I still have the Jan. 3, 1955, issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which featured Bannister on the cover as the magazine's first Sportsman of the Year. It is one of my most prized possessions. I've always admired Bannister for being able to walk away from his successful career as a competitive miler and foregoing the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne to pursue a higher calling in the medical field. When you take into account that Bannister often had time only for meager workouts and practices because he was a full-time medical student, his accomplishments become even more astounding.
I want to thank Walter Iooss Jr. for the wonderful photo essay of NFL greats (Shooting History, July 4--11). During a Sunday Mass on a Super Bowl cruise in 1998, I noticed an extremely large man sitting in front of me. After the peace offering was made, the man turned around and shook my hand, and I immediately recognized him—it was Chuck Bednarik. His manner was serene, and his eyes were gentle, but the handshake spoke to the ferociousness of the game he had played: None of his fingers went in the same direction. Iooss's portrait of Bednarik captures his features brilliantly.
Phil Reynolds, Malta, N.Y.
In looking at your classic picture montage from the '60s and '70s, I was reminded of what a gritty sport football once was. I mean, is that really mud on the players' uniforms?
Terry Buck, Broomfield, Colo.
Name That Tune
There is nothing ultimate about your list of Top 40 sports tunes (The Ultimate Play List, July 4--11) without Kenny Chesney's The Boys of Fall, an ode to high school football. It was a No. 1 single last fall and should have definitely been in your top 10.