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Original Issue


March Madness happens every year. A legend passes on only once.
Joltin' Joe should have been on the cover of your March 15 issue.
--MATT SCHUSTER, Baltimore

Man for All Seasons

Thanks for letting Robert Creamer express beautifully what we
all thought of Joe DiMaggio (All the Tools, March 15). Joe
embodied the term professional athlete. Oh, for another DiMaggio!
SCOTT OTTO, Fort Dodge, Iowa

The same year DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games, Ted Williams
accomplished two batting feats of greater significance. He hit
.406 to become the last man (so far) to surpass .400 for a
season. More amazingly, his on-base percentage of .551 remains
the highest for a season in major league history. Joltin' Joe's
streak will not be forgotten, but I wonder why Williams's
on-base-percentage record receives so little recognition.
NEIL GOODBRED, Livonia, Mich.

In Love with Iverson

As a 76ers' fan I was excited to finally read a positive article
on Allen Iverson (A Turn for the Better, March 15). I'm sick of
hearing about the thug with cornrows. Iverson is an excellent
player, nothing more, nothing less. All he needed was time to
mature and a real coach, whom he now has in Larry Brown. Let's
stay off Allen's back and watch him become the best player in
the league.
ANDY SHORB, Lancaster, Pa.

Iverson points out a harsh reality when he says that people will
always be reluctant to give him the proper credit despite his
dominance as a player. That tattoos and cornrows can overshadow
his abilities is a sad testimony to the state of our society. If
Iverson had the boy-next-door image of some of the NBA's less
skilled but more heavily publicized players, sponsors would be
beating down his door.
KATHY LIU, Isla Vista, Calif.

Battle of the Sexes

Thank you so much for your fine article on the Tennessee varsity
women's basketball team and its relationship with its male
practice squad (Guys and Vols, March 15). You tactfully
addressed the difficult question of who is better: the finely
trained woman player or the average man? As a woman college
basketball player, I have often been ignored and taunted in
otherwise all-male pickup games until my skills spoke for
SARAH PHILLIPS, McMinnville, Ore.

As a former Lady Vols practice player, I enjoyed Jack McCallum's
article. There are no tangible benefits for the practice player.
However, the connections, friendships and pride I took away from
the experience continue to pay dividends.
GRANT SHANKS, Knoxville, Tenn.

Nice NCAA tournament preview in your March 15 issue: an intense
look at the 64 men's teams and then five whole pages about the
Tennessee women. Wait, that article was about the men who help
the women. Maybe next year's women's preview will be about the
male referees.

Seeing Red

Dreaming of a wild card is a far cry from the days of the Big
Red Machine, when the playoffs were a given and only the
Cincinnati Reds' presence in the World Series was in doubt (Red
Alert, March 15). Now Cincinnati is more like the Big Dud
Machine! How exactly does trading for slugger Greg Vaughn, who
will quickly be traded away if the Reds stumble to the All-Star
break, help things? It is nothing more than a slap in the face
for the few fans brave enough to show up at Cinergy Field. Years
of Marge Schott's racism, dog nonsense and penny-pinching have
done more to damage this franchise than the best efforts of
general manager Jim Bowden can do to fix it.
TIM FOGLE, Louisville

The Reds cut their payroll to $21 million and made money.
Cincinnati may have lost 85 games last year, but do you think
the Reds' management considers 1998 a losing season? I seriously
doubt it.
GREG HANBERG, Grants Pass, Ore.

What an Insult!

To include the 1999 NBA season and the Three Stooges in the same
sentence is an affront to the Stooges (SCORECARD, March 22).
Years of teamwork to hone the skills, routines and jokes at the
highest level of slapstick place Moe, Larry and Curly well above
what we're seeing in pro hoops today. The Jazz may come closest
to that level, but they're not funny.


Best of the Buckeyes

I found your article on how to pick the NCAA champion according
to how many future NBA players are on each tournament team
illuminating (The NBA Factor, March 22). I don't know if you
realize that the 1959-60 Ohio State team sent four players to
the NBA.

--The players are from left: Larry Siegfried, Jerry Lucas, Mel
Nowell and John Havlicek, with coach Fred Taylor (net around
neck). --ED.