The most quoted American in history is not a famed linguist like Noam Chomsky or a distinguished writer like Henry David Thoreau. Nor is it one of our more eloquent presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our country's most quoted citizen is, by far, the great Yogi Berra.
George Mitrovich, San Diego
Congrats to Joe Posnanski on his story (Yogi Berra Will Be a Living Legend Even After He's Gone, July 4--11). I loved the way he focused on Berra's amazingly successful career and not just on his bizarre sayings. I also appreciate that such a glowing tribute was written while Berra is still alive. Far too often the only time readers can begin to understand a person's legacy and significance is when they read his obituary.
Jim Kienzle, Nashville
I have to admit, growing up in Texas in the 1980s and '90s, I knew nothing about Berra beyond his Yogi-isms. However, your article showed once again that in addition to talent, it is the intangibles like dedication and work ethic that separate the good from the great in sports and in life. Berra was definitely great—and now I know that.
Josh Batenhorst, Asheville, N.C.
I enjoyed reading your article and catching up with Roger Bannister (Sir Roger's Run, July 4--11), the first sub-four-minute miler. Bannister is a Renaissance man in the truest sense of the term: gifted, accomplished and humble. If the London Organizing Committee even considers having anyone else light the Olympic flame at the Games next summer, it will be making a huge mistake.
Goose Creek, S.C.
I still have the Jan. 3, 1955, issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which featured Bannister on the cover as the magazine's first Sportsman of the Year. It is one of my most prized possessions. I've always admired Bannister for being able to walk away from his successful career as a competitive miler and foregoing the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne to pursue a higher calling in the medical field. When you take into account that Bannister often had time only for meager workouts and practices because he was a full-time medical student, his accomplishments become even more astounding.
I want to thank Walter Iooss Jr. for the wonderful photo essay of NFL greats (Shooting History, July 4--11). During a Sunday Mass on a Super Bowl cruise in 1998, I noticed an extremely large man sitting in front of me. After the peace offering was made, the man turned around and shook my hand, and I immediately recognized him—it was Chuck Bednarik. His manner was serene, and his eyes were gentle, but the handshake spoke to the ferociousness of the game he had played: None of his fingers went in the same direction. Iooss's portrait of Bednarik captures his features brilliantly.
Phil Reynolds, Malta, N.Y.
In looking at your classic picture montage from the '60s and '70s, I was reminded of what a gritty sport football once was. I mean, is that really mud on the players' uniforms?
Terry Buck, Broomfield, Colo.
Name That Tune
There is nothing ultimate about your list of Top 40 sports tunes (The Ultimate Play List, July 4--11) without Kenny Chesney's The Boys of Fall, an ode to high school football. It was a No. 1 single last fall and should have definitely been in your top 10.
Sam Millich, Black River, N.Y.
I enjoyed reading your playlist, but I think you missed out on another great Bob Dylan song: Hurricane, the story of boxer Rubin Carter who was wrongfully accused of triple homicide.
David Purdin, Cedarville, Ohio
It's hard to consider this anything more than a really good playlist when bands like the Dropkick Murphys get two entries while George Strait and his song Amarillo by Morning, a tribute to journeymen rodeo athletes, doesn't rate even an honorable mention.
Cort McMurray, Houston
Soldiers of Glory
Phil Taylor's column on the Wounded Warriors (POINT AFTER, July 4--11) had me choked up and teary-eyed by the third sentence. Stories like this should remind all sports enthusiasts of those who have sacrificed so we can all have the freedom to pursue our love of sports.
Lake Worth, Fla.
As the father of a Marine who was seriously wounded in Iraq, I want to thank SI for its inspiring article on the Wounded Warrior softball team. The courage and determination shown by these heroes in their recovery should make all of America proud.
E-mail SI at letters@SI.timeinc.com or fax SI at 212-467-2417. Letters should include the writer's full name, address and home telephone number and may be edited for clarity and space.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
For 24/7 service, go to SI.com/customerservice. Call 1-800-528-5000 or write to SI at P.O. Box 30602, Tampa, FL 33630-0602. To purchase reprints of SI covers, go to SIcovers.com.
For ad rates, an editorial calendar or a media kit, e-mail SI at SIpubqueries@timeinc.com.
HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES (COVER)