Another vote for Thorpe Sportswriters and other...


January 16, 2000

Another vote for Thorpe

Sportswriters and other "experts" were afflicted with tunnel vision in their choices of athlete of the century. They came up with the final four: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown and Babe Ruth, but not necessarily in that order.

These guys were one-sport specialists, although Jim Brown was an excellent lacrosse player. Michael Jordan tried pro baseball and was a dismal washout.

For all-around athletic ability, Jim Thorpe tops the list. He established Olympic records, his football exploits are legendary, and he played major-league baseball.

Ernie Nevers followed, although not as spectacularly, in Thorpe's footsteps: an Olympic medalist, an All-America football player and a major-leaguer. These were great all-around athletes.

Abner Kaplan, Baltimore

New arena, big hopes

As a longtime follower of Maryland basketball, I have come to the realization that Gary Williams will always have very competitive teams. He knows how to cultivate raw talent into good players. But it takes more than a good coach to build a great program.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has built a dynasty at Duke by consistently reloading his team with perennial Parade/McDonald's All-America-caliber players. The mystique of playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium also has helped him sell recruits on the idea of coming to Duke.

I hope the new arena in College Park will take Williams' program to the next level.

In the meantime, the students and fans can help by getting behind the Maryland program the way the supporters at Cameron do for the Blue Devils.

Buster Hyman, Baltimore

Wright deserved steward job

I have been going to the races at Pimlico, Laurel and Bowie for more than 45 years. I have seen some of the greatest races in history and some of the best jockeys. And over the years, I've come to know and respect a person I think needs to be mentioned at this time.

Former jockey Danny Wright has always had a positive image in the Maryland racing industry. I started watching him ride some 20 years ago. He might not have been the greatest jockey to cross the scales, but when I put $2 down on him, I always got a $100 ride.

Over the years, I have noticed Wright always had time for the patrons, to say hello and shake their hands. As an avid sports fan, I have read over the years that Wright has represented the racing industry at many functions and has worked on many projects for children.

Recently I noticed that Wright had applied for the position of a steward in Maryland. I had the opportunity to be at the track visiting with some of the employees and jockeys when the steward's position was announced.

People definitely were in disbelief that Wright had not been chosen for the job. They said: "He does everything they ask of him. He's honest, fair and an excellent judge. How did this happen?"

Will Maryland racing lose another great figure to some other state? I certainly hope not, and I hope the people who choose the next steward will look at this quiet, knowledgeable gentleman who was overlooked this time.

Phil Oliver, Glen Burnie

The 50 percent solution

I see that Jesse Jackson's civil rights group doesn't think it's fair that the Green Bay Packers fired their black coach. I agree with Jackson on this terrible happening. I think that 50 percent of the NFL coaches should be black and 50 percent should be white.

Of course, I also think that 50 percent of the football players should be black and 50 percent should be white, and that goes for basketball and baseball teams, college and professional.

Now, doesn't that seem fair, Jesse!

Charles Mack, Forest Hill

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