Of God, Golf And Green Jackets (April 7) by Frank Deford was one of the best and most informative articles I have ever read on the history and prestige of the Masters. Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts must have had a great love for golf and for keeping it the gentleman's sport that it always should be. I hope the Masters is never changed in any way.
Fort Bragg, N.C.
In all its elegance and finery the Masters has become an American tradition. Brian Lanker (Viewing The Masters With A New Eye, April 7) and Frank Deford have captured its pageantry perfectly.
The only possible improvement on the caption under Bobby Jones's picture on page 116 in your April 7 issue would have been to place the word "gentleman" before "golfer," or for that matter, before any other description of that good man.
I shall always remember that in the 1925 U.S. Open, held at the Worcester (Mass.) Country Club, Bobby called a shot on himself because his ball moved as he addressed it. Nobody else saw it happen. That act of sportsmanship cost Bobby Jones a fifth U.S. Open. Think about that, young athletes of America, the next time someone tells you that winning is everything.
GEORGE W. LEE
Toms River, N.J.
My commendations to Peter Gammons on a superb story in your 1986 baseball issue (A Real Rap Session, April 14). An interview that not-only enlightens the reader about how the great hitters hit, but also enables the reader to delve into the minds of these hitters is remarkable. I think, perhaps, Ted Williams was a little hard on Don Mattingly, but then again, I may be biased because I'm a die-hard Yankee fan. Nevertheless, I learned more about hitting from this article than I have from watching baseball games for 20 years. Thank you, Peter Gammons. I, too, am glad you are back.
In your otherwise astute and entertaining baseball issue, you—along with the rest of the national media—once again snubbed the White Sox' Harold Baines by omitting him from the list of great young hitters in Ron Fimrite's article New Golden Age Of Hitting. All Baines did last year was hit .309 in 160 games with 22 homers and 113 RBIs. Combine this with only two errors in the outfield and you have the best rightfielder in baseball.
I am the owner of every issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ever published and an avid baseball fan. This is your finest baseball preview ever. You have analyzed and scrutinized the 1986 teams and season as no other major publication has.
In his scouting report on the Mets, Peter Gammons asks, "What does baseball's Mozart [Dwight Gooden, your projected repeat National League Cy Young Award winner] do for an encore?" Here's my prediction for Gooden's 1986 record to add to the stats and analyses you presented.
And, as Gammons says, he has a changeup!
ROBERT A. RIFENBERICK
•The analyses of the players that appeared in the charts accompanying SI's scouting reports are from The 1986 Elias Baseball Analyst by Seymour Siwoff, Steve Hirdt and Peter Hirdt, ¬© 1986 by The Elias Sports Bureau, Inc., and were reprinted by permission of Collier Books/Macmillan Publishing Co.—ED.
I thought this year's baseball issue was your best ever, until I got to the scouting reports. How in the world can your intrepid staff rank the Boston Red Sox as the 16th best team overall? The Bosox have the best hitting team in baseball and a strong young pitching staff. The only reasons they may not make the playoffs are their lack of speed, which is essential in today's game, and having to play in the American League East, the best division in baseball. Nonetheless, this year's Bosox will surely win 90 games, which is more than at least seven of your top 15 teams will win.
As usual, your baseball scouting reports seem fairly good. In the Great Northwest, though, we think placing the Mariners 17th may be a bit off base. With a starting rotation of Mike (Moore), Matt (Young), Mark (Langston), Milt (Wilcox) and Mike (Morgan), the M's are on a mission this year. Look out, AL West!
You picked the California Angels to come in sixth in their division and 20th in the majors. Last year, you predicted they would finish in 24th place and they had the seventh-best percentage in baseball. You have to give them some credit. With their spectacular pitching staff and fresh contributions from hitters like Wally Joyner, George Hendrick and Rick Burleson, the Angels could excel.
The Brewers have to be the best 23rd-place team in baseball history.
MICHAEL RAY HEIFETZ
Pittsburgh last? Forty-two games back? Surely you jest! The Pirates of '86 are not the Pirates of '85.
Thank you for including W.P. Kinsella's story The Game That Time And Iowa Forgot in your baseball issue. Kinsella should be highly praised for this most enjoyable and entertaining fantasy. It has reminded me what baseball is really all about. At least for a brief time I was able to forget about free agency, million-dollar salaries and the drug-related problems that continue to plague our national pastime.
Considering the outlook for this year's Cleveland Indian team (No. 24 in SI's rankings), I would not like to forget the game that time and Iowa forgot. Nor do I feel Cleveland manager Pat Corrales should. Please have author W.P. Kinsella tell Corrales the whereabouts of that mysterious train track, so Corrales can locate Kinsella's prodigious Indian, Drifting Away, and offer him a multi-year contract. Surely Drifting Away would help the Indians.
Congratulations and heartfelt thanks for the 1986 baseball issue. I particularly enjoyed Hank Hersch's story about baseball bats (The Good Wood). It brought to light an important part of the game that few fans stop to think about.
Recently I purchased a Louisville Slugger from a secondhand store for $3. It has a Richie Ashburn signature on it, but what is the significance of the No. 125 that appears on the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. crest?
•H & B officials aren't certain. But vice-president Rex Bradley thinks it may refer to the price of the Louisville Slugger, which, according to old catalogs, used to be $1.25. Major league teams pay an average of $12 to $14 for today's bats.—ED.
As a Pittsburgh Pirate fan, I am appalled at Peter Gammon's suggestion (INSIDE BASEBALL, April 14) that the Pirates trade Tony Pena, R.J. Reynolds and Pat Clements for some Toronto players. I think Pete ought to be traded to The Sporting News for 2¢ and a writer to be named later!
ROBERT L. GLOVAN
McKees Rocks, Pa.
I was pleased to read Gary Smith's article on former Detroit Tiger pitcher Mark Fidrych (The Bird Fell To Earth) in your April 7 issue. But I was really impressed when, upon turning the page, I found Jack McCallum's piece on Bill Laimbeer of the Pistons (A Crashing Success) and then a few pages later, Bob Kravitz's report on the NCAA champion Michigan State hockey team (Fast Finish For The Spartans). With the Michigan Wolverines ranked No. 2 in college football, the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite Eight in basketball and No. 1 in hockey, the Pistons headed for the NBA playoffs and the Tigers projected to be in the thick of the American League pennant chase, what more can I say? My compliments on three fine salutes to Michigan sports.
VENERABLE GREEN JACKETS
Brian Lanker's photographic essay, Viewing The Masters With A New Eye, includes a picture of 90-year-old Joseph Bryan's green jacket and a caption stating that Bryan is the oldest member of Augusta National.
With all due respect to Mr. Bryan, my grandfather, Ike Grainger of Wilmington, N.C., a past president of the USGA and long one of the leading experts on the rules of golf, is the oldest member. He turned 91 on Jan. 15.
•Stuart Grainger is correct. Bryan was born on Feb. 11,1896, 13 months after Ike.—ED.
I can't believe your fine magazine would run a picture of such a distinguished man as Joseph Bryan and not show his face.
WILLIAM H. SHEARMAN
Lake Charles, La.
•Above are both Bryan (left) and Grainger, as he appeared in January 1984.—ED.
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