I would like to nominate Greg Norman as Sportsman of the Year. While Norman's achievements on the golf course this season are well documented (Stormin' Norman, Aug. 25), his manner off the course is what really impresses me. He has had to put up with obnoxious behavior by fans in New York and with insulting questions about "choking" from the press elsewhere. He has come face to face with the Jack Nicklaus juggernaut at the Masters, the emotional Raymond Floyd victory at the U.S. Open and the miracle of Bob Tway at the PGA. Yet, through it all, he has remained gracious and friendly, with an ever-present sense of humor. This, I feel, is the epitome of sportsmanship. Good show, Greg, and g'day!
GARY R. DAVIDSON
Winfield, W. Va.
Barry McDermott's profile of Greg Norman shows an athlete who is clearly comfortable with his place among golf's current greats. As an avid Shark watcher and admirer these last few years, I have been impressed by his never-play-it-safe, go-for-the-win approach to shot-making. Ironically, it took just such a shot by Tway at Inverness to save Tway from possible defeat by Norman.
Thank you for Ralph Wiley's delightful article on John Stallworth of the Pittsburgh Steelers ("You Have To Be A Fool At Times," Aug. 25). I think Stallworth's courage is outstanding. I have been a Steeler fan for 12 years, and if I had to pick one player from the team to be my idol, it would be John. He is the kind of man you can't say enough about.
That was a great piece on the best receiver of all time. I'm 16 years old and have been a Steeler fanatic since the age of four. The receiving aspect of football has always been my favorite part of the game, and I grew up idolizing John Stallworth.
In February 1985 I got the idea of somehow getting in touch with my hero. With the help of an Alabama telephone operator, I got his phone number. John and I talked for a good 10 minutes—I don't remember my half of the conversation; I was in shock. We've been in contact since then, exchanging letters and phone calls. This year Pittsburgh opens its season at Seattle. The Seahawks being the closest team to Alaska, my dad and I have tickets to the game. We also have an invitation to meet John before the game.
John Stallworth didn't have to talk to a Steeler-freak kid from Alaska, but he did. He is not only a great receiver but also a great person.
METS ON THE MOUND
Ron Fimrite caught the excitement of the unbelievable season the Mets are having (Take That, You Hitters, Aug. 25). There is really no one pitcher or player who carries the Mets; instead, a great deal of their success is owed to general manager Frank Cashen. He and the people around him have traded for key players and brought along those who were already in the organization. As a result, we have a winner.
The Mets organization must be commended as the true force behind the team that takes the field. Within the New York pressure cooker, Frank Cashen has shown superb patience in acquiring and using quality ballplayers—not for rash attempts at instant success, but for building a tower of strength for the future.
Good article on the Mets' pitching staff. However, you failed to mention the weakness of National League hitters, including the Mets. For the most part, NL teams concentrate on pitching. In the American League, the Mets would be nowhere, because they don't have balance. This will become evident when the Mets get whitewashed by Boston, New York or California in the 1986 World Series.
As a longtime Mets follower, I don't know whether to thank Ron Fimrite or curse him for his fine cover story. Loyal Mets fans can only hope that the infamous SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "cover jinx" does not do what the rest of the National League teams cannot—beat the Mets. The "jinx" is in for its toughest test yet.
West Babylon, N.Y.