St. John states that Ruth broke his own single-season home run record twice. Actually, Ruth topped his own record three times. He broke the existing record in 1919 when he hit 29 for the Red Sox. He broke that in 1920 with 54 home runs at the Polo Grounds for the Yankees, and he hit 59 the following year in the same park. In 1927, he hit 60 to break his record for the third time.

It's true, as St. John states, that Roger Maris's record of 61 stood for 37 years, three years longer than Ruth's record. However, Ruth did hold the record consecutively from 1919 to 1961--five years longer than Maris--while he continued to surpass his own record.

Regardless of records, Ruth was so far ahead of his contemporaries that it's absurd to compare him with today's sluggers.

Tom Mctigue
Endwell, New York

League Of His Own

Thanks to Allen St. John ["Swinging Sixties"] for mentioning Josh Gibson, the Negro Leagues player who hit 84 homers in 1936. Many people are unaware that some of the greatest ballplayers, including Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, started in the Negro Leagues.

James Madison
Derby, Kansas

Canned D'amatos

The Republicans, instead of fulfilling the business of government, are engaged in a coup d'etat. We can have fewer Republican senators around to cast possible impeachment votes by canning politicians like Al D'Amato. Vote Democratic this year. Don't allow the Republican coup. It is a far worse crime than Clinton's indiscretions.

Ricki Lulov

Season's Greetings

Unlike the people who drone on about how tired they are of the coverage of the Clinton scandal, Christmas has come early for me. I get to see Clinton looking sleazy and pathetic, and his supporters debasing themselves trying to defend him. It's the greatest revenge to see your enemies make themselves look ridiculous.

Patrick Grant
Rocky Point, New York

Kurosawa Lite

Re J. Hoberman's September 22 article about the late Akira Kurosawa: Kurosawa deserved a little more column space in a publication like The Village Voice, which, after all, nearly created modern American film criticism.

To discuss Kurosawa without mentioning films he made after 1962 is unfair to film history. Even a short article might mention that the director made some of his boldest and most controversial films at a time when many other filmmakers would have rested on their laurels. Kurosawa's command of color, as displayed first in Do Des-Kaden, and stunningly showcased in Dersu Uzala, Kagemusha, and Dreams, also merits some mention. Sadly, this was a lightweight eulogy to the greatest postwar heavyweight.

Brady Fowler
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Street Smarts

Guy Trebay's "The Hate Report" [September 29] was disturbing as well as enlightening. What will it take for New Yorkers to disabuse themselves of the notion that they are, in the words of city comptroller Alan Hevesi, living in "the most tolerant city in the world"? The fact is that bias crime is as accepted in New York City as it is in far less cosmopolitan cities.

Another question prompted by Trebay's article is, when will New Yorkers stop turning to City Hall for answers? While petitioning the mayor and the police is one avenue of response, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities must realize that other alternatives are available.

Community patrols are another answer. Certainly, such groups have been organized and achieved results here as well as other cities. When I lived in Seattle in the early '90s, an organization called Q Patrol was formed in response to a rising awareness of hate crimes that weren't being satisfactorily addressed by the police or the mayor. They patrolled the streets of Capitol Hill, the largely gay neighborhood, wearing T-shirts that read "Queers Bash Back." This seemed to be an effective deterrent to hate crimes, and people felt safer having them on the streets. If nothing else, they raised visibility of the queer community's refusal to accept violence as the cost of being out.

Sometimes in a city as big as New York, it's hard to remember that the streets belong to us, the city's inhabitants, and we have as much of a right to safe streets as do the tourists flocking to the new Times Square.

Andrew Horwitz

Court Coverage

Allen St. John's U.S. Open coverage ["Closing the Open," September 22] offered some good observations--the most stellar being that CBS should "give Super Saturday a rest" and allow tennis coverage by a "network that's interested in broadcasting tennis rather than providing a digestif to the one o'clock NFL game."

However, I take issue with St. John's analysis of the Patrick Rafter/Pete Sampras semifinal. I agree that if Sampras had not pulled up lame, he would've won the match, but characterizing Rafter's win as "hollow" strikes me as ignorant. Suggesting that the lame Sampras "wouldn't have lasted two games against Serena Williams," even though Sampras "hung on for 90 minutes against Rafter," is the kind of hyperbole that's frustrating to read.

Consider the match between Sampras and Alex Corretja a few years ago, and you will realize that Sampras is capable of playing with an injury and that it is difficult to close out a match when one is aware of his opponent's injury. Rafter still had to play well to win, and he easily defended his title in the finals, something that I think St. John should have alluded to, especially since commentator John McEnroe dubbed Rafter a one-slam wonder.

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