Letters

July 27, 2003

Shooting His Mouth Off

I always liked Bo Jackson, at least until I read Rick Telander's
expose (Happy Hunter, June 30). As a youth the self-proclaimed
"John Gotti of the neighborhood" used bricks and crab apples to
hurt people and now seems proud of it. He revels in his freedom
to "cuss, drink, scratch and fart" and his ability to kill
raccoons, right down to shooting a "mom right between the eyes."
I'm tired of the standard excuses for athletes with mean streaks:
An absent parent, lack of money or a physical ailment does not
justify acts of violence. A lot of people, myself included, grew
up in environments similar to Bo's, but that doesn't mean we have
used our problems as a rationalization to excuse violence.
Don Pawl, Lake Villa, Ill.

What is disturbing is not that a man shot a raccoon raiding his
trash, it is that he seemed to think that the suffering it went
through before it died was amusing.
Michelle Rider, Eagan, Minn.

Where Are They Now?

I can't thank you enough for treating me to a nice visit with an
old friend, Fernando Valenzuela (Mania Man, June 30). All these
years later, and I still treasure the memories of Fernandomania.
Susan Christie, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

So, the cream of the 1994 Olympic figure skating crop (The Ice
Storm, June 30) consisted of Nancy Kerrigan, a self-involved
whiner who married her agent; Tonya Harding, a woman so obsessed
with winning she committed a felony to get an edge on a rival;
and Oksana Baiul, who threw away her career drinking and
partying. And I thought the NBA was a tough bunch.
Terry Griner, Spokane

I especially enjoyed the article on Monte Towe (Short and Sweet,
June 30), the hero of my middle school years. I was a vertically
challenged, sports-loving sixth-grader growing up in a small town
in North Carolina, and seeing Monte play with such enthusiasm and
skill inspired me throughout my life. Thank you, Monte, for
showing us that heart is more important than height.
William C. Owen Virginia Beach

Since the NBA draft took place in the same week as your issue
updating us on some sports icons of the past, perhaps you should
have done a piece on the many athletes who left college early and
never made it in the pros. Those stories alone could have been
more persuasive to would-be professional athletes than any advice
from parents, counselors, teachers, coaches or fans.
Scott Roher, Peoria, Ill.

Grave Issues

You were correct, but you could have been clearer: Jack Dempsey's
grave is, indeed, in Portland (Final Destination, June 30). But
that is the grave of Jack (Nonpareil) Dempsey, the middleweight
champ who died in 1895, and not Jack Dempsey, the legendary
heavyweight fighter of the 1920s who shared the same name, died
in '83 and is buried in Southampton, N.Y.
Terry Keshner, Forest Park, Ill.

Winning Card

Finally, a Cardinals player gets the attention he deserves
(Albert the Great, June 30). Thank goodness for Albert
Pujols--he's like Barry Bonds with personality.
Daniel Mellenthin, Alton, Ill.

Give a Hoot

So the Rice Owls' astonishing victory in the College World Series
wasn't worthy of even a mention on the cover (INSIDE BASEBALL,
June 30). Why not? The NCAA football and basketball champions got
the full cover treatment. The Rice team showed it is possible to
be tough academically and still win it all; its achievement
should be celebrated--not relegated to page 98.
Richard Jones, Austin

Leg Man

In your article on Florida Marlins rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis
(The Kid with the Kick, June 30), you pictured other
contortionist hurlers but forgot one of the first high-kickers.
Fritz Ostermueller pitched in the majors for 15 seasons, mostly
with the Boston Red Sox and ending with the Pittsburgh Pirates in
1948. A lefthander who would lift his left leg high and rock
before he pitched, he finished his career with 114 wins and 115
losses.
Lee Liebler, Hershey, Pa.

Iced Ted

If Ted Williams does come back (THE LIFE OF REILLY, June 30), do
his baseball stats start over or do they just pick up from where
he left off?
Pete Cornish, Atlanta

He's been dead for more than a year; it's time to let Teddy
Ballgame rest in peace.
David Eisenberg, Swampscott, Mass.

I know the world is nearing extinction when I see frozen heads
referred to as "patients."
Marvin Gast, Arlington, Va.

The Real Thing

How long have the Yankees had logos on their pinstripes, a la
your photo illustration of part of the 1978 team (The Bronx Zoo,
June 30)? Answer: Never. The official uniforms of 15 Major League
Baseball teams, including the New York Yankees, are made by
Russell Athletic, not the replica provider included in your
illustration. In today's world of cutting and pasting digital
images, we would expect SI to be more "authentic."
Rod McGeachy, Atlanta Vice President of Marketing Russell
Athletic

COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR.

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