How can you put together a 40 most-annoying list without George Steinbrenner?
DAN PLASTERER, INDIANAPOLIS
The Bottom 40
I take exception to Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle Leon Lett's name being included on your list of the "most dubious, irrelevant and annoying individuals of the last 40 years" (POINT AFTER, Oct. 3). Lett made two well-publicized mistakes, but look how he rebounded from them. He caused the fumble that turned the tide in Super Bowl XXVIII, and this year, against the Detroit Lions, he blocked two potential game-winning field goals before the Cowboys finally lost.
DAN MASCIANTONIO, Hamden, Conn.
Here's somebody you could have had on your list: Rollen F. Stewart, the rainbow-wigged man who held the JOHN 3:16 signs at sporting events.
JANE C. SMITH, Enola, Pa.
?That's not the half of it. Rainbow Man is serving a life sentence for holding a maid hostage during a nine-hour standoff with police at a Los Angeles hotel in 1992.—ED
Since you included Frank Kush because "he beat everybody," then you have to include Woody Hayes, who did the same. I would also add Todd Marinovich, the raised-from-birth-to-be-a-quarterback who lasted only two years in the NFL. And, of course, no such list would be complete without all pro wrestlers who dare to call their chosen profession a sport.
PETER L. BOWEB, Phoenix
Larry Brown? Ken Burns? How could these men be considered two of the "most dubious, irrelevant and annoying individuals of the last 40 years"? Brown has won an NCAA championship, and in his 22 years as a college and pro coach, his teams have suffered just one losing season. I can only assume that Burns made the list because his poignant documentary Baseball failed to hold Rick Reilly's attention the way a 30-second beer commercial would have.
LAURA HELLER, Raleigh, N.C.
Why Eddie the Eagle? He made me laugh, while showing that sincerity outshines cynicism any day.
DOUGLAS B. RICHARDSON, Philadelphia
Could what happened at the Swimming World Championships in Rome (Flora and Furor, Sept. 19) be any more obvious? What has to be done to get the world to realize that because of the Chinese women, swimming is not clean? It saddens me to imagine how empty the other leading women swimmers must feel, having been denied honest races.
LINDSAY GRIMM, Needham, Mass.
While your report highlighted the drug-taking allegations leveled at the Chinese women, it was disappointing that you overlooked outstanding—and clean—performances by swimmers from other countries. Australia's Kieren Perkins set a world record in the 400-meter freestyle; Samantha Riley, also of Australia, broke the world record in the 100-meter breaststroke; and the U.S.'s Tom Dolan erased Tamas Darnyi's world mark in the 400-meter individual medley. Also, why was there no mention of Dagmar Hase's withdrawal from the 200-meter freestyle final, a development that allowed Franziska Van Almsick, a fellow German, to swim—and win? These championships are too important to be covered with such brevity.
East Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia
E.M. Swift's article about his experience as a rodeo clown (Send in the Clown, Oct. 3) once again prompts me to question his sanity. Now that he has survived both the bull's horns and the shark's teeth, as recounted in his story on swimming with hammerheads (Call Me Shark Bait, Dec. 13, 1993), perhaps he would like to try wrestling alligators or go salmon fishing with grizzly bears.
ART WOOD, Sarasota, Flu.