Letters

June 11, 2006

Prince Albert

With his ongoingexcellence and clean reputation, no player is as important to baseball asAlbert Pujols. If drug allegations were raised against Pujols, the sport wouldbe shaken to its very foundations. Whom could fans then look up to withoutsuspicion? Until his injury, Pujols seemed on his way to another MVP award andthe Triple Crown. May he return quickly.
Brance Wilson, Lockney, Texas

You don't need tohype Albert Pujols as the next home run king to get our attention (A Swing ofBeauty, May 22). Pure baseball fans aren't obsessed with home runs; we're moreimpressed with players who lead by example, who respect the game, hit foraverage, drive in runs and make great defensive plays. Pujols does all of that.Before you tout him as the next Sultan of Swat, at least wait until he has 50home runs--at the All-Star break.
Chad Sypkens, Hillside, Ill.

First, you calledBarry Bonds and others immoral if they took steroids to improve their game.Then you declare on the cover, ALL HAIL THE NEXT HOME RUN KING, referring toPujols. Isn't this adulation the very reason that players inject: because wewill always hail the next home run king?
Shane Sanders, Manhattan, Kans.

I highlightedframes seven through 12 from David E. Klutho's sequence of photographs ofPujols's swing to help teach the nine-year-olds I coach here at Canada'sBaseball Hall of Fame. Those frames show Pujols's eyes completely focused onthe point of contact. This brilliant illustration has my team members trying toswing the way baseball's most prolific hitter does. Now if I could just getthem to quit running like hockey players.
Tom Valcke, President and CEO
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, St. Mary's, Ont.

Not so fast inproclaiming Albert Pujols the "greatest all-around hitter since TedWilliams." While the stats Pujols has accumulated during his first fiveyears are impressive, they're not significantly different from those FrankThomas racked up over his first seven full seasons. According to their 162-gameaverages--to take into account the games that Thomas lost because of the 1994lockout--Pujols had 41 home runs, 127 RBIs and hit .332, while Thomas had 40homers, 131 RBIs and a .330 average.
Chuck Hadden, Arlington, Va.

The IncidentalAsterisk

I found itinteresting that in your chart of career home runs (Fast-forward, May 22),Barry Bonds's total was marked by an asterisk. Never mind that it was thereonly to note that the figures included home runs through May 14; it was stillnice to see an asterisk by Bonds's numbers and none next to the totals of HankAaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. If that's how it should look later, why notstart now?
Austin Hughes, Atwater, Calif.

I took note of theasterisk on your May 15 Bonds cover. You couldn't have known it when you wentto press, but a cover headline on the May 22 issue also begged for an asterisk:JUSTIN GATLIN: FASTEST MAN ON THE PLANET*. (*Actually only tied the 100-meterworld record.)
Eric Maddy, Huntington Beach, Calif.

A Gentleman and aBoxer

Richard Hoffer'sessay on the passing of Floyd Patterson (Scorecard, May 22) was compelling, ifonly because it presented Patterson as a contrast to what we now consider thestandard for boxing champions. Patterson's lack of what trainer Cus D'Amatocalled a "zest for viciousness" is precisely what made him such anendearing champ. The thuggery that has become the accepted norm in boxingshould not be celebrated. Floyd, you will be missed.
Tom Petee, Auburn, Ala.

Boxers win andlose, but like Patterson, you can't lose when you have character.
Rodney K. Boswell Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Apocalypse Now

The May 22Scorecard missed on the week's Sign of the Apocalypse. It should have been--aswas printed on the same page--that O.J. Simpson "reportedly filmed ashow" he hopes to sell on pay-per-view during which he tries to sell hiswhite Bronco getaway car. His sales pitch? "It helped me get away."
Dan Bean, Chester, Va.

Forget Paris

I am in agreementwith Rick Reilly that Matt Leinart is merely Paris Hilton's flavor of the month(Life of Reilly, May 22). As I read Reilly's witty and amusing "Top 10Alltime Skirt Hurts" on a flight to Tampa, I nearly spit my ginger ale onthe guy next to me.
Brian Mannas, Warrington, Pa.

Reilly's biggestomission from his list of "cupcake killers" is pop singer Toni Braxton.She reportedly caused Dallas Mavericks guards Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson tobreak dude code as they spent the 1995--96 season competing over her--andcontrol of the basketball. Braxton contributed to a dysfunctional atmosphereamong them and teammate Jamal Mashburn, all of whom were shipped out of Dallasby the middle of the next season.
Jason Genovese, Danville, Pa.

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PHOTOPETER NEWCOMB/REUTERS

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