Shooting His Mouth Off
I always liked Bo Jackson, at least until I read Rick Telander's expos� (Happy Hunter, June 30). As a youth the self-proclaimed "John Gotti of the neighborhood" used bricks and crab apples to hurt people and now seems proud of it. He revels in his freedom to "cuss, drink, scratch and fart" and his ability to kill raccoons, right down to shooting a "mom right between the eyes." I'm tired of the standard excuses for athletes with mean streaks: An absent parent, lack of money or a physical ailment does not justify acts of violence. A lot of people, myself included, grew up in environments similar to Bo's, but that doesn't mean we have used our problems as a rationalization to excuse violence.
DON PAWL, Lake Villa, Ill.
What is disturbing is not that a man shot a raccoon raiding his trash, it is that he seemed to think that the suffering it went through before it died was amusing.
MICHELLE RIDER, Eagan, Minn.
Where Are They Now?
I can't thank you enough for treating me to a nice visit with an old friend, Fernando Valenzuela (Mania Man, June 30). All these years later, and I still treasure the memories of Fernandomania.
SUSAN CHRISTIE, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
So, the cream of the 1994 Olympic figure skating crop (The Ice Storm, June 30) consisted of Nancy Kerrigan, a self-involved whiner who married her agent; Tonya Harding, a woman so obsessed with winning she committed a felony to get an edge on a rival; and Oksana Baiul, who threw away her career drinking and partying. And I thought the NBA was a tough bunch.
TERRY GRINER, Spokane
I especially enjoyed the article on Monte Towe (Short and Sweet, June 30), the hero of my middle school years. I was a vertically challenged, sports-loving sixth-grader growing up in a small town in North Carolina, and seeing Monte play with such enthusiasm and skill inspired me throughout my life. Thank you, Monte, for showing us that heart is more important than height.
WILLIAM C. OWEN
Since the NBA draft took place in the same week as your issue updating us on some sports icons of the past, perhaps you should have done a piece on the many athletes who left college early and never made it in the pros. Those stories alone could have been more persuasive to would-be professional athletes than any advice from parents, counselors, teachers, coaches or fans.
SCOTT ROHER, Peoria, Ill.
You were correct, but you could have been clearer: Jack Dempsey's grave is, indeed, in Portland (Final Destination, June 30). But that is the grave of Jack (Nonpareil) Dempsey, the middleweight champ who died in 1895, and not Jack Dempsey, the legendary heavyweight fighter of the 1920s who shared the same name, died in '83 and is buried in Southampton, N.Y.
TERRY KESHNER, Forest Park, Ill.
Finally, a Cardinals player gets the attention he deserves (Albert the Great, June 30). Thank goodness for Albert Pujols—he's like Barry Bonds with personality.
DANIEL MELLENTHIN, Alton, Ill.
Give a Hoot
So the Rice Owls' astonishing victory in the College World Series wasn't worthy of even a mention on the cover (INSIDE BASEBALL, June 30). Why not? The NCAA football and basketball champions got the full cover treatment. The Rice team showed it is possible to be tough academically and still win it all; its achievement should be celebrated—not relegated to page 98.
RICHARD JONES, Austin
In your article on Florida Marlins rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis (The Kid with the Kick, June 30), you pictured other contortionist hurlers but forgot one of the first high-kickers. Fritz Ostermueller pitched in the majors for 15 seasons, mostly with the Boston Red Sox and ending with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1948. A lefthander who would lift his left leg high and rock before he pitched, he finished his career with 114 wins and 115 losses.
LEE LIEBLER, Hershey, Pa.