Your informative and—get this!—entertaining look behind the scenes at ESPN's SportsCenter (Every Day Is Game Day, Dec.21)was first-rate. Did you know that Keith and Dan are the last ones to bid me good night and that Mike and Linda greet me when I awake each morning?
Bill and John captured not only the personalities behind the faces that have become so familiar over the years but also the important people who support these icons and make the show a reality. Thanks for giving the show's in your face coverage the recognition it deserves.
Get this! In an otherwise superb story, SI overlooked ESPN's best broadcaster and talent. Charley Steiner.
Steve Wulf's inspirational story about my favorite baseball player, Roberto Clemente (!Arriba Roberto!, Dec.28-Jan. 4), brought a tear to my eye. From the day I touched Clemente's uniform in the Pittsburgh dressing room when I was trying out for the Pirates as a youngster, I could sense the greatness of the man.
Today when I coach teens in baseball, I often think about Clemente's hustle and recall some of his remarkable moments. I remember being at Forbes Field and watching him make an impossible throw-on the fly from the right-centerfield fence to home plate. The catcher never moved his glove on that 416-foot strike. Who today can consistently bat over .300 and perform the fielding feats of the great Arriba?
KARL G. HANOSKY SR.
Idaho Falls. Idaho
Clemente cared for his fans. Every August, after I had sent him a birthday card, I received a thank-you note from him. I'll never forget the Sunday afternoon in June when the Pirates were playing a doubleheader against the Cubs in the last games ever at Forbes Field. Following the final out, I ran onto the field to where Clemente made baseball an emotion for me. The large piece of sod I tore from rightfield is still growing somewhere in my parents' backyard in Erie, Pa.
DAVID S. LAGNER
Blue Bell. Pa.
When my father took me to a Pirate spring-training game in 1972, I saw Clemente sitting by the dugout before the start of the game. At my father's urging, I went down to get Clemente's autograph. When I asked him if I could have his autograph, he asked me what I needed to say first. I said, "Please," and he broke into a broad grin. After he signed his name, I said, 'Thank you," and we both smiled.
MICHAEL L. STEWART
I grew up in a small city in Ontario, more than 400 miles from Pittsburgh. In the late 1960s and early '70s, my dad and I would sit on the front porch and listen to Bob Prince do play-by-play on the Pirates' radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh. From Prince I learned how talented Clemente was. The memory of number 21 is a perfect antidote for all the dross that is part of the game today. I sure miss his spirit.
Here is a get this! that would make SportsCenter proud: An NFC team has won each of the last eight Super Bowls, but, get this!, every January following an incumbent President's defeat, resignation or decision not to stand for reelection, an AFC or AFL team has won.
1968: Lyndon Johnson doesn't run, and the Jets win in January'69.
1974: Richard Nixon resigns, and the Steelers win in January '75.
1976: Gerald Ford loses, and the Raiders win in January '77.
1980: Jimmy Carter loses, and the Raiders win in January '81.
1992: George Bush loses, and....
GRANT C. MASON
What a fantastic article by Leigh Montville about Lawrence Burton and Boys Town (A Man to Lean On, Dec. 21). I admire Burton and his family for the time they give to these troubled youths. Burton is quite a man to walk away from pro football and devote his life to helping others.
Thank you for your wonderful story on Lawrence Burton and his gift of family that has turned around so many lives at Boys Town. While I support your selection of Arthur Ashe as Sportsman of the Year, give Burton the award he deserves: Sportsman of the Century.
FRANCIS MILLER, LIFE
WALTER IOOSS JR.
WALTER IOOSS JR.
RODNEY E. MIMS
DIANA WALKER FOR TIME
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.