"When Michael Jordan joined the White Sox camp, I, along with thousands of lost fans, started to take notice of baseball again."
MICHELE KENNEY, BLOOMSBURY, N.J.
This is an article from the April 11, 1994 issue
Jordan and Baseball
The fiasco of Michael Jordan's tryout with the Chicago White Sox (Err Jordan, March 14) feeds my discontent for the national pastime. I was an NCAA Division II All-America, yet I never had a chance to realize my dream. Why should Jordan, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, be invited to spring training? Is baseball all about ticket sales and who looks good in a uniform? In that case, sign up Kathy Ireland and Rachel Hunter.
MICHAEL J. SCHULTZ, Bronxville, N.Y.
As someone who grew up watching Mantle, Maris and Berra, I was saddened to see a picture of Michael Jordan on SI's cover. There are many young men who have spent countless years trying for such a chance and who never get to walk between the lines. Jordan should enjoy his retirement by playing golf and doing commercials.
JAMES NORTON, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Jordan is a superior athlete with a dream of playing professional baseball. It mystifies me that anyone would think that he doesn't have a shot. I believe he can do it, and I hope he does and shows everyone who doubted him that he can play with the best.
KAREN L. SPRENGEL, Mount Joy, Pa.
Jordan is living every fan's fantasy: playing for the big club, wearing the uniform, swinging the bat and basking in the Florida sun. Frank Thomas will be the main man for the White Sox again on Opening Day. Be grateful that Jordan has shown just how hard it is to play baseball.
PETER A. GEIGER, Bronx, N.Y.
What normal human wouldn't jump at the chance to try out for a major league club, given the opportunity?
STEVEN D. BOYER, Royal Oak, Mich.
Vince Coleman, Steve Howe, Jose Canseco, Luis Polonia, George Steinbrenner, Marge Schott, the New York Mets...and you say Michael Jordan is embarrassing baseball?
STEVE MAGNINO, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Didn't SI only recently write that Tommy Moe and the U.S. ski team didn't have a chance in the Lillehammer Olympics? Based on your track record of making predictions, I would say the odds are in Jordan's favor.
ROBERT J. PAGANUCCI, Bound Brook, N.J.
Just when I thought Michael Jordan was off the cover for good...now this!
STEPHEN R. ANTHONY, Arcata, Calif.
This is the man who just seven short months ago announced that he had nothing left to prove and that he didn't need the constant media pressure?
KENNETH STALLON, Bronx, N.Y.
The MVP Award
David Robinson is a fine center, but Hakeem Olajuwon is more deserving of the Most Valuable Player award (Spur of the Moment, March 7). Forget all the talk about Robinson's heart or off-the-court personality. These may be fine and dandy, but the MVP award should go to the hardest working player on the court. Olajuwon, not Robinson, should have been on your cover.
SHAWN ARLYN JOHNSON, Houston
While Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs are having a terrific season, your cover exemplified the way MVP awards are determined. Once the media decide on a candidate, the rest of the field has to play twice as well to warrant consideration. Olajuwon deserved the award last season but had neither the personality nor the win-loss record of Charles Barkley, who won it. This year Olajuwon's wins are there, but he's up against Robinson, one of the most likable figures in all of sports.
JASON JAKUBIK, Dallas
I've been a Chicago Bull season-ticket holder for years, and I agree that Scottie Pippen misspoke when he said he'd never heard a white player booed at Chicago Stadium (INSIDE THE NBA, March 14). But Pippen nearly had it right. What he should have said is that he has never heard a white player booed for a perceived lack of effort.
One of the great myths of our time is that the few white players who survive in the NBA give maximum effort all of the time. Since the black players are generally thought to be superior athletes, they are expected to physically dominate a game. When they don't, it's assumed that it must be due to lack of effort. Hence the boos.
GEORGE SMITH, Oak Park, Ill.
Kudos to you for your criticism of New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's remarks about pitcher Jim Abbott (SCORECARD, March 14). Abbott represents what is good about baseball. His charity work, unselfish behavior and appealing personality, coupled with his pitching talent and his courage, make him an ideal spokesman for the sport. Apparently throwing a no-hitter doesn't satisfy the Boss. And what gives Steinbrenner the right to criticize Abbott's charity work?
JAMES G. DI LIBERTO, JR., Smithtown, N.Y.
I was disappointed to find only five sentences devoted to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the World Series of this sport, while the same section of the magazine devoted five times as much space to a revival of the musical Damn Yankees (SCORECARD, March 21). The highly dedicated Iditarod athletes, both human and canine, face tremendous physical and mental obstacles. Not only are they battling other teams, but they are also fighting Mother Nature.
ROBERT D. HANCOX, Garden City, Mich.
Miracle on Ice
The SI Classic story on the hockey miracle of the 1980 Winter Olympics (A Reminder of What We Can Be, Feb. 21) brought back a special memory. At the time I was working in a refinery in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union. My family and I had been there for a month, and as far as we knew, we were the only Americans in the city.
On a cold February morning I was conducting reactor inspections about 15 stories up and was interrupted by a succession of visitors from other parts of the refinery who made the long climb up to shake my hand and pat me on the back. Because I spoke no Russian or Azerbaijani, their happy and excited conversations were unintelligible to me. I assumed they had all picked the same day to come and meet the American.
Over lunch, one of the French contractors mentioned the results of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. hockey game, and I realized that sportsmanship had been redefined for me. Thanks for rekindling this memory.
P.J. BOYLE, Mobile, Ala.
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.