Thank you for Peter Gammons's excellent article on the best leadoff men ever to pick up a bat: Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines (Light Years Ahead Of The Field, July 28). No one else in major league baseball has a greater balance of power and speed than these two exquisite athletes. They have been underrated for too long, especially Henderson, who has often been criticized for his arrogant style of play. With his brilliance, he should be allowed the luxury of showing off.
Oxon Hill, Md.
In my opinion, Raines and Henderson are the best all-around players in the game today. They not only excel in the batter's box and on base but also when playing defense. I think the records will show that both men have won ball games for their teams by making great defensive plays.
Natrona Heights, Pa.
I have read Ron Fimrite's story on the Steele's Sports Co. softball team (The Men Of Steele's, July 28), and based on my experience with softball and Scott Virkus, I agree that this indeed may be Softball's greatest team.
I have played the game for the past 15 years and I have never seen anyone hit a softball farther than Virkus has. During a tournament two years ago in White Plains, N.Y., Virkus, playing for the Garage Door from Rochester, hit eight home runs in 10 games. Only one player had ever hit a home run out of this particular park, but Virkus hit three. "Bam Bam" (that's Virkus's nickname) will be remembered in this area for a long time.
Fimrite mentioned Steele's lopsided margins of victory. In all fairness to the teams that have beaten them, what kinds of margins has Steele's lost by?
Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
?On regulation softball fields, Steele's has lost twice to the Smythe Sox of Houston, 40-27 and 23-14, once to Shubin's of Los Angeles, 27-17, and once each to Great South of Atlanta, 23-21, and Coors of Detroit, 25-24. In games played on baseball diamonds without temporary softball fences, Steele's has lost 12-9 to the South Florida All-Stars of Miami, 12-10 to Miller Medical of Waterloo, Iowa, and 12-11 to the Lite Athletic Club of Daytona Beach, Fla.—ED.
If you are going to cover softball, why not cover it completely? It does not take nearly as much athletic ability to play slo-pitch as it does fast-pitch. Where is the challenge in hitting a ball that is lobbed compared with hitting a ball thrown with speed from 46 feet, as in fast-pitch? Just remember: Softball is for everyone, but fast-pitch is for athletes.
Shame on you for running a silly story on sissy-pitch softball in the same issue with a feature on Rickey Henderson, the Bronx Burner. Hitting a 12-inch softball over a cheap fence with a 38-ounce bat and a two-ton belly should be last on the list of America's sports.
With regard to Rick Telander's article on USFL quarterback Jim Kelly (Life With Lord Jim, July 21), I find it incredible and most disturbing to think that in depicting his considerable football abilities, albeit untested in the NFL, you felt it necessary to subject us to an account of his escapades to strip joints and with the ladies—as if being a football attraction entitles one to live with all the moral restraint of an alley cat. Some model! And what, pray tell, do pictures of his poolside pals and his bubble baths have to do with football?
Would to God there were more athletes like Bart Starr and Roger Staubach, who along with their superior leadership and ability on the field have exhibited moral and spiritual integrity off it. These and others like them are the stars whose lives are worth emulating and reading about.
(THE REVEREND) CALVIN RYCHENER
Grabill ( Ind.) Evangelical