PETE ROSE'S QUEST
Thank you, Rick Reilly, for an excellent article (On Deck For The Big Knock, Aug. 19) about an excellent athlete. It not only points out just how difficult it is to reach the plateau of 4,192 hits, but also goes to the heart of Pete Rose the man.
As a die-hard Reds fan, I enjoyed both that story and the one by Ivan Maisel (A Rose In The Bud) about Pete Jr. Thank you for making this issue a keeper.
Cooper City, Fla.
Thanks for an informative and fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the game's greatest players. Rick Reilly should be congratulated for permitting us all to enter the world of a living legend. Pete has earned his "knocks," and regardless of how he is viewed by the public, no one can dispute the fact that he has reached this point in his career by simply being himself.
While I greatly admire the contributions Pete Rose has made to baseball, I can only feel sorry for him. Pete's passion for the game to the exclusion of everything else (except, of course, "Fast cars, fast horses, a young wife") made disappointing reading.
September 1, 1985
Rose certainly fits the Biblical adage of someone obsessed with gain: "What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world [even the Big Knock, No. 4,192] and lose his soul?"
Great story on Pete Rose, a guy who has always given everything he had to the game. I have idolized Pete since I was a kid; I would open the sports page first thing every morning to see how he did.
Rose is right. It's hard to make comparisons with Ty Cobb, but I agree that Cobb would not hit .367 against today's pitchers. I don't consider the game of the early 1900s to be major league baseball.
Nice story on Pete Rose. I am a committed Reds fan, and I'm grateful for what Pete has done to help Cincinnati in '85. But let's face it—this man has a tremendous ego problem.
Congratulations to Robert W. Creamer for his invigorating story on Ty Cobb (The Firebrand That Was Cobb, Aug. 19).
Ty Cobb was a great golfer also.
He played golf just as he played baseball—to win.
I watched him play bold, aggressive, strategic golf when I caddied for him at the Stanford University course in 1932. He would needle his opponents and try to divert their attention, just as he had on the ball fields.
Cobb was an excellent golfer who played for $100 a hole, and he seldom lost. His drives were long and straight, and his short game and putting were fantastic.
As to his reputed "violent temper"—I think it was a put-on. He would get mad at somebody in the foursome, then he would smile at me and wink. He had a heart of gold and always treated me kindly.
My happiest days as a caddie were "packing" for Ty Cobb.
Pismo Beach, Calif.
I feel compelled to respond to the special report on artificial turf in the Aug. 12 issue.
The first article (The Tyranny Of Phony Fields), by William Oscar Johnson, was a reasonably balanced discussion of the artificial turf business. I only wish that in the second and third articles the same balanced approach had been taken.
The baseball section (Is It Baseball Or Pinball?), by Ron Fimrite, is another exercise in sports purism. Some players prefer artificial turf. Several have spoken publicly on the matter. The Kansas City Royals are playing on a new AstroTurf field this year, one that Hal McRae says is "really better than grass, because there are no holes or rocks." Some years ago Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles said, "I feel invincible on AstroTurf. It's much easier to play third on it than on grass." Certainly these players were not the ones contacted and quoted in the article.
As for the third article (Just An Awful Toll), by John Underwood, talk about onesided overkill. Underwood's interpretations of the various injury studies are highly debatable, and his choice of sources was carefully designed to support only one side of the argument. Why did he choose to ignore the conclusions of a committee of former professional football players and sports medicine physicians that artificial turf does not represent "a significant health hazard" to football players? That committee, sponsored by the NFL Management Council, was headed by Dr. Bill McColl, a prominent orthopedic surgeon who played for the Chicago Bears and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. It included other football greats such as Gale Sayers, John Brodie and Ray Nitschke.
Opinion is one thing. But when you attempt to unilaterally denigrate an industry, you have a responsibility to present conflicting opinions of acknowledged experts and facts on both sides of the argument.
FRANCIS E. REINING
General Manager, Monsanto Company
PETE AND BIG PETE
Congratulations for the article about Pete Rose. To really top it off, could you show the photograph Pete said SI took of him and his father?
•Here's a picture from that take.—ED.
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