Regarding your article Odd Man Out on the Diamond (Aug. 20), I have been a member of two unions (the American Federation of Musicians and the Newspaper Guild), and I have a comment or two. The umpires were underpaid. No question about that. But they, or their agent, did sign a contract. Perhaps it was foolish, but a contract was signed.
The rookie umps are not scabs in the real sense because it wasn't a real strike. The umpires made a bad deal and then tried to put the onus on everybody else. Why not hang the scab label on the players, food-and-drink vendors, ticket-window people, security personnel and anybody else who kept on working while the umps were out?
Let's put things in perspective.
It's hard to believe the umps E. M. Swift described are the same ones so many fans felt sympathy for when they went on "strike." When Swift wrote that the more obstinate veterans "are hurting the game they are paid to uphold," he couldn't have been more correct. I just hope the fans will remember this lesson the next time the umpires decide to walk out.
Grand Island, Neb.
September 2, 1979
Veteran Umpire Paul Runge defined the word scab correctly, but in my opinion he failed to look up the word professional. If all of these acts against the rookie umps continue, I hope baseball fans across America start hounding the senior umps for more than just their bad calls.
I support the umpires' right to strike, but they should be willing to take the risks that go along with a strike. While they have the right to walk off their jobs, others have the right to attempt to replace them.
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
My grandfather was an American League umpire for 19 seasons. I grew up in and around baseball and, more specifically, around umpires. I have never known a major league umpire who would consciously do anything to undermine the integrity of the game. Hence, I feel obliged to dispute E. M. Swift's statement that the regular umpires are hurting the game by failing to work together with the "new" umpires.
I have attended many American League games this season, have spoken to a number of the umpires and have observed that the veteran umpires do indeed work with the scabs on the field. More important, one umpire told me—and he was echoing the sentiments of his colleagues—that although he refuses to associate with the scabs off the field, "Between those white lines I bust my tail and work with them, because that's my job. I'm a major league umpire and take pride in my work."
The new umpires undermined the position of the 51 veterans during the latter's spring walkout, and I can understand the bitterness felt by the older umpires toward the scabs. In my estimation, the true men of courage were the young umpires who, knowing they may never get a second chance at working in the majors, said no to the baseball establishment and supported their fellow umpires.
EDWIN H. HURLEY III
Concerning the hazing incident involving rookie umpire Dave Pallone, National League supervisor Blake Cullen said that because none of the veteran crew members would admit to having done the hazing, he couldn't fine them all. Why not? A few fines might put a quick end to such incidents.
Charleston AFB, S.C.
Thank you for Anthony Cotton's article on Willie Stargell (Fine, Like Good Wine, Aug. 20). It's Captain Willie, not Dave Parker, who's the Pirate leader. While an overrated Parker calls himself No. 1, the popular Stargell carries the Bucs with his bat, glove and team spirit, and he'll continue to do so through the playoffs and World Series. Dave Parker is good. But Willie Stargell is No. 1.
LELAND D. SEESE
Bruce Newman's article on Dave Kingman (Kong! Aug. 20) was excellent. But maybe the reason Dave doesn't talk to the print media is because of the unkind articles written about him in the past. I am referring especially to one in SI (Is It Daft—or Deft—To Draft? Nov. 7, 1977) when Dave was entering the free-agent draft. Your comment about Dave was "overpriced at any price."
I wonder. Do you still believe that? I, for one, hope that Kong keeps doing all his talking with his bat.
MICHAEL E. KEENAN
We all know Kong is King, but the photographs of beautiful Wrigley Field were just great. Thank you, Manny Millan and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Highland Park, Ill.
I have always marveled at the photography in SI and wondered how you do it. But in your story on hang gliding (The First Step Is Always the Hardest, Aug. 20), you really outdid yourselves. The pictures were, to quote hang-glider pilot Reggie Jones, "beautiful, just beautiful."
The photographs by Carl Iwasaki were so incredibly breathtaking that I almost decided to take up hang gliding—until I read some mortality statistics on the sport.
IN DEFENSE OF REX CALDWELL
Dan Jenkins' criticism of Rex Caldwell—"the unknown," "the hot dog," etc.—in his article on the PGA Championship (This Graham Simply Refused To Crack, Aug. 13) was a disgrace. Emphasis should have been placed on the fact that Caldwell was in contention to win or tie until the final hole, and on the fact that he did not choke. Rather he was a victim of David Graham's and Ben Crenshaw's superb play. It is a pity that Jenkins chose to needlessly castigate a refreshingly colorful individual with a swing that weekenders can identify with just because he does not fit the mold of the blond, pre-fab mannequins with the flawless swings and the charismatic appeal of marshmallows who seemingly rule the golf tour. Give us more Caldwells, Fuzzy Zoellers and Lee Trevinos. Professional golfers are, after all, first and foremost entertainers.
Clarendon Hills, Ill.
Congratulations in general on the uniformly fine writing in your magazine. And special congratulations for the delightfully witty piece by Ron Fimrite about the Parisian adventures of his sandlot Softball team (To Paris, with Glove, Aug. 6). The story is so warm, funny and human that it merits comparison with the best of Thurber.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Ron Fimrite's To Paris, with Glove was a gem. I laughed till I cried. SI would be well advised to consider 1) sponsoring a "Far East softball championship" and 2) making even more use of Fimrite's splendid wit.
JOHN S. DODD JR., M.D.
Before Ron Fimrite's Washington Square Bar & Grill team looks to conquer the Far East and the world, we hope that it will come East and accept a challenge from the Raccoon's Athletic and Social Club. Although we can promise them a better game than Le Moulin du Village, the refreshments and scenery will be somewhat less enticing. We play for beer, not champagne. Moreover, instead of being in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the game would be staged in the glow and haze of the Three Mile Island cooling towers. Such a game would be good for the WSB&G team's character, and it would add to the growing reputation of the Raccoons.
JAMES L. HARTMAN
WILSON, TERRY AND KLEIN
Hack Wilson's recent induction into the Hall of Fame is a tribute to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S effective article on Wilson some years ago (Why Ain't I in the Hall? April 11, 1977). Wilson's election results primarily from his gaudy 190 RBIs in 1930. His overall stats are unimpressive—fewer than 2,000 hits, fewer than 300 home runs, fewer than 1,000 runs scored, .307 average, etc. In fact it can be argued that Bill Terry and Chuck Klein had better seasons in 1930 than Wilson did. Terry had 254 hits (to Wilson's 208) and batted .401 (to Wilson's .356). Klein had 250 hits, led the league in doubles (59), runs (158) and total bases (445), knocked in 170 runs and hit .386. Terry has been in the Hall of Fame for 25 years, and now Wilson joins him.
What of Chuck Klein? He had his best years when the Phillies played in tiny Baker Bowl from 1929 to 1933. But should a player be penalized for the park his team used? Klein led the National League in hitting once; in stolen bases once (during an admittedly lethargic 1932 season); in hits, doubles and RBIs twice; in runs and slugging percentage three times; and in home runs and total bases four times. He paced National League outfielders in assists three times. All this in an amazing five years during which Klein had 1,118 hits, 232 doubles, 180 home runs, 658 runs scored, 693 RBIs and a .359 average. Few if any major-leaguers can match that productivity for a five-year period. Klein had 300 lifetime home runs and a .320 average. In his only World Series—with the 1935 Cubs—he hit .333 and had a game-winning home run.
Like Wilson, Klein has been dead for many years. And Klein is apparently as forgotten as Wilson was before SI rediscovered him. If he can be forgiven for hitting well in Baker Bowl, Chuck Klein deserves to enter the Hall.
H. R. COURSEN
MOMENTS AND MEMORIES (CONT.)
Time-traveling within your Silver Anniversary capsule (Aug. 13) was most pleasing. Your itinerary, selection of stops and excellent views of the stream of sports heroes and heroines in action made me feel like a first-class passenger.
R. C. SEWARD
Your Silver Anniversary Issue was fantastic, but hats off to Chuck Schmidt and Dickran Palulian for a colorful and stunning cover!
You ended your Silver Anniversary LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER with the note that on the following Thursday night your inaugural cover subjects—Eddie Mathews (at bat), Wes Westrum (catching) and Augie Donatelli (behind the plate)—would meet again in Milwaukee to pose for a re-creation of the Aug. 16, 1954 cover shot. I, for one, would like to know how close the picture came to duplicating your first cover.
New York City
•For a comparison between photographer Mark Kauffman's 1979 retake and his 1954 original, see below.—ED.
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