As a Houston fan, I have been insulted! It took the Oilers years before they were granted an SI cover.
Congratulations to Barry McDermott on the fine article on Joe O'Brien (True Grit Was Behind the Whip, Aug. 23). O'Brien has the discipline and determination to be successful in any field of human endeavor.
An addendum to the story is that he drove two sub-two-minute miles at Scioto Downs that same evening, including Nero's 1:56[4/5] track record for 4-year-old pacers, then was taken by ambulance to a hospital for X rays and treatment of his injuries.
ALBERT A. GABEL, D.V.M.
Expanding baseball's playoff system, as suggested by reader Joe Bosso (Aug. 30), would be the worst thing that ever happened to the game. Baseball has always maintained character and integrity in its major league playoff structure, which sets it apart from and, I think, above the other big-league sports.
Hope springs eternal, and the pennants are never really won until September anyway. Where is the excitement in watching two or more also-rans "fighting it out" for second place and a chance to spring an upset in the playoffs with a hot pitcher or two? Baseball rewards excellence over an entire season, making the long schedule meaningful.
RICHARD F. TEETSEL
MULES AND BURROS
My congratulations to Robert Cantwell on his fine article (These Mules Are Not Jackasses, Aug. 16). Mules are very interesting and peculiar animals. I must admit, though, that I was disappointed when reading about Mule Days in Bishop, Calif. to find no mention of the Mule Days we have celebrated annually in Benson, N.C. for quite some time. They are famous in this part of the country. Our celebration, complete with a grand parade of horses and mules, rodeos, mule-pulling contests and a Miss Mule Days pageant, is exciting and enjoyable for all ages. I only hope if you ever write another story on mules you'll think about Benson. Our next Mule Days celebration begins on Sept. 23.
I am disappointed that you did not cover the 28th annual World's Championship Pack Burro Race, which I witnessed on July 25 at Fairplay, Colo. The race, called the most grueling in the world by participants, covers a 25-mile course at elevations above 12,000 feet. Moreover, rules call for participants to walk, run or carry their burros—but not ride.
A 10-foot lead rope is the contestant's only way of increasing the progress of his animal. In addition, burros are equipped with a regulation pack saddle and 25 pounds of weight, including such oldtime prospector's equipment as gold pan, pick and shovel.
Joe Glavinick of Leadville, Colo. won for the sixth time and the second time in succession. He and his burro Ringo had a winning time of four hours, 29 minutes and 59.5 seconds.
STEVE KELLY'S FATE
William Oscar Johnson wrote a moving article about Stephen P. Kelly and his attempt to make the Olympic team ( Bronx Boy Makes Good, July 5). I know that the U.S. didn't win medals in any kayak races, but what happened to Steve? It's like not knowing the end of a serial.