I would like to nominate Greg Norman as Sportsman of the Year. While Norman's achievements on the golf course this season are well documented (Stormin' Norman, Aug. 25), his manner off the course is what really impresses me. He has had to put up with obnoxious behavior by fans in New York and with insulting questions about "choking" from the press elsewhere. He has come face to face with the Jack Nicklaus juggernaut at the Masters, the emotional Raymond Floyd victory at the U.S. Open and the miracle of Bob Tway at the PGA. Yet, through it all, he has remained gracious and friendly, with an ever-present sense of humor. This, I feel, is the epitome of sportsmanship. Good show, Greg, and g'day!
GARY R. DAVIDSON
Winfield, W. Va.
Barry McDermott's profile of Greg Norman shows an athlete who is clearly comfortable with his place among golf's current greats. As an avid Shark watcher and admirer these last few years, I have been impressed by his never-play-it-safe, go-for-the-win approach to shot-making. Ironically, it took just such a shot by Tway at Inverness to save Tway from possible defeat by Norman.
Thank you for Ralph Wiley's delightful article on John Stallworth of the Pittsburgh Steelers ("You Have To Be A Fool At Times," Aug. 25). I think Stallworth's courage is outstanding. I have been a Steeler fan for 12 years, and if I had to pick one player from the team to be my idol, it would be John. He is the kind of man you can't say enough about.
That was a great piece on the best receiver of all time. I'm 16 years old and have been a Steeler fanatic since the age of four. The receiving aspect of football has always been my favorite part of the game, and I grew up idolizing John Stallworth.
September 7, 1986
In February 1985 I got the idea of somehow getting in touch with my hero. With the help of an Alabama telephone operator, I got his phone number. John and I talked for a good 10 minutes—I don't remember my half of the conversation; I was in shock. We've been in contact since then, exchanging letters and phone calls. This year Pittsburgh opens its season at Seattle. The Seahawks being the closest team to Alaska, my dad and I have tickets to the game. We also have an invitation to meet John before the game.
John Stallworth didn't have to talk to a Steeler-freak kid from Alaska, but he did. He is not only a great receiver but also a great person.
METS ON THE MOUND
Ron Fimrite caught the excitement of the unbelievable season the Mets are having (Take That, You Hitters, Aug. 25). There is really no one pitcher or player who carries the Mets; instead, a great deal of their success is owed to general manager Frank Cashen. He and the people around him have traded for key players and brought along those who were already in the organization. As a result, we have a winner.
The Mets organization must be commended as the true force behind the team that takes the field. Within the New York pressure cooker, Frank Cashen has shown superb patience in acquiring and using quality ballplayers—not for rash attempts at instant success, but for building a tower of strength for the future.
Good article on the Mets' pitching staff. However, you failed to mention the weakness of National League hitters, including the Mets. For the most part, NL teams concentrate on pitching. In the American League, the Mets would be nowhere, because they don't have balance. This will become evident when the Mets get whitewashed by Boston, New York or California in the 1986 World Series.
As a longtime Mets follower, I don't know whether to thank Ron Fimrite or curse him for his fine cover story. Loyal Mets fans can only hope that the infamous SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "cover jinx" does not do what the rest of the National League teams cannot—beat the Mets. The "jinx" is in for its toughest test yet.
West Babylon, N.Y.
On the subject of insect life in major league ballparks (How Bugs Drive Baseball Batty, Aug. 18): On Sunday, Aug. 17, a praying mantis was observed in the fifth deck of Shea Stadium during a doubleheader between the Mets and the Cardinals. The entomological significance of the mantis's presence is not known (the Mets lost the first game 2-1 and won the second 9-2).
Your article on bugs and baseball reminded me of a night game many years ago during which a fire was built on the mound at Shea Stadium to disperse a swarm of gnats. Because John Garrity didn't mention this incident, it makes me wonder if my memory is bad or my imagination hyperactive. Does anyone in the Mets office or on your staff recall this happening?
•The Mets were unable to turn up any record of such an event at Shea, but a similar incident did occur at Chicago's Comiskey Park during a game between the White Sox and the Orioles, on June 2, 1959. According to White Sox chronicler Richard Lindberg and a UPI report of the day, Baltimore pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm called time in the first inning because a swarm of gnats was bothering him. When towel waving (by Orioles coach Al Vincent) and bug sprays proved ineffective, the umps took over, marching to the mound with torches made of rolled-up newspapers. After they, too, failed to disperse the bugs, Chicago owner Bill Veeck's fireworks experts were called in. They set off a smoke bomb on the mound. That defeated the gnats, and Wilhelm went on to beat the White Sox 3-2.—ED.
I have just finished the Aug. 11 SI, and I have never enjoyed an issue more. I especially liked the article on the Angels (One Last, Mad Dash) and the special section on Apple-ton, Wis. (Hooray, Appleton, U.S.A.!). It is a pleasure to read about sports enjoyed for sports' sake by the average man and woman. I look forward to more.
Thanks for the great tour of my hometown. It proves that our local boy, Harry Houdini, could not have said, as some locals claim, that his greatest escape was from Appleton.
If I wanted to read about a town that is actually proud of producing the likes of Joe McCarthy, I would subscribe to Soldier of Fortune magazine.
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
THOUGHTS OF ELYSIUM
According to the subhead of your article (So Long, USFL—Now What? Aug. 18), former USFL stars are looking forward to playing on "Rozellian fields."
I suppose this means that henceforth American League baseball players will be performing in BobbyBrownian pastures, and National Leaguers will be switching from Feenian fields to Giamattian diamonds. Or do all big leaguers play under one aegis, in what once could have been termed Kuhnian parks but are now stadiums Ueberrothian? The latter has a helluva ring.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
As a 1968 graduate of Lawrence University, I read with interest and nostalgia your series of articles on Appleton, Wis. No discussion of Appleton sports could be complete, however, without a mention of my Lawrence classmate Chuck McKee.
Chuck grew up just down the street from Lawrence and graduated from the public high school in Appleton the same year that Rocky Bleier graduated from Appleton Xavier. Chuck was an all-state quarterback but turned down scholarship offers from Big Ten schools to attend Lawrence. His athletic achievements at Lawrence included scoring 38 points in the 1967 Midwest Conference championship track meet (he won the high hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump, and he took second in the high jump). In our senior year Chuck led the Lawrence Vikings football team to the conference championship and a national small-college ranking. He was first team Little All-America, beating out Bob Toledo of San Francisco State (Toledo still holds several NCAA Division II passing records). He also was Phi Beta Kappa.
Chuck attracted the interest of several NFL teams, but decided to attend Case Western Reserve Medical School instead. He is now practicing medicine in Appleton, is the Lawrence football team physician and is married to a former Lawrence homecoming queen, Lesley Opel.
EDWARD T. BUTT JR.
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.