Richard Hoffer's brilliant essay (1954, July 14-21) combined with SI's plan to highlight sports in each of the 50 states remind me why I have been an avid reader since 1960. It is refreshing to read thoughtful and well-crafted writing. Thankfully, SI's glory years show no sign of waning.
BRENT G. SQUIRES
I was born on July 31, 1954. Two months later Willie Mays, my father's favorite ballplayer, made his historic catch and helped power my father's Giants to their last World Series title. My dad would mention the catch and the Series right until his passing, in 1989. Thanks for the issue; I'm happy to say that I was one of two great things to happen for my dad in that year.
CHRIS DOUGHERTY, Wanaque, N.J.
I'm sure that you know how many subscribers you had for your first SI in August 1954, but do you know how many in that group have been continuous subscribers for the full 50 years? I'm happy to say that I am one.
CLAUDE H. LONG, Greensboro, N.C.
?At last count 8,330 had subscribed for the magazine's entire run.—ED.
I enjoyed Peter Farrelly's article concerning the importance of the Providence basketball team in the lives of the local citizens (Me and Ernie D., July 14-21). I read with interest as he described the 1973 Final Four game between Providence and Memphis State. I was 11 years old and attending my first Final Four tournament, with my dad in St. Louis. I remember watching in amazement as Ernie DiGregorio led the Friars' fast break. On one spectacular trip downcourt, Ernie D. threw a no-look, behind-the-back pass from just across the midcourt line that hit a Friars teammate in stride for an easy layup. My dad and I often talked about that play and agreed that it was the greatest pass that we had ever witnessed.
Farrelly writes of Rhode Island's smallest-state status, "If push came to shove, we know we could kick Delaware's ass." Push already has come to shove 22 times on the college football field, and the University of Delaware has won 15 of those bouts with the University of Rhode Island, including 10 straight from 1989 through 2000.
KEVIN TRESOLINI, Newark, Del.
Volley of the Sexes
After describing the Wimbledon women's tournament, with its easily predictable and, once again, poorly played final, you say, "The men's draw, of course, has nothing nearly as rich to offer" (Nerves and Volleys, July 14-21). Huh? We once again see the Williamses dominate the draw only to play far below their ability in the final. On the men's side we've seen 10 different winners in the last 12 slams, Roger Federer put on one of the best back-to-back performances Centre Court has seen to finish the tournament and Mark Philippoussis put his career back together—and the men have nothing as rich to offer?
CRAIG SOFER, New York City
So Rick Reilly thinks it's depressing that people still hunt for big game in Botswana and Zimbabwe (THE LIFE OF REILLY, July 14-21). Me, I think it's depressing when countries turn wild ecosystems into little more than big zoos, where 18 safari jeeps can harass lions so often that they become tame enough to rub against the tires. "Fat country club guys" like Reilly kill the wild heart of Africa when they could have the same experience with the docile faux animals of a Six Flags drive-through safari. Don't forget the baby wipes.
ABE FRANK, Brooklyn
It appears that Reilly does not fully appreciate the contribution that sportsmen (hunters) make to African wildlife. These "cowards," as he labels them, are directly responsible for most of the wildlife remaining in southern and East Africa. Much of that $50,000 hunting fee he mentions goes to professional African game management in the country where the fair-chase hunt takes place.
TERRELL McCOMBS, San Antonio
A Passion for Pazienza
I was very disappointed that your recent coverage of our nation's smallest state failed to acknowledge one of Rhode Island's most talented and beloved athletes, former lightweight champion Vinny Pazienza, ranked eighth on your list of 50 Greatest Sports Figures from Rhode Island (SI, Dec. 27, 1999-Jan. 3, 2000). His fights at the Providence Civic Center were always jam-packed with loyal "Pazmaniacs," including myself. To mention Rhode Island sports and not include the name of this gallant warrior was wrong.
BILLY BUTLER, Norwalk, Conn.