As a devotee of Olympic weight lifting I was pleasantly surprised to find Vasili Alexeyev's massive bulk planted firmly on the April 14 cover of SI. William O. Johnson is to be commended for his insightful impressions (The Best at Everything) of a man whose personality has been expressed, via television, only in terms of glowering might. The general notion in this country that weight lifters are musclebound dullards, incapable of appreciating anything more subtle than an iron barbell, will, I hope, become less prevalent as prominent men in this highly individualized sport are recognized. Political contentions notwithstanding, Alexeyev is an outstanding athlete. SI and Johnson have done much to give full dimension to the "Strongest Man in the World."
DAVID L. NUNLEY
Thanks for the excellent article on Vasili Alexeyev. In a sport where an individual competes more against himself than against an opponent, Alexeyev shows the character that makes him the best of his time.
Although I wouldn't want to argue the point with him, Alexeyev may not be the world's strongest man. As pointed out in a recent article in Strength & Health magazine, that title rightly belongs to Paul Anderson, an American. The 1956 Olympic gold medalist, Mr. Anderson has since gone on as a professional to achieve lifts unequaled by any other man.
I am sure glad to hear that Vasili Alexeyev has the best Bulgarian peppers in all of Shakhty, not to mention his being the best on his team at marksmanship, singing, carpentry, tennis, draughts, dominoes, billiards, volleyball and, of course, lifting the weights. Congratulations to William O. Johnson for a fine article.
In regard to your article on the Texas Relays (At Any Rate, They Had Fan, April 14), here is some humorous information everyone will be interested in. OTIS, the winning "University of Texas" intramural 440-yard relay team, really was composed of Jamie Tout, Joe Sheffy, Scott Emerson and Mike Clifton, all of Southwest Texas State University, not Andy Wingert, Bucky Payne, Chip Guesman and Lee Line of UT as reported.
Southwest Texas State is a small university located in San Marcos, 30 miles southwest of the UT campus. A rivalry exists between the two schools only because UT is thought to be superior as a result of its size. This foursome, named OTIS, won the UT intramural event by more than 15 yards, with UT students frantically cheering their supposed fellow schoolmates on. All four no doubt would be great UT athletes, except that they are students at SWTSU. They used fake names and a lot of talent to overwhelm their competitors, the fans and SI's Tex Maule.
You ended your article by saying, "Too bad the OTIS relay team won't be running in the Olympics." Well, maybe it will, but under different names.
ED (Rusty) LANDRY
Your recognition of Larry Shipp's victory in the Texas Relays 120-yard high hurdles was well deserved. Shipp and LSU teammate Allen Misher are two of the top hurdlers in the nation. However, in the same issue you have done an injustice to the LSU gymnastics program. Larry Keith dwells on the Japanese influence on this year's NCAA champions, the University of California and BYU's Wayne Young (He Who Keeps Cool Will Collect). In three years LSU Coach Armando Vega has brought his team from ninth to second best in the nation. This year two of the six All-America all-around honors go to Tigers Mike Carter and Mike Godawa. Two other LSU gymnasts earned All-America honors in their specialties, indicating that they were ready for their more difficult routines.
IVAN W. PACKER
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the article on the Gas House Gang (That Old Gang of Mine, April 7). It's what baseball was all about. I also agree with Leo Durocher's analysis regarding the philosophy of the game and ballplayers today versus those of yesteryear. Baseball will never be the same.
RICHARD J. CASER
Leo Durocher twice says there were 23 players on the 1934 Cardinals. Through all the crucial days of that season, and through the World Series, the Cardinals had 21 men.
Your excerpt omits the dramatic revolt of the Deans in mid-August. That welded the team together. Only when the penitent Dizzy and Paul returned to the fold did the Cardinals develop sufficient esprit de corps to start their pennant drive. While Dizzy was suspended, the Cards won six of seven games. Even Pepper Martin pitched—effectively—for a couple of innings.
I was there as publicity director of the 1934 Cardinals and editor of the 1934 Cardinal World Series program.
I hope I will be joined by others in asking that NBC not fold The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola (TV/RADIO, April 7). It is one of the finest baseball shows ever seen. It has added a new dimension by allowing fans a closer look at the players as human beings and at the too-often-missed humorous aspects of the game. Monday night wouldn't be the same without Joe. There is no substitute for a good format and a great guy.
Victoria, British Columbia
I have just finished reading Fond Links to Sausage Man (April 14) by Terry Davis and am thinking of my high school girl friend of 10 years ago who couldn't stand to get next to me during practice, of the 105-pounder whom we constantly beat up or tied up, of the heavyweight who always enjoyed eating in front of us. In those few pages Davis has captured what wrestling is all about, that certain something that no other sport can match. It is a feeling of mutual satisfaction, of enjoying the wrestle-offs so you could rest, enjoying hearing about the week's opponents (again, so you could rest) and of constantly trying to do something behind Coach's back.
I have retired from wrestling, but still officiate and coach. This article is going to be my creed. For every potential "Sausage Man" or "Mash" who asks me what wrestling can offer, I'll say read this article. Then when he looks at me as though I should see a shrink, I'll simply respond that unless you live it, you'll never understand what it means.
GEORGE R. SINCERBEAUX
SWIMMERS AND DIVERS
While USC's John Naber "was the only swimmer to score multiple record victories" at the NCAA swimming and diving meet (Yes, We Are Believers, April 7), he was not the meet's only double winner. Ohio Stale's Tim Moore won the one-meter and three-meter diving competitions and by the next week had accumulated 18 major titles (six AAU, five NCAA, seven Big Ten).
Ohio State should be well represented in the Olympics, as Moore and another Buckeye, Miss Carrie Irish, will undoubtedly make the team. Ron O'Brien, coach of the men's Olympic diving team, is also from Ohio State.
In SCORECARD ("All Wet," April 14) you mention that Chicago State University's Fred Evans is the first black ever to win a U.S. national swimming championship. Alfred Warren, a classmate of mine at Central State (Ohio) University, won the NAIA three-meter diving championship in 1961, '62 and '63 and the one-meter in 1961 and '62. Warren is now a swimming and diving teacher in a high school in the Cleveland area.
HAROLD J. MARTIN
Dave Roberts' recent record effort in the pole vault deserves more attention than it was given (FOR THE RECORD, April 7). While a student at Rice, Dave became the only man ever to win the NCAA pole-vault title outright three years in a row. He now is a straight-A graduate student in zoology at the University of Florida and is awaiting only the outcome of the 1976 Olympic Trials to apply for entrance to medical school. Come on, SI! Real heroes are getting hard to find: don't pass up the opportunity to show us one.
CHARLES H. ALLEN
Re Jim Harrison's weird comments about Charles Berlitz' book The Bermuda Triangle (BOOKTALK, March 31), I have a suggestion. I think Mr. Harrison should be sent along as an observer on the proposed drifting expedition, with Mr. Berlitz in full charge of the "damp, damp soda crackers."
WILLIAM P. BOLAND JR.
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