If we all could have just half the heart of Linda Simmons, what
a wonderful world it would be.
--MISTY MCCLOUD, Verdunville, W.Va.
MAJOR MINOR LEAGUER
Russ Morman (Morman's Mission, June 29) has the ingredients
every baseball player today should have: love for the game,
integrity, perseverance and humility. It is refreshing to know
that there are still guys out there who play baseball because
they love the game.
STEVEN E. CYNCEWICZ, Dearborn, Mich.
Every overpaid prima donna in baseball should be required to
read the tale of Russ Morman as a reminder of why big leaguers
need to have a little more respect for their good fortune.
FRANK JACQUINDO, Philadelphia
Although I empathize with Morman's frustration, I cannot feel
sorry for him. He gets to do exactly what he loves and makes a
very good living doing it.
MICHAEL BARBOZA, Largo, Fla.
I realize that youth must be served and that Alex Rodriguez,
Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter are mighty fine shortstops
(All-Stars...So Far, July 6). However, to skip Omar Vizquel
while waxing ecstatic over Miguel Tejada, Edgar Renteria, Neifi
Perez and Mike Caruso is a bit much. At the All-Star break
Vizquel was hitting just over .300 and had committed one error
in his last 118 games. Apparently consistent excellence means
little if one has not "transformed" the position and happens to
be over 25.
BOB SHERIDAN, Lyndhurst, Ohio
An analysis of your All-Stars reveals a composite won-lost
percentage of .504 for the teams these 10 athletes represent. My
choice would be 10 pinstripers from the Bronx, whose team had an
All-Star break won-lost percentage of .753.
JIM COYNE, Ocean Park, B.C.
How could Tom Verducci not mention Jim Thome at first base?
JEFF SIRAK, New York City
The title was '98 Dream Team, but it seemed as if it should have
been '98 Home Run Derby. I was disappointed in your selections
because the criteria depended upon one statistic, power. It
seems the all-around professional is no longer good enough if he
is not producing homers.
STEVEN POSTON, Houston
Tom Verducci certainly created a formidable major league
All-Star lineup. At the minor league level this quality lineup
would be even more impressive. Over the years I got to watch
Juan Gonzalez, Robb Nen, Ivan Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa play for
the Tulsa Drillers, the Texas Rangers' AA affiliate in the Texas
HARVEY COHEN, Tulsa
THROW THE BOOK AT HIM
There is no doubt that Greg Maddux is a very good pitcher (The
Book on Maddux, July 6). But if the National League umpires
started calling balls and strikes as mandated by the rules, I
wonder how good Maddux would be.
TOM YORK, Osage Beach, Mo.
Maddux has made a mockery of the strike zone and fools of the
JOE PETRILLI, Sewell, N.J.
NICE GUY AWARD
It's great to hear about professional athletes who love and
respect their spouses. Tim Brown (Sweet Moves, July 6) shows that
any player has time to be an athlete and good husband.
BRANDON NIHMEY, Ottawa
As an avid Raiders fan, it is nice to know that all stories about
Raiders and their followers are not about the criminal element.
GREG MONROE, San Diego
IT'S FAR BETTER TO GIVE
Thanks for the inspiring story about Oklahoma State football
coach Bob Simmons, his wife, Linda, and their patience and
courage to overcome racism and the difficulty of finding a
suitable kidney donor (The Gift, July 6).
CLAIRE JOHNSON, Newman Grove, Neb.
Nathan Simmons's graduating in three years from Oklahoma State
with a 3.49 GPA speaks volumes about the class and character of
his parents, Bob and Linda. I suspect Bob makes the same demands
on all his student-athletes.
JOHN BARRETT, Ponca City, Okla.
Your article provided an unfair portrayal of Morgantown, W.Va.
The experiences of Bob Simmons and his family were isolated and
not a true representation of the peaceful climate in that
open-minded, family-oriented town.
WILLIAM D. PARK, Fayetteville, N.C.
COLOR PHOTO: JONATHAN DANIEL [Craig Biggio]
You say Damion Easley has outperformed Craig Biggio (above) at
the plate. With the exception of glamorous home run and RBI
stats, neither of which is crucial for a leadoff man, Biggio is
the better offensive player. At the All-Star break Biggio had a
batting average 31 points higher, 25 more runs scored, 10 more
doubles and 20 more stolen bases. Few leadoff hitters are better
than Biggio. When you said Biggio is the best second baseman in
baseball...you were right.
RANDY SAAD, Houston