I can't help but question your list when fullback Jim Brown and strikeout king Nolan Ryan are not included.
—RICHARD P. ZOWIE, San Antonio
List with No Limits
The list of Our Favorite Athletes (July 12) included only one NFL running back, Bo Jackson—a questionable selection. While Jackson was a unique combination of athlete and phenomenon, Walter Payton had a much stronger case for being among your 20 favorites. He deserved a spot for his courage and grace as a runner and a man.
ROBERT C. CLARK, Simpsonville, S.C.
As soon as I saw the cover mention of the 20 favorites list, I thought of Lou Gehrig. Then I noted with dismay that Gehrig was not included. If there was ever a great athlete and a great man, it was Gehrig.
PATRICK ALLEN, Bemus Point, N.Y.
You didn't have to grow up in San Francisco to know that Willie Mays dwarfed anyone else in ability and showmanship. Were you just trying to solicit angry letters to the editor?
MITCHELL MOFFETT, Santa Rosa, Calif.
How could you leave off Arthur Ashe, Jesse Owens and Jim Thorpe? Talking about playing in times of adversity, Thorpe was the lone Native American competing in his sports, Owens had to take on Hitler, and Ashe was a black player in a game ruled by whites.
DAN MONICO, Winnetka, Ill.
When Joe Namath came on to the sports scene, pro football was populated by crew-cut, stodgy old men, like SI favorite Johnny Unitas. Namath was a new breed of athlete, young and hip and loaded with style both on and off the field.
DAVID IRVING, Albany, N.Y.
How in the world did you leave Henry Aaron off your list?
RUSSELL HUDSON, Mexico Beach, Fla.
You might as well have titled it your 20 favorite American athletes of the century.
K. SUBRAMANIAN, Houston
Walter Johnson was seventh all-time in strikeouts (3,509) and ERA (2.17), tied for fourth in complete games (531), second in wins (417) and first in shutouts (110).
MARK DURHAM, St. Mary's, Ga.
No one, man or woman, has ever dominated two sports as Babe Didrikson Zaharias did golf and track and field.
AL GAITHER, Newton, N.C.