COSTLY FREE AGENT
No player is a better example of today's artificial superstar than SI cover figure Reggie Jackson (He's Free at Last, Aug. 30). Not that Jackson isn't a good ballplayer—he is just that. But for anyone to rate him as a giant of the game, a man deserving of the enormous contract he has his eye on, is absurd and regrettable. One recalls his excessive strikeouts and his .265 lifetime batting average and winces at the notion of his being classed with legitimate superstars such as Stan Musial, Henry Aaron or Willie Mays.
Jackson admits that he will soon be an "overpaid athlete" (perhaps confusing the future with the present), but he rationalizes that he is "just taking advantage of the rules. No, he is doing more than that. He is taking advantage of us as well, or he will be when inflated ticket prices follow inflated salaries. Rather than sentimentalize about giving "a little back to the town where I play," Jackson and other such opportunists might do a more tangible service by simply asking for salaries commensurate with their talents.
Port Arthur, Texas
Reggie Jackson said it all. Not only is he overpaid, but so are more than half of the athletes in pro sports.
Baltimore may not be Reggie Jackson's kind of town, but then Reggie Jackson isn't Baltimore's kind of superstar, e.g., Johnny Unitas and the Robinsons, Frank and Brooks. Sport today isn't what it used to be.
Another masterpiece by Ron Fimrite! His article on Reggie Jackson was great in every detail. The Oriole front office had better get on the stick and give Reggie the multiyear contract he deserves. The Orioles need Reggie in the lineup, not just this year but for another four or five years.
Ellicott City, Md.
I was happy to see that such a fine modest gentleman as Dick Siderowf (A Plain Man's Fancy, Aug. 30) got some recognition. His kind of class is missing in today's world of money-hungry athletes.
I had the pleasure of going through basic training with Siderowf at Fort Dix, N.J. in 1959. Many of the high-ranking officers on the post gave Dick opportunities to get out of his duties as a trainee and play a quick 18 holes. Never did he take advantage of this situation. Sport needs more men like Siderowf. Business does, too!
After Dick Siderowf won his second British Amateur championship, I felt that he was denied the acclaim due him. Thank you for featuring this unsung champion. I have never met Dick, but I have always admired him.
FOR CHRIS' SAKE
Thank you for your fine article on lovely Chris Evert (Say Hello to the Girl Next Door, Aug. 30). As both a player and a fan, I find it comforting to know that beneath all that talent and success there remains a warm, perceptive, intelligent human being.
Why do people root against athletes who are No. 1? Jealousy? Chris Evert is unique, someone who comes along only once in a great while. And who said she isn't beautiful? Look at your picture!
East Canton, Ohio