SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
October 16, 1989
PANNING PATERNO Is the Joe Paterno who is being criticized for either not recruiting superior athletes for Penn State or not deploying them properly (A Very Sorry State, Sept. 18) the same Joe Paterno who was SI's 1986 Sportsman of the Year? Is this the same Paterno who was praised for having both a high winning percentage and a high graduation rate?
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October 16, 1989


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First, as a Texas Rangers season-ticket holder, I can tell you that Franco busted his tail in the field and at the plate all year. As for Sierra, perhaps you can explain how a player can have 33 doubles and 14 triples going into the final weekend of the season by being blas� on the base paths. You might also reveal that Sierra was tied for third in the league in outfield assists with 13.
Fort Worth

I don't see how Peter Gammons could suggest giving the American League Manager of the Year award to anyone other than Frank Robinson. Tony La Russa has done a fine job with Oakland, but even when the Athletics were beset with injuries, they had 10 times more talent than Robinson's Orioles do.

When you compare Baltimore's personnel with that of other winning teams (and some nonwinning teams), the Orioles' performance this season almost defies explication. Their success has to be attributed to the exceptional job done by Robinson.
New York City

Although I'm sure you don't want to become yet another forum for the gun-control debate, I must respond to the letter from Jack A. Borah in your Sept. 18 issue. He said that you took a "cheap shot" at handguns by suggesting that the suicide of Sacramento Kings guard Ricky Berry might not have occurred if Berry had not owned a handgun. Borah's reasoning was that "a person distressed enough to contemplate suicide will use any means."

When I was a senior in high school, I was not only distressed enough to contemplate suicide, I attempted it. There was no gun around, therefore, I still am. A gun is fast and final. It gives you no chance to change your mind once you've started. It is easy to use in the heat of the moment. Based on my experience and on stories I have heard at numerous counseling groups, I have to agree with you that this tragedy was, at least in part, brought about by the proximity of a handgun.
Lincoln, Neb.

It may be a bit early to submit suggestions for Sportsman of the Year, but if the award goes to anyone other than Angel pitcher Jim Abbott, it will be a travesty.
Southington, Conn.

Jim Abbott, Dave Dravecky of the Giants (SCORECARD, Aug. 28) and Mark Wellman (below left), the paraplegic climber who, with the help of partner Mike Corbett, scaled Yosemite's El Capitan in July (SCORECARD, Aug. 7) have proved that to limit our dreams is to ignore our potential.
Fresno, Calif.

Mike Reid gave us a classic example of sportsmanship as he walked off the 18th green following the final round of the PGA Championship at the Kemper Lakes Golf Course. Having lost the title on the last few holes, Reid spied the winner, Payne Stewart, coming toward him from the scorer's tent and gave him a high five. Such a magnanimous response during a difficult moment—coupled with his heartfelt comments about his failure to retain the lead and Stewart's subsequent victory—make Reid the natural choice.
West Hartford, Conn.

I'm sure I am not alone in recommending that Bart Giamatti be your selection. He taught this nation more about integrity and values than it really wanted to learn. He showed us that education and sports do not have to be mutually exclusive and that what is right must be done, no matter how painful or unpopular. Most important, he told us that no individual is superior to the game. Giamatti, a great man, deserves to be remembered as one of America's greatest sportsmen.
New Orleans

I enjoyed Paul Zimmerman's article on Bronko Nagurski and Don Hutson (The Bronk and the Gazelle, Sept. 11). From his description of Hutson's block of a big tackle—"the strangest-looking block I had ever seen. He...turned his back, flipped one leg in the air and made contact with his butt and back, a sort of reverse, reverse-body block"—I feel sure that what Zimmerman viewed on film was something called the Indian block.

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