Armen Keteyian and Donald Ramsay have taken a cheap shot at the Edmonton Oilers after an emotional and tough series loss to the Calgary Flames (The Joyless End Of A Joyride. May 12). I question whether this article would have been written had the Oilers beaten the Flames and gone on to win the Stanley Cup for a third straight year.
I would much rather have read an informative story on the Oilers' loss to the Flames in seven games. Let's stick with the sports.
It is true that some of the Oilers have shown poor judgment in the past, and these indiscretions have been well publicized. However, Armen Keteyian and Donald Ramsay took these incidents and combined them with rumors and quotes in questionable context to create a grossly sensational story.
Nowhere in the story do the authors mention the substantial contributions many Oilers make to the community. I guess Glenn Anderson's work with the Cross Cancer Institute is not as relevant as Dave Semenko's four-year-old impaired driving conviction.
I believe the Edmonton hockey team should be called the "Edmonton Spoilers." They are spoiled brats who will eventually spoil the reputation of all hockey players. Those who abuse success get no sympathy from me.
DAVID R. GAUS
When Edmonton's Steve Smith accidentally flipped the puck off goalie Grant Fuhr's leg and it went into the net, enabling Calgary to win the series, I had to feel sorry for him. But after reading your article about Edmonton's off-ice problems, I have lost all respect for the team. The Oilers had better get help fast or the supposed Edmonton "dynasty" may be over forever.
I would like to commend William Nack for his superb article on Bill Shoemaker and the Kentucky Derby (The Shoe Shines, May 12). The intensity and emotion of the day could be felt in every word. A victory for both SI and Bill Shoemaker!
In my 30 years of watching the Kentucky Derby, I can't remember a more thrilling or satisfying race. William Nack's glowing tribute to an "ageless Bill Shoemaker," a trainer with a dream and a classy colt, helped me recapture that unbelievable Derby.
AN EARLY NOMINEE
In 1967, your sister publication, TIME, chose the youth generaton as its Man of the Year. With Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters and Bill Shoemaker winning the Kentucky Derby, SI may have to choose "the twilight athlete" as its Sportsman of the Year.
MICHAEL M. TSUJI
Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
My compliments to Peter Gammons and SI for the story on Roger Clemens (Striking Out Toward Cooperstown, May 12). Roger has established himself as one of the best in the American League despite playing most of his games in Fenway Park, which is not exactly a pitcher's delight. If he stays healthy and the bullpen comes around, the Red Sox have a decent chance to win the AL East.
East Northport, N.Y.
Roger Clemens's 20-strikeout performance will stand as one of the most remarkable in baseball history, and Peter Gammons captured the moment beautifully. But it was unnecessary to denigrate the 19-strikeout performances of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton.
STEVEN S. ROGERS
Long Beach, N.Y.
I'd like to give a few words of encouragement to the Seattle Mariners as their strikeout total heads toward the 1968 Mets' major-league record (INSIDE BASEBALL, May 12): Remember what happened to the 1969 Mets!
Many thanks for An African Betrayal (May 5), from the forthcoming novel The Garden of Eden. I have long been a fan of Ernest Hemingway's, and I found this story to be as good as any of his other works. I could not put the magazine down.
As for the controversy over tampering with Papa's writings: I would prefer reading The Garden of Eden in any form to not having it published at all.
The results of restructuring, revising, editing and ultimately publishing the previously unpublished manuscripts of a dead man's work go beyond the reader's inevitable questions as to how much of the work can be attributed to the original author. Rather, one is left with a story that bears Hemingway's unmistakable imprint, yet does a disservice to the fact that during his lifetime the man refused to put his name on a story until he had it the way he wanted it. Call it An African Betrayal, but please don't call it Hemingway.
DAVID L. MANZ
I enjoyed Bruce Newman's article (A Big Name Pitcher, May 5) on Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser. I coached Orel in Southfield, Mich. when he was seven years old and must say he had better control of the strike zone at that age than most 14-year-olds do today. Thanks for featuring this fine young star.
Royal Oak, Mich.
Not only did the article on Orel Hershiser give me insight into one of baseball's premier pitchers, but it also helped me with a genetics report I was assigned in school. I used the picture of Orel Hershisers II, III, IV and V for a visual aid and boosted my grade.
RON JOHNSTONE III
Santa Clara, Calif.
THE RUGBY EXPERIENCE
Thanks for your accurate and nonsensational coverage of the recent national collegiate rugby championship (Another Side Of The Bears, May 12). It was a pleasure to read an article on rugby which actually discusses the matches and their significance, rather than repeating the same old clichés about the rugby experience.
JONATHAN F. ORSER
Toledo Celtics RFC
We hope that in his zeal to rid collegiate rugby of its "tavern-league" image, Herb Howell does not destroy the unique brand of sportsmanship which is the soul of the game. It is the relaxed social atmosphere, conducive to good-natured competition, that distinguishes rugby from other sports.
Having engaged the Dartmouth Rugby Club both on and off the field, we congratulate it for its success at Pebble Beach. Although the Green lost in the finals, we have good reason to believe that it prevailed at the postgame party.
WILLIAMS COLLEGE RFC
THE GOOD METAL
I recently read Hank Hersch's article on baseball bats (The Good Wood, April 14). As a former college coach and a current hitting instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers, I enjoyed reading about the tools of my trade.
However, I disagree with Hersch in his assessment of the aluminum bat. He says, "...aluminum makes scouting more difficult and can retard a hitter's development." On the contrary, a scout evaluates a hitter on his mechanics and bat-head speed, not on his batting average. Additionally, I believe that the aluminum bat is superb for teaching young players the proper mechanics, such as hitting the ball to the opposite field.
In my view aluminum bats have helped baseball. Without them, budgets would skyrocket for amateur programs, from college to Little League, and reductions in these programs would mean fewer players for professional baseball to choose from.
There are many fine young hitters in the majors today who grew up using and learning with aluminum bats.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Your SCORECARD item on Gorman Thomas's ball collection (Designated Collector, May 12) brought to mind one of my fondest memories.
Like most Brewer fans, I was crushed when he was traded to Cleveland in 1984, but I made sure I was in the leftfield bleachers when the Indians came to town a few weeks later. Thomas unleashed a tremendous shot in the third game of the series, and I caught it. Because it was his first home run hit at County Stadium as a non-Brewer, I thought he might want the ball, so I sent it to him.
Three days later, I got a package from Cleveland. Gorman had autographed the ball, and returned it, with a note. It was a class act by one of baseball's classiest guys.
Villa Park, Ill.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
While examining the art that accompanies the Ernest Hemingway story (An African Betrayal, May 5) my attention was drawn to the painting of the man reading a newspaper on page 62. Where had I seen that fellow—the story's protagonist, David Bourne—before?
I flipped to the LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER on page 4 and found the mystery face: It's the story's illustrator, Walt Spitzmiller. Although the poses and expressions differ and the painting is "somewhat impressionistic" (as Spitzmiller describes his style), the resemblance between the two people is uncanny.
What a clever way for Spitzmiller to disguise an attempt at immortality.
Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
•Spitzmiller says he did indeed model Bourne after himself (see below). "It's the first time I've ever done that intentionally," he says. "But there's no description of David Bourne, and I was available."—ED.
JOHN S. ABBOTT
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.