The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 25, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Readers answer the call, again

One of the truly enjoyable aspects of doing this job is the interaction and feedback I receive from you, Loyal Readers, on an almost-daily basis.

Case in point, the centerpiece of Monday’s sports section, which dealt with Sports Illustrated and locals —specifically, people from Ashtabula — who have appeared on the cover of the magazine.

I wrote that last week’s issue of SI with hometown hero Frank Hall on the cover marked the second time an Ashtabula guy was on the cover of the magazine, the first being then-Florida coach Urban Meyer in 2009.

Of course, my inbox blew up Monday morning. I received no less than 50 messages about that aspect of the story, all saying the same thing — “Benji Ramirez was on the cover!”

For those who may not know, Benji Ramirez was an Ashtabula High School football player who died after taking anabolic steroids.

A story, written by Rick Telander, appeared in the Feb. 20, 1989 issue of Sports Illustrated.

The story featured plenty of photos, including several by one of his friends, Aaron Morris, from the funeral service.

However, Loyal Readers, the story was — thankfully — not the cover story, nor did any photos of Ramirez appear on the cover.

The cover boy for that issue was basketball player Chris Jackson, who went on to a long, albeit troubled career in the NBA.

Along those lines...

The final item in Monday’s centerpiece dealt with Sally Sarell, who was the Playmate of the Month in the March 1960 issue of Playboy.

I asked if anyone had information about Ms. Sarell and, lo and behold, I received several messages and a few telephone calls.

Here’s a sampling:

From Mary Fors Smith: “Sally graduated from Harbor High School with the Class of 1956. I’m sorry to say that she passed away many years ago. I have fond memories of her in school. Always basically shy and none of her classmates ever expected her to be the centerfold of Playboy magazine. It seemed to be very unlike her.

“Even though Playboy said Sally was from Helsinki, Finland, she was born in good old Ashtabula General Hospital just 3 days before I was. Our mothers, I think, were roommates back when you had to stay in the hospital for 7 days following childbirth.

“Her brother’s name was Charles. Her daughter was here several years ago to visit with her aunt, Helmi Luomala. Helmi has also passed away.

“Thank you for the little blurb into memory lane.

“I do remember that the issue of Playboy sold out in Ashtabula!”

And this one, from Vince Grippe: “I’d like to bring you up to date on Sally Sarell. She was born to Walter and Sally Sarell. She graduated in 1956 from Harbor High School. She had a brother named Charles and they both worked as models in NYC.

“She dated several movie actors, including Hugh O’Brien. She eventually moved to Florida, where she got married and had a daughter. Her mother was also in Florida after her husband, Walter, died.

“Sally died of cancer around the mid-’90s. Her mother and brother also passed within the next couple years. Her daughter, Chandra, moved to Atlanta, became an attorney, and married an airline pilot for Delta named Charles Tutt. She became a mother and homemaker.

“I know all this as her daughter came to Ashtabula not knowing anything about her mother or her mother’s family. She contacted a cousin she never met and requested a little time to learn about her family. The cousin, in turn, contacted me knowing that we were neighbors growing up and spent our high school years together.

“I gave Shandra a 1956 Harbor High School yearbook to keep which showed pictures of her mother in her youth. To this, she was very grateful.

“Sometime later, I received a thank you note and a message that expressed how pleased she was with our visit.

“While I was working in downtown Manhattan, I would occasionally visit Sally when she wasn’t traveling the world working as a model or in movies. I remember one time she just returned from Brazil as an extra in a Beatles movie.”

Thank you, Loyal Readers, for doing just that — reading — not to mention, writing. Your willingness to respond to my many inquiries never ceases to amaze me.

Your feedback is always much appreciated.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video