Garciaparra has single-handedly made another seemingly endless Red Sox summer worthwhile.
STEVEN ROSEN, SUDBURY, MASS.
After putting up with Allen Iverson, Keyshawn Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal and legions of other spoiled rookies in sports, it is refreshing to see baseball being infused with the talents of Nomar Garciaparra, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen (The Class of Their Field, Sept. 1). These players are proving that kids aren't all bad.
JEREMY WALLACE, Tallahassee, Fla.
I enjoyed your article on the best rookie crop in more than a decade, but you neglected to mention outfielder Mike Cameron of the Chicago White Sox. After being called up from Triple A Nashville this year, he hit 14 home runs and stole 23 bases, and he produced many hits in the clutch for the Sox.
BRIAN CHIMINO, Chicago
To write an article on the top 10 rookies without mentioning any of the Pittsburgh Pirates' first-year players is an outrage. Leadoff man Tony Womack finished first in the National League in stolen bases and near the top in hits. Jose Guillen, who rose from Class A last year, was a .267 hitter, and he has a cannon of an arm. The best of them all was Rich Loiselle, who, although not given the closer's job until more than a month into the season, saved 29 games. Without these three, the Pirates' remarkable run at the Central Division title would not have happened.
DAVE SHICK, Apollo, Pa.
I was disappointed that Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie was excluded from your list of the top 10 rookies. He was a bright spot in a dismal season for the Cubs. He finished second among National League third basemen in fielding percentage and showed the same maturity as Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Rolen.
MARK A. KROCKOVER, Park Ridge, Ill.
Thanks for the article on the reunion of the American Basketball Association (SCORECARD, Sept. 1). To me, the ABA is the Star Trek of pro sports leagues—ignored and often ridiculed when it made its first run around, finally appreciated years later. After playing before "crowds" of a few hundred in places like Memphis and Norfolk, Va., it must blow the minds of the Doctor, the Iceman and others to think that there is now an ABA Web site (www.geocities.com/Colosseum/5290). A team made up of the players in your photo, Marvin Barnes, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Spencer Haywood, Freddie Lewis and David Thompson, would pack arenas and entertain millions today.
THANE R. KOLARIK, Pittsburgh
Nickerson vs. Sanders
In praising Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson as the "only NFL defender to regularly stymie" Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders (INSIDE THE NFL, Sept. 1), you failed to mention that two of Sanders's top five rushing games have come against the Nickerson-led Bucs, including a 237-yard performance on Nov. 13, 1994, that is the most rushing yards ever gained by a Lion and is tied for the sixth highest in an NFL game.
Granted, in 1996 Sanders was held to 73 yards in the second meeting between the Lions and the Buccaneers, but he had 125 yards in their first encounter.
TODD E. HANSEN
Reflecting upon your Sept. 1 Scorecard item, it seems as though Arena football is perceived as somewhat revolutionary. However, in the world of international rugby, all 15 players on each team go both ways without the luxury of frequent stoppages. Only recently was limited substituting approved. Until professionalism was introduced last year, even the most renowned stars of international rugby all had other employment. I enjoy football, but it has ventured down the path of becoming the forum for specialists rather than athletes. May rugby thrive on the ideals that created sports in the first place.
ROBERT SKINNER, Decatur, Ill.