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Original Issue


A Secret Life

I was 10 years old and living in Minnesota when the Twins won the
1987 World Series. Everybody loved Kirby Puckett (The Rise and
Fall of Kirby Puckett, March 17). I got hooked on baseball
because of him. I would stand in the driveway with a bat and
pretend to be Kirby digging in, adjusting my jersey and tapping
the plate. I pretended to be Kirby leaping up against the
outfield fence, robbing a potential home run hit off Bert
Blyleven or Frank Viola. As much as I pretended to be Puckett, it
appears that Kirby did the most pretending.
Jeremy Stimpson, Shoreview, Minn.

I was never really a fan of Puckett's. After reading Frank
Deford's article, however, I can now say that I am a fan of
Michael J. Dinga, LaGrange, Ky.

As the director of corporate sales for the Twins from 1991
through '94, I saw a very different Puckett than the one in your
story. During batting practice before home games we would invite
onto the field a few select kids and their families. There were
kids in wheelchairs, kids with cancer and others. Kirby, every
game, took time out of his pregame warmups to greet the kids,
sign autographs and pose for photographs.
Conrad Smith, Eagan, Minn.

I am incredibly disappointed in the cover story on Puckett. It
does not send the message about sports that I'd want for our
youth. His baseball skills belong in SI. His personal problems
are better suited for the National Enquirer.
Alan R. Zimmermann, Jim Thorpe, Pa.

Magic Johnson's image hasn't been tarnished one bit by his
announcing his philandering ways. He was forthcoming and genuine.
Kirby needs to fess up to what he has done and apologize.
Gary Macklis, Powell, Ohio

I was offended that Minnesotans were portrayed as naive children
who are now crying, Why, oh, why? It wasn't Minnesotans who gave
Puckett his godlike status, it was the media.
Lisa Richardson Hastings, Minn.

Good News

Go Figure leads with the Columbia football and men's basketball
teams' winless seasons in 2002-03, an Ivy League record for
futility (SCORECARD, March 17). Why not accentuate the positive?
This season's Penn Quakers did precisely the opposite, going
undefeated in football (7-0) and men's basketball (14-0) in
league play.
Brian Wolfman, Takoma Park, Md.

A Voice on the Radio

Thanks to Steve Rushin for his column on Pete Taylor (AIR AND
SPACE, March 17). Rushin described what made Pete--every Iowan
knew him on a first-name basis--who he was. More than three
thousand people at a memorial the Sunday after his death showed
me how much Iowans loved Pete, but Rushin showed me how important
he was outside our borders.
Steve Young, Bondurant, Iowa

I am an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, however, for a few hours most
Saturdays, I pull for the Iowa State Cyclones. A perfect Saturday
in the fall was always when the Hawks played an early game and
the 'Clones played later, and then I could listen to Pete. I
always felt as though I was right there with him, experiencing
the ups and downs on every play. This fall, when we Iowans are
out in the fields, listening to our radios as we harvest and
prepare the land for next spring, it definitely won't be the
D. Freund, Lewis, Iowa

Degrees of Guilt

I was disappointed to find Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright
lumped in with coaches accused of academic fraud (INSIDE COLLEGE
BASKETBALL, March 17). While players' misuse of a long-distance
access code is clearly wrong and merits punishment, I believe the
implied comparison to the more serious academic misconduct at
other universities is unfair. The only traits Wright and
Villanova have shown are honesty and integrity by coming forward
and taking action as soon as this breach was uncovered.
Cristin Keohan, Watertown, Mass.

Voicing Opinions

Even though Dean Smith and I would not agree on many topics, I
have great respect for an individual who clearly states his views
and stands behind them (THE LIFE OF REILLY, March 17). The more
we restrict debate in this country, the weaker this country will
become. However, Dean, while you are saluting the courage of
someone who turned her back on the flag, please also salute the
courage of the men and women of the armed forces who put their
lives on the line to protect that right.
Daniel S. Rocconi, Bedford, N.H.

I have a question for Rick Reilly to ask Smith: When you drove to
the prison to visit and comfort the death-row inmate, did you
also drive by the home of the family whose loved one was murdered
by the person you were visiting? Did you stop to tell the family
that they too were not forgotten? I wonder.
Mike Post, LaGrange, Ill.

Reilly's and Smith's political views are as relevant to me as
Colin Powell's perspective on the box-and-one. I suggest that SI
leave the political commentary to TIME.
Kevin Sundem, Chaska, Minn.

As a Duke undergraduate I sat behind the opposing team's bench
for every home basketball game. I can't tell you how many times I
shouted at Coach Smith, telling him to "sit down, Dean." I still
hate the Tar Heels, but I hope Smith continues to stand up for
everything he believes in. He will always have my respect.
Scott M. Rand, San Diego


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