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A Clean Hit

Thank you, SI, for a great cover honoring Hank Aaron (The People's King, July 23). How pristine the image is—no batting gloves, no wristbands, no gold chains or earrings, no body armor and not even pine tar. Just a man with a cylindrical piece of wood waiting on a horsehide sphere. Magnificent.
Tim Shullberg, Long Beach, Calif.

As Barry Bonds closes in on Aaron, it was refreshing to see the true Home Run King enjoying another day in the spotlight. Kudos to SI for taking the high road in this mess and for eloquently stating that Aaron is the one we should be celebrating as his record, but not his legacy, falls.
Joe Werner, Riverview, Fla.

When I was 10 years old and growing up in Tennessee, my dad told me how Hank Aaron was about to become the greatest home run hitter of all time. I decided to make a poster to celebrate the big event. This year, with Aaron's record about to fall, my kids decided to carry on the tradition and make their own poster recognizing the greatest home run hitter of all time ... Hank Aaron.
John Shannon, Cumming, Ga.

One reason that Hank Aaron seemed not "properly noticed" is apparent when Tom Verducci notes that "...not one of Aaron's single-season home run totals is among the 68 highest of all time...none of his single-season RBI totals rank among the top 100 of all time." As great as Aaron was, Mays, Mantle, Ruth and Williams were more dominant players at their peak.
Sheldon Hirsch, Wilmette, Ill.

Tom Verducci's article was a great tribute to Henry Aaron. However, to say he was "often ignored at home" is deceptive. The Atlanta Braves in the early 1970s were a perennially losing team. In September '73, when "only 1,362 people were at Fulton County Stadium," the Braves were finishing yet another down season (76--85, fifth in the NL West). Hank had 710 homers heading into that game, and even the most optimistic fan knew he wasn't going to hit five that day. In 1974, when Aaron did set the record, Fulton County Stadium was full. I know because I was there.
George Messner, Tucker, Ga.

Giant Steps

As Barry Bonds approaches what Rick Reilly has termed his "Fake Break" (LIFE OF REILLY, July 23), I plan to turn off the television and read The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot, right to the last lines: "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper." If ever there was a hollow man, it's Barry Bonds.
Robert G. Harvie
North Lethbridge, Alberta

When Barry Bonds finally breaks Hank Aaron's record, he will probably write a book. My suggestion for a title: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened.
Arthur M. Geiger, Toledo

Don't hate Barry Bonds for breaking this record under the influence of steroids. Hate MLB for allowing a culture of performance-enhancing drugs to flourish for years.
Chris Kennison, Jefferson City, Mo.

Let me be the first to congratulate Rick Reilly. I missed where he had been promoted to judge, jury and executioner of Barry Bonds. I guess I also missed the news story in which Rick found enough evidence to convict Barry of anything—because the federal government and its grand juries certainly haven't.
Matt Morin, San Francisco

How about when Bonds breaks the record, just list it under THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE?
Jeffrey Leiken, San Francisco

Katrina Survivor

As a New Orleanian and an avid football fan, let me say thank you for Neal Thompson's article on Joe McKnight, Katrina, New Orleans, survival and hope (Hurricane Season, July 23). So much of our story has been poorly portrayed and sensationalized, but Thompson nailed it.
Sara S. Orton, New Orleans

Matt's Life

While referring to the raising of the son she had with Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, Brynn Cameron says that "Matt's schedule doesn't allow him to be around much" (Are You Ready for Your Close-Up, Mr. Leinart, July 23). But the pictures in your article show Leinart working with kids at a football camp, getting slimed on Nickelodeon, hanging out with Nick Lachey and friends, taking batting practice with the Arizona Diamondbacks and posing for a picture with Maria Sharapova. None of these things are bad, but couldn't he make time in his busy schedule to be around for his young son?
Matt Turpin, West Monroe, La.

It is unfortunate that the people who helped Matt Leinart develop his skills as a professional athlete also failed to develop him as an adult. Mommy and Daddy still paying his bills perpetuates the spoiled-athlete syndrome. Matt, your son's mother has my support and admiration—maybe one day your son, Cole, can balance your checkbook for you.
Tracey Power, Franklin, Tenn.

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