I hoped that SI would not fall in line with the rest of the media and paint a picture of Rich Beem as an inspirational underdog. For years he's been busy wasting his exceptional natural talent, and now that he's focused on his game, he is finding success. It's about time. As a 28-year-old partyer he made the PGA Tour and won the Kemper. In 2000 he "earned a mere $249,881 while finishing an abysmal 146th on the money list." My God, how did he manage to put food on the table? For all that's been said, you'd imagine Beem to have been a broke loser, playing his first tournament with the big boys. Let's not begrudge him his success, but he's been capable of this for a while.
JERROLD LEE, New York City
So Beem had an "abysmal" year in 2000, earning a "mere" $249,881? Who does he think he is, a backup middle infielder?
WALTER HARVEY, Highland Mills, N.Y.
As the deputy executive director of the United States Track Coaches Association, I applaud you for the recent coverage of track and field in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We know that track and field has more participants in high schools and in colleges than any other sport, and we find it gratifying that our athletes are once again being recognized for their excellence.
DAVE MILLIMAN, Gainesville, Fla.
The Best on the Worst
Your article on A-Rod, which raises the question of whether he should be MVP, provided a list of great players on lousy teams. My alltime favorite in this category is poor Chuck Klein (above, left), who won the Triple Crown in 1933 (28 HRs, 120 RBIs, .368 average) while playing for a Phillies team that stumbled to a 60-92 record and wound up in seventh place. Incidentally, Philadelphia cornered the market on the Triple Crown that year, as Jimmie Foxx (above, right) took the honors for the Athletics (48 HRs, 163 RBIs, .356 average) and won the MVP award even though his team finished in third place at 79-72.
JEFFREY AUERBACH, Claremont, Calif.