MR. NICE GUY
Steve Wulf's article on Dale Murphy (Murphy's Law Is Nice Guys Finish First, July 4) is a grand slam! Dale Murphy is someone we can all be proud of whether we happen to be baseball fans or not. He is a bona fide superstar both on and off the field. Sure would be nice if his style became the rule rather than the exception.
Far too many sports articles are devoted to the personal problems and controversy surrounding the supposedly colorful spoiled brats of big-time athletics. Thank you, Mr. Wulf, for a refreshing story about a fine young man.
When so many sports figures make the news because they are alcoholics or drug addicts or have been charged with a crime, it is refreshing to read about a person with good beliefs and values. Children have always looked up to sports heroes and Dale Murphy gives them good reason to.
Toms River, N.J.
Few athletes combine so much athletic talent with as much modesty, humility and class as does Dale Murphy. Because he defines what a sportsman should properly be, he richly deserves to be SI's Sportsman of the Year.
CHARLES M. COLLINS
In the picture of Murphy's wife, Nancy, and their children, I noted that their son, Travis, had both of his arms in casts. I was wondering what happened.
West Jefferson, Ohio
•Two-year-old Travis had had corrective surgery on both thumbs, and with children of that age, it is normal procedure to enclose the entire arm in a cast. Travis' casts were removed last week.—ED.
An example of Murphy's sportsmanship: One time a boy of about seven managed to elude security officers and get to the corner of the Braves dugout between innings. The kid shouted to Murphy, and Murphy went over and signed an autograph for him. Between innings! In Murphy, the SI cover jinx has met its match.
KELLY R. BURKE
I was intrigued by the suggestion that Murphy might win the MVP two years in a row. First, how can his selection last year be justified? In 1982 Murphy hit .281 with 36 HRs and 109 RBIs. However, he hit .310 at home and only .252 on the road. He had only 12 homers on the road, but 24 at home. Too bad not everybody can play in a park like Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium; it increases home run production by 60% and batting average by 25 to 35 points.
Then there's this year. The season is only half over, but right now you'd have trouble convincing me that Murphy [.324 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs as of last Sunday] is having a better year than Montreal's Andre Dawson [.323, 17 and 66].
TH NM GM
Tony LaRussa's use of vowel-less abbreviations (INSIDE PITCH, June 27) didn't surprise me. Any note-taking student knows the value of shortening words. What did surprise me is that LaRussa lists two shortstops for Oakland, Almon and Phillips, and only two outfielders, Henderson and Murphy.
Did Oakland Manager Stv Brs depart from baseball's standard defensive alignment, or did LaRussa make an error? I hope it was not the latter.
•LaRussa erred. Almon, who indeed is usually an infielder, took a turn in rightfield that day even though LaRussa wrote SS next to Almon's name.—ED.
N trbl rdng LRss' scrcrd! Whr d sgn m cntrct?
Walnut Creek, Calif.
ROBERTO DURAN (CONT.)
Bravo to William Nack for his fine article on Roberto Duran's incredible return to grace (We That Was Lost Has Been Found, June 27). One point that Nack and others seemed not to mention with respect to Duran's three titles, however, is that his crowns span four weight divisions. Unlike Alexis Arguello and Wilfred Benitez, whose three titles apiece have been in consecutive classes, Duran simply bypassed the junior welterweight title—one he easily could have won—to fight Sugar Ray Leonard. Moreover, should Duran topple Marvelous Marvin Hagler, he will have achieved a kind of grand slam of boxing: he will have won the lightweight, welterweight and middleweight titles (as well as the junior middleweight crown).
Such an accomplishment would be all the more remarkable when one realizes that unlike long, lean fighters like Benitez, Arguello and Thomas Hearns, Duran is aging, not "developing," into the heavier classes. ¬°Arriba! Duran is my entry in the greatest-fighter-of-all-time debate.
My heart goes out to Davey Moore for showing the courage he did against Duran. I can only hope that his career hasn't been ruined, as was Leon Spinks's, by having had his career rushed. He endured a great amount of punishment, yet fought to the bitter end and uttered nary a "no màs." What a contrast to the unmarked Duran surrendering to Leonard. Sure, Duran looked good in triumph, but how one accepts defeat is just as significant a measure of the man. There is a lesson to be learned here, Roberto, and Davey Moore was your teacher.
ROSE IN BLOOM
Pete Rose not catch Ty Cobb (Is the Bloom off the Rose?, June 27)? Come on! When you look at Rose you see a guy who's not blessed with a great amount of speed or power but whose hustle and determination have made him one of the greatest hitters of all time. I'm sure Pete will catch Cobb. It just may take him a little longer.
Thank you for the article on Clayton Weishuhn (It's Easy To Keep Him Down on the Farm, July 4). I am an avid football fan, but it often gets frustrating to hear that most NFL players are only out to get richer. Clayton illustrates a greater love for the simple life and a wholesomeness that would make him an ideal neighbor and friend.
Ellicott City, Md.
If I wanted to know about farming I could subscribe to a farm magazine or ask some of my friends who are farmers. If I wanted to know how much a tractor or combine cost I could call my local implement dealer.
If you wanted to feature a linebacker, you should have written about Mike (Mad Dog) Douglass of the Green Bay Packers. He has had more tackles in the last two years than Lawrence Taylor and almost as many sacks. Douglass has not gotten his due as one of the best linebackers in the game today.
For TAC to imply that Joan Benoit used a pacer in her world-record performance in this year's Boston Marathon (PERSPECTIVE, June 27) is an outrage. If anything, having Kevin Ryan shadow her as a reporter must have been distracting and harmful to her concentration, which is critical in running a successful marathon.
Joan Benoit's performance deserves to be unspoiled. She knocked a huge chunk of time off a previous world record. She isn't through yet, however. I bet she goes on and breaks her own record. What will TAC do then?
JOSEPH S. TOMASELLI
THE WRONG COURSE
The story in SCORECARD (July 4) detailing the ACC's choice of sites for its annual golf tournament should have been more highly featured in the issue. As an alumnus of the University of Maryland and a taxpayer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am deeply disturbed by the thought that I could have indirectly lent support to Northgreen Country Club. The clearly racist attitude of Northgreen is reprehensible.
Let's hope ACC Commissioner Bob James does the right thing and dissociates the ACC and its member institutions from Northgreen and the attitude it represents.
KEVIN M. CLAIR
Concerning your SCORECARD article on Interior Secretary James Watt and Operation Eagle (June 27), I would like to know how you could assume that Watt was against protecting the bald eagle just because he was trying to reduce what may have been a budget with a lot of waste in it? That is what you imply. Also, how in the devil does Amos Eno of the Audubon Society figure that Operation Eagle would probably have not succeeded had Watt been able to get his budget cuts through? Does he know more about the Interior Department budget than the man who happens to head the agency?
Granted, Watt may be doing a number of things that some people don't like, but is it really necessary to "kick 'im when he's up and kick 'im when he's down" just because he will not bow to special-interest groups such as the Audubon Society?
I appreciate your concise report of James Watt's grandstand play over the eagle slaughter in Sioux City. When politicians play games with our national heritage, someone must watch them and blow the whistle when necessary. Please continue your efforts in this direction.
JACK VAN METER
San Rafael, Calif.
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