Kenny Moore's story on Jackie and Al Joyner (Ties That Bind, April 27) is a keeper. I intend to save it so my boys can read it when they are older—to reinforce the idea that success is not something you can buy but that it is achieved through a strong value system, hard work, dedication and a love of what you do. The story was so beautifully written that I could swear I heard music emanating from those pages. Bravo Jackie, Al, Mary—and Kenny.
JANICE A. PARR
I ran the Boston Marathon (To Boston with Love, April 20) this year and experienced the crowds, the enthusiasm, the energy, the pain and the euphoria of finishing. I have never felt anything like it and will not soon forget it. Leigh Montville's article described the unique setting, but you really have to be there to appreciate just how incredible the event is. To me it is truly what sport is all about: striving to achieve the not-quite impossible.
As a longtime spectator of the Boston Marathon, I was delighted by Montville's article. You could feel his love for that great event. It was certainly the best piece about the Boston Marathon I have ever read.
Thank you for giving our Brewers some exposure in your April 27 issue (A Heady Start). John Iacono's cover photograph of Rob Deer captured the drama of what has been baseball's hottest team.
I began to feel this season might be something special when my family and I joined about 10,000 other fans the day before the season opener to watch our Brewers practice and go through warm-up drills. And to think that the Braves deserted us 21 years ago to go to what they thought were greener pastures.
The Milwaukee Brewers are the best 23rd-highest-paid team in the history of the major leagues.
Perm Valley, Pa.
I could not agree more with E.M. Swift's POINT AFTER (April 13). Isn't it a shame that such a spectacular sporting event as the Stanley Cup tournament is ruined by rich owners trying to get richer? All that is gained by scheduling more games is lousy, tired play in the later rounds. I think it's time we went back to shorter Stanley Cup playoffs.
Huntington, N. Y.
I'm stunned by the lack of logic in professional sports. The playoff systems in hockey and basketball are laughable. Teams must only avoid being horrible. Being mediocre is good enough.
If the NHL would become more concerned with the quality of play night after night, I believe the almighty dollars would follow automatically.
North Bay, Ont.
In his article on the Flyers-Rangers playoff (A Series with Punch, April 20), Austin Murphy wrote that the Flyers are a goon squad. We Flyer fans have been hearing this for years. But in Games 5 and 6, the Flyers did not engage in a single fight, and they won, 3-1 and 5-0.
LEONARD OR HAGLER?
My heartfelt thanks to Hugh McIlvanney (POINT AFTER, April 20). His observations regarding the Leonard-Hagler "fight" matched mine and succinctly summed up my feelings of outrage, injustice and bitterness since the fight. This fight should be used as a litmus test to judge the level of sophistication of boxing fans. Did they see through Leonard's illusion to Hagler's more powerful blows in Rounds 5 to 12, or were they moved by Leonard's histrionics and quick, but often inaccurate, powder-puff "punching"? Take heart, Marvelous Marvin, knowledgeable boxing fans realize the truth.
For days after watching the replay, I pondered how Sugar Ray had conned the world. McIlvanney hit the nail on the head. It took public relations genius, consummate tactical skill and a willing boxing world for Leonard to successfully enact his "illusion of victory." He deserves credit for creating the scenario that cost Hagler his crown. What he did not do, however, is beat Hagler. Marvelous Marvin is still the champ, 116-114 on my card.
The challenger must beat the champion to take his title, not merely survive the encounter. Leonard hypnotized the judges and many who watched the fight, but subsequent viewings would convince most that Hagler was a clear winner. My heart goes out to the true champion.
The only illusion was McIlvanney's. The whole world saw Leonard box for 12 rounds and do a fine job of it. Now McIlvanney is trying to convince us that we didn't really see what we saw.
TROY R. MILLIKAN
McIlvanney says that Leonard never "broke" Hagler. Wrong. He broke Hagler's rhythm; he broke Hagler's intention; and he broke the overall style that let the Marvelous One dominate so many other opponents in the past. Did Hagler ever come close to "breaking" Leonard? I should say not.
Boxing is more than a brawl. With all due respect to Hagler, Leonard has raised the level of boxing a step or two with his class and style. Thanks for coming out of retirement, Ray. I hope to see you against Tommy Hearns.
New York City
In response to the April 6 SPOTLIGHT by Jay Feldman on Lee Chilton, The Gloveman of Fremont, Calif., I must refute the notion that Chilton is "the only one in the country specializing in the repair, restoration and reconditioning of baseball gloves." In Campbell, Calif., there is a man who has been doing this for the past 20 years: Charlie Rose, of Charlie Rose Baseball Equipment.
I have seen the 75-year-old Rose put aside gloves he was working on in order to help a young man who had a game that afternoon. He will not sell a glove without restringing the webbing or adding support to it. I could recount other incidents but suffice it to say we are fortunate to have both Chilton and Rose.
WHAT'S A HOOSIER?
I can assure you there is no doubt about the origin of the term "hoosier" (That Championship Touch, April 13). It derived from "hoozer"—from the Cumberland County dialect of Old England—and its Anglo-Saxon root was "hoo," which meant "high" or "hill." Thus, a Cumberland hoozer lived in the hills and was considered uncouth.
In the 1700s emigrant Cumberland hoozers settled in the Carolinas and then spread throughout the Southeast, where hoozer became a synonym for "cracker," which later displaced hoozer in Florida and Georgia. (One could still find "Alabama hoosiers" early in this century.) Southern hoosiers migrated to Indiana and brought the word with them; the first written use appears in a letter from an Oregon, Mo., resident to his uncle in Indianapolis in 1826. The writer tells of some Indiana hoosiers who had moved into the area.
While hoosier is still a malignant synonym for uncouth in Missouri (I've heard irate St. Louis Cardinal fans call an umpire a hoosier), its meaning in Indiana is now benign and, after this year's NCAA championship, glorious.
FLY BALLS AND A BAT
Reading about the fly ball that hit a bird and fell for a double on April 12 at Shea Stadium (INSIDE BASEBALL, April 20) reminded me of a similar incident that occurred in the early 1950s in Carlsbad, N. Mex. During a Class C Longhorn League night game between the Carlsbad Potashers and a Midland, Texas, team, a drive to leftfield that could have been a home run struck a bat (the flying kind). In the case of this twice-batted ball, the hitter, like the Braves' Dion James at Shea, made it to second for a double.
JOHN F. ANDREWS
Excellent article by Bruce Newman on Bernard King (A King Eyes A Court Comeback, March 30). I suffered a sever Knee injury while playing picked basketball nearly two years ago. That's all I ever plated. King's story inspires me.
Your SCORECARD item (April 20) about King is give most readers the impression that Bernard returned solely to collect on a sneaker contract. I would like to point out that in the five games after the item went to press, King shot 51.5% from the field, 80.5% from the foul line and averaged 25.8% point, including a high of 31 against Cleveland (below). Those number alone justify his comeback. King has said he returned because he loves basketball, and he has asked everyone to leave finances out of it. Let's do that.
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