In his book Summer of '49, David Halberstam wrote "In an age where, because of television, fame was regularly confused with accomplishment, and where many of the society's new instant celebrities seemed cut from plastic, Ted Williams stood in sharp contrast." The same can be said of Derek Jeter.
Gary Mitrisin, South Euclid, Ohio
Although I hate the Yankees, you couldn't have picked a better Sportsman of the Year than Derek Jeter (Dec. 7). He is the epitome of what a pro athlete should be, and his parents should be proud of the man he is. I know my son will probably never be a major league ballplayer. However, whatever career my son chooses, I hope he does his job with the same class, drive and humility as Jeter.
Rick Guzak, Dublin, Ohio
Red Sox fans hate Teixeira, Joba and A-Rod. Red Sox fans respect Jeter.
Sam Bachelder, Wenham, Mass.
Three years ago my cousin scored special passes that allowed us and our two children to stand outside the Yankees' locker room before a game. Jeter stopped, chatted and posed for a picture with my nine-year-old son, Alex. Then, as he headed for the locker room, Jeter turned to my boy and said, "Here, kid, hold this." It was his bat from batting practice, which he left with Alex and which to this day sits in a case by his bed. As Billy Beane said in your story, "It's not an act." Jeter is classy and graceful even when the spotlight isn't on him.
Jon Hilsenrath, Potomac, Md.
Jimmie Johnson should have been named Sportsman of the Year. He and Jeter are solid citizens and both support charitable causes, but Johnson's winning an unprecedented fourth straight NASCAR title was the most significant sports achievement of 2009.
Dick Kavanaugh, Pawleys Island, S.C.