Although Bryce Harper's potential is exciting, I can't help but feel concern about his being robbed of his youth. Even LeBron got to finish high school. Adulthood will come soon enough for Bryce, and it will last much longer than his shortened childhood.
I have no doubt Bryce Harper may be the greatest prospect of his generation (Baseball's LeBron, June 8), but your story left this Little League coach with an empty feeling. Nowhere was there mention of Harper's relationship with his Las Vegas High teammates; in fact, there was very little in the article that led one to believe he has ever experienced the joy of being a member of a team. His Wildcats may have won a game by a score of 31--1 this season, but they finished a pedestrian 27--12 and didn't make it to the state tournament. I would argue that Harper has work left to do at the high school level.
Consider this passage: "He hits for power to all fields.... He's an instinctive defender with a phenomenal arm and a smooth, quick stride that helps him cover the alleys with ease.... 'Can you imagine someone so good at so much that he could be a lefthander throwing 96 miles per hour—and not be wanted as a pitcher? ... He's better at this game than anyone else I've seen in high school or college.'" It comes not from your Harper cover story but from the SI VAULT—specifically, your May 17, 1999, story on a young kid named Josh Hamilton who made it big but not without some severe impediments along the way. A cautionary tale for Harper, perhaps?
I stopped reading Tom Verducci's story on Harper when I reached the words "Scott Boras." Why does a kid who wears a Bible citation on his wrist tape have as an adviser the devil incarnate of MLB? One word: money.
I have three sons, all of whom are baseball players. I showed them the picture of Mark Miller, pitcher for the College of Wooster, leaving the field after losing the NCAA Division III championship game to the University of St. Thomas (LEADING OFF, June 8). We were all struck by the dignity Miller displayed while walking off the field, glove in hand and head held high. While St. Thomas may be champion, Mark was a winner too.
Rock the Vote
Dan Patrick suggests using All-Star fan voting for Manny Ramirez as a referendum on how much people care about performance-enhancing drugs (JUST MY TYPE, June 8). What we need is a referendum on fan voting itself. For example, who needs another Internet campaign on behalf of some local second-rate player? Give the selection of All-Star starters to the players and the press. That way real fans will get real All-Stars.
Pujols & Co. Criteria
In noting that Albert Pujols joined an exclusive group of players who had .330 career batting averages at the time they hit their 300th home runs (INSIDE BASEBALL, June 8), you omitted these Hall of Famers: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth and Al Simmons.