The Oregon Ducks start the season as if Joey Harrington is still with us, and we are already smelling roses. The team fashions an amazing upset, soundly defeating Michigan by shutting down one of the best rushing teams in the nation (Make Way for Ducks, Sept. 29). Then a strange—or maybe not so strange—thing happens. You put the Ducks on your cover before their game against the Washington State Cougars, and Oregon makes mistakes they haven't made all season, including nine turnovers, two blocked punts and innumerable other errors leading to coach Mike Bellotti's worst loss ever. A lot of people are scratching their heads wondering what happened. I'd say the SI cover jinx is alive and well!
Susan Miller, Lake Oswego, Ore.
Why is it that SI is enamored of the Ducks' butt-ugly uniforms?
Max R. Moore, Bellevue, Neb.
Your NL Rookie of the Year choice is mind-blowing (The Way It Looks from Here, Sept. 29). Fittingly, your choice, Brandon Webb, lost his final start of the year to reach the lofty record of 10-9, while Dontrelle Willis cruised to yet another victory to finish 14-6. And what about the Marlins' rise in attendance and the way that South Florida rallied around Dontrelle? Did Arizona do the same for Webb?
Dan Street, Myakka City, Fla.
Cleveland's Jody Gerut should have been mentioned in the AL Rookie of the Year discussion. Gerut's numbers are comparable to, if not better than, those of Rocco Baldelli and Angel Berroa, and he got them on a team that afforded him little protection in the lineup.
Evan Fitzgerald, Southern Pines, N.C.
Without Shannon Stewart the Twins were mired in third place and getting worse. With him, and largely because of him, they had the best record in the majors after the All-Star break and won their division going away, but he didn't even make your list of top 10 candidates for the AL MVP. Neither A-Rod nor anyone else on your list came close to having such a demonstrable impact on his team. Isn't that a better measure of Most Valuable than the individual statistics you cite?
Bob Marshall, Deephaven, Minn.
When Hideo Nomo and Ichiro were being considered for the Rookie of the Year award, I at first thought it undermined the notion of a rookie. The comparison with Jackie Robinson—who played in the Negro leagues and for whom the award is named—gave me pause, but what convinced me that Hideki Matsui should be eligible was the picture of him in his pimp suit (SCORECARD, Sept. 22). If he's hazed like a rookie, he must be a rookie.
Rich Pacelle, Statesboro, Ga.
Rule of Three
Roy Blount Jr.'s article 12 Reasons Why the Triple Is the Most Exciting 12 Seconds in Sports (Sept. 29) was so entertaining, I had to read it three times.
Paul Chechanover, Forest Hills, N.Y.
Blount mentions that there have been no big league triplets, but there were minor league Triplets, specifically the Bingham-ton (N.Y.) Triplets who played in the Eastern League from the League's founding in 1923 through the '60s. Johnson Field, their home, had a pump house in deep left center that was an ideal target for triples. So, how many triples did the Triplets hit when the Triplets got good wood?
Thomas N. Steenburg, Barrington, Ill.
Lone Star Legends
Thanks for your fantastic profile of sports in Texas (Sports in America, Sept. 29). However, you failed to mention boxer Jack Johnson, the first African-American—and first Texan—to win the world heavyweight championship. Johnson, born and raised in Galveston, remains a local icon and is surely one of the greatest athletes to emerge from the great state of Texas.
Damon Mimari, Galveston, Texas
Perhaps the most important sporting event with ties to Texas was absent from your section on Texas sports. Don Haskins and the Texas Western (now UTEP) basketball team deserved at least some recognition for defeating Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats for the 1966 NCAA title. Not only did Haskins make a statement by starting five African-Americans against Rupp's all-white Kentucky team, the game was played at the height of the civil rights movement and ushered in a new era for minorities in college sports.
Brandon Silverstein, El Paso