Thank you for Frank Deford's article on Jim Bouton (A Magnificent Obsession, July 3). It showed us a real baseball player, not a money-hungry free agent like Reggie Jackson or Rich Gossage. No other player would even try a comeback at 39. Good luck, Jim, you may be the only real baseball player left.
Bouton may never pitch in a major league game again, and he seems to acknowledge this, but his willingness to remain at the minor league level where he can play baseball is truly inspirational. We could use a few more men like Jim Bouton—who goes so far as to "pay to play"—to help balance out the situation that now exists in professional sports where many players demand six-and seven-digit salaries just to show up for the games.
I read Deford's article about 39-year-old Bouton during the lulls in one of our City Major League games in which a 46-year-old pitcher who led the local team to the national AABC title in 1953 made his first appearance of the season. He pitched 4‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings, gave up two hits, one earned run and finished off by striking out the final batter, who, like most of the rest, hadn't even been born when that title was won.
Maybe the Mariners ought to give him a chance.
JOHN JAY WILHEIM
Battle Creek, Mich.
July 16, 1978
MONSTERS OF FENWAY
Right you are about the Red Sox (Suddenly They're up in Arms in Boston, July 3). They have been good since 1970, never falling below .500, but this is undoubtedly their best year of the decade. These Sox can compare with the teams of Foxx and Williams. Don't be surprised if they wind up as the 1978 world champs.
Larry Keith gives some cogent reasons why the Red Sox are so far ahead in the American League East. The Sox don't have the flamboyant Reggie Jackson, but they have the most awesome hitter in baseball in Jim Rice. He doesn't have a candy bar named after him, but then again he's not hitting .268 with 13 home runs like Jackson.
Before George Steinbrenner goes broke on the Yankee payroll, he can assure himself of a pennant winner this year if he buys the Red Sox.
JOHN BARKS JR.
BETTER THAN THE BEST?
Larry Keith says Garry Maddox, a lifetime .296 hitter with three Gold Gloves, is the best centerfielder in baseball (He's in Love with His Clove, July 3). Mr. Keith, I'd like to introduce you to Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox, a lifetime .305 hitter with one Gold Glove. Lynn was Rookie of the Year in 1975 and American League MVP the same year. Last season, after a serious injury, Lynn batted only .260, but he had 18 home runs and 76 runs batted in. This year, as of July 7, Lynn was hitting .326 with 13 home runs and 43 runs batted in, compared with Maddox' .297 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Granted, Maddox has played three more years than Lynn and is a fine player, but I think that before Mr. Keith pronounces Maddox the premier centerfielder in baseball, he should take a good look at Lynn.
You ruined my July 4th holiday. Until then I was one of the very few who knew Garry Maddox was the best centerfielder in baseball. Then along comes Larry Keith and tells the world.
I was elated to see that the world's No. 1 single sporting event (one billion viewers this year, including myself) was on the cover of the world's No. 1 sports magazine. Thanks.
On the same Sunday that the Red Sox were finishing off Baltimore, I was in a theater watching that marvelously exciting World Cup final match.
I didn't know too much about soccer; I had never heard of Mario Kempes before last month. Nor had I heard of any of the other fine players in the tournament.
No longer. That Argentina-Holland match was one of the finest sports events I have ever seen. The electric-blue flame of Argentina was thrilling to watch, as was the precision play of the Dutch. In addition, that incredible crowd in Buenos Aires took my breath away. It is impossible to beat a team of 75,000 men.
Kempes' overtime goal reminded me of Carlton Fisk's World Series-tying home run of 1975. Seldom, if ever, do any of us see ecstatic moments of victory like that. Sitting amid a big, heavily pro-Argentina crowd in the theater, I thought I was in the River Plate Stadium for a few crazy minutes.
So you bumped the Red Sox to second place. Don't worry. You'll hear a lot more from Fenway in the fall. Meanwhile, thanks to Clive Gammon for his fine story and thank you for putting it on the cover where it belonged.
TOO BIG A BOOST
I never cease to be amazed by irresponsible college football coaches (Deep in Hot Water in Stillwater, July 3). The coaches are not teaching the kids any redeeming qualities except how to cheat the system and make it look legal. Three cheers for the NCAA for blowing the whistle on Oklahoma State! I only hope the NCAA does some more housecleaning and catches these schools that claim to field "amateur" athletes. Granted, Oklahoma State does not stand alone here. There are undoubtedly similar situations elsewhere. What happened to playing a college sport for experience, prestige and fun? Suddenly it is a big power and money game and the rules seem to be very twisted.
I would just like to point out to Gip Duggan that Nebraska and Oklahoma are not the ones under investigation. Mr. Duggan's remark about the amount of cheating being done by those two plus OSU was irresponsible and careless.
The people who really get hurt by the OSU booster club's lack of regard for the NCAA rules are the players themselves. They are the ones who will be penalized for the action of some overzealous has-beens. I think this is grossly unfair to some darn good players.
As a former editor and sports editor of the student newspaper at Oklahoma State, I am not surprised by the current football scandal at my alma mater. Many of us suspected something like this, but were unable to prove anything.
CHANGING THE RULES
I am not concerned about the result of the recent WBC world heavyweight fight (For Holmes, It Wasn't So Elementary, June 19). What troubles me is the scoring. In practically any sport you can name, both the players and the spectators know the score. But in boxing, the score is unknown to everybody but the officials, and each official knows only his own score. It would be simple to change this. Each official's score and the totals should be announced at the end of every round so that the fans, and especially the boxers, would have a clearer idea of who is winning.
VERNON A. CRAWFORD
Black Mountain, N.C.
Let's change the rule on walks in baseball. Every time a batter is walked, intentionally, semi-intentionally or unintentionally, all runners should advance one base, whether or not they are forced to. The same would apply for hit batsmen or catcher interference. Thus the intentional walk would be eliminated and fans would see the best batters take their cuts. Some critics of my proposal say it would hurt the pitchers; I say, so what? The rule would affect both teams equally, and besides, a pitcher should be penalized more severely for not throwing the ball over the plate.
DAVID M. LEVETON
New York City
After reading about Bob Speca breaking the world record for toppling dominoes (SCORECARD, June 19), I would like to let you know about a similar achievement. We successfully broke the world record for the most participants in a game of musical chairs. More than 1,200 students from Notre Dame and St. Mary's College participated, and the mark will be officially recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. I was eliminated with about 900 people remaining, but the bumps and bruises were worth it.
PAUL JOSEPH ROBERGE
Notre Dame, Ind.
AFFIRMING THE CREDIT
With all the recent publicity, one would think that the 11 Triple Crown winners were Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Steve Cauthen. Let us give Affirmed his due. It was his legs that did the running and his back that carried Stevie, not the reverse.
BARBARA P. STREEVER
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