Your choice of Tom Seaver as Sportsman of the Year (Dec. 22) is an excellent one. The dictionary defines sportsman as "One who plays fair and can take defeat without complaint and victory without boasting." Tom Seaver certainly fits this definition to the letter. After an infrequent loss, he would not complain, but go out and work harder in preparation for his next effort. After a victory he would give the credit to a teammate who contributed to the win.
But Tom Seaver is not one of those spineless men who pretends that team victory is the only thing that matters. After his "imperfect" game of July 9 he was asked whether he was disappointed at losing the perfect game. Some would have answered no, but Seaver did not try to fool anyone.
During the summer the New York Mets captured the spirit of America, and Tom Seaver was the heart and soul of the Mets. He is, without a doubt, the All-American Boy. Every American boy can look up to him and say, "I want to be like him when I grow up!" If there were more Tom Seavers, America would be a better place.
Tom Seaver is a man every American can be proud of. Living in Metsland, I felt this pride during that magical summer. Two months after the World Series I can still feel it.
As an objective fan, I feel you have cheapened your Sportsman of the Year Award by presenting it to what amounts to a rookie in the world of sports.
The Mets' rise this year ranks as one of the alltime thrills in the American tradition of rooting for the underdog, and the club's fine pitcher, Tom Seaver, is deserving of accolades for leading the Mets' rapid ascent to prominence.
But in the vast sports world, where so many fine athletes have toiled for more years and have received far more plaudits than Tom Seaver, it seems unjust that a novice hero has been selected over the countless athletes who are deserving of this honor each year.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Your most coveted accolade, the title of Sportsman of the Year, could not have been given to a worthier recipient. However, Mr. Leggett should most definitely have given more credit to the team, the Mets as an entity. Climbing from ninth place to World Champions was by no means a one-man effort, for if it had been they wouldn't have reached the top.
PRISCILLA ALDEN KONECKY
New York City
I do not believe in your selection for Sportsman of the Year. You're right in saying that Tom Seaver had a great year, but I think that there are other athletes more qualified for this honor.
They are Rod Laver, the greatest living tennis player, and Pelé, the fantastic soccer player who scored the 1,000th goal of his career.