Rick Reilly's article about Pete Rose (A Rose Is a Rose, Aug. 16) is a refreshing look at a man who not only has been through the most humbling experience a professional athlete can go through (banishment from the sport that made him famous) but also has been victimized by baseball's legal system. I hope that as soon as a new commissioner is named, he will reinstate Rose in baseball. After all, he has done a lot more for the game than Steve Howe.
In a season plagued by bench-clearing brawls, the return of George Steinbrenner and the threat of a players' strike, Pete Rose tries to convince everyone (or is it himself?) that he didn't have a gambling problem and that he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rose's ego is so out of control that he hopes baseball fans will associate the decline of baseball with his suspension. Rose is a say-any-thing, shameless huckster with no respect for the game. I hope his ban from baseball is permanent.
Whitehouse Station, N.Y.
Race and Sport
In your SCORECARD section of Aug. 9, you took Florida State president Dale Lick to task for his 1989 remarks about blacks in sport. You accused him of stereotyping blacks as "physical brutes." It's interesting to note that during an interview in the July issue of Playboy, Barry Bonds was asked, "What do you think made you such a fine ballplayer?" Bonds responded, "Some of it is genetics. Black people in general have the genetics for sports."
I haven't heard a righteous peep out of anyone about Bonds's racist statement. Is Lick racially incorrect because he's white, while Bonds is racially correct because he's black?
DONNA J. PAYNE
Signal Hill, Calif.
Lick carefully stated that blacks can out-jump whites "on the average," implying nothing more. To chastise him for saying what is obviously true is hypocritical. The fact that SI felt compelled to cite an Armenian long jumper as one of the exceptions only proves the rule.
Kansas City, Mo.
I was discouraged to read SI's reaction to the Lick controversy. I found none of your arguments against Lick's comments even remotely convincing. If blacks are superior athletes, it does not mean that they are "physical brutes" or that whites are smarter. It also does not mean that blacks don't have to try hard to succeed. In fact, they have to try very hard because they are often competing against one another. Somewhere along the evolutionary trail they were naturally selected for a higher degree of athleticism. Nature isn't concerned with equality.
If there is an athletic inequality between the races, then it is a natural inequality and one we cannot change through some misguided sense of justice. It is time for the sporting community—and America at large—to cease lying to itself and face these facts. Dale Lick did err. He said something that wasn't politically correct.
JASON A. HIRTHLER
Memories of Durham Athletic Park
How the memories came flooding back when I saw the Contents picture in your Aug. 16 issue. It was 1931, and I was seven years old when I first walked into Durham Athletic Park. My father, Hugh E. Whitted Sr., and my uncle, George B. (Possum) Whitted, who was a player for the 1914 Boston "Miracle" Braves, had purchased the Durham Bull franchise. Daddy was the business manager, and Uncle George was the player-manager.
With the Depression setting in, making a buck with a baseball team was difficult. It was a big occasion when Daddy sold outfield fence space for advertising, a practice that continued to the very end (above). And, oh, how he would moan whenever a foul ball burst one of the light bulbs—at $5 a pop! Occasionally the players had some fun at my expense. I can remember being sent to the front office to get the key to the batter's box.
Daddy and Uncle George sold the Bulls in 1933. As I looked at your picture of the park, I felt a kinship with the character that Kevin Costner portrayed in Field of Dreams. If only we could go back in time for a few moments.
GORDON L. WHITTED
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