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Original Issue


All about Pokey

I applaud Michael Bamberger for his story on the Cincinnati Reds'
talented scrapper, Pokey Reese (Fast and Loose, June 12).
Bamberger had to have taken a great deal of time and energy to
track down and interview the important people in Reese's family.
He literally brought some of the family together after long
droughts of contact. Reese has been through a lot, yet he's
matured and come through in most areas of his life. Like all of
us, he's not perfect, but he is a true inspiration. He reminds us
not just to take what life gives us but also to reach for more.

What is it with pro athletes having several children with
several women? Poor Pokey: We should all feel sorry for him
because his father wasn't always there for him, and that's why
he's the absentee father that he is. Please! I'm tired of
hearing people blame others for their mistakes. It doesn't take
a father being at home for a son to figure out right from wrong
or to figure out that if he has children, he should support
them, not just with money but with attention. Pokey may be a
great ballplayer, but he's a loser in life, and that's nobody's
fault but his own.

Pokey chose to have sex with three women, and he should live up
to his responsibilities. I feel sorry for his children, and I
hope they don't use him as an excuse in the future.
PETER C. STAIRIKER, Parsippany, N.J.

Reese is an exceptionally talented ballplayer. I hope my
children turn out nothing like him.
KEN LEMIEUX, Warren, Mich.

If you tax Pokey's salary at 39.6%, he still takes home roughly
$3,144.10 a day. He can't find more than $432 a month to pay
expenses for one of his children? I wonder if these pro teams
know or care whom they are employing. My guess is that they know
but don't care. Sad.
ERIC RELKIN, New York City

It appears someone in the chain of command at SI got confused
about assignments. Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo fines
himself for failure to perform his job properly. This gets two
sentences in "The Hot Corner" (INSIDE BASEBALL, June 12). Your
story on absentee father Reese gets 10 pages. But as the
grandfather of one of his love children says, "He's an athlete.
You can't expect much from these guys."

Wouldn't it have been nice for you to mention one of the reasons
Pokey Reese warrants coverage--his 1999 Gold Glove?
CINDY YEAGER, Lakeside Park, Ky.

All I knew about Calvin Reese Jr. was that he was a prospect with
a unique nickname in the Cincinnati organization. Bamberger's
compelling article on the young second baseman not only turned me
into a big Pokey fan but also amazed me with all the turmoil he
has encountered. I'll be pulling for Pokey not only as a player
on the field, but a father off as well.
JAYSON BORTOT, Greenwich, Conn.

Second Guessing

As a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan I was delighted by the White
Sox' July 31, 1997, deadline trade of three significant players
to the San Francisco Giants. With the benefit of three years of
hindsight we see that in the long run, this was in fact a
positive trade for Chicago. However, the question still remains:
Why make a trade like that in the middle of the season (and
pennant race) with the team only 3 1/2 games out of first place?

Back Home in Indiana

In your chart on the differences between Indiana and Southern
California, you list the Chevy pickup as the vehicle for the
Hoosier heartland and the Humvee for the oh-so-hip SoCal crowd
(SCORECARD, June 12). In fact, the Humvee is produced in
Indiana. It's just that most of the state's citizens can't
afford Arnold's favorite ride.

Northern Exposure

In SCORECARD (June 12) you left off another player who bolted
Chicago--Rafael Palmeiro--but still, don't be too quick to pity
the Cubs for having players who have left to achieve greatness
elsewhere. Save the Kleenex for Expos fans, who have seen Andres
Galarraga, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, David Segui and Larry
Walker all come and go. That crew plus current Expos Vladimir
Guerrero and Ugueth Urbina would make a team that could beat the
Yankees four out of seven.

Safety First

Ian Thomsen's position against the construction of protective
Plexiglas barriers at ballparks is alarming (SCORECARD, June
12). I love the tradition of baseball, but when fans are being
injured, it is time to do what is best for the safety of the fans.
DAVE BELFOR, Mountain View, Calif.

I was sickened, though not surprised, by the lawsuit filed by
the parents of the boy hit by a foul ball at Comerica Park. By
her own admission the mother was aware of the potential danger,
yet she still allowed her son to sit in that seat. Now she's
planning to sue? Next we'll hear about someone suing because he
choked on a hot dog and he believes the ballpark is liable for
his having taken too big a bite.
DAN WITT, Studio City, Calif.

While I pray that Joey Siket makes a speedy recovery, his parents
should have done what I do when I visit the ballpark with young
children. I sit between them and home plate and pay attention to
the game.
North Hollywood, Calif.

Giving Joe His Due

You erred when you stated that Joe Kuharich was hired at Notre
Dame without having been a head coach in college. Kuharich had
been a fine coach at the University of San Francisco in the late
forties and early fifties before the Dons dropped football after
an undefeated season in 1951. Future NFL Hall of Famers, Gino
Marchetti, Ollie Matson and Bob St. Clair played for Kuharich
JACK CLARY, Stow, Mass.


No No Navarro

Thanks for the article about the Chicago White Sox (Who's
Laughing Now? June 12). I must take issue with part of one
sentence, however. The author states, "Those guys included
outfielder Albert Belle and righthander Jaime Navarro (left),
surly veterans who, while often productive, exhibited all the
effervescence of Kenneth Starr." While I agree that Belle and
Navarro were surly and that Belle was often productive, the word
productive never described Navarro during his three long years
in Chicago. He was easily the worst free-agent signing in team
history. Here are his stats.
1999 8-13 6.09 206 126 108 29
1998 8-16 6.36 223 135 122 30
1997 9-14 5.79 267 155 135 22
Total 25-43 6.06 696 416 365 81