Picking Mark McGwire for Sportsman of the Year was a tap-in.
Picking them both was inspired.
--JOHN A. SULLIVAN III, Caldwell, N.J.
This is an article from the Feb. 1, 1999 issue
TOGA, TOGA, TOGA
Kudos for your selection of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as
Sportsmen of the Year (Big Swingers, Dec. 21). They are role
models for our youth and rekindled the spirit of baseball.
AMY CHAPIN, Gwinn, Mich.
What's the sense of splitting the Sportsman of the Year award?
From spring training until the last day of the season, McGwire
set the pace. Big Mac was the one who broke Roger Maris's home
run record and, after that, had to face the persistent questions
about whether he would hit 70. Granted, Sosa led the Chicago
Cubs to the playoffs and had a wonderful season, but it was
McGwire who put up with the pressure and the endless questions.
I'm sure McGwire has no qualms about sharing the award, but it
should be his alone for his accomplishments as well as for his
even-tempered dealings with the media.
STEVEN SQUIERS, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
I find it sad you chose a Sportsman of the Year whose
performance was enhanced by a drug. Who knows what Sosa could
have done if he had used a performance-enhancing substance? I
guess we have entered the age when cheating is O.K., even
heroic, as long as it isn't illegal.
GREG POIRIER, Los Angeles
Walter Iooss Jr. knocked the ball out of the park with the cover
photo of McGwire and Sosa. Thanks for capturing a year like few
others in American sports.
CINDY TOCHTERMAN, Andrews, Texas
Your cover picture of McGwire and Sosa dressed for a collegiate
toga party is appalling. They are baseball players, for god's
sake! Dress them like baseball players, not like extras from Ben
GEORGE W. LEWIS, Cayce, S.C.
What's next, a cover photo of Denver Broncos quarterback John
Elway as the Lone Ranger?
JAMES D. HENDRICKS, Ramsey, N.J.
Thank you for the articles on Ron Vaughn and Hector Peguero, the
teacher-mentors of McGwire and Sosa (Stroke of Genius and Heaven
and Hell, Dec. 21). Many of my fellow teachers and coaches and I
identify with the significant role these men played in the
making of Mark and Sammy. The reward for our work is the success
of our pupil-athletes. To be recognized for our efforts by an
athlete at the time of his greatest success is coaching nirvana.
RAY PATENAUDE, Marathon, N.Y.
I was delighted to see that John Elway has "stayed
unpretentious" despite his fame and financial success (It's
About Time, Dec. 21). If my memory is correct, this is the same
unpretentious Elway who came out of college refusing to sign
with the Baltimore Colts. This is the same modest Elway who made
a mockery out of the NFL draft. I respect him for what he has
accomplished, but I still remember the egotistical kid who
defied the system.
TONY MILLER, Spring Grove, Pa.
GREAT PAIR OF HANDS
In his INSIDE THE NFL (Dec. 21) column, Peter King indicated
that Marshall Faulk "had a good shot at joining former 49er
Roger Craig as only the second back to win a receiving title."
As I recall, another Colts running back, Lydell Mitchell, led
the NFL with 72 receptions in 1974.
GREG TRAVIS, Boone, N.C.
--Mitchell also led the league in receptions in 1977. Chuck
Foreman, Vikings in '75; MacArthur Lane, Chiefs in '76; Rickey
Young, Vikings in '78; Joe Washington, Colts in '79; and Roger
Craig of the 49ers in '85 also led the NFL in catches.--ED.
LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM
Thank you for allowing Tim Crothers to offer his opinion
regarding Dick Vitale (INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL, Dec. 28-Jan.
4). He summarized Vitale perfectly: Dickie V is not superb.
Whenever possible, I watch the picture on television but listen
to the game on the radio.
TOM STIGGER, Louisville
I enjoy Vitale the way I enjoy the Green Monster at Fenway Park.
I'm glad that not all stadiums are built that way, but I
appreciate its quirkiness and unique perspective.
DAVID RAFTUS, Nepean, Ont.
So what if Vitale uses too many superlatives? He is what college
basketball and its fans are about: honest displays of excitement
and simple love for the game.
FRANK A. DISILVESTRO, Bloomington, Ind.
I know who Dicky V is without seeing a last name. Who is Tim
COSMO DIPIERRO, Portland, Maine
PASSING THE BUCK
By trying to lay the blame on Eric Lindros for the Philadelphia
Flyers' failure to win the Stanley Cup (Put Up or Shut Up, Dec.
28-Jan. 4), general manager Bob Clarke overlooks one fact:
Hockey is a team game. The Buffalo Sabres beat the Flyers in the
playoffs last year because they received superior goaltending
and had more team speed. Ever since he began running the Flyers
in 1984, Clarke, who starred with the beefy Broad Street Bullies
during the '70s, has favored big, hulking players who can't
skate. This antiquated philosophy doesn't work, and Clarke, not
Lindros, must bear the responsibility for Philadelphia's playoff
J.E. MCBEE, Lewiston, N.Y.