To the editor:

I enjoyed the excerpts of Dick Ciccone’s book on Mike Royko and look forward to reading the rest of it, once I get through all the column compilations strung together by folks who want to make sure we all know they stayed up late once or twice with “the Big.”

But as a defrocked Tribune reporter, I had to smile at Ciccone’s suggestion in Michael Miner’s column [June 22] that all concerned would have been better off had Royko retired “in 1992 or something.” Maybe. But at his peevish worst, Royko knew who he was and what he was doing. Unlike the editors who tut-tutted over his column from the decaffeinated splendor of the editorial conference room, Royko didn’t succumb to a crisis of faith in journalism.

Ciccone is right when he says Royko didn’t have many friends at the Tribune, though I don’t think that kept the columnist up nights. But retirement? I’d wager that a poll of those in the Tribune Tower circa 1992 would reveal that in a roster of good-idea editorial retirements, Royko’s name would have been far down the list.

Steve Daley

Washington, D.C.