Letters to the Editor

From the issue of October 18, 2001

High and Inside
In perpetual awe of the slugger: I read Gaspar González's article about Ted Williams ("America's Past Time," October 11) and just had to say it gave me chills. I have been a die-hard baseball fan since I was old enough to hold a bat, and ever since then I have been in awe of the greatness of Ted Williams, whom I consider the best all-around baseball player who ever lived.

He was not just a great player but he is a great man. It's refreshing to hear someone talk about him in a sense other than baseball. I'm cutting out the article and letting all my friends read it. Thank you for this insight into his life.

Jared Reisman
Coral Gables

Down the Middle
The Kid meets the King of Swing: Great Ted Williams article, but Gaspar González neglected to identify Benny Goodman in the shot with Williams holding a bonefish. As a WTVJ-TV cameraman I spent an afternoon filming them on a fishing trip in the mid-Fifties. Williams cursed out Goodman for making a bad cast and gave me one of the greatest compliments I've ever received. He told me I had great eyes after I spotted a tailing bonefish for him.

Bob Gelberg
Miami Lakes

Deep to Center
The Splendid Splinter got the Hall of Fame while Islamorada got trashed: Gaspar González turns a neat job in the story of Ted Williams in the Florida Keys, the paradise to which he retreated after one of baseball's most accomplished careers, including the unmatched feat of hitting more than .400 during a season. Williams fled Islamorada when mass-market tourism spoiled the natural treasures that attracted him and many others to the Keys.

I first fished the flats off Islamorada in the early Seventies. If you were lucky enough to experience Florida Bay then, what you shared with Ted Williams was spectacular wildlife that may have been the last full flowering of the Everglades in South Florida. By the time we moved to Key West in the late Eighties, Williams had thrown in the towel, moving up Florida's west coast.

Although I never met Williams, Gaspar's description of his cold, flinty personality is dead on with the tales I heard from fishing guides and friends who knew him. These stories, along with memories of Florida Bay filled with life, have been a quiet and private part of my world as an environmental activist.

Gaspar's story reminded me that the rapid growth of tourism in the Keys was propelled by the same intensity of purpose that is, at its core, as insular and self-centered as Ted Williams's sharp edges. In his twilight years, could the Splendid Splinter have connected what helped him hit .400 to the spirit of overdevelopment that drove him from Islamorada?

It is part of our national character to celebrate and vanquish nature as though there were no contradiction in doing both. We simultaneously value our mountaintops and mesas for their natural quiet and expropriate them to market SUVs on television.

Gaspar's article makes me wonder: Ted Williams is now a dying old man, cold and flinty from start to end. If the clock could be turned back, would he trade hitting .400 in the fields of green for a gentle end of life, built on the foundation of a larger spirit and purpose?

If given a new, blank canvas of the Everglades and the American Dream, would we do anything different in the Florida Keys?

Alan Farago
Coral Gables

It's Outta Here!
Mayoral boast: Ted Williams taught me how to fish! What a great thrill to read about Ted Williams in Islamorada. It was an excellent and entertaining story. Gaspar González captured the essence of the crusty yet lovable Teddy Ballgame, as the crew around Islamorada called him.

It was my good fortune to have the chance to go fishing with Ted back in the Eighties. The Islamorada Village Council named a street -- Ted Williams Way -- in his honor to acknowledge his contribution to sportfishing in the community. The signs haven't been changed yet, but Gaspar's fine article will give us the impetus to do so.

Ted and I, with the help of now-deceased guide Jack Brothers, caught both bonefish and permit, but Ted wasn't bashful about telling me how to improve my technique. Now I instruct friends and family how to "turn the head" of a fish, just like Ted Williams showed me.

Frank Kulisky, mayor
Islamorada

One Man's Angry Opinion
La Flaca is a pitiful embarrassment: Lissette Corsa's article "Little Buenos Aires: Meet Silvina, La Flaca de Explosiva"(October 4) is one of the worst I've ever read. And Silvina, its subject, is an embarrassment to women everywhere. She is a victim in every scenario, passive in the extreme. There's nothing charming about a woman who is too lazy to get a job and who puts up with abuse. Her lap-dancing turns her on? If a man did what she does, he would be accused of thinking with his other head. She has no self-respect. Apparently what goes on between her legs is the only thing that matters.

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