Steve Hymon's comments in your Oct. 5 POINT AFTER are right on the money. The extra point in pro football has become a gimme. The run-or-pass two-point conversion is one obvious solution that would add excitement. But what about going a step further, by getting rid of the holder and bringing back the dropkick? After all, the sport is called football.
WILLIAM J. YOUNG III
Have the player who scored the touchdown kick the extra point. (Allow kicking specialists only for field goals and kickoffs.) Having the TD scorer attempt the PAT would restore suspense to the extra point, while keeping coaches from having to make any additional decisions. Plus, it would be a lot of fun to watch.
Why does the PAT have to be a chip shot? Why not put the ball on the 20-yard line after a touchdown and make the place-kickers earn their keep? I'm sure the linemen on the extra-point team would agree.
Congratulations to Steve Hymon for his insight into the fine points of the extra point and for pointing out that overtime is no substitute for the drama of going for the win instead of the tie in regulation time. I would add that overtime has had an insidious effect on fourth quarters. NFL coaches often play for the tie in the hopes that overtime may bring them better field position. It certainly is thrilling to see the quarterback kneel down to preserve a tie. Overtime is not an effort to make pro football more interesting; it is an excuse to run more commercials.
THOMAS D. WALKER
In his story about George Brett's reaching the 3,000-hit plateau (The Hits Keep Coming, Oct. 5), Ron Fimrite stated that "it would consume the remaining pages of this publication to recount Brett's achievements at bat."
One of his most obscure, but nonetheless remarkable, achievements came in 1976, when Brett led the American League in batting, with a .333 average, and at bats, with 645. Not since 1945, when Snuffy Stirnweiss hit .309 and had 632 at bats, had anyone led the American League in both categories. The only other American Leaguers to accomplish this double in this century are Nap Lajoie (1910), Ty Cobb ('17) and George Sisler ('20). Jesse Burkett (1901), Joe Medick ('37), Stan Musial ('46) and Pete Rose ('73) are the only National Leaguers to achieve the feat in this century.
No one ever played the game harder than George Brett did. When a Kansas City TV reporter asked him last spring what he wanted to do in his last at bat before retiring, it was appropriate that Brett gave the following answer: "I want to hit a routine grounder to second and run all out to first base, then get thrown out by a half step. I want to leave an example to the young guys that that's how you play the game, all out."
Why wasn't Robin Yount on the cover the week he reached the 3,000-hit mark? George Brett was on the cover (Oct. 5) the week before he did so. Only 18 players have reached this milestone, and they deserve the praise of the sports world.
New York City
It is certain that Brett will make the Hall of Fame, but doesn't he also deserve some sort of trophy for playing all those games on artificial turf?
Your criticism of the Tampa Bay Lightning and its G.M., Phil Esposito (Detroit Takes Wing, Oct. 12), was hardly fair given that the Lightning went 6-2-1 in the preseason, tied for second-best in the NHL and dominated the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 in its home opener. During the preseason, opposing players and coaches said the Lightning was going to be a team to be reckoned with. Based on the standing ovation Esposito received from the SRO crowd at the season opener for bringing hockey to Florida and for putting together a competitive operation, I say that if this team is a circus, bring on the clowns.
I can't believe SI had a two-page article on the best and the worst of the '92 baseball season (INSIDE BASEBALL, Oct. 5) without any mention of Dave Winfield, who at 41 became the oldest player in history to get 100 or more RBIs in a season.
I was surprised that Cecil Fielder was not included for leading the major leagues in RBIs for the third year in a row. Inasmuch as he is the first player since Babe Ruth in 1919, '20 and '21 to achieve this feat and only the second player in history to do so, Fielder deserved recognition.
JACK F. SHADE
PRESS ASSOCIATION INC.
Stirnweiss (above) and Brett share a rare double.
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.