PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Congratulations on selecting Oregon State's Gary Payton as player of the year ('Gary Talks It, Gary Walks It,' Mar. 5). It is refreshing to see that an accomplished college basketball player in a minor media market can still get the recognition he deserves.
Without detracting from Payton's skills, it must be remembered that the Oregon State basketball program is a success story in its own right. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Ralph Miller, this woefully underfunded program (unlike most states, Oregon budgets no state funds for major college athletic programs) had the best record, both within the conference and overall, in the Pac-10 in the 1980s. Here's hoping the Beavers can continue their success under Miller's successor, Jim Anderson, and that Payton develops into the NBA All-Star he has the potential to be.
SHANNON LEE MEYER
We Oregonians have had the honor of watching Payton play basketball for the last four years. We know him as the guy who lectures kids on the dangers of drugs, who always gives autographs and who never says anything negative about his teammates. He takes everyone up a notch, and the NBA team that gets him will be very lucky.
SUE and TED VINSON
I want to call your attention to the fact that crazed hackers have apparently broken into your computer. These hackers would have us believe that Curry Kirk Patrick's story named Payton player of the year and didn't even mention Syracuse's Derrick Coleman. It must have been hackers. We all know that Kirkpatrick has more brains than that.
One standard for selecting the player of the year must be how he performs in big games. In the final weekend of the regular season, Coleman had 27 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals in a win over Georgetown. Payton was held to five points in a loss to Arizona.
We had better watch these hackers. Next they will have us believing that Kirkpatrick does inane stories for basketball pregame TV shows.
PAUL R. BARBOUR
Syracuse, N. Y.
Payton as college player of the year? No way! That honor should have gone to Chris Jackson of LSU, hands down.
Lake Oswego, Ore.
Lionel Simmons of La Salle should be your player of the year.
Peter Gammons's article about Carlton Fisk (Sharp As Ever, Feb. 26) was long overdue. For 20 years Fisk has demonstrated an unrivaled work ethic and a zest for baseball. His outstanding career has been obscured by the legend of The Homer. While his game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series was one of the most dramatic events in baseball history, it was just one moment in Fisk's long and illustrious march to the Hall of Fame. Despite a lackluster supporting cast and strained relations with management, Fisk has maintained a level of professionalism and intensity for nine seasons that has made Chicago fans proud.
AL KORHORN JR.
There's no question that Fisk is an extraordinary player, but there's also no question that the fact that he's still playing at the age of 42 is attributable more to his $1.75 million salary than to any "hard-edged New England work ethic." One of the unanticipated results of free agency is that the astronomical salaries it has produced have enticed players such as Fisk, who otherwise would have retired years ago, to play on well past their 40th birthdays. In the process, these players take up roster spots that should, by rights, be going to rookies. How are we ever going to find the Carlton Fisks of tomorrow if the Carlton Fisks of today insist on playing forever?
New York City
HULBERT'S RESTING PLACE
I read with interest Steve Wulf's VIEWPOINT (Feb. 26) about William Ambrose Hulbert, the principal founder of the National League. Your readers might be interested in seeing a photograph of Hulbert's grave marker in Graceland Cemetery on Chicago's North Side, just a few blocks from Wrigley Field. The granite headstone is in the shape of a baseball and has a circumference of about 50 inches. In addition to Hulbert's name, it bears the names of the league's other founding fathers and of the eight National League teams in existence at the time of Hulbert's death in 1882.
The cemetery is open to the public for walking tours, and on summer afternoons you can easily hear the roar of the crowd when the Cubs are playing. If you're wondering why I would be in a cemetery while the Cubs are playing close by, it's because I'm a White Sox fan and can't find anything better to do during the daylight hours.
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