Picking Mark McGwire for Sportsman of the Year was a tap-in. Picking them both was inspired.
—JOHN A. SULLIVAN III, Caldwell, N.J.
Toga, Toga, Toga
Kudos for your selection of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as Sportsmen of the Year (Big Swingers, Dec. 21). They are role models for our youth and rekindled the spirit of baseball.
AMY CHAPIN, Gwinn, Mich.
What's the sense of splitting the Sportsman of the Year award? From spring training until the last day of the season, McGwire set the pace. Big Mac was the one who broke Roger Maris's home run record and, after that, had to face the persistent questions about whether he would hit 70. Granted, Sosa led the Chicago Cubs to the playoffs and had a wonderful season, but it was McGwire who put up with the pressure and the endless questions. I'm sure McGwire has no qualms about sharing the award, but it should be his alone for his accomplishments as well as for his even-tempered dealings with the media.
STEVEN SQUIERS, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
I find it sad you chose a Sportsman of the Year whose performance was enhanced by a drug. Who knows what Sosa could have done if he had used a performance-enhancing substance? I guess we have entered the age when cheating is O.K., even heroic, as long as it isn't illegal.
GREG POIRIER, Los Angeles
Walter Iooss Jr. knocked the ball out of the park with the cover photo of McGwire and Sosa. Thanks for capturing a year like few others in American sports.
CINDY TOCHTERMAN, Andrews, Texas
Your cover picture of McGwire and Sosa dressed for a collegiate toga party is appalling. They are baseball players, for god's sake! Dress them like baseball players, not like extras from Ben Hur.
GEORGE W. LEWIS, Cayce, S.C.
What's next, a cover photo of Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway as the Lone Ranger?
JAMES D. HENDRICKS, Ramsey, N.J.
Thank you for the articles on Ron Vaughn and Héctor Peguero, the teacher-mentors of McGwire and Sosa (Stroke of Genius and Heaven and Hell, Dec. 21). Many of my fellow teachers and coaches and I identify with the significant role these men played in the making of Mark and Sammy. The reward for our work is the success of our pupil-athletes. To be recognized for our efforts by an athlete at the time of his greatest success is coaching nirvana.
RAY PATENAUDE, Marathon, N.Y.
I was delighted to see that John Elway has "stayed unpretentious" despite his fame and financial success (It's About Time, Dec. 21). If my memory is correct, this is the same unpretentious Elway who came out of college refusing to sign with the Baltimore Colts. This is the same modest Elway who made a mockery out of the NFL draft. I respect him for what he has accomplished, but I still remember the egotistical kid who defied the system.
TONY MILLER, Spring Grove, Pa.
Great Pair of Hands
In his INSIDE THE NFL (Dec. 21) column, Peter King indicated that Marshall Faulk "had a good shot at joining former 49er Roger Craig as only the second back to win a receiving title." As I recall, another Colts running back, Lydell Mitchell, led the NFL with 72 receptions in 1974.
GREG TRAVIS, Boone, N.C.