A Secret Life
I was 10 years old and living in Minnesota when the Twins won the 1987 World Series. Everybody loved Kirby Puckett (The Rise and Fall of Kirby Puckett, March 17). I got hooked on baseball because of him. I would stand in the driveway with a bat and pretend to be Kirby digging in, adjusting my jersey and tapping the plate. I pretended to be Kirby leaping up against the outfield fence, robbing a potential home run hit off Bert Blyleven or Frank Viola. As much as I pretended to be Puckett, it appears that Kirby did the most pretending.
JEREMY STIMPSON, Shoreview, Minn.
I was never really a fan of Puckett's. After reading Frank Deford's article, however, I can now say that I am a fan of Deford's.
MICHAEL J. DINGA, LaGrange, Ky.
As the director of corporate sales for the Twins from 1991 through '94, I saw a very different Puckett than the one in your story. During batting practice before home games we would invite onto the field a few select kids and their families. There were kids in wheelchairs, kids with cancer and others. Kirby, every game, took time out of his pregame warmups to greet the kids, sign autographs and pose for photographs.
CONRAD SMITH, Eagan, Minn.
I am incredibly disappointed in the cover story on Puckett. It does not send the message about sports that I'd want for our youth. His baseball skills belong in SI. His personal problems are better suited for the National Enquirer.
ALAN R. ZIMMERMANN, Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Magic Johnson's image hasn't been tarnished one bit by his announcing his philandering ways. He was forthcoming and genuine. Kirby needs to fess up to what he has done and apologize.
GARY MACKLIS, Powell, Ohio
I was offended that Minnesotans were portrayed as naive children who are now crying, Why, oh, why? It wasn't Minnesotans who gave Puckett his godlike status, it was the media.
LISA RICHARDSON Hastings, Minn.
Go Figure leads with the Columbia football and men's basketball teams' winless seasons in 2002-03, an Ivy League record for futility (SCORECARD, March 17). Why not accentuate the positive? This season's Penn Quakers did precisely the opposite, going undefeated in football (7-0) and men's basketball (14-0) in league play.
BRIAN WOLFMAN, Takoma Park, Md.
A Voice on the Radio
Thanks to Steve Rushin for his column on Pete Taylor (AIR AND SPACE, March 17). Rushin described what made Pete—every Iowan knew him on a first-name basis—who he was. More than three thousand people at a memorial the Sunday after his death showed me how much Iowans loved Pete, but Rushin showed me how important he was outside our borders.
STEVE YOUNG, Bondurant, Iowa
I am an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, however, for a few hours most Saturdays, I pull for the Iowa State Cyclones. A perfect Saturday in the fall was always when the Hawks played an early game and the 'Clones played later, and then I could listen to Pete. I always felt as though I was right there with him, experiencing the ups and downs on every play. This fall, when we Iowans are out in the fields, listening to our radios as we harvest and prepare the land for next spring, it definitely won't be the same.
D. FREUND, Lewis, Iowa
Degrees of Guilt
I was disappointed to find Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright lumped in with coaches accused of academic fraud (INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL, March 17). While players' misuse of a long-distance access code is clearly wrong and merits punishment, I believe the implied comparison to the more serious academic misconduct at other universities is unfair. The only traits Wright and Villanova have shown are honesty and integrity by coming forward and taking action as soon as this breach was uncovered.
CRISTIN KEOHAN, Watertown, Mass.