Opinions about overrated and underrated people, places and things in sports:
WAYNE N. COOKE, Branford, Conn.
Over the Rainbow
I realize your overrated-underrated issue (The Rating Game, Aug. 27) was designed to garner a reaction from readers, and it did. After you trashed Muhammad Ali (twice), Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken, I am thankful you're not printing a music issue so you could rip into the Beatles, Beethoven and Frank Sinatra.
ERIC COMPTON, Kew Gardens, N.Y.
The most overrated article ever to grace the cover of SI. With few exceptions it seemed to have been written by unsophisticated fans who bellied up to the bar to argue their narrow points of view after having more than a few beers.
FRANK BONTEMPO, Pittsburgh
Bob Waterfield was overrated? Someone should point out to Peter King that Old Waterbuckets took leave from his 25-year "tryst" with wife Jane Russell long enough to lead the Rams to two NFL titles in his abbreviated, injury-ridden eight-year career, and that he was among the league leaders in punting, was an excellent placekicker and was a 60-minute man who also played safety. In 1946 he led the Los Angeles Rams in interceptions.
WILLIAM O'NEILL, Riverside, Calif.
Overrated? Joe Namath: completed barely half his throws, had 47 more interceptions than touchdown passes and never led the NFL, AFL or AFC in passing.
FREDERICK LARSEN, The Dalles, Ore.
You stepped onto sacred ground when you said that Muhammad Ali wasn't the greatest heavyweight of the 20th century—but you were right. However, he's still the Greatest.
TOM STIGGER, Louisville
America the Beautiful has the advantage of being short and easy to sing. Conversely, The Star-Spangled Banner is almost impossible to sing. I have seen crowds standing on tiptoes trying to summon the talent to hit those treacherous high notes. Maybe that is how it should be. Do you really want the U.S. anthem to be sweet and easy? America the Beautiful is about America's outward beauty, but the country is more than that. The anthem should be more than that. The Star-Spangled Banner puts Americans on their toes. It makes us reach. It reminds everyone that the U.S. is "the home of the brave."
LISA FLETCHER, The Woodlands, Texas
Michael Silver, the next time you attend a sporting event, stand next to a veteran while the anthem is being played. Watch how he removes his hat, places it over his heart and stands with pride while staring at Old Glory. Then I dare you to call The Star-Spangled Banner overrated.
JEFF HUSMAN, Monticello, Iowa
Thank you, Tom Verducci. Finally someone has the nerve to write the truth about Ripken. He is an above-average ballplayer who had two really good years. His superhuman status was created by the media and exploited by Major League Baseball. Without the media hype, can you say Gary Gaetti?
COREY ZDANAVAGE, Perkasie, Pa.