MR. NICE GUY
Steve Wulf's article on Dale Murphy ( Murphy's Law Is Nice Guys Finish First, July 4) is a grand slam! Dale Murphy is someone we can all be proud of whether we happen to be baseball fans or not. He is a bona fide superstar both on and off the field. Sure would be nice if his style became the rule rather than the exception.
Far too many sports articles are devoted to the personal problems and controversy surrounding the supposedly colorful spoiled brats of big-time athletics. Thank you, Mr. Wulf, for a refreshing story about a fine young man.
When so many sports figures make the news because they are alcoholics or drug addicts or have been charged with a crime, it is refreshing to read about a person with good beliefs and values. Children have always looked up to sports heroes and Dale Murphy gives them good reason to.
Toms River, N.J.
Few athletes combine so much athletic talent with as much modesty, humility and class as does Dale Murphy. Because he defines what a sportsman should properly be, he richly deserves to be SI's Sportsman of the Year.
CHARLES M. COLLINS
In the picture of Murphy's wife, Nancy, and their children, I noted that their son, Travis, had both of his arms in casts. I was wondering what happened.
West Jefferson, Ohio
?Two-year-old Travis had had corrective surgery on both thumbs, and with children of that age, it is normal procedure to enclose the entire arm in a cast. Travis' casts were removed last week.—ED.
An example of Murphy's sportsmanship: One time a boy of about seven managed to elude security officers and get to the corner of the Braves dugout between innings. The kid shouted to Murphy, and Murphy went over and signed an autograph for him. Between innings! In Murphy, the SI cover jinx has met its match.
KELLY R. BURKE
I was intrigued by the suggestion that Murphy might win the MVP two years in a row. First, how can his selection last year be justified? In 1982 Murphy hit .281 with 36 HRs and 109 RBIs. However, he hit .310 at home and only .252 on the road. He had only 12 homers on the road, but 24 at home. Too bad not everybody can play in a park like Atlanta- Fulton County Stadium; it increases home run production by 60% and batting average by 25 to 35 points.
Then there's this year. The season is only half over, but right now you'd have trouble convincing me that Murphy [.324 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs as of last Sunday] is having a better year than Montreal's Andre Dawson [.323, 17 and 66].
TH NM GM
Tony LaRussa's use of vowel-less abbreviations (INSIDE PITCH, June 27) didn't surprise me. Any note-taking student knows the value of shortening words. What did surprise me is that LaRussa lists two shortstops for Oakland, Almon and Phillips, and only two outfielders, Henderson and Murphy.