LETTERS

August 07, 2005

Life of the Party

The summer double issue (July 11-18) was terrific. Catching up with the stars of the past brought back wonderful memories of 1980. Oh, yeah, and the Jennie Finch cover didn't hurt either.

Scott Wernsman -- Centralia, Ill.

The SI summer party was a cute idea, but really: Perhaps the best male player ever (Roger Federer) wins Wimbledon for the third straight time and Venus Williams makes a surprising comeback to win the biggest of the Slams, and neither is the main cover picture?

Debbie Rule, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Who was checking ID's at the door of your party and turned away Michelle Wie?

Mike Risley, Louisville

You've finally taken the SI cover jinx to the next level. Jennie Finch is on the cover, and days later the IOC votes to cut softball from the Olympics after 2008. The jinx is now an international phenomenon.

Justin Lucas, Grove City, Ohio

Consider Disk

I realize that it's a fringe sport, but Ultimate Frisbee belonged in your story on Sports Tribes (July 11-18). The community of players is nationwide, and if you should move from one major city to another (whether it's Boston, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.), you are quickly accepted into your new family.

Mike Chandler -- Reading, Mass.

Stars of 1980

I enjoyed Michael Silver's article on Jim Plunkett (Where Are They Now? July 11-18). As a tight end with the New England Patriots in the early '70s I witnessed the weekly pummeling he took playing behind an offensive line that resembled a human sieve. In one game in 1972 against the Steelers, Plunk was sacked six times. Fortunately his career took a turn for the better after he signed with the Oakland Raiders in 1978. A class act, Jim certainly deserved his Super Bowl success and the MVP award he won in 1981.

Tom Beer, Pine Brook, N.J.

Your feature on Jim Plunkett reminded me of where I was 25 years ago: standing in line as a 10-year-old boy to get Jim's autograph a few weeks after the Raiders won the Super Bowl. He was signing a bunch of them at the grand opening of a shopping mall in suburban Chicago. Can you imagine stars today such as Tom Brady, Tim Duncan or Curt Schilling having to make postchampionship money by signing autographs and posing for photos at random shopping malls around the country?

Michael Costa, Chicago

Thank you for your piece on Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. What I, and millions of others, loved most about her--more than her talent, grace and backhand--was how she radiated joy. Evonne always seemed to love just being out on the court. Tennis, and all sports, could use more Goolagongs.

Mitch Kohn, West Hollywood, Calif.

Spencer Haywood says he wants to be remembered as one of the NBA's best players of all time, but he earned his place in history when he helped the 1968 U.S. Olympic basketball team win a gold medal. Haywood, from little-known Trinidad (Colo.) Junior College, led a group of no-name college kids to the top of the basketball world.

David W. Clark, Berwyn, Pa.

Your piece on Mike Bossy, one of the greatest scorers in NHL history, omits an interesting part of Bossy's on-ice style: He refused to fight. He was proof that the NHL doesn't have to be pro wrestling with pads.

Jack Pizzillo, Setauket, N.Y.

To Hav and Have Not

Your lost treasures of sport (25 Lost Treasures, July 11-18) should have included the basketball that Boston Celtics Hall of Fame guard John Havlicek stole on an inbounds pass from Hal Greer of the Philadelphia 76ers on April 15, 1965, at the Boston Garden to preserve the Celtics' victory in Game 7 of the division finals. The late Johnny Most's call of "Havlicek stole the ball" is one of the most famous moments in Boston sports history. But whatever happened to the ball?

Robert Temple, Middleborough, Mass.

Eagle Eye

Your article on 25 Amazing Animals (July 11-18) could have included Wisconsin's war eagle, Old Abe. In the Civil War, the Eighth Wisconsin Army regiment became nationally known because of its unusual bald-eagle mascot. Old Abe was carried on a special perch, next to the regimental colors. He attracted attention in parades and on the battlefield, where he might be seen soaring above the smoke, his shrieks mixing with those of screaming shells and bullets. A favorite target of Confederate soldiers, Old Abe lost some feathers, but he was never wounded. He not only survived the war but also served the Union veterans as a symbol of their victory. When he died in 1881, Old Abe was as famous as many generals and heroes of the Civil War.

Bud Gussel, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

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COLOR PHOTOPETER GREGOIRE B/W PHOTOWISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY (OLD ABE) WARRIOR Old Abe became a Civil War legend.

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