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Original Issue


I read the enticing caption on your cover of Tom Seaver (July 27) and before I had even finished the trek from mailbox to house, I was halfway through the baseball "fix." You're right. We needed it. And the fact that the article was on Seaver (Behind the Fence) was an added bonus for a Mets fan raised in Greenwich, Conn. Thanks for getting us through another week of strike madness.
Point Pleasant, N.J.

After reading Frank Deford's insightful article, I now know one of Tom Terrific's secrets: Like Pete Rose, he is madly in love with baseball. This, more than any other single factor, is what makes them such extraordinary players.

Tom Seaver is the publicity agent's dream, an articulate, personable, handsome, small-town hero who conquers the big city by becoming an instant pitching whiz for the New York Mets. Through Deford, we have seen some of the many facets of Seaver, and all are a credit to baseball.
San Francisco

I initially followed Tom Seaver's career for reasons of shared roots: Fresno, Calif. upbringing, Little League baseball—I, too, wore a Rotary uniform—and high school athletics. Tom struck me out during Fresno High baseball tryouts. Although Seaver and I never knew each other, Frank Deford's incisive story brought home the reasons for my sustained interest in Seaver's career. It was an excellent portrait of a man of character, of a complex individual who, with independence and style, has succeeded by using his brains as well as his brawn in the world of athletics, a world in which many of us must look very hard to find heroes today.

This intelligent look back at Seaver was a breath of fresh air—a poultice for baseball's black eye during these difficult times—but it also reminded me that we need heroes, that our kids need role models and that there are too few Tom Seavers in this world.
Laguna Beach, Calif.

In Frank Deford's fine article on Tom Seaver, I was impressed particularly by a thought expressed by Tom's wife, Nancy. Commenting on Tom's trade from New York in 1977, Deford quotes Nancy as saying, "Tom was hurt badly. I don't think, even now, he'd like to admit how much."

What about the effect the strike has had on the fans? In the end, the players and owners may find us trickling back into the ball park, but things will never be the same. We've been hurt badly, too, and even now we don't like to admit how much.
Provo, Utah

I'm furious! I had been waiting ever since Bill Rogers won the British Open to see him on your cover. Then Tom Seaver appeared. What in the world has Seaver done lately? Not a darn thing. Poor Bill Rogers. He plays great golf and wins a major championship and nobody seems to care. Rogers is a true champion and deserves far more credit than he got (Nine Centuries Later, Bill the Conqueror, July 27).
Algoma, Wis.

In your July 27 issue we read about David Jones, an Atlanta dentist, challenging white water in the world championships for canoes and kayaks; Masters swimmer Lance Larson, a Southern California dentist, churning through the pool and into the record books; and Dennis Rinaldi, a Florida dentist now busy training his daughter, Kathy, a future tennis champion. Even Tom Seaver, the subject of your bonus piece, once imagined that his future lay in dentistry. We of the dental profession had quite a week in SI.
Newington, Conn.

I've never been a champion swimmer, but I figured that if I stayed in shape over the years, I might finally win something. Alas, it seems that the likes of Lance Larson and Murray Rose, my oldtime hero, aren't giving up the ghost. Thanks to Sol Stern for showing how we "old folks" can still enjoy a sport (At 41, Lance Larson Swims Faster Than When He Was 18 and Setting U.S. Records). Incidentally, does Rose still train on seaweed?
Kailua, Hawaii

•Rose, who is actively engaged in the study of nutrition and occasionally gives lectures on the subject, says that his nutritional program consists of a well-balanced diet based on natural foods rather than processed foods, but he no longer follows a strictly vegetarian diet.—ED.

There's something sad about your article on Masters swimming. It reflects an American curse—the one that dictates that an individual cannot participate in sports for exercise or enjoyment alone. It appears that sport is meaningful only when one is competing against others, with winning paramount. Is winning, throughout a lifetime, that essential to American athletes?
Reading, Pa.

John Underwood's article His Eyes Have Seen the Glory (July 27) showed that he did his homework regarding Don Shula and the "glory" years of the Miami Dolphins. I was privileged to be the representative agent, under Ed Keating, of Larry Csonka, Manny Fernandez, Jim Kiick, Bill Stanfill, Doug Swift and Paul Warfield—notice that I listed them alphabetically and not necessarily by their talents—during those wonderful winning years of the early '70s.

Although Shula, Joe Robbie and Joe Thomas have their ego problems, each in his own way has contributed greatly to the success of the Dolphins. Therefore, I have a suggestion: Let them sit down together like grownup folks and bury the hatchet. Then all three can pursue their God-given talents. Shula should coach, Robbie should administer and Thomas should be given control and carte blanche in recruiting the players. I believe that this arrangement would guarantee a world-championship team in three years.
Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

In his highly interesting article on Don Shula, John Underwood suggests that Shula is the NFL's best coach. Baloney! The NFL's top active coach is Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL's top coach ever is George Allen.
San Ramon, Calif.

In the past, readers have complained about certain FACES IN THE CROWD. I think it's my turn. In the July 20 issue, you pictured an 8-year-old boy, Randy Barning of Glen Cove, N.Y., for making an unassisted triple play. From the way I read it, this was done in an instructional league, and Randy, a pitcher, did it by running all over the infield, getting all the outs himself. The correct way called for Randy to throw the ball to his teammates. If that's the way the kids are instructed to play in Glen Cove, I feel sorry for them. I love baseball and I hate seeing the game played without regard for the fundamentals. I hope that all players are taught to play the game correctly, by playing as a team and not as individuals.
Canton, Ill.

Every time I hear of another Ronald McDonald—or MacDonald, as in the case of the Mets' Triple A farmhand (SCORECARD, July 27)—I shake my head in sympathy. Usually I hear or see his name bandied about with old jokes, such as, "He plays the game with relish." I figure the inventor of those jokes actually thought they were original.

Such banter used to bother me, until I asked two singers called "Dust and Ashes" which was Dust and which was Ashes. When neither of them cracked a smile, I realized that even a poor soul like me with a name everyone plays with can make the mistake of beating a dead horse once in a while.

Anyway, my brother's name is Donald.
Danbury, Conn.

Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.