Jim Fregosi over Dusty Baker as National League Manager of the Year (INSIDE BASEBALL, Oct. 4)? You've got to be kidding. Sure, Fregosi deserves credit for leading the Phillies to the pennant, but all that business about his handling of Philadelphia's free spirits is overrated. Baker took the Giants, who were supposed to finish no higher than fourth in their division, and guided them to 103 wins.
Let's hope that the voters have better hindsight than your writer Tim Kurkjian.
In naming Yankee catcher Mike Stanley this year's "Biggest Surprise," you wrote that only four other catchers in American League history have also hit .300 or better with 25 home runs in the same season. I can find only three of them: Bill Dickey of the Yankees, who did it in 1937 and '38; Yogi Berra, also of the Yankees (1950); and Carlton Fisk of the Red Sox (1977). Who's the fourth?
? Baltimore's Chris Hoiles, who this year batted .310 with 29 homers.—ED.
Boomer and Gunnar
Gary Smith's feature on New York Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason and his son, Gunnar (We're Going to Beat This Thing, Oct. 4), was as on target as one of Boomer's touchdown passes. Cincinnati is a sadder place since Boomer's departure. Many fans here still love him, and we wish him and his family the best, in spite of that one fool radio caller back in 1987.
What a moving tribute to three generations of an American family. It is obvious that watching how his father, Norman, dealt with adversity helped Boomer learn how to deal with his own. Norman is a glowing example of how important it is to be a positive example to your children.
LAURA L. SCHIFFBAUER
After reading your story about Boomer and Gunnar Esiason, I've decided to root for the Jets. If their success will give Boomer a better forum for raising funds for cystic fibrosis, I can't think of a better reason to become a fan. As a father of two, I'd like to express my gratitude for their good health by helping Boomer beat this thing. Would you please print the address of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
?Donations may be sent to the NFL Quarterback Challenge for Cystic Fibrosis, P.O. Box 96055, Washington, D.C. 20090-6055.—ED.
The Ryder Cup
The U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup was one of the most exciting and absorbing sports events that I've ever seen, and I eagerly awaited SI's commentary. What I got was a weak piece by Rick Reilly focusing heavily on the missed three-foot putt by the unfortunate Italian, Costantino Rocca (Euro-Crash, Oct. 4).
Heroes and goats were plentiful at the Ryder Cup, but for some reason Reilly chose to vilify Rocca. Years from now the "chunky former plastics worker from Italy" can tell his grandchildren that he played in the Ryder Cup and almost beat one of America's top golfers. Reilly can tell his grandchildren that he trashed another human being.
JOHN N. PIONZIO