Thanks to Bill Dwyre ["Coming to light," July 28] for a great article about a wonderful human being, Rafer Johnson. As an 18-year-old kid who had just graduated from high school, I attended the 1960 U.S. Olympic trials at Mt. San Antonio College. Rafer Johnson had just qualified to represent our nation at the Rome Olympics.
Hundreds of adoring fans were trying to get close to him or to get an autograph. I was fortunate to be able to greet him personally. After shaking hands, he stopped, looked me straight in the eye, and softly said, "Thanks for shaking my hand." This was the greatest athlete in the world, showing the humility and dignity that he still exhibits today.
Rather than athletes returning from drug suspension, getting out of prison and looking for a team to pick them up, being involved in domestic violence, or demanding exorbitant salaries, we need more role models like Rafer Johnson and certainly more news articles about some of today's good people in sports.
Lowell G. Rice
With regard to your story on Emmett Ashford [July 26] and the propriety of installing him in the Baseball Hall of Fame, he would be my instant choice. When I was pitching for Caltech in the late '40s, Emmett was frequently our home plate umpire. We revered his calls, because they were made with incontestable certainty and great flourish. My favorite recollection is a game we were playing, it may have been against Occidental, on a very hot Saturday afternoon. Emmett leaned over my catcher, both were perspiring profusely, and said, "Wouldn't a beer go good right now?"
Arthur O. Spaulding