35 YEARS OF COVERS
Steve Wulf's article, The Cover Story, in your special issue 35 YEARS OF COVERS (March 28), notes that Reggie holds the record—four—for most different baseball uniforms worn by a player on your cover. Although he is still in his 20's, Herschel (who like Reggie needs no last name) holds the football record; he, too, has appeared on the cover in four different uniforms. In fact, he's already in second place, behind Joe Namath, for total covers for football players, with eight.
CHARLIE BENEDICT JR.
Here are a few interesting scores from 35 YEARS OF COVERS:
Charles Goren 5, Henry Aaron 3
Tony Rice 4, Jim Brown 2
Cheryl Tiegs 4, Nancy Lopez 2
Eric Heiden 3, Mario Lemieux 1
Billy Martin 5, Vince Lombardi 3
Kurt Rambis 4, Bob Cousy 3
Herschel Walker 8, Walter Payton 4
George Chuvalo 3, Pelè 1
Wes Westrum 3, Roberto Clemente 1
Ralph Sampson 7, Pete Maravich 3
DAVID B. FREELAND
Morris Plains, N.J.
In its banner year of 1986, eight players from Boston teams appeared on your covers: Larry Bird (twice), Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Kevin McHale, Oil Can Boyd, Jim Rice and Rich Gedman.
U.S. presidents (or, at least, their surnames) have been well represented on your covers. Those I spotted are: Washington (Joe), Adams (Alvan), Jefferson (John, Stanley), Monroe (Earl), Jackson (Reggie, Sonny, Chris, Bo), Tyler (Wendell), Taylor (Jim, Lawrence, Steve), Pierce (Billy, Ricky), Johnson (Charley, Gus, Alex, Rafer, Magic, Ben, Bill, Jimmy, Dennis, Ted), Grant (Darryl), Hayes (Elvin, Von, Woody), Wilson (Otis, Willie), Ford (Whitey, Phil), and Carter (Gary, Rubin, Joe, Anthony), with honorable mention to Garfield Heard and Gussie Busch.
•And that doesn't count John F. Kennedy (Dec. 26, 1960), Gerald Ford (July 8, 1974) and Ronald Reagan (Nov. 26, 1984, and Feb. 16, 1987), who have also appeared on our cover.—ED.
There have been three Sportsmen of the Year representing Boston's pro teams: Carl Yastrzemski, Bill Russell and Bobby Orr. Can any other city match that?
•Yes. Los Angeles has had four pro Sportsmen—Sandy Koufax, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Bourne and Orel Hershiser. Pittsburgh has a different distinction, with two Sportsmen in one year: Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw shared the honor in 1979.—ED.
All right, your youngest cover subject was a four-year-old martial artist in Shanghai (LETTERS, April 16). Who was the oldest?
GILBERT B. BATTUNG
Union City, Calif.
•Reagan was 76 at the time of his 1987 appearance. The oldest sports figure was Mets manager Casey Stengel, who was 73 when he shared the March 2, 1964, cover with Yogi Berra of the Yankees. If one discounts hunter John Olin, 66 (Nov. 17, 1958), bridge player Charles Goren, 58 (May 23, 1960) and several hunters and yachtsmen whose ages were not given when they appeared on our covers in the '50s, it appears that the oldest active athlete was hockey great Gordie Howe, who was 51 when he was on our Jan. 21, 1980, cover.—ED.
Leigh Montville's POINT AFTER about throwing away a letter from Jim Thorpe and keeping only the autograph (April 2) reminds me of an experience I had with Ty Cobb of a rather different sort. In 1959, when I was 18, I sent a letter to Cobb asking for his autograph. However, there was a mix-up over postage. I wrote that I was enclosing a four-cent stamp, but it may be that I substituted four one-cent stamps.
In any case, it seems that when Cobb opened the letter, he saw only a one-cent stamp. Did the others fall out? Did I inadvertently include only one? I don't know. At any rate, evidently this foul-up sent him into a rage. He pasted the one-cent stamp to the top of my letter and wrote an angry reply, which he did not sign, even crossing out his printed name on the envelope.
I was crushed that my hero would write such things to me, and I threw the letter in the garbage. My wiser mother said, "You asked for an autograph, and he sent you a whole letter." So I retrieved the letter, which I've saved all these years. It reveals Cobb to be combative, emotional and intimidating, all of which helped make him the greatest player of all time.
ALBERT F. CAVALLARO, Westbury, N.Y.
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.