As I see it, the NFL players are completely justified in their strike (And Then the Clock Showed 00:00, Sept. 27). Compared to the salaries baseball, basketball and hockey players are getting, NFL players are definitely low on the economic totem pole. Consider this in light of the vast amount of money being made by the owners from the live gate and from television and the fact that they have made free agency a joke, and you can easily understand the players' frustration. Because professional sports are an entertainment industry in which the players are the product being offered to the public, they deserve a greater share of the pot.
Does Gene Upshaw think before he talks? In your article about the strike, he states: "Without the players there is nothing." I think he has it backwards. Without the owners there is nothing! Who got the league off the ground originally, the owners or the players? Who made the initial investment and took the risk of success or failure? The owners are the people who made this game a big-money business, not the players. For the owners to abandon their successful system would be ridiculous.
The NFLPA says the owners won't bargain in good faith. The NFLPA is just unreasonable in its demands. The players' insistence on a percentage of TV revenues is still a demand for a percentage of the gross. What would happen if all employees in the U.S. wanted a percentage of their employers' gross receipts? Who would start a new business? Who would hire anyone? I think it's about time the NFLPA and especially Upshaw came back down to earth.
ERIC S. PEISNER
We fans must rise and show our solidarity. We are the game. Our demands must be met by the conclusion of this impasse or we will have no choice but to strike. We will not, must not, settle for less than the following:
1) a 55% reduction in gross ticket revenue;
2) a uniform ticket-price scale based on seniority; and
3) a free beer for every game attended back to 1977, and forward to 1986.
JOSEPH B. PHILBRICK
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
When the strike is over, the fans should meet at the stadiums around the country, shake hands and go home.
Just as I was getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the young NFL season, the players' strike brought me back to my senses. So did your article on Milwaukee Brewer Shortstop Robin Yount. Robert W. Creamer's piece was just what the doctor ordered. It helped remind me that the best way to spend these Indian summer days is watching baseball, America's pastime. Bring on the playoffs! Bring on the World Series!
SCOTT R. HUEBNER
A GOOD WORD
I'm writing this letter because there has been a lot of negative press coming from almost every source about the NFL and its players, concerning the strike, the use of drugs and so on. A lot of people seem to think that the players have nothing on their minds but making more money than they can carry to the bank and how much cocaine they can use. But that's not so with at least one player I can name: Jim Miller of the 49ers.
Our 15-year-old son, Brian Walker, was listed in critical condition and had given up all hope of recovery when I called Miller at his parents' home in Ripley, Miss. last February. I explained that Brian was very ill and that Miller had been his hero since Miller played at Ole Miss. I asked him if he would visit Brian and Jim said to name the time and he'd be there. He even came 15 minutes early!
We saw a miracle that night, brought about by one of the nicest people in the world. Miller gave Brian the jersey he had worn in the Super Bowl, but the best gift was that he restored Brian's will to fight the illness, Guillain-Barré syndrome, that had almost taken his life. Miller came back every week until we brought Brian home, and then, until he reported for training camp and the start of the season, he visited him here. Every day we thank God for our son's doctors and a barefooted punter from Ripley, Miss.
What an article on Ken Hall (Whatever Happened to the Sugar Land Express? Sept. 27)! What a family! What a man—athletic ability, a stable marriage, humility, love, business competence, an enduring maturity! No hype. No drugs. No scandal. No superinflated ego. No rancor over past events. Hall "would love sometime to shake hands with [Billy] Sims, [Herschel] Walker, [Tony] Dorsett." I'd be honored to shake hands with Hall.
Normally, art imitates life. But, in the case of Ken Hall, the reverse seems to be true. The small Texas town of the early '50s in which Hall performed his heroics calls to mind the setting of the film. The Last Picture Show, in which civic pride rose or fell with the fortunes of the high school football team. Literary works which seem strangely echoed in Hall's real-life story include Irwin Shaw's The Eighty-Yard Run, John Updike's Rabbit. Run and Frank Deford's Everybody's All-American. There is, however, one important difference, for while the youthful heroes of these three works slide ever deeper into shabby postathletic mediocrity and despair. Hall picked himself up and adjusted successfully to life in a nonathletic world and did so without bitterness.
A century ago, A.E. Housman lamented those "lads that wore their honours out/runners whom renown outran/and the name died before the man." It is reassuring to know that even though the name does die, the athlete has an option other than "dying young."
THOMAS N. LONGSTRETH
As I read the article on Ken Hall, I thought to myself that it would have been nice to watch the Sugar Land Express run with the football. But, wait! When I read the last page I realized that I had seen him play! I was 11 years old at the time and my older brother and his friend took me to see my very first pro football game: the New York Titans vs. the Houston Oilers. If I remember correctly, it was a damp, gray day at the old Polo Grounds. After a Titan score, Hall took a kickoff four yards deep in the end zone, right in front of us. As he took off straight down the left sideline, he slipped to one knee, got up and sprinted, untouched, 104 yards for a touchdown! I've been to more than 50 pro games since, but Hall's run is still the greatest one I've witnessed. Thanks for bringing the man behind that fantastic run into my life!
Coral Springs, Fla.
Hats off to Robert W. Creamer for his article on Robin Yount (This Robin Is a Rare Bird, Sept. 27). It's about time Yount received national recognition. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to see him get his start in professional baseball, playing for the now-defunct Newark Co-Pilots of the New York-Penn League. Watching Yount then was a pleasure, and to see how he has developed into one of the finest all-around shortstops in baseball is truly gratifying. Yount fully deserves MVP honors for '82.
Robert W. Creamer's enumeration of the 10 best shortstops of all time was an admirable first attempt, but there was at least one glaring omission: Maury Wills.
MICHAEL G. HERMAN
I can't believe that anyone could make a list of the 10 greatest shortstops and not include Joe Sewell.
RICHARD L. CURRY
Could you have been shortsighted in selling short Luke Appling?
DONALD A. LEVENSON
•Indeed, Creamer regretted that his list couldn't include other fine shortstops, among them Joe Tinker and Rabbit Maranville, "both currently denigrated by some critics who think neither deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, although a close study of their records shows that both do"; Hugh Jennings, "who with the old Orioles of the 1890s was the best shortstop who ever lived for three seasons, but who had a very short career at the position"; Sewell, "a first-rate all-around player'; Appling, "known solely as a hitter, although he led his league in assists seven times"; Herman Long and Bill Dahlen, "stars at the turn of the century"; Donie Bush; Travis Jackson; Dick Bartell; Billy Jurges; Alvin Dark; Johnny Logan; Dick Groat; Wills; Don Kessinger; Leo Cardenas.... However, Creamer also asks, "Of the top 10 listed, whom should I remove?" And why?—ED.
You have unwittingly done me a disservice. You wrote in your article on the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (A Club Like No Other, June 21) that I was a conscientious objector. This was definitely not so. I served during World War II in the United States Army Air Forces.
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