In his story about Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith (No. 1 in his Field, Sept. 28), Ron Fimrite overlooked one curious aspect of Wizard worship.
During my visits to Busch Stadium, I have been struck by how inured to his greatness the fans have become. A miraculous stop that would prompt wild cheering in other cities receives polite applause in St. Louis. Smith has so raised the expectations that he now must rob a batter of a base hit and start a double play by tossing the ball behind his back before the crowd will give him his due.
Pity the poor mortal who one day replaces him.
New York City
Rarely has a magazine piece hit a nail so squarely on the head as did Frank Deford's POINT AFTER (Sept. 21). As a longtime fan and admirer of the Orioles, I often had wondered the same thing: Why didn't anybody hate them in their heyday? As Deford so ably pointed out, the answer lay in the O's hallmark—their beauty and perfection afield. Watching the Orioles perform then was like listening to a symphony orchestra give an inspired performance. Rowdy rabidism was plainly inappropriate.
MARC H. FOLLADORI
To believe that the Orioles are dead is to give up, and to give up is to quit—definitely not a trait of the true Baltimore O's fan. It is only a matter of time before the old magic takes hold again and the team that was in decline starts winning once more.
Woods Hole, Mass.
HARVEY SCHMEDLAP & CO.
In his account of the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks game (The Broncos Were Boffo, Sept. 21), Rick Reilly alluded to the players' strike and the possibility that Broncomaniacs might have to settle for Harvey Schmedlap, former NYU Business School flag football star, to champion their cause. It is well known to flag football aficionados that Schmedlap is over the hill, weak of limb and demanding too much money. A better alternative would be to take half the money Schmedlap would get and bring in the world-famous Naval Legal Service Office, Mayport, Fla., flag team (No. 1 in the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps League). We kick 50-yard field goals the old-fashioned (straight-ahead) way and we line up in excruciatingly complex offensive formations. Plus, we do our own laundry. It's not just a job, it's an adventure.
Lieut. Commander, JAGC, USN
Reilly's reference to Harvey Schmedlap suggests that NYU is a producer of less-than-top-grade professional football talent. As a loyal NYU alumnus and a former sports editor of the school's paper, I take umbrage. Need I remind you that in 1928 Ken Strong of the Violets led the country in scoring, with 22 touchdowns and 28 points after for 160 points? At 6'1" and 210 pounds, he ran the 100 in 10 seconds flat. Strong played professional football for 12 years, scoring 545 points—351 of them for the Giants, including 17 in the 1934 championship game against Bronko Nagurski's Chicago Bears. (The Giants won 30-13.)
ALAN M. POLANGER
During Bill Nack's interview of my client, Marvelous Marvin Hagler ("Let the World Know I'm O.K.," Sept. 28), in which I participated mainly as an observer making an occasional comment, Nack asked me why Hagler had not sued Boston television sportscaster John Dennis if Dennis's allegations of cocaine use or abuse by Hagler were, as Hagler has insisted, untrue. My response was that, under present law, it is difficult for a public figure like Hagler to prevail in a defamation action.
Since allegations of drug abuse will no doubt continue to plague Hagler, I respectfully request that you publish this letter, so Hagler's millions of boxing fans will have the additional perspective of knowing how a public figure must often resist the commonsense urge to (forgive my robust First Amendment exercise) "sue the bastards."
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has the undoubted right to publish unfavorable information about Hagler. A healthy debate about the scourge of cocaine in American society—and in the sports world in particular—is desirable and deserves wide publicity. But your readers must not draw an incorrect conclusion from Marvelous Marvin Hagler's decision to let his present and future conduct speak for itself. He has been enormously successful by handling adversity in this way in the past. Do not bet against him now.
MORRIS M. GOLDINGS