March Madness happens every year. A legend passes on only once. Joltin' Joe should have been on the cover of your March 15 issue.
—MATT SCHUSTER, Baltimore
Man for All Seasons
Thanks for letting Robert Creamer express beautifully what we all thought of Joe DiMaggio (All the Tools, March 15). Joe embodied the term professional athlete. Oh, for another DiMaggio!
SCOTT OTTO, Fort Dodge, Iowa
The same year DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games, Ted Williams accomplished two batting feats of greater significance. He hit .406 to become the last man (so far) to surpass .400 for a season. More amazingly, his on-base percentage of .551 remains the highest for a season in major league history. Joltin' Joe's streak will not be forgotten, but I wonder why Williams's on-base-percentage record receives so little recognition.
NEIL GOODBRED, Livonia, Mich.
In Love with Iverson
As a 76ers' fan I was excited to finally read a positive article on Allen Iverson (A Turn for the Better, March 15). I'm sick of hearing about the thug with corn-rows. Iverson is an excellent player, nothing more, nothing less. All he needed was time to mature and a real coach, whom he now has in Larry Brown. Let's stay off Allen's back and watch him become the best player in the league.
ANDY SHORB, Lancaster, Pa.
Iverson points out a harsh reality when he says that people will always be reluctant to give him the proper credit despite his dominance as a player. That tattoos and cornrows can overshadow his abilities is a sad testimony to the state of our society. If Iverson had the boy-next-door image of some of the NBA's less skilled but more heavily publicized players, sponsors would be beating down his door.
KATHY LIU, Isla Vista, Calif.
Battle of the Sexes
Thank you so much for your fine article on the Tennessee varsity women's basketball team and its relationship with its male practice squad (Guys and Vols, March 15). You tactfully addressed the difficult question of who is better: the finely trained woman player or the average man? As a woman college basketball player, I have often been ignored and taunted in otherwise all-male pickup games until my skills spoke for themselves.
SARAH PHILLIPS, McMinnville, Ore.
As a former Lady Vols practice player, I enjoyed Jack McCallum's article. There are no tangible benefits for the practice player. However, the connections, friendships and pride I took away from the experience continue to pay dividends.
GRANT SHANKS, Knoxville, Tenn.
Nice NCAA tournament preview in your March 15 issue: an intense look at the 64 men's teams and then five whole pages about the Tennessee women. Wait, that article was about the men who help the women. Maybe next year's women's preview will be about the male referees.
TRICIA CHARBONNEAU, Chicago
Dreaming of a wild card is a far cry from the days of the Big Red Machine, when the playoffs were a given and only the Cincinnati Reds' presence in the World Series was in doubt (Red Alert, March 15). Now Cincinnati is more like the Big Dud Machine! How exactly does trading for slugger Greg Vaughn, who will quickly be traded away if the Reds stumble to the All-Star break, help things? It is nothing more than a slap in the face for the few fans brave enough to show up at Cinergy Field. Years of Marge Schott's racism, dog nonsense and penny-pinching have done more to damage this franchise than the best efforts of general manager Jim Bowden can do to fix it.
TIM FOGLE, Louisville
The Reds cut their payroll to $21 million and made money. Cincinnati may have lost 85 games last year, but do you think the Reds' management considers 1998 a losing season? I seriously doubt it.
GREG HANBERG, Grants Pass, Ore.