Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 17:26:21 -0500


Subject: Re: "little" and "jr"

The "Jr." problem could be solved in many cases by never using "Sr." to

designate the father in the twosome. I mean there would be "Joe Smith" and "Joe

Smith Jr." and that should suffice, especially since no one is actually named

Joe Smith Sr. on their birth certificate. It is merely a convenient way to make

sure someone understands that you are referring to the elder rather than the

younger Joe Smith, which is fine in conversation but totally unnecessary, in my

view, in written copy. Agree? Disagree?

The question of dropping the Jr. once Sr. is deceased is a tricky one. If

Ken Griffey (Sr.) died tomorrow, would his son play baseball (if anyone plays

baseball ever again) as Ken Griffey? I doubt it; the recordbook-keepers would

have a fit--and so would the fans who missed Dad Griffey's obituary. I know in

auto racing (which I cover a great deal of) the Jr. sticks with the son for

life, regardless of the status of the Sr. Billy Vukovich Jr. always was

referred to that way, even though his father had died long before his son ever

raced (and even though the son's name was not the same as his father and

actually included no Jr.!). The case of Tony Bettenhausen Jr. was a little

different. He began racing as Tony Jr., even though his father's name was

Melvin Eugene Bettenhausen (he raced as "Tony") and his is Tony Lee

Bettenhausen. Eventually, though, right won out, and he generally is known as

Tony Lee these days.

It seems to me the Jr. has to remain in effect even after the Sr. dies, at

least in sports--and probably politics, show business (i.e., Sammy Davis Jr.,

Will Rogers Jr.), etc., for the people who don't read the obituary columns. I

suppose it would be less important for us common folks, at least in

conversation (but it might be in obits?)