DOWN ON THE FARMS
I'd like to thank you for the story of and by Bobby Mitchell ("And You Dream About Tomorrow," March 21). For many years I have dreamed about playing one professional sport or another, and I'm sure many other boys across the country have, too. But now that I understand the hardships that go with the good times in pro sports, I have reconsidered my choices for a career.
Vero Beach, Fla.
Bobby Mitchell, stand up and take a bow. Playing in the minor leagues and living to tell about it is an achievement. Just be glad you didn't play in the Southern League. I worked for the Orlando Twins of the Southern League for eight years, and I saw players come and go.
You mentioned Joe Gates. I saw Joe Gates play for Knoxville. He was in the Joe Morgan mold but did not get his shot. The Twins had a pitcher named Lewis. He was one of the best relievers in '77, only to be released at the end of the season. They re-signed him for the '78 season and then released him again. That's management.
You might climb on a bus after a night doubleheader, drive 12 hours and play in another city the next night. A player who survives the minors really has something worth writing about.
JEFF (CANDY BAR) UNGER
Former Orlando Twins bat boy
April 4, 1983
Your March 21 issue provided a study in contrasts in the baseball "system." The article A Pair of Young Sox with Sock portrayed two young ballplayers whose talents kept developing as they played: Neither Ron Kittle nor Greg Walker drew rave notices their first couple of years in the minors, but because of something someone saw in them, they were allowed to reach their potential.
Bobby Mitchell, however, writes that he was "tired of questionable prospects being rewarded at the expense of proven performers." He was caught in a situation that many a player, from the Little Leagues to the majors, encounters at one time or another: Just because you're good doesn't mean you'll play.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
I would like to commend Bruce Newman on his well-written article about the Paxson brothers (A Family Tradition, March 21). I'd also like to know where their father, Jim Sr., has been for the past few years. He states, "You have to understand that the University of Dayton is the only game in town." He seems to have forgotten about a school on the other side of town called Wright State University. Or maybe he has just overlooked the fact that Wright State finished at 28-4 and won the NCAA Division II title this year and has been 120-26 over the past five years under Coach Ralph Underhill. Perhaps if Dayton would quit ducking Wright State's repeated invitations to play a game, then we could establish which is "the only game in town."
STEPHEN H. SMILEY
It was with great pleasure that I read your article on the Paxson family. We here at St. Francis College have had the opportunity to play against John Paxson twice during his career at Notre Dame. The dedication, sportsmanship and leadership that he has developed are qualities which make him an All-America both on and off the court. With his 3.64 grade point average in marketing, he was the runaway winner in the balloting for the 1982-83 Academic All-America team as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He is the true student-athlete.
College basketball will miss John. He was always a pleasure to compete against. He's one All-America who doesn't need the NBA to be sucesssful in life.
Assistant Basketball Coach
St. Francis College
GOING TO THE MAT
As a college wrestling coach I feel obligated to comment on your article on the NCAA wrestling tournament (The Hawks Soar as Before, March 21).
Shame on anyone who begrudges Dan Gable the success he has earned. Thank God Dan chose wrestling. He does not seek excellence to be honored; he honors us all by seeking excellence.
Dan's staff and his wrestlers are a tribute to his methods. We all need to measure ourselves sometime. It is nice to have something to reach for. We need more Dan Gables.
Hold back, hell! Pour it on. Dan, we're going to catch the Hawks! Thanks for providing us our greatest challenge.
University of Wisconsin
Were the Boston Celtics bad for pro basketball or the UCLA Bruins bad for college basketball? Was Bjorn Borg bad for tennis? The success of the wrestling Hawkeyes should be admired by fans and coaches from all over. They should want to build their programs up to the level of Iowa, not tear Iowa down to their level.
DR. LARRY JOHNSON
A QUESTION OF QUALITY
Please confine your coverage of the USFL to a few paragraphs near the back of the magazine. The problem is talent. Even in the NFL there are barely enough quality players to stock the league. Give the established leagues the space they rightly deserve and let the USFL earn its way into print.
MICHAEL J. RICCIO
Your article concerning the EPA (SCORECARD, March 21) was excellent. I hope that you continue to follow this current crisis and report your findings to your readers.
President Reagan need not worry about environmentalists turning the White House into a "bird's nest." If his current environmental policies aren't altered, there won't be enough birds around to do it.
R. MICHAEL NOTRICA
Los Alamitos, Calif.
Environmental issues are of vital concern to any "sportsman," whether he prefers to sit on the 50-yard line or in a bass boat on some pond or river. Whether it be loss of valuable wildlife habitat or the inefficiency and bungling of the EPA, these matters affect us all, especially those who enjoy sports or the out-of-doors. Keep up the good work.
BRUCE E. ROGERS
I subscribed to SI to read about sports, not liberal politics. In four successive issues recently, you ran only one article on professional hockey, but had four pieces on the EPA. I expected to see more ink devoted to hockey and none to politics.
Please hop off the bandwagon and concentrate on what a sports magazine should do. You will surely lose the subscriptions of conservatives who will not continue to support liberal media hype.
Leave the editorializing to TIME.
DAVID Z.H. MARVEL
Ocean City, N.J.
Stick to your knitting.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
TROOPING THE COLORS
In his March 21 PERSPECTIVE, Frank Deford says, "Somebody told me once that Amherst was purple, but I wouldn't believe a thing like that for a minute." He also says, "I never saw a purple cow." I have seen a purple cow. It's right there on the top of my Williams College hat.
Williams' color is royal purple, and one of Amherst's is purple; the other is white.
Penn Wynne, Pa.
Deford challenges readers to name a color besides purple for which there is no rhyme. As an alumnus of the University of Florida, I say tell him to think orange.
JACK N. CAMP
The New York Yankees' uniforms aren't "black and white and yukky gray and black." Deford's "black" is actually a particularly dark shade of navy blue.
DAVID M. DONEY
Your March 7 profile of John Edgar Wideman (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER) and the excerpt in FIRST PERSON of his forthcoming book, Brothers and Keepers, bring well-deserved national attention to an outstanding man and outstanding writer. Readers who enjoyed the excerpt will be happy to know that he has published three books in the last two years which were not mentioned by name in your profile. Two of them were Hiding Place and Damballah, published in 1981, which The New York Times Book Review said "once again demonstrate that John Wideman is one of America's premier writers of fiction." The NYTBR also named Damballah, which like Hiding Place is now available in paperback, as one of the year's best works of fiction. The third is Sent For You Yesterday, which has just been published and is now hitting the bookstores.
ANN C. MCKEOWN
New York City
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.