Backtalk: Seattle Times letters to the sports editor for the week.

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Ken Griffey Jr.

Embodiment of baseball grace

Why did Ken Griffey Jr. fail to obtain 100 percent of the Baseball Hall of Fame vote? The most polite explanation is that those voters are curmudgeons, folks who knew Griffey would be elected on the first ballot regardless, who could not abide a universal acclimation of one of baseball’s greats. Shameful.

Griffey was the perfect embodiment of grace by refusing to engage in it, focusing with utmost class on being happy to be elected.

John Christy, Anacortes

Throw The Kid some strikes

In 1986, I got a job with the Mariners as a batting-practice pitcher that lasted until the All-Star break in 1988. Fast-forward to June 8, 1987. Coach Phil Roof came to me and told me to pitch to a kid named Ken Griffey Jr. He said to expect a lot of media around but just to throw him strikes.

The rest is history! I do remember hearing several balls rattle around the empty bleachers.

Alan Hardin, Pope Valley, Calif.

Another side of Junior

Griffey did it right, and with a swagger that didn’t always make everyone happy. His numbers speak for themselves, and his off-field work supporting Make a Wish and the Children’s hospitals is a gift that keeps on giving.

The world would be a better place if we could all find the time that Ken Griffey Jr. has to help other folks.

Jeff Summers, Snohomish

Difference between Junior, A-Rod

Consider this, Mariners fans: Griffey walked out twice on the M’s and is considered a favorite son.

Alex Rodriguez simply took a pay raise from another employer and is reviled in Seattle more than David Stern.

Derald Porter, Kirkland


Don’t make me miss church

I wish the NFL understood that some fans do still value going to or serving in church on Sunday mornings.

Why is the only West Coast team in the playoffs (and the only team still alive that could have a potential time conflict with Sunday morning church) scheduled for a 10 a.m. game? It’s maddening.

Kevin Axelson, Maple Valley

Bandwagon fans need not cheer

Richard Sherman said fans had given up on them when the Seahawks were 2-4. Not true. I believe bandwagon fans, led by the media, gave up on them.

When Seattle was 2-4, I bet six different bandwagon fans who had given up on the Seahawks that they would make the playoffs. When I won, I collected my bets and told them to not ever root for the Seahawks again because they just were not real fans.

Jim Raab, Olympia


Black Monday really was white

Why is the day after the NFL regular season ends called Black Monday? All the coaches fired that day are white. In a league made up of 70 percent black athletes only about 15 percent of its coaches are black (4 of 32: Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Todd Bowles and Jim Caldwell). Two of those coaches (Marvin Lewis and Mike Tomlin) are taking their teams to the playoffs, and a third (Todd Boles) barely missed. it.

I hope NFL teams do the right thing and fill at least half of the head-coaching vacancies with black coaches. They are out there. I am not suggesting hiring them for the sake of hiring black coaches. The perception that affirmative action somehow lowers the standards for candidates of color is a myth. Why is the same standard not applied when under-qualified white candidates are hired?

Chris Nishiwaki, Mercer Island

John Johnson

The lore of JJ’s jumper

Thanks for the story after John Johnson’s death. I was a Sonics fan in the 1970s and ‘80s. Great teams need steady guys like him.

I still play pickup ball, and whenever somebody makes a jumper that barely clears the rim you’ll hear “JJ”, even from guys who weren’t even around until the ‘80s. It’s part of his lore.

Gene Oliver, Seattle

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