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Original Issue


David Letterman devoted the opening monologue on his June 17 late-night TV show to a weighty issue—Atlanta Braves reliever Terry Forster. "The fattest man in all of professional sports," said Letterman, who had caught a Braves game on TV the previous weekend. "I mean the guy is a balloon. He must weigh 300 pounds. The guys doing the ball game. Skip Caray and Ernie Johnson, not once do they mention that this guy is enormous. They pretend the guy couldn't be in better shape.

"He is a L-O-A-D. Not once, when they see this mammoth figure, this silo, get up in the bullpen...I just want them to say 'Terry Forster's warming up, he's a lefthander, an ERA of 3.5...what a fat tub of goo.' Nobody says a thing. It ruined my weekend."

Forster took the heavy jokes lightly. "My wife says worse things than that." But the other vital stats bothered him. The 6'4" veteran's ERA (1.26) is actually lower than his weight (250). "I wish he'd gotten it right."

Until this flabbergasting assault, Forster had survived 14½ major league seasons without much distinction—dubious or otherwise. Now he's being deluged with commercial offers from pizza and potato chip firms. And on July 29 he'll get a chance to right the scales of justice with an appearance on Letterman's program.

The svelte talk-show host may not realize what he's up against in Forster—a lover of chicken tacos with a sharp, if self-deprecating, wit. He'll try to hurl a few verbal zingers by Dave. "I wonder what's bigger, his mouth or my stomach," said Forster, warming up. Letterman may even help the faltering Braves' attendance. "If you get a chance, ladies and gentlemen," said Letterman, "[Forster] might be worth renting a bus and driving to Atlanta to see."



Forster has long been known as a gutty performer.