To the editor:
I read with interest John Garvey’s column on heroes in the January 2012 issue. His point is well taken that it is much more difficult to find heroes today among public figures and athletes.
My sports heroes in my youth were Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Gil Hodges. Mr. Williams stared the Jimmy Fund along with Cardinal Cushing. After what he considered a sub-par season he went into the Red Sox’s front office and asked them to cut his salary 10 percent. Where have you ever heard an athlete request a salary cut for a bad season?
Gil Hodges lived in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn where Ebbets Field was located. He also attended Mass daily when the team was at home.
My two celebrity heroes were Perry Como and Nat "King" Cole. Mr. Como refused to allow the media inside his home. He also would refuse to allow them to interview his family. He considered family matters private.
As for Nat Cole, he was a true Civil Rights hero. The abuse he took when he moved into an upscale area of Los Angeles would have caused most people to move. When one of his black entertainer friends was relegated to sitting in the back of the casino he was performing, he told management that if they did not allow his friends to sit where they wanted, he would go down the street to entertain for far less money. He won that argument.
Rather than looking to celebrities as heroes we would be better off looking at our own circle of family and friends. Most of our parents either worked trick work or held two jobs just to send us through college. I remember one of my friends’ fathers hitting fungo baseballs out to us despite the fact he had blisters on his hands from his work.
The latter are real heroes, and we don’t have to look very far.
James R. Boehler