Perhaps the one thing that's inarguable about sports fans is that they love to argue. Our 50 Greatest Sports Movies of All Time (SI, Aug. 4) has so far drawn more than 800 letters (the most for any story this year), and not many of them complimented the magazine on its judgment. The movies we included weren't a problem for most; only a handful of correspondents, for example, objected to our No. 1 choice, Bull Durham, with one dismissing it as a "chick flick." No, what inflamed peoples' passions were the favorites we omitted.
Start with Major League, a 1989 comedy starring Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen. Many wondered why the SI staff—which compiled the list by arguing for months about what should be on, off, high and low—failed to appreciate the story of an ex-exotic dancer who becomes the owner of the Indians. Said Liam Doorley of Lake Forest, Ill., "Why was this hilarious movie 'just a bit outside'?" Looking back, to be honest, Liam, we're not sure. Bob Uecker was boffo as the play-by-play man. It's certainly worth renting.
Rudy, the 1993 story of a Fighting Irish football walk-on, starring Sean Astin, also got support. "I can't stand Notre Dame, but that was a great movie," wrote Cindy Bogash of Westhampton, N.Y. After reviewing the videotape, we're going to let our original call stand: It's just too corny. The biggest reader groundswell, though, was for The Natural, the 1984 hit starring Robert Redford. Senior writer Franz Lidz, who worked on the package, faults the film for its "childish reliance on the supernatural." But more than 75 readers wrote to chastise us for leaving it out. "Excluding it," wrote David Byers of Lamoine, Maine, "is like having a list of the 50 greatest baseball players without Babe Ruth." David Crabtree, a University of Texas media relations assistant, felt even more strongly. "How can you leave it off the list?" he wrote. "Cancel my subscription."