BASEBALL ISSUE: SALAAM FROM A FAN
Salaams! Your special baseball issue (SI, April 15) is a pure gem, and the 32-page scouting report by your team of baseball writers and reporters is a tremendous boon to this fan, who has the proper enthusiasm but a slightly waning ability to retain the statistics and figures. Encouraged by Mr. Creamer's article (A Salute to the Fan), I plan to join the ladies on the bench next spring in Sarasota, clutching this special issue for comparison's sake—if it holds together that long.
BASEBALL ISSUE: PERFECTION
All the stories, photos and features were excellent.
ROBERT J. MOSS
BASEBALL ISSUE: FACTS
Enjoyed the new statistics and scouting reports most.
BASEBALL ISSUE: ADVICE
Now that you have pointed out the various shortcomings and strong points of every park, something can be done to improve them.
J. F. MILLER
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 28, 1957
BASEBALL ISSUE: TREASURE
The color picture of Babe Ruth is a treasure.
BASEBALL ISSUE: FUN AND GAMES
Unquestionably, Ogden Nash is a great poet of the present time, but his Decline and Fall of a Roman Umpire will never, in my book especially, be listed as great.
That uncouth spectator winning over the umpire didn't seem fair to me.... In demoting Umpire Tony Caesar, Nash gave me the impression that the real bums among spectators are untouchable, while the umpires take the consequences.
By way of rebuttal, I offer this:
The Decline and Crash of Ogden Nash
Although generally of calm, judicial demeanor I am writing this
Because frankly I am prejudice.
Possibly Ogden Nash will not agree,
But there should not be poets with as much saintly forbearance as he.
I think I speak for all fair-minded fans when I say that shipping this much-maligned umpire off to a minor league farm
Did baseball (and poetry) a great deal of harm.
And to resolve the conflict in favor of that larcenous spectator of ill repute,
To put it mildly, wasn't very cute.
Wind Gap, Pa.
•For additional evidence that an umpire's lot is not a happy one, see page 20.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: HATS OFF!
My hat is off to James Murray for finally putting into print (Fame Is for Winners) what the real baseball fan has known for years. Showboats like Cobb, Williams et al. never helped a team. The Hall of Fame should be reserved strictly for team accomplishment, not individual feats....
DR. MILTON H. ELZUFON, Mayor
BASEBALL ISSUE: IF I WERE TED
Cobb and Waner not in the Hall of Fame? Ridiculous! As for Williams—well, if I were Ted the Great, I'd spit right in Mr. Murray's eye.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
BASEBALL ISSUE: SURVIVAL
Any game that can survive the Black Soxes can survive the Murrays.
BASEBALL ISSUE: ABNORMAL PRESSURE
After reading Murray, I found my blood pressure higher than normal.
BASEBALL ISSUE: PRECEDENT-BREAKER
This is the first time I have ever gone out of my way to criticize any article but I do feel Murray's piece is probably one of the worst articles I have ever read....
BASEBALL ISSUE: THROUGH THE HAT
James Murray is talking through his well-groomed Homburg in Fame Is for Winners. Especially so on Cobb. As specious a bit of thinking as I've read....
BASEBALL ISSUE: TRAVESTY
James Murray's article on phony Hall of Famers is the biggest travesty of baseball reporting I have ever read and should be challenged by every informed baseball fan in the country.
By Mr. Murray's interpretation we would pull such greats as Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie out of the Hall of Fame because they did not play for winners. These players only represent seven of the first 12 voted into Cooperstown and the heart of baseball's alltime team. Instead we will substitute Spud Chandler, Wally Pipp, Arthur Nehf, Ernie Bonham, Fred Fitzsimmons, Red Rolfe and Gus Mancuso. After all, they played for Mr. Murray's winners. Yessir, it means that we will close the door to Robin Roberts, Bob Feller and Ted Williams, yet select Gil Hodges, Joe Page and Clem Labine, since they played for well-heeled winners.
MERL L. DEMOLL
•Murray's distinction (hereinafter to be known as "Murray's Law") between the star who seemingly plays for his own glory and the superplayer whose unrelenting determination to win fires his team to success is obviously not the only yardstick in measuring a player's greatness in or out of the Hall of Fame. For instance, it is a yardstick that generally does not apply to pitchers, like Walter Johnson, Old Pete Alexander, Dizzy Dean, Cy Young and Christy Mathewson, et al., who over a season work in relatively few games and then perform a lonely and highly individual mission.—ED.
BASEBALL ISSUE: FIRST TO MIND
The first person that comes to my mind is Stan Musial. Here is a ballplayer who can be considered one of the greatest of our time, yet, according to Mr. Murray's idea, Musial could not be considered Hall of Fame material.
Musial is as much a team player as any in the business, yet the St. Louis ball club has not been able to come up with a winning team since 1946....
•Not so. According to Murray's Law Stan Musial is, indeed, a superplayer with a reserved pedestal in the Hall of Fame. Musial, one of the most intense team players in modern baseball, led his Cardinals to four pennants and five second places over a nine-year stretch. He will undoubtedly make his club a pennant contender again this season with the help of such "catalytic" players as Wally Moon. Incidentally, Musial's yesteryear counterpart might well be George Sisler, about whom Murray said: "And let us not forget the great George Sisler, who...was able to hoist the sickly St. Louis Browns into pennant contention in the American League. That alone should be example enough of the value of the team man." Thus Murray's Law does recognize players who hoist their team "into pennant contention."—ED.