Letters

January 13, 2003

Hail, Sportsman

What an outstanding Sportsman of the Year (Dec. 16). In selecting
Lance Armstrong you have honored a man of incomparable ability
and indomitable spirit. Lance is a model for professional
athletes and provides inspiration to us all. It's refreshing to
see that SI does not constrain itself to only the most popular
and traditional of American sports but acclaims extraordinary
athletic talent wherever it's found.
MIKE MCCARLEY Fairfax, Va.

Better late than never! A true hero for all generations.
DOMINIC J. CLEMENTI Hillsborough, N.J.

I recently had my five-year anniversary of being cancer-free, and
it was fitting that you chose Armstrong to help me celebrate. He
is my hero. Lance not only rides for the U.S. Postal Service but
also for cancer survivors everywhere.
SALLIE BETH TODD, Simpsonville, S.C.

Armstrong and Rick Reilly--man, it just doesn't get any better
than that. If I can find out where to get one of those TEXAS:
BIGGER 'N FRANCE Tshirts, I'll be a happy camper.
MARTY KISTIN, Corrales, N.Mex.

When I saw Armstrong on the cover as Sportsman of the Year, I
immediately began making my own list of who should've been given
that title. Then I read the article--and threw the list away.
MICHAEL R. TATKO, Clarkston, Wash.

Pat Tillman is America's true sportsman of the year. He
selflessly turned down a multimillion-dollar deal with the NFL to
join the ranks of the elite U.S. Army Rangers. Although I'm a
huge Boston sports fan, even Tom Brady should step aside this
year. Tillman is the real patriot.
MARK E. STACHELSKI, Arlington, Mass.

The fans of the Montreal Canadiens witnessed a miraculous return
to the lineup at the end of the season as Saku Koivu helped guide
the Habs to an upset of the top team in the Eastern Conference
and an exciting run into the playoffs. Koivu epitomizes the true
sportsman.
MARK REICH, Toronto

The Minnesota Twins had been given up for dead, then came back to
win their division. They wanted to play baseball, and they wanted
to do it as a team. That is sportsmanship above and beyond
anything that anyone could have expected or asked for.
EDWIN FRYDENDALL Richland, Wash.

No one dominated his or her sport in 2002 like Annika Sorenstam
did.
ERIC VERNON, Ottawa

Eric's Choice

What Eric Crouch needs to understand is that many Americans take
jobs that are not fun because they want to provide their families
with economic stability (SCORECARD, Dec. 16). Getting paid $1.3
million to play wide receiver for at least one year would have
been much more productive than hanging out in Omaha.
JEFF BELFIORE, Canonsburg, Pa.

Crouch is a man who stood up for what he believed in and got out
before it was too late. If he does return one day to professional
football, everyone can rest assured it is not for the money but
solely for the love of the game.
BRIAN DESSART, East Rockaway, N.Y.

Library Science

It's odd that you chose Armstrong as Sportsman and left his
best-selling book, It's Not About the Bike, off The Top 100
Sports Books of All Time (Dec. 16).
RON SLOZAT AND PATTI HUMES
Shippensburg, Pa.

John L. Parker Jr.'s Once a Runner is a cult classic and a bible
to runners. The book reads like poetry, and it captures the
essence of the sport.
JUSTIN BROWNSTONE, Santa Monica, Calif.

How could you have omitted Henry W. Thomas's Walter Johnson:
Baseball's Big Train? I take it personally: It is the definitive
biography of my father, superbly researched and written by my
son.
CAROLYN J. THOMAS, Washington, D.C.

Austin Murphy's The Sweet Season.
CHARLIE FLETCHER, Ventura, Calif.

Men at Work by George Will.
CHARLES T. SMITH, Hudson, Ohio

William Faulkner's masterpiece on hunting, The Bear.
JACK SELZER, State College, Pa.

Bart Giamatti's Take Time for Paradise.
ERIC LOMAZOFF, Philadelphia

Robert Whiting's Ya Gotta Have Wa, a humorous look at the
cultural differences between American and Japanese baseball.
JEFF ZEEMAN, Boston

What a preposterous notion to think that sports fans read books!
I mean, what is there in a book that can't be found in the movie
version, on SportsCenter or in a video game? Oh, I had forgotten
that your list included some of the richest, most imaginative,
heartfelt and hilarious stories ever told. And I have 89 more to
read.
NICHOLAS HOLLE, Madison, Wis.

I don't know which is more upsetting: that I own only 10 of your
top 100 sports books or that your list appeared too late to
update my Christmas list. I think you've found a small way to
spark the economy.
DAN CICHALSKI, Cliffside Park, N.J.

How could you leave out Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the
Sea?
JOEL AUGEE, Tualatin, Ore.

COLOR PHOTO: JONAS KARLSSON

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