How can Peter Gammons renege on Eric Davis as his preseason NL MVP in favor of the Cardinals' Jack Clark (Baseball at the Break, July 20)? With all due respect to Clark, no one in either league was, or is, playing the game as well as Davis. Clark has more RBIs, but he has also had more RBI opportunities. At the All-Star break, Davis led Clark in home runs, runs, slugging percentage, stolen bases and batting average. No one, especially Clark, would doubt Davis's defensive superiority because the Reds' centerfielder has twice robbed Clark of homers. As for importance to his club, in the words of Davis's teammate Dave Parker, "Eric has carried this ball club."
SAMUEL L. TARRY JR.
Congratulations to Hank Hersch for another fine article (It's War Out There!, July 20). Hersch is right when he says that "a game in which a Tony Gwynn is scared to hit is not a game anyone wants to see."
Hank Hersch did some hitting of his own—below the belt. He acknowledged that Eric Show is a most unlikely head-hunter, then he accused him of not being combative or gutty, noting "he left the game complaining of a bum foot after hitting Dawson." Obviously the Padres' management made the wise decision that Show would not return to the game after the incident. You don't win 67 games and pitch nine shutouts in the National League without guts.
I heard Red Barber suggest on National Public Radio that a hit batter should be awarded second base. I think this would help stop the deliberate head-hunting in baseball.
Fort Myers, Fla.
STOCKS AND PUCKS
Your June 29 SCORECARD section contains two errors:
1) Contrary to your report, Boston Celtic stock did not drop more than five points the day after the sixth-game loss to the Lakers. Celtic stock has dropped at a steady pace to its present level since originally offered last December.
2) Kenny Hand is wrong in stating that there are no NCAA hockey teams in California. U.S. International University of San Diego has fielded an independent Division I program for several years now and annually plays many of the powers around the country.
However, your central points are not diminished: Boston Celtic stock is overvalued, and NCAA conventions are little more than junkets.
GREGORY R. AMBROSE
SUGAR RAY (CONT.)
Ralph Wiley's article on Sugar Ray Robinson (Bittersweet Twilight for Sugar, July 13) brought tears to my eyes.
As assistant chef de mission of next year's Olympic team to Seoul, I note with interest almost everything in the media about South Korea and, in particular, the effect or potential effect of political activities there on the 1988 Olympic Games.
In that context, and having been in Seoul twice within the past 14 months in my USOC role, I find William Oscar Johnson's POINT AFTER (July 13) to be the most outstanding and thought-provoking article on the subject I have seen.
CHARLES GRIFFIN CALE
You missed the chance to cover a rugby story of global significance while focusing instead on yet another rugby-is-a-peculiar-sport feature (ON THE SCENE, June 29). The inaugural World Cup Rugby Championship was played in New Zealand and Australia between May 22 and June 20, with 16 teams from nations around the globe playing a round-robin competition filled with action and skill. Instead of raising your readers' awareness of rugby, you lowered it by focusing on punk haircuts and gopher holes. The real story is that rugby is a game of grace and drama with enough power and ferocity to satisfy the appetite of any fan of football, basketball, soccer and hockey.
EUGENE P. ADAMS
The photograph on pages 2 and 3 of the July 20 issue reflects the good and bad of the USGA. Having met Charles Owens during a Seniors' event at the Chester Valley golf course, in Malvern, Pa., in 1985, I can attest to both his physical handicap and his talent and perseverance on the Senior tour. The USGA fell short in denying cart privileges to a veteran professional golfer with a medically verifiable physical handicap. Golf fans missed an opportunity to see a fine and entertaining player in an exciting "open" Seniors' tournament. A more reasonable decision would allow carts whenever such physical handicaps exist.
ONE DAY IN BASEBALL (CONT.)
Check my pulse! I enjoyed your One Day issue (July 6) more than the bathing suit issue.
MICHAEL ALDEN SMITH
Thank you for the story about Maryanne Simmons (July 6). When I followed my husband, Ken Reitz, to St. Louis as a scared 18-year-old newly wed in 1974, Maryanne was the one who made me feel more comfortable. I didn't have a telephone, so she sent a telegram inviting me to a wives' get-together.
I once thought Maryanne's talents were wasted in baseball life, but now I see how lucky Ted, Jon and Matt are to have her. I am divorced and no longer affiliated with baseball (Ken is with the San Jose Bees), so I'm in contact with only a handful of baseball people. It's lucky for me that Maryanne is one of them.
ROOTIN' FROM THE ROOFS
Would "real Cubs fans" have artificial turf on their roof?
Lake Pine, N.J.
ON THE RADIO
One Day in Baseball reminded me of how I spent Sunday June 21. As hazy, hot sunshine beat down upon me, I filled a baby-sized plastic swimming pool, added a little shampoo and tried desperately to coax Holly, my German shepherd, into the cool, clean water. No luck. Then I remembered something that had worked a number of times before. I ran inside, grabbed a portable radio, took it outdoors and tuned in to Orioles '87 and Jon Miller. Not more than five minutes into the ball game, Holly plunged into the water and spent the remainder of the afternoon bathing.
Just a coincidence? Maybe.
KATHRYN J. PAPAS
What does it take to qualify for the cover of SI? I guess eight Wimbledon titles (and a record six in a row) are not enough. Martina Navratilova deserved a full cover shot, not just an inset in the corner (July 13). How do you expect the men's champion, Pat (Women's Tennis Is Rubbish) Cash, to respect women's tennis when such milestones are downplayed?
Lake Hopatcong, N.J.
Thank you for the excellent SIDELINE article by Franz Lidz on minor league baseball cards (Get Your Prerookie Cards Heah!, July 13). Four years ago we saw the Waterbury (Conn.) Reds defeat the Reading (Pa.) Phillies in a minor league game. At the time we were fortunate enough to get (then) unknown Eric Davis's baseball card and his autograph. It is now our most prized possession.
MICHAEL AND JOHN KOCH
At least one college, David Lipscomb in Nashville, prints baseball cards for its baseball team (NAIA champion in 1977 and 1979). The cards, now in their second season, are the brainchild of baseball coach Ken Dugan and are an instant hit with collectors all over the country. Jim Bailey recently signed with the Atlanta Braves and is the son of Ed Bailey, former Cincinnati Reds catcher (1953-61).
WILFRED L. THORNTHWAITE
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.