup finals that he has a fine understanding of the game of soccer. His analysis of the Brazil-Italy final superbly examined the subtle changes in theme a match can produce. Let's see more on this, the world's most popular and exciting sport.
We enjoyed Dan Jenkins' story about the U.S. Open (Tony's a Shark at Pasture Pool, June 29) and his comments on the one-liners about Hazeltine. He missed the best one, though, delivered by Lee Trevino at the first tee on Sunday, the final day of the tournament.
Trevino was 13 strokes off the lead on a course he had once called "the toughest in the world." Saturday he had swatted his way around Hazeltine, cursing, complaining and throwing his irons into sand traps.
Sunday he was in better humor. Well-wishers saw him off at the first tee, and Lee threw us this one: "I'm just gonna try and finish without hurtin' myself."
BILL and MARCIA PEARSON
I can't believe it! Dave Hill, a man from Jackson, Mich., complaining about cows and corn? He should have felt right at home.
Dave Hill's comparison of Hazeltine was critical, but Gary Player's criticism of Hill was hypocritical.
I can recall Player's remarks remonstrating with the committee's choice of Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club as the site of the 1962 Open. His diatribe may not have been as caustic as Hill's, but his displeasure at the playing conditions was eloquent.
By offering agrarian advice to Bobby Trent Jones, Hill in effect was admitting Hazeltine was a tremendous challenge, but that he had the strength of character to go out and beat it into submission. The others, Player included, were obviously not able to cope with the demands the course made. Had they used the same self-motivation as Dave, they might have fared better.
Anyway, sport, especially golf, needs characters such as Hill. Superhumans, such as Arnold Palmer, don't come along every day—or even every decade; and until they do, controversial characters such as Hill and Richie Allen will provide the attraction to the bill-paying public.
Let's not reduce golf's touring pros to the level of the nonentities who comprise most of organized professional sports today.
Bravo to Dan Jenkins for an excellent and articulate story that captured the essence of the state of affairs, at Hazeltine in particular and of professional golf in general. So many of today's pros seem to take offense when confronted with a course that requires adaptation and a little thought; their formula seems to be, "Power Plus Putt=Money." As a native Minnesotan, I find the arrogance and superiority complex of these few humorously ignorant.
Tony Jacklin combined the ability to adapt the willingness to think, and the sophistication to accept the Upper Midwest and its tests of golf without musing how they should be—and that is a champion that we, as well as Great Britain, can be very proud of and a champion that many American pros could well emulate.
PFC DAVID W. FYTEN
Fort Bliss, Texas
One of the more serious aspects of the brash young man whose criticism of Hazeltine will weigh heavily upon his future was his failure to follow the very basic teachings of his own profession.
The game has always stressed courtesy, particularly from one who plays at a club and on a course not his own. Hazeltine was no more difficult for Hill than for his peers. As a pro he is supposed to have the shots in his game to solve normal and abnormal conditions of play.
I'm afraid young Mr. Hill may be listening to moos at the top of his backswing for a long time to come.
And God help him if he ever plays across the big sand trap which is called Horizon City Country Club where my compadre Lee and his local fleas would make hash of his game, his purse and his mouth.
Regarding Mark Mulvoy's article on Shirley Englehorn and her success on the L.P.G.A. tour (Fine till the nerves go 'Ding," June 29), Miss Englehorn is certainly to be commended for her fine play and her courage in doing so well despite serious physical problems. However, there is a point when "competitive fire" oversteps the bounds of proper sportsmanship and becomes gamesmanship instead.
That Miss Englehorn would purposely employ slowdown tactics to upset her opponent, and have these tactics reported in a favorable light, does a disservice to golf and golfers everywhere.
PAUL R. LYNCH
I take violent exception to your closing sentence in the SCORECARD item (June 22) concerning the NHL draft: "someone named Paul Terbenche, who scored five goals for Portland last year." If goal scoring is what your knowledge of a player is based upon, no wonder you sound rather vague at the mention of Paul Terbenche. Portland Buckaroo fans don't know Paul as a scorer of many goals either. To us he is a hard-working defenseman more noted for blocking shots on goal than for scoring goals. Many times during last season I've seen him drop to the ice and take a shot full in the chest to keep the opposing team from scoring. Many times the only thing between the puck and the net was Paul Terbenche. He was sadly missed after a groin injury sidelined him near the end of the season. (You may have heard that of six defensemen beginning the season with the Portland Buckaroos, five were lost through injury just at the end of the season.) It's my opinion that Buffalo will be better off for having drafted him. Good luck to Buffalo and good luck to Paul Terbenche.
MRS. NEIL G. KINMAN
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