While Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941 was amazing and will likely never be matched, many fans are unaware of one of his other great achievements that year: striking out a mere 13 times in 621 plate appearances. By comparison, Albert Pujols is lauded for being a tough batter now, and he strikes out about 60 times a season.
Ken Tippery, Royal Oak, Mich.
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I enjoyed the excerpt of Kostya Kennedy's book on DiMaggio (The Streak, March 14), but I always felt that Ted Williams's hitting .406 in 1941 was a greater accomplishment. Let's face it: A batter can get a single hit in four at bats every game and finish with only a .250 average. Williams batted over .400, meaning he was consistently hot, with multihit games throughout the season. I don't think anyone will reach the .400 mark again.
Harry Jacoby, Ringoes, N.J.
I was particularly impressed when reading about DiMaggio's sportsmanship and how he once chided himself for glaring at an umpire during a game after a seemingly inaccurate called strike. To question an umpire's call was unheard of back then, so DiMaggio knew his actions were out of line. I found it gratifying to look back on an era when baseball was played with integrity.
Jeffrey Auger, Sublimity, Ore.
I think it's much harder for today's players to maintain a long hitting streak the way DiMaggio did because they now face more middle relievers and closers. Hitters don't have as many at bats in which to get comfortable and figure out the starting pitcher's rhythm.
Rev. Richard Herrin
Fort Worth, Texas
I loved Michael Farber's article on Matt Cooke (The Public Enemy, March 14). I may be in the minority, but I feel that Cooke is right in what he does for the Penguins. Each team needs an enforcer to protect its players, and he is the best at that.
I find it ironic that two of the quotes Farber used to criticize Cooke came from former NHL enforcers Ken Daneyko and Brad May. Google either of these players and you'll find multiple videos of them engaged in fighting or joyously chronicling the aftermath of a dirty hit. It's one thing to have players disapprove of Cooke's behavior, but it's another when those same players who say what he does is wrong have frequently done the same thing.
Not So Amazings
I want to thank Phil Taylor for eloquently explaining the pain and suffering that Mets fans have long had to endure as a result of the team's mediocrity (POINT AFTER, March 14). From inept front-office moves to terrible play on the field to the opening of a new stadium that pays homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Mets have taught their fans to expect nothing but disappointment from their team. In that respect they haven't let us down.
Your column was entertaining, insightful and humorous. As a lifelong Mets fan it is always amazing to sit back and watch the new challenges they face each season and the ways in which they struggle against their toughest opponent: themselves.
Jim HudsonPatchogue, N.Y.
John Calipari (Why John Calipari Can't Catch a Break, March 14) has many good qualities that have brought him success over the years with various programs. However, he remains the only coach in NCAA history to have two Final Four appearances wiped from the books for violations. Granted, he was not found to be directly responsible by the NCAA for his schools' infractions, but they still happened on his watch.
Lynn Kahle, Huntingburg, Ind.
I understand college athletics is a business and for some schools a key source of revenue. Still, I was dismayed by how Calipari declared that everything in college basketball is about marketing. By saying this, he implies that student-athletes are nothing more than commodities. Even more disappointing are the universities that hire coaches like Calipari, supporting this idea that their players are merchandise.
Cave Creek, Ariz.
S.L. Price's article on Calipari was greatly appreciated. Being able to witness Calipari's coaching skills and humanitarianism over the last two seasons has been inspiring. I challenge anyone to name another coach who has organized and hosted a telethon that raised more than $1 million for disaster relief in Haiti. If Bob Knight, who has been very critical of Calipari, cannot understand how Calipari is still coaching or appreciate all his success and goodwill, it is because Knight is not half the man that Calipari is.
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NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME/REUTERS (COVER)