Peyton Manning is a great kid. The reason why: great parents.
JOSH FRITTS, KNOXVILLE, TENN.
What a wonderful story about Peyton Manning and his connection, through his father, Archie, with college football's past (Matinee Idol, Aug. 26). However, I found one omission from the list of outstanding quarterbacks in the class of 1971: Ken Anderson. Although, as Howard Cosell used to say, he was from "tiny Augustana College," Anderson hung up numbers during his 16-year NFL career as a Bengal that surpassed those of most of the other quarterbacks of '71 mentioned in the article.
DAVE MARKWARD, Geneseo, III.
When I was a teenager growing up in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1960s, Archie Manning was my hero. I still get chills when I remember his performances against Alabama, Georgia, LSU and, of course, Tennessee. Under his leadership the Rebels in '69 shellacked the Vols 38-0 in what was probably the best game ever played by an Ole Miss team.
But Archie is a hero for other reasons. He displayed humility and class in victory and defeat. He endured a career with the hapless Saints, who never allowed him to live up to his potential as an NFL quarterback. Then, when the Saints unceremoniously dumped him, he refused to exhibit anger or bitterness. And now he is a first-rate father.
R. OTIS GOODIN, Franklin, Tenn.
Your classy, low-key tribute to a classy, low-key athlete, Derek Smith (SCORECARD, Aug. 26), omitted his monumental contribution to American sports culture. Smith was apparently a co-inventor of the high five. As Smith told the story, he and Louisville basketball teammates Wiley Brown and Daryl Cleveland decided that merely "givin' five" wasn't sufficiently celebratory, so they developed the high five one day in practice and unveiled it during a nationally televised game in 1980. The gesture is so ingrained in sports that pre-1980 footage of athletes such as Reggie Jackson or Magic Johnson "slapping skin" seems quaint.
MIKE GAYNES, Pacifica, Calif.
?The origin of the high five is a subject of dispute. Some reports trace the gesture to Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers, following a grand slam homer by Baker in the 1977 National League Championship Series. But Gersh Kuntzman, who last year wrote a history of the high five for New York City's Village Voice, reviewed a videotape of that game and found that it is unclear if Baker slapped Burke's raised hand before he enfolded Burke in an embrace. Baker claimed last week that he did high-five Burke. What is not disputed is that beginning in 1978 the Dodgers, apparently taking their cue from Baker and Burke, did a lot of high-fiving.—ED.
1929 Athletics (cont.)
No one can deny the greatness of the 1929 to '31 A's (Lost in History, Aug. 19), but they were not the equals of the '27 Yankees, whom the Baseball Writers Association of America voted the greatest team of all time. Although the 1927 Yanks were murderous at the plate, the pitching staff may in fact have been the staff that time forgot, for it was as adept at stifling opposing batsmen as the New York hitters were at stinging opposing pitchers. While the A's did have the dominant pitcher of the era in Lefty Grove, they didn't have any other overwhelming pitchers, but the '27 Yankees had two Hall of Fame pitchers in Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock, and four pitchers, including Hoyt and Pennock, who won 18 games or more that year.
An interesting sidebar to the story is that one player, Hoyt, played for both the Yanks (1921 to '30) and the A's ('31). The winningest New York pitcher of the '20s, Hoyt was also an articulate storyteller, broadcaster and knowledgeable baseball man. In many long conversations and games of catch I was lucky enough to have had with him (he was my grandfather), he was always proudest of the fact that he was a member of the team he unfailingly called the greatest of all time, the 1927 Yankees, and a teammate of the player he called the greatest of all time, Babe Ruth.
C. WAITE HOYT, Stamford, Conn.
I saw the A's play at Shibe Park in North Philadelphia when I was a little girl in the 1940s. I recall that Al Simmons was a coach at the time. Thanks for remembering my grandfather Connie Mack (Cornelius McGillicuddy) and his team so well. Both my children and my grandchildren can now better understand a bit of our family history.
KATHLEEN MCGILLICUDDY KELLY, Phoenix