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Oct. 30, 2006
Oct. 30, 2006

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Oct. 30, 2006

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All-Timers'Day

This is an article from the Oct. 30, 2006 issue Original Layout

Our AlltimeAll-Star Team (Oct. 9), not surprisingly, generated a lot of mail. Seniorwriter Tom Verducci called the team, which was selected by 22 expert writers,editors and analysts, "a fascinating blend of art and science," withwhich he didn't entirely agree, and neither did many of our readers. While mostof the 245 letters we had received by Oct. 20 expressed general satisfactionwith our choices and astonishment at Aaron Goodman's photo illustration, 43players who didn't quite make our cut were nominated for inclusion—with RobertoClemente (24 mentions) the runaway leader, followed by Barry Bonds (18); BobGibson (12); Josh Gibson (12); Pete Rose (8); Satchel Paige (7); and Cal Ripken(7). The vehemence about those who didn't make the team was almost matched byprotests over those who did: 21 readers objected to the choice of A-Rod as thebackup shortstop and third baseman, and nine questioned the presence of RogerClemens. There were also letters supporting Connie Mack, Sparky Anderson andJoe Torre for the manager's slot, two letters suggesting slates of umpires andeight letters that considered the 25-man roster and tried to flesh outVerducci's final thought "about the batting order that manager John McGrawshould use...."

I nearly swoonedwith delight. As a Giants fan, to see Christy Mathewson on the same page withSandy Koufax was as good as it gets. Koufax's no-hitter against the Giants in1963—which I was fortunate enough to witness—was this baseball fan's dream. AndI can't even begin to talk about my veneration for Willie Mays, because thenI'd really sound sappy.
Glenna Matthews, Laguna Beach, Calif.

Kudos to photoillustrator Aaron Goodman and the SI staff for bringing the very best inbaseball to life in one dugout. I almost expect John McGraw to turn to DennisEckersley and yell, "Hey, Eck, get your butt out there and help Christyfinish this one off!"
Craig Vroom, Colorado Springs

I think TedWilliams is telling Ty Cobb how he hit .406.
Jeff Wolman, Silver Spring, Md.

Your alltime teamomits one crucial factor: team chemistry. Avowed racist Ty Cobb would not standfor the inclusion of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron, and might alsohave issues with Sandy Koufax, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez. Joltin' Joe'sprodigious ego would render him unable to stomach being neither the"greatest living ballplayer" nor the starting centerfielder. (Thatwould be Mays.) But can you imagine the astonishing nightlife exploits—andconsequent sluggish performances—of Ruth and Mantle together on the road?
Dan Sarles, Austin

The choice ofStan Musial at first base didn't make much sense to me. You could have chosenJimmie Foxx as a backup for Lou Gehrig, although I don't believe Lou took muchtime off during his career.
Malcolm Dodge, Clayton, Calif.

How dare youleave off Trevor Hoffman, the alltime saves leader?
Dave Beck, San Pedro, Calif.

... Shoeless JoeJackson, who batted .340 or better for eight of his 13 seasons. Although he wasbanned for allegedly fixing the 1919 World Series, his .375 average, one homerun, three doubles and six RBIs in that series would have been good regardlessof the outcome.
Jon Stein, Columbia, Mo.

... BrooksRobinson? And thanks for putting Roger Clemens back in a Red Sox uniform, wherehe's always belonged.
Phil Rand, Lincoln City, Ore.

... TomSeaver?
Ken Chomicki, Williamstown, N.J.

... NolanRyan?
Bill Gormley, Houston

... RickeyHenderson? How will they get by without the greatest leadoff man ever?
Joe Marino, Easton, Mass.

Your All-Starsnever played without umpires. How about Bill Klem behind the plate; BillMcGowan, Al Barlick and Nestor Chylak on the bases; Tommy Connolly and BillyEvans on the lines?
Larry Gerlach, Salt Lake City

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PHOTOPHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AARON GOODMAN