Whatever the merits of your opinion of the environmental credentials of Secretary of Interior—designate Manuel Lujan (SCORECARD, Jan. 9), you overlook the fact that the Department of the Interior has broader responsibilities than guarding America's natural resources. Interior is also a protector of the lands and natural resources owned by Native Americans and the indigenous populations of U.S. territories and possessions. For this responsibility, Lujan is eminently qualified. As a congressman from New Mexico, he repeatedly proved his concern for these peoples.
We in Guam applaud President Bush's selection of a Hispanic-American of Lujan's stature to direct Interior in all of its responsibilities.
DORIS FLORES BROOKS
Republican Senator, 20th Guam Legislature
SWEETNESS AND LIGHTS
Your double issue, Pictures '88 (Dec. 26-Jan. 2), was great. The photographs captured many of the exciting moments in sports last year. But what about Walter Payton? He retired in 1988, and many of us fans think he is the best back ever to play the game. So what do you say? Let's give Sweetness some recognition.
ERIK P. JOHNSON
I thought you might like to see (left) what my husband, Mike, and I use as the "angel" at the top of our Christmas tree. Mike is a rabid Walter Payton fan—we even have a poster of Payton in our bedroom—and three Christmases ago, while I was trying to decide what kind of decoration to use to top off our tree, I glanced into my kitchen cupboard and saw a picture of Sweetness smiling out at me from my Wheaties box. I cut out his likeness, and it has served as our Christmas angel ever since.
K. DIEDRA STONE
January 30, 1989
ANSWERING THE BLM
In his letter (Dec. 19) concerning the wild horses of North Dakota, Tim Locke, the Bureau of Land Management's director of external affairs, stated that the BLM took "swift action" on behalf of these horses. As a member of the Grand Forks Humane Society, I could list other adjectives to describe the BLM's involvement, and I can guarantee the word "swift" wouldn't come up.
The BLM was the root of the problem that local and national groups faced in attempting to help the 400 starving wild horses in Jerry Cudworth's possession. The bureau had been making periodic inspections of this herd before and during the deaths of these horses. If these inspections had been done properly, this incident could have been avoided.
The images of the emaciated survivors of this herd will forever be burned into my memory. Now these survivors are in other fee-waiver herds in South Dakota and in Texas. In a few months the horses who managed to survive the brutal nine months in North Dakota will be faced with certain death when their new owners send them to the slaughterhouse.
Grand Forks, N.Dak.
WHO'S ON FIRST?
A Dec. 26-Jan. 2 SCORECARD item referred to a study showing 78% of black baseball players (excluding pitchers) play outfield or first base. The item reported managers in the survey as saying these positions require less thinking and leadership skills than other positions. I disagree. In my analysis, it appears the best athletes and baseball players are outfielders and first basemen. As evidence of this, consider that 61% of the Baseball Hall of Fame player enshrinees (nonpitchers) are outfielders and first basemen. It is natural for the best athletes to emulate the greatest players of all time, and those players are predominantly outfielders and first basemen.
JOHN D. COOPER
As a Northwestern alumna (class of'81) and a long-suffering fan of its losing football team, I was gratified—and amazed—to see the following scenario unfold in Buffalo's 17-10 win over Houston in an AFC playoff game (Putting the Clamps On, Jan. 9). With less than two minutes to play in the game, Bills punter John Kidd (Northwestern '84) kicked the ball. Oiler Curtis Duncan (Northwestern '87) fielded the punt and then was stripped of the ball on his return by Buffalo's Steve Tasker (Northwestern '85). The fumble Tasker caused was recovered by Buffalo, which capitalized on this turnover to run out the clock and retain its lead.
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,