A perfect selection for Sportsman of the Year (Dec. 19-26). Aside from his exquisite riding ability, Steve Cauthen has shown perseverance and a sturdy character under immense pressure. Being a champion jockey takes a lot of courage, coordination, strength and timing. Race riding is not all glory, fame and fortune. To the jockeys who make it, I say more power to them. Young, gutsy Cauthen deserves to make it.
Concerning your tribute to Steve Cauthen, please convey my appreciation for this outstanding article to its author, Frank Deford. I was moved both by the achievements of this young rider and by the understanding of Deford. You have done a great service to Cauthen and to your readers.
MRS. JOHN C. THORNTON JR.
Terre Haute, Ind.
A great choice.
JOHN V. LYNN
Kings Park, N.Y.
You've gotta be kidding. Steve Cauthen Sportsman of the Year? A jockey? Never! What's this world coming to? The Chicago Bears make the NFL playoffs, Fran Tarkenton gets hurt. Tampa Bay wins.... What will 1978 bring?
Steve Cauthen? Neigh!
To paraphrase Dan Jenkins' comment on the Dolphins' A. J. Duhe in the same issue, if a soccer player named Pel� is not Sportsman of the Year, there is no such award. Granted, Steve Cauthen's athletic achievements are great and unprecedented, but there is more to being a sportsman. Pel�'s actions on the field are a model for all budding soccer players—and for all athletes in general. He exhibits teamwork and enthusiasm as few athletes do, or care to. Off the field he transcends sport. Pel� is a humanitarian, generous with his time and love.
There will always be outstanding athletes with exceptional seasons, but how many of these athletes will shape the whole course of their sport? What will Steve Cauthen do besides ride more winners? The saddest part is that while Pel� has been the greatest player in the history of the world's most popular sport, he has never been honored by your magazine as Sportsman of the Year. And now that he has retired, he never will be.
New York City
It's been a terrific year in sports—until now. Reggie Jackson is the true Sportsman.
How can Reggie Jackson be a runner-up? I will agree that Reggie was great in the sixth game of the World Series but, after all, SI, this is Sportsman of the Year, not Sportsman of the Day.
Fantastic! Frank Deford's story A Christmas Gift for Fort Zack (Dec. 19-26) is an enlightening portrayal of the American athlete and of the growth of human sympathy and love. Let me commend SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for transcending the normal realm of sports reporting and daring to play Santa Claus.