19TH HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER

January 20, 1986

RELIVING THAT CALL
Sir:
Ron Fimrite's article (In The Eye Of The Storm, Jan. 6) on World Series umpire Don Denkinger provided an extremely interesting behind-the-limelight perspective on The Call. There is no excuse for people harassing Denkinger and his family in their private life. This incident serves to highlight another factor that needs to be considered in the continuing controversy over whether instant replays should be used in sports officiating. That factor is the safety of the officials. The time has come for the umpires and Peter Ueberroth to view the instant replay, which can prevent inflammatory bad calls, not as a threat but as a tool of the trade.
DON MCGRAW
Thornton, Pa.

Sir:
A fellow high school official, who is also a pastor of a local church, once said to me that the people who attack sports officials for their judgment calls are the same people who will attack a policeman for doing his job, a judge for upholding the law and, ultimately, God if things do not go their way. In my opinion, Don Denkinger is an umpire with guts, and that is why he made it to where he is. He has nothing to be ashamed of.
JON MANDWELLE
Glens Falls, N.Y.

Sir:
I hope Denkinger receives one more letter—from the St. Louis disc jockey, apologizing for his bonehead decision to give out the Denkingers' address and phone number.
CHARLES D. SAMPLE
Hesperia, Calif.

Sir:
Denkinger told it like it was: His call did not cost the Cardinals the World Series. The Cardinal owner just might suggest that his team's '86 spring training begin in a classroom. The subject should be Composure—And What Happens If You Lose It. Whitey Herzog should be included in this lesson.
ED DEMAIN
Whitehouse, Ohio

Sir:
I'm glad you gave Denkinger a chance to have his say, even though he doesn't admit the effect such a critical missed call had on the Cardinals' concentration, and thus the outcome of Game 6. It was a bonehead call.
DWIGHT R. JANSON
St. Louis

Sir:
Denkinger says, "But I do know that I didn't cost the Cardinals the World Series, not with all that happened afterward." If he had not blown the call, there would not have been an "afterward." The umpiring of the Series wasn't the only factor in the Cards' loss, but it sure didn't help.
ALLISON MONTAGUE
East Alton, Ill.

Sir:
To publish an article that bleeds with compassion for a man who, by his own admission, blew the call is the ultimate insult to the Cardinal organization and its loyal fans. I guess SI just couldn't resist starting 1986 by pouring salt in the wound.
TIM BOSMA
Mount Vernon, Ill.

PROMISING HEAVYWEIGHT
Sir:
William Nack's article on Mike Tyson (Ready To Soar To The Very Top, Jan. 6) comes at just the right time. Only a few weeks ago the American Medical Association stated that the sport of boxing should be banned because it physically harms the athlete and provokes violence in the athlete and the spectator. I believe that Tyson and the thousands of other youths who left the streets for gyms and boxing rings would disagree.
AREL WEISBERG
Great Neck, N.Y.

DITKA AND YOUNG
Sir:
Thanks for the engaging looks in your Dec. 16 issue at Bears coach Mike Ditka (Once A Bear, Always A Bear) and Giants general manager George Young (SIDELINE).

In Curry Kirkpatrick's piece on Ditka, Beano Cook was quoted as saying, "Ditka could do anything. Jeez, he played basketball for Pitt." Some of us at Bucknell also remember him as a baseball player for Pitt. In a 12-10 Pitt victory over Bucknell in Lewisburg in 1960, he hit the longest home run anyone has seen here. He was 2 for 5 in the game.

Frank Deford noted that Young "made Little All-America at Bucknell in 1951." He was a defensive tackle and co-captain on a team that finished 9-0 and broke an Eastern Intercollegiate Football Association total-offense record that had been set by one of the Blanchard-Davis Army teams.
BRADLEY N. TUFTS
Bucknell Sports Information Director
Lewisburg, Pa.

Sir:
As a graduate of Baltimore's City College (class of '66), I found myself waxing nostalgic while reading Deford's article on George Young. His dedication to his players and students was never in question. We often tried to steer the subject away from history to sports, but he did teach us history.

The biggest lesson he taught me, however, was in humility. I won the Maryland scholastic diving championship one year, and although he offered his congratulations, he did not let me forget what my priorities were: William the Conqueror fought the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The NFL needs Young.
ROGER SWEREN
Phoenix

CHARLIE BROWN'S APPEAL
Sir:
A big thanks to Franz Lidz for the story on Charles Schulz (Good Ol' Charlie Schulz, Dec. 23-30). I can relate to Peanuts' Charlie Brown more than most people can.

I was knocked out of the only Little League game I ever pitched after allowing nine runs without getting anyone out. However, I have finally done something in baseball. The youth team that I manage placed second in the Okaw League this past season. Since I now have won something, I appeal to Schulz to let his main character win something, too.
CHARLIE BROWN
Pesotum, Ill.

SWITCH SHOT
Sir:
On page 32 of your Sportsman of the Year issue (Slap Shot II: Brett Hull, Dec. 23-30), you show a framed photograph of Brett Hull with a card featuring his dad, Bobby, tucked into a corner. But why is Brett pictured as a lefthanded shooter? I know the photo is not backwards, because you can read the card and "Duluth" in the background. Still, isn't Brett supposed to be a righthanded shooter and play right wing?
MARK RAISANEN
Cokato, Minn.

•Brett posed as a lefty as a prank for his freshman-year Minnesota-Duluth publicity shot. His sophomore picture (above right), however, shows him in his correct position.—ED.

PHOTOANTHONY NESTE PHOTOUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-DULUTH

Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.

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