THE NAME OF THE ROSE
Pete Rose (On Deck For The Big Knock, Aug. 19 et seq.) has to be your Sportsman of the Year. He has handled the tremendous media pressure surrounding his pursuit of Ty Cobb's career-hits record with humor and enthusiasm. Even more incredibly, he has managed the Reds back to respectability.
Certainly it is fair to say that Rose is respected by all and loved by most. He's a modern-day Peter Pan. I think I'll rename my dog after him.
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
My congratulations to Pete Rose for breaking a record that many had considered to be out of reach for today's ballplayer.
I would also like to pass along these observations to those who, related or unrelated, may be named after this great hitter: Many people will not believe you when you tell them that your name is Pete Rose. "Oh, sure," they will say. But having the same name as a famous person has advantages, too.
Clarksburg, W. Va.
September 30, 1985
FOR THE PITTS
Regarding Craig Neff's article The Pirates Are Strictly The Pits (Sept. 9): Somebody has to be in last place.
Rick Reilly's...And Then They Had To Play (Sept. 16) was great. His account of' Illinois' season-opening loss to USC feeds the fires of competition between what I hope will prove to be two great teams. (Can you tell I'm an Illini fan?) His depth of knowledge of the teams and of pertinent little-known facts makes for smooth reading. My mouth watered over his "bakery tray of six delicious turnovers." Keep it coming!
After reading the article, I could only wonder: What did the University of Illinois ever do to Rick Reilly?
JUDITH A.L. ZUBRICKAS
Frank Deford's story They Held The Open In Czech (Sept. 16) contains inaccuracies regarding CBS Sports' relationship with Jimmy Connors and Pam Shriver. At no point was either player paid anything to be a part of the CBS Sports coverage of the U.S. Open. They served as expert analysts for two reasons: 1) They wanted to share their individual expertise with us; and 2) we felt that their particular insights would be of great interest to our viewers.
PETER A. LUND
New York City
•We stand corrected on the matter of payment to Connors or Shriver. However, Deford maintains that the use of athletes still engaged in a contest to interview other competitors is a rude intrusion on the dignity of a competition.—ED.
Having just returned from a visit to Japan, I especially enjoyed Ron Fimrite's description of Japanese baseball (Land Of The Rising Fastball, Sept. 9). Indeed, there was such a fever over the Hanshin Tigers that the TV commentators, too, seemed to be caught up in it. Even for a non-Japanese-speaking viewer, it was easy to discern and share the fervor displayed in late-evening news synopses and film clips of each day's play. But there was one thing I could not figure out. Why are all the team names and player names on the uniforms printed in English?
•Ever since World War II, baseball in Japan has been promoted primarily as an American game, according to the commissioner's office in Tokyo. To boost this modern image, things like team names written in English have been adopted. The Yokohama-based Taiyo Whales introduced player names written in English in 1966.—ED.
After reading what Ron Fimrite had to say, I have decided that Japanese baseball must be incredibly boring. No wave, no national anthem, no seventh-inning stretch, returning foul balls. Come on! I would pay $50 to see a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cleveland Indians before I would accept $50 to see a Japanese game.
Yorba Linda, Calif.
JUMPING HIGH AND LOW
What a pleasure it was to read your Aug. 26 article Who Needs An Airplane?, which provided great insight into fixed-object parachutists. Coverage by SI will no doubt help to legitimize an often misunderstood facet of our sport.
With 1,346 sky dives logged since Sept. 16, 1972, I know of the exhilaration that accompanies the completion of a successful jump. We live in a world in which chaos, crime, military confrontations and governmental inconsistencies shout at us from the newsroom and media. Happy is the athlete who can develop and perfect techniques that allow for at least a fleeting disassociation, literally and figuratively, from that world.
Jack McCallum has provided the reader with a description that is accurate and unbiased and as breathtaking as the photographs that accompany it.
When my family and I were in Norway last summer, we went sightseeing in the mountains near Andalsnes. One set of jagged peaks looked especially menacing, like broken teeth snarling at the clouds. Our Norwegian friends informed us that people had been jumping off those mountains, and that just recently an American had been killed when he and his open parachute were blown against the mountainside. Staring up at those awesome peaks, I was convinced that only a combination of insanity and stupidity would lead a person to jump, even with a chute.
Now we learn from Jack McCallum's fascinating article that the American who died was Carl Boenish, and that he was neither crazy nor stupid, just careless for one fatal moment.
Daytona Beach, Fla.
If BASE jumpers Phil Mayfield and Phil Smith make the "ultimate patriotic jump" from the Statue of Liberty torch during centennial ceremonies for the statue next July 4, they should be tarred and feathered and strung up from the torch!
As a national parachuting champion who made a safe and legal parachute jump from El Capitan in 1980, I know my limits. I cringe every time I read about BASE jumpers performing crazy, stupid stunts off buildings, bridges and antennas. These people give the sport of parachuting a bad name and hurt every parachutist's image. BASE jumpers are not recognized by and are shunned by our governing organization, the U.S. Parachute Association, and by most sky divers. In the future I hope you cover and promote the many aspects of the safe sport of parachute jumping, instead of bandit BASE jumping.
JOY B. BURTIS
1985 Women's National
Thank you for the interesting article on BASE jumping. I always thought that parachutists were out of their minds, and your photographs made me certain of it.
LOCKER ROOM LINEUP
Congratulations to Pam Shriver—and Frank Deford—for the excellent journal (I'll Tell You About Tennis, Sept. 2, and To Wimbledon And Beyond, Sept. 9). Shriver's diary was very informative about the inside of the game, but I would like to know what the final score was for the doubles challenge match that Vitas Gerulaitis and Bobby Riggs played against Martina Navratilova and Shriver. Would you also identify the others in the picture Shriver took in the Wimbledon ladies' locker room? I recognized only Gabriela Sabatini, Navratilova, Shriver, Chris Evert Lloyd and Hana Mandlikova.
•Navratilova and Shriver beat Gerulaitis and Riggs 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. The ladies in the locker room are, left to right: Sabatini, Navratilova, Shriver, Rosie Casals, Marjorie Eraser (ladies' dressing-room attendant), Evert Lloyd, Kathy Rinaldi, Marcia Robbins (in blue), Mandlikova and Janet Faraday (a physiotherapist).—ED.
OH SO GOOD
My compliments on Ron Fimrite's fine article on Japanese baseball. I particularly liked the comparison between Japanese and American baseball fans. In Philadelphia, there are some feckless fanatics who have the audacity to boo Mike Schmidt. I don't think Japanese fans would boo a player of that caliber.
As far as comparing players is concerned, I feel that American ballplayers are better—by about 30%. So, taking away 30% of Sadaharu Oh's 868 home runs, he still would have more than 600. Not too shabby by any standards. How about a picture of Oh from the front?
Haddon Heights, N.J.
•Here you are.—ED.
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