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If the players and owners of the NBA want to destroy their league
with a lockout, I say let them. America will be the better for
--MIKE BERQUIST, Pittsburgh


Tom Verducci's terrific article and the wonderful photographs
that accompanied it put an exclamation point on a magical year
in baseball (The Greatest Season Ever, Oct. 5). Being a realist,
however, I'm putting the issue in a drawer. When the next
debacle in the depressing world of modern sport gets to me, I'll
pull it out.
MARK MOHR, Spokane

Looking at the cover of the Oct. 5 issue brought a grin to my
face. The best thing about this fairy tale? There were plenty of
heroes and nary a villain in sight. Big Mac, Sammy, Cal, Kerry
et al., provided a giant breath of fresh air. Thanks to all of
you, gentlemen. It has been a pleasure cheering for you.

You failed to include Dennis Martinez's breaking Juan Marichal's
record of 243 career wins by a Latino pitcher.
ADAM SKRZYNSKI, Royal Oak, Mich.

Rickey Henderson's scoring his 2,000th career run and reaching
No. 6 on the alltime list.
DOUG WILLIAMS, Greenville, S.C.

Larry Walker's joining Tony Gwynn (1994 and '95) and Wade Boggs
('87 and '88) as the only players to bat .360 or better in
back-to-back seasons since Al Simmons in '30 and '31.
TIM BECKER, Philadelphia

Greatest season ever? Ask fans in Florida, Minnesota, Montreal
and Pittsburgh, where the hope was not to make the playoffs but
to have their teams return in 1999.

The absence of quality pitching, caused by expansion, made
offensive records inevitable. A few dominant players put up
monster numbers against players who in some cases were of little
more than minor league quality, and big-money teams further
distanced themselves from small-market competitors. We should
celebrate this?
BRUCE WATSON, St. Louis Park, Minn.


There's no question that your choice, the courageous Eric Davis,
deserves serious consideration for American League Comeback
Player of the Year (INSIDE BASEBALL, Oct. 5). But honorable
mention for Jose Canseco and not Bret Saberhagen? Saberhagen
recovered strongly from surgery to repair his shredded right
shoulder, an injury that had prevented him from pitching in 1996
and limited him to six appearances in '97. He was 15-8 with a
3.96 ERA this year and was a crucial part of the renaissance of
the Red Sox.
BOB BAUER, South Strafford, Vt.

You should have at least mentioned Todd Helton of the Colorado
Rockies for National League Rookie of the Year. He batted .315
with 25 home runs and 98 RBIs.
STEVE POEHLER, Boulder, Colo.


A lockout is threatening the NBA season (Held Ball, Oct. 5)? Who
cares? The NBA has become a trash sport. It's a slow-paced game
of one-on-one isolations that leaves eight guys standing around
and results in parades to the free throw line and final scores
in the 70's. It's populated by boorish personalities dressed in
gaudy uniforms playing on garishly painted floors in a
circuslike arena atmosphere. That's what we would miss with a
cancellation of games.
RON STAPLETON, Canton, Mich.


Amazing! In a playoff game, Joe Brinkman ejects Indians manager
Mike Hargrove, misses a call at home plate and then ejects
Cleveland pitcher Doc Gooden. The next day SI has an article
about poor umpiring in major league baseball (SCORECARD, Oct. 5).
BILL BLEYLE, Tiffin, Ohio


Rick Reilly's article And the Band Fought On was the funniest
thing I've ever read (LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 5). As an alumnus of
Clemson's band, I know about band and football rivalries, but I
had never heard of anything like this. The only surprise to me
was that the piccolos backed off. At Clemson the piccolo section
was one of the feistiest.

COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER [Paul Molitor in game sliding headfirst into base]


You neglected Paul Molitor's stealing his 500th base and
becoming one of only five players to have 500 stolen bases and
3,000 hits.
JASON KUNKE, Tarpon Springs, Fla.