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1969: The Missing Season
Neagle’s article, "1969: The Missing
Season," was a splendid account of a most notable happening
in collegiate football. I had the privilege of participating
in the epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak that befell
the varsity football team for the Worcester Department of
Comments by team members assembled 35 years
later - and the excellent photographs - offered a vivid recollection
of the event that occurred at a time when the hepatitis viruses
were not yet identifiable in the laboratory. In 1969, the
diagnosis of hepatitis A virus infection was made by clinical
impression and epidemiologic circumstances.
Appreciating that virus laboratory testing would be developed
in the future, serum specimens from the team members were
serially collected, frozen and stored in the Infectious
Disease Laboratory of Dr. Thomas O’Brien (Holy Cross
alumnus - class of 1950). Years later, when laboratory
methods for identifying the hepatitis viruses became available,
the specimens were thawed and studied. They tested positive
for hepatitis A virus, confirming our clinical impression.
The accomplishments of all the athletes interviewed by Mr.
Neagle are most impressive. They may have lost their football
season to hepatitis A virus, but they certainly won success
in their professional careers.
Leonard J. Morse, M.D.
In response to Michael Neagle’s article on the lost
football season of ’69, I want to commiserate with
all the guys who were my teammates when I was a senior in
the 1967-68 season. I want to verify that they would have
had an outstanding season if it had been a normal year, and
no hepatitis virus had struck. What an ignominious way to
kill the great Crusader gridiron tradition!
I personally verify that Lamb, Moncevicz, Doherty, Cooney, et
al., were very good players who deserved to play at
the highest levels of college football (as the Holy Cross
schedule called for back then). Keep your heads held high,
John Vrionis ’68
Roswell , Ga.
I read the article about the hepatitis A outbreak with
a mixture of interest and annoyance. Yes, it was interesting
that these men had a bad experience but were able to learn
some valuable lessons from it. But, it’s annoying
to see a relatively mild disease covered as though it was
a major medical crisis.
Perhaps my view was biased. I contracted hepatitis
C in 1962, but due to the latency of this serious disease,
it was not diagnosed until 1999. Unlike hepatitis A,
there are no vaccines for hepatitis C. Hepatitis A rarely
causes complications or death, but hepatitis C is a major
cause of liver failure in this country.
What about a feature article on alumni who have overcome
more serious viruses, such as hepatitis C or HIV? I
am taking the New York State bar exam in February 2005, and
I know there must be alumni who have contracted these diseases.
Peggy Michaels ’80
Brooklyn , N.Y.
In the Footsteps of Ignatius
I enjoyed the article, “In
the Footsteps of Ignatius,” and
think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the College’s
young faculty members to learn of the Jesuits’ origins.
However, I do have one correction. You incorrectly identified
Montserrat and Barcelona as being “in the Basque region
of Spain,” when, in fact, they are both located in
Catalonia, not the Basque region. These distinct regions
have different language, history and ethnicity. I am of Catalan
heritage and visited Montserrat with my cousin (whose first
name is “ Montserrat”) and family who live in
Barcelona. It is a beautiful, spiritual place. Again, great
Dana St. James ’77
Edward P. Jones ’72 and The
In my freshman year at Holy Cross, my English professor
asked me: “Why do we read novels?” I replied, “Novels
give us insight into human nature.” My professor was
pleased with that answer, but little did he realize that
I was not talking from personal experience, but only had
repeated something I had heard elsewhere.
Having just read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The
Known World, by Edward P. Jones ’72, I have
now received in abundance insight into human nature. Mr.
Jones, to this reader, may well be Faulkner’s literary
successor. His style and subject matter are both reminiscent
of that great novelist, while his characters expose how
our actions are often predetermined by our mental gestalt.
The Holy Cross community can be forever grateful to the
admissions officer who, in 1968, wrote “accepted” on
the application of a marginal Black applicant from Washington,
D.C., and to the good fortune of Mr. Jones having chosen
to attend the College.
Clinton Sornberger ’63