I could not disagree more with Merrell Noden's POINT AFTER (June 26) regarding Ben Johnson's 1987 world record of 9.83 in the 100 meters. I do not feel that Johnson should be allowed to keep this mark any more than a bank robber, upon getting caught on his second heist and later admitting to the first, should be allowed to keep the money from the first theft.
The rules say no wind and no drugs. Violate either or both of those rules, and a world record should not count. I have nothing against Johnson; he just stole something that doesn't belong to him.
North Miami Beach, Fla.
What does an athlete have to do to warrant lifetime banishment? Here is a man who took anabolic steroids for six years before the World Championships in Rome, and then when he got caught in Seoul, denied for nearly a year that he ever took drugs. Only when brought before a board of inquiry did Johnson finally admit to taking steroids.
The question isn't whether Johnson should be treated harshly simply because he is Johnson. The question is why shouldn't he be treated harshly for lying and for taking IOC-outlawed drugs?
San Marcos, Texas
July 23, 1989
NUMBERS UP (CONT.)
Rick Reilly's Heavenly Hundred (POINT AFTER, May 22) was obviously selected before your article on Bo Jackson of the K.C. Royals and the L.A. Raiders was written (The Big Stick, June 12). I suggest the following changes: award number 16 to Bo Jackson, baseball player, and 34 to Bo Jackson, football player.
JOHN E. BAUM
For the life of me, I can't understand how anyone could choose Franz Klammer (number 15) over Bart Starr, or Roger Bannister (41) over Tom Seaver.
In 1969, college football's 100th anniversary year, Kansas coach Pepper Rodgers got special dispensation from the NCAA to exceed the two-digit limit, and he gave senior placekicker Bill Bell number 100. Bell wore number 12 in his sophomore and junior seasons, during which he scored exactly 100 points.
Green Valley, Ariz.
In honor of the centennial of the state of West Virginia, in 1963, placekicker Chuck Kinder wore number 100 for the West Virginia Mountaineers. I doubt that there will be other nominees for this unmentioned slot.
JAMES E. BARONE
Number 8 (Carl Yastrzemski) has to be Yogi Berra. The man appeared in a record 75 World Series games. And this is coming from somebody who idolized Yaz.
THOMAS J. PRENTISS
Rolling Meadows, Ill.
Number 56: Jim Bouton over Lawrence Taylor?
ALAN J. GOLD
New York City
Granted, Jerry Rice, number 80, is the best receiver in the NFL right now, but Steve Largent's accomplishments in the art of pass receiving simply cannot be overlooked.
With apologies to Terry Bradshaw, I would have nominated Bear Bryant for number 12. That's the number he wore as the "other end" on the University of Alabama's 1934 national championship team.
Mike Schmidt, not Josh Gibson, should own number 20. And I don't care what the telegram from heaven says, Walter Payton should share number 34 with The Ryan Express.
Mt. Horeb, Wis.
How could Reilly not have put Sammy Baugh at number 33? He had a much greater impact on pro football than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had on basketball.
I've found it. After weeks of searching, I have uncovered the proof I need to take my rightful place among the immortals of sport in Rick Reilly's Heavenly Hundred (POINT AFTER, May 22).
Reilly says that the number 93 space is still available. Well, in 1975 and '76, I wore number 93 for the Methuen (Mass.) Youth Football C Division Patriots (below). Does that qualify me for immortality? No? Just check the facts. In both seasons I started at offensive and defensive tackle. A two-way player! In '75 we went 6-1, allowing only one touchdown and winning the Merrimack Valley League title (one of several Massachusetts Pop Warner leagues). The next year we were 7-0 and allowed no points in winning the league again. Are we talking history, or what?
I would be honored to be added to Reilly's list.
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