I would like to thank you for helping to end the Orioles' losing streak. My friends and I knew it would be only a matter of time before the Orioles made your cover (For the Birds, May 2), and that once they did, the dread "cover jinx" would work in reverse.
N. MCDANIELS JR.
I'm one loyal Orioles fan who hated to see the losing streak end. Maybe it wasn't for the right reasons, but for 3½ weeks we were the top sports story, the talk of the town. Even World Series champions don't generate that much press for that long. How sweet it was....
ON THE MONEY
The last sentence of William Nack's Kentucky Derby forecast (SCORECARD, May 9) reads, "The guess here is that Winning Colors will win it wire to wire." If Nack is this good a handicapper, give him a full page next year.
Once in a while I get to read a sports story that makes my heart beat a little faster. Your May 9 issue contained two such articles: Jane Schwartz's memories of a filly who embodied all the grace and beauty a sports fan could ever ask for (A Runaway for Ruffian) and E.M. Swift's portrait of Jon Peters, a boy living out the American dream (Boy Wonder).
EDWARD E. GARMEY
June 5, 1988
It was a thrill to read A Runaway for Ruffian. Jane Schwartz has just sold a copy of her book. And congratulations to Gene Klein (Another View from the Top, May 9) on the Derby victory of his filly, Winning Colors. Klein is a man who has proved that the old ways of horse racing aren't the only ways.
When I was a young man, football meant the world to me. In high school I started all four years as an inside linebacker, inspired by visions of Jack Lambert. I'll never forget the spirit of those years. Thus it was nice, in this age of drug problems, contract disputes, holdouts and strikes in professional sports, to see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED dedicate a few pages to high school competition and an athlete like Jon Peters, who is playing baseball, America's best-loved sport, because he loves it.
AIRMAN KENNETH J. LANE
Osan AFB, Republic of Korea
Austin Murphy accurately captured the character and intensity of Edmonton Oilers center Mark Messier (The Look of a Winner, May 9). One of my greatest memories is of Messier openly crying with joy after Edmonton defeated the Islanders to win its first Stanley Cup, in 1984. Not only has Messier shown that he has great hockey skills, but his emotional display that night also revealed how much the thrill of victory means to him. I have been a big fan ever since.
Bruce Newman's article on Dennis Rodman of the Detroit Pistons (Black, White—and Gray, May 2) was one heck of a story.
To be sure, Rodman's comments about Larry Bird were, at best, ill-timed and, at worst, borderline racist. However, all of us, at one time or another, have probably made similar comments about someone or have come pretty close.
Rodman is someone all of us—black, white, brown or purple—can respect because of what he has accomplished. Not many of us can look at an opportunity and recognize it for what it is the way Rodman did when he went to play basketball as a freshman at Southeastern Oklahoma State at the age of 22. It was his last chance, and he made the most of it. Dennis, you're an inspiration to every one of us.
Though Rodman's slurs about Bird may have been sad, equally sad is the fact that Pat Rich, whose family Rodman considers himself a part of, says she initially had to swallow her tongue when forced to "tolerate" dinner with a "black boy." Yes, racists come in all colors.
WALTER H. GIBSON
Sleepy Hollow, Ill.
SYD AND SID
Ralph Wiley's article on Syd Thrift (The Thrift Shop, May 9) mentions his trade of the aging and unproductive Jason Thompson in April 1986, shortly after Thrift became the Pirates' general manager. But the acquisition the previous September of Sid Bream from the Dodgers by Thrift's predecessor, Joe L. Brown, made Thompson expendable at first base. Bream immediately became a stabilizing force in the Pirates' infield. Their successful start this season could be viewed as a result of the good work of both Syd and Sid. Bream has contributed as much to Pittsburgh's rise as have any of Thrift's acquisitions of young players. His role has been overlooked for too long.
THE DOG'S TALE
In the box "A New Wurst for the Worst" (SCORECARD, May 2) St. Louis Browns owner Chris von der Ahe is credited with introducing the hot dog to ballparks a century ago. All of the information I have, including some supplied by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, indicates that Harry M. Stevens deserves the credit.
Stevens, who founded the catering company that became one of sports' biggest concessionaires, is said to have introduced German sausages on oblong rolls at a game at the Polo Grounds one cold day in 1900 when ice-cream cones were going unsold. The vendors hawked the sandwiches—Stevens called them dachshunds—by yelling, "Get 'em while they're hot." Tad Dorgan, a cartoonist for The New York Evening Journal, was at the Polo Grounds that day, and he drew cartoon characters of the sausages, giving them tails and feet and the label "hot dogs."
Kansas City, Mo.
I read Rick Telander's POINT AFTER (May 9) on Bob Knight with interest, because it pinpointed a double standard we expect Division I college basketball coaches to adhere to. A coach is not hired to educate students. He's hired to win games. While I'm sure we would all like Division I coaches to measure up to the John Wooden teacher-coach standard, the business of college basketball has made that virtually impossible. It's not just Knight who falls short. Read Purdue coach Gene Keady's lips when he protests a referee's call. Watch Villanova's Rollie Massimino pull his hair out while he coaches. Where else but on the basketball floor could a man get away with such behavior without being sent to the showers?
Is it fair for us to expect these basketball businessmen to be appropriate role models for young men when the nature of their business requires them to win games or lose their jobs? If colleges really expected them to be educators first and foremost, coaches would need Ph.D.'s to teach basketball, and they would be evaluated by the number of diplomas their students earned, not by the number of wins in a season.
JOHN W. HERSHEY
Women's Basketball Coach
Woody Hayes was fired for punching a football player on national television. Does Bobby Knight deserve any less for offending all women on national TV?
ANNE B. KOEHLER
Indiana, A.B. '62. A.M. '63, Ph.D. '68
GOLF COURSE ART
Your May 2 SCORECARD item suggesting that art might be the coming thing on golf courses brought to mind the wood nymphs and other carvings that inhabit Yale University's course in Westville, Conn. Yale's nymphs may not be worth $500,000, the estimated value of the sculptures on the Willow-bend course in Wichita, Kans., but whoever carved them surely anticipated how welcome they would be to those of us who missed the fairways on this historic golf course.
•The figure shown here is the first of six tree-stump carvings created between 1977 and 1979 by Shelley Meusel (now Shelley Meusel Carpenter), the daughter of Yale Golf Course superintendent Harry Meusel. She carved this Heinzelm‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ünnchen (a German imp or elf) at the edge of the woods near the 14th hole as a birthday present for her father. The colorfully painted figure was such a hit with golfers that she located five more stumps just inside the woods that border the course and spent approximately two days on each to turn them into nymphs.—ED.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.