61* HOME RUNS
In 23 years of reading SI, I have never seen a story that was more deserved than the one on Roger Maris (The Record Almost Broke Him, June 20). Wherever you are, Roger, all true baseball fans will forever love you for what you did, for your determination and, most of all, for your class.
Rick Telander's article was the story I've been waiting to read since Roger left baseball in 1968.
If Maris must live with an asterisk next to his 61 home runs, then Henry Aaron should also endure one next to his 715th home run. He had many more at bats than the Babe.
PHILIP H. BROOKS
Would the Babe have voted "nay" to Roger Maris being admitted to the Hall of Fame?
July 3, 1977
Maris was a quality baseball player in every respect. During his years with the Yankees he was perhaps the best rightfielder in baseball. He could do it all; his range and arm were unexcelled.
Unfortunately, because of a bad press, this deserving athlete will remain outside the Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, he ranks among the alltime greats of baseball.
Taking nothing away from Maris' 1968 Cardinals, a great ball club, I have to say that as a devoted Detroit Tiger fan I cringed when I read Telander's reference to "the 1968 World Champion Cardinals." The Tigers defeated the Cardinals in seven games that year, Mickey Lolich winning three of them.
•The Cardinals won the Series in 1967, beating the Red Sox in seven games.—ED.
Who but SPORTS ILLUSTRATED could have planned it better? Not only a great article on Roger Maris, but also the picture of his historic swing and home run on pages 60 & 61!
If anything ever convinces Roger that we want him back for Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium, it will be your story. I have been to two such days in recent years and have no special desire to return for another in the near future. I have seen the tremendous and deserved ovations for Mantle and DiMaggio. But Maris deserves one, too. After all, his is still the greatest feat most present-day baseball fans have ever witnessed.
I'll make you a deal, Rog. If you return, so will I.
EARLE J. TUFFORD
With Seaver and Kingman traded (Tom Terrific Arms the Red Arsenal, June 27), Shea Stadium ought to be renamed Grant's Tomb.
The best interests of baseball certainly weren't served by these trades. So where is Commissioner Bowie Kuhn now that N.Y. Mets' fans need him?
NORMAN ELLIOT KENT
Coral Springs, Fla.
Thank you for finally recognizing the Twins as a contender (Minny Gets the Max from a Minimum, June 20). The Twins' incredible hitting machine will make for a very exciting World Series this year.
Something sounds familiar. Last year, didn't everybody say that Cincinnati, too, had an explosive offense but no pitching?
You say, "Catcher Butch Wynegar, 1976 Rookie of the Year, found himself playing third base." I'd like to remind you that Detroit's Mark (the Bird) Fidrych was 1976 Rookie of the Year.
The Twins' attendance is not as bad as it seems. As of June 16, the Twins were only 23,240 behind their record-setting 1967 pace of 1,483,547. As for the team: Rod Carew will get his Silver Bat, Larry Hisle will get his MVP and Minnesota will be No. 1 at last come October.
TOM VORACEK JR.
The Twins in the World Series? Only if they end the season today. Contrary to Larry Keith's appraisal, Minnesota will need a lot more than "one topflight starter" to get into the playoffs. With just the weaknesses he points out (starting pitching and defense), the Twins will be lucky to be within shouting distance of third place come September. There are still 100 games to play, plenty of time for Kansas City and California to tune their engines for an exciting two-team race in the AL West. For all his noble but archaic logic, Calvin Griffith will have to be content once more to watch somebody else's team play the Dodgers. And after Carew, Hisle and Bostock find contentment and fatter wallets with more generous and realistic owners, he'll be lucky to find nine quality players to field next year.
Thank you for the way you handled the Belmont (He Brought Down the House, June 20). It was pleasant just reading the behind-the-scenes story of the race and not having someone talking through his hat about how great Seattle Slew is. My racing days only go back half a dozen years, but I have watched horses like Secretariat, Forego, and Sham at New York tracks—all of whom would put this horse in their back pocket if they were to meet. After seeing the subpar crop of horses this year, I rated the Belmont Stakes as "just another horse race."
Elmwood Park, N.J.
The two-page picture of the Belmont tells it all. Seattle Slew's head is up, his ears cocked and he has the look of eagles in his eyes. He is looking down the stretch in joyous triumph, obviously galloping well within himself. He looks as if he hopes the race will go all the way around again. The others are straining, heads down, ears back and eyes squinting. They are hoping it will be over soon and those jokers on their backs will quit pushing them to run.
BOLT OF THUNDER
Re: Did Old Tom Throw That Club? (June 20). Well, if he didn't, his position at the top of the backswing is most unorthodox.
Presuming that he did let one fly, a man of his experience should be ashamed of the terrible form shown in the picture. His stance is far too wide for a good turn and maximum power. The backswing is very flat and. coupled with his unacceptable hand position, will undoubtedly lead to a duck hook and a splash near the shore instead of the satisfying center-of-the-lake effect.
Finally, Tommy has committed two errors usually reserved for dubs and beginners. Although the downswing has not yet begun, he obviously has not "waited at the top," as his weight transfer to the left side is already completed. Also, he has looked up.
WALTER A. PEEK
New Rochelle, N.Y.
In Charles Gillespie's article about Al Geiberger's remarkable 59 at Colonial in Memphis (It Was a Day Unlike Any Other Day, June 20), he mentions that the course is no easy one, having been listed in Coif Digest's Best 100 Courses in the United States in 1975. If he had read a bit further in that same issue (November 1975), he would have come across a story about a team at a Wednesday pro-am that set what is regarded as the alltime record-low pro-am score. They shot a 50 the day before the Tournament Players Championship, held that year at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. The pro who captained that team was a fellow by the name of Al Geiberger.
So Geiberger apparently holds both the individual and team record lows. On the day his team shot 50, he equaled the individual course record of 63. He went on to win the tournament with a 10-under-par score of 270, setting a 72-hole tournament record at Colonial.
Setting records is, obviously, nothing new to Geiberger, particularly at golf courses named Colonial.
STANLEY P. JOHNSTON
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