Young at Heart
I loved Jeffri Chadiha's article about Vince Young (Home Run, Dec. 18). As a Tennessee Titans fan, I feel Chadiha did a good job showing how quickly Vince has matured and how much he is still developing. Chadiha helped me understand that Vince is the type of player who makes others believe that they are important and needed, whether they're first string or third.
Isaac Lestienne, Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Texans may indeed have drafted well after passing on Young with the first pick of the first round, but that does nothing to address the unmitigated disaster of their not choosing him (20/20 Foresight, Dec. 18). Everyone in Texas who saw Vince play—other than the Houston brain trust of Charlie Casserly, Gary Kubiak and Bob McNair—knew what he could do. Yet the Texans drafted Mario Williams so their defense could beat Indianapolis. How ridiculous does that seem now at 6--10? Vince will soon make the Trail Blazers' selection of Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan look like pure genius.
Scott Hull, Fort Worth, Texas

Young is the next Michael Vick: an exciting player who makes a poor team better but will never make an average team great. Both should put their egos in their pockets, become running backs and get on with it.
Greg Witham, Hopkinton, Mass.

Sea Change
I enjoyed the excellent story by Grant Wahl on Greg Oden (As Good As Advertised, Dec. 18), but I don't think Cleveland State will be very happy about your changing its nickname from the Vikings to the Pirates. Oden does seem to be an exceptional person on and off the court, but we Hoosiers have yet to forgive him for abandoning his home state.
John Mutka, Valparaiso, Ind.

Barber Poll
Your fine article on Tiki Barber and his decision to retire depressed me immensely (Media Giant? Dec. 18). Having worked in television for many years, I am certain of two things: Very few people will ever have the ability to rush for 1,800 yards in the NFL, and very many have the ability to be a TV host or reporter. I urge Barber to delay his media career because it will always be there for him, but the NFL will not.
Ambrose Raftery, New York City

The relationship between Tiki and Ronde Barber is very familiar to me in a "you complete me" kind of way that I feel for my twin sister, Laura. Ronde's quote, "We always had each other," describes my sister's and my childhood and thankfully defines our adult lives. Our similarities end at sports fandom, however, as my sister is the only person I know who can sleep through not only Adam Dunn's hitting a two-run homer at Great American Ball Park but the celebratory fireworks as well.
Barbara J. Perenic, Laramie, Wyo.

I read the 50 YEARS OF FACES IN THE CROWD issue (Dec. 15), which I understand was sent only to subscribers, with special interest. As a twice-recognized FACE—for boomerang throwing and boomerang catching (Oct. 24, 1983, and Oct. 23, '95)—I was surprised to learn that I have something in common with tennis and basketball player John Lucas other than our first name. Like others, I am drawn to the most recent FACES when reading the magazine, as the section represents a small but important portal into the real sports world at any given moment. SI would not be the same without it.
John Flynn, White River Junction, Vt.

I made a somewhat disturbing discovery while reading Steve Rushin's column on his old baseball cards (The Faces in My Basement, Dec. 15). Not only do I possess the 1970s vintage Andy Etchebarren, Bill North, Gary Nolan and Tito Fuentes cards he mentioned, but I also knew I had them without having to check, and I still have a vivid mental picture of three of the four. That is long-term memory that could have been put to better use, but it's too late for that now.
Dirk Rice, Philo, Ill.

According to the map showing the distribution of FACES IN THE CROWD, Indiana has not been represented fairly, Don Mattingly and James Dean aside. Can the Hoosier State really have had only 27 FACES entries in 50 years? Please tell me it's a typo.
John A. Montgomery, Roanoke, Va.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, it was a typo. Indiana has been represented by 290 FACES, making it the 14th most frequently represented state. SI regrets the error.

If placing pictures of former FACES IN THE CROWD who have made it big in sports on a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover doesn't put an end to the SI cover jinx, nothing ever will.
Dustin Faber, Pittsburgh

To Contact SI > LETTERS • E-mail us at letters or fax us at 212-467-2417. Letters should include the writer's full name, address and home telephone number and may be edited for clarity and space. CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTIONS • For 24/7 service, go to You can call 1-800-528-5000 or write to SI at P.O. Box 30602, Tampa, FL 33630-0602. To purchase reprints of SI covers, go to ADVERTISING • For ad rates, an editorial calendar or a media kit, e-mail us at