Thanks to Curry Kirkpatrick for opening our eyes to one of a vanishing breed of athletes, tennis player Boris Becker (Eye of the Tiger, Aug. 27). Becker epitomizes the sportsmanship we were taught as children: Respect your opponent, play to win, be fair, be a gracious winner and never be a sore loser. Above all, we learned that a sport was to be enjoyed. How times have changed.
GEORGE R. MOORE
It's encouraging to know that a few sports stars have reached the epitome of success while still retaining a down-to-earth personality and a healthy perspective on what life is all about.
The clichè that a picture is worth a thousand words comes to mind when I look at the photo of Becker embracing and congratulating Stefan Edberg after Edberg's victory over him in this year's Wimbledon final.
Wichita Falls, Texas
As expected, the team from Taiwan again dominated the Little League World Series (Child's Play, Sept. 3). I have always wondered, What happens to these players after Williamsport? I scan the major league rosters for their names, but find none. Are there professional baseball teams in Taiwan? If so, have any of these Little League wizards played for them?
RICHARD K. BERNSTEIN
September 30, 1990
•The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, Taiwan's first pro baseball league, began play last March, with four teams of 25 players each. Of these 100 players, 80 are former Little Leaguers, nine of whom have appeared in the World Series in Williamsport.—ED.
Your story Brawlgame! (Aug. 27) states, "Baseball has begun to resemble hockey as melees like last week's between the White Sox and the Rangers proliferate. Can anything be done?" The answer is: Yes, stop comparing baseball to hockey. The NHL has had only a couple of bench-clearing brawls in the past three seasons. Major league baseball has had 10 this year alone.
Maybe the saying should be amended to read, "I went to a hockey game, and a baseball game broke out."
American Hockey League
Want to stop brawlgames? Try shutting off the television cameras.
East Williston, N.Y.
You planned it that way, right? Steve Wulf wonders what is to be done about brawling in baseball games, and in the same issue Pat Putnam ponders how to put the fight back into boxing (POINT AFTER).
PATRICK A. THOMAS
Fort Collins, Colo.
CATCHERS AND HOMERS
Carlton Fisk recently hit the home run that supposedly tied the record set by Johnny Bench for the most home runs by a catcher (INSIDE BASEBALL, Aug. 13). I don't understand. Fisk plays in the American League and therefore quite often goes to the plate as a designated hitter, so not all of his homers were hit in games that he caught. Bench, on the other hand, hit all of his homers as a catcher. My point is, Why don't they count only the home runs that Fisk hit as a catcher? In my opinion the records are unfair to some players.
Hanover Park, Ill.
•Actually, both Fisk and Bench hit homers when playing positions other than catcher, but the 327 home runs we mentioned in the item reflect only those homers hit as catchers. Counting all home runs, Bench still leads with 389 to Fisk's 353.—ED.
A PEACH OF A BAT
Your story about autograph collecting (Back Off!, Aug. 13) brought to mind a miniature Ty Cobb bat that I recently inherited from my father. I know that he inherited it from his father and that it was made approximately 70 years ago by the Hillerich & Bradsby Company. Can you find out something about this bat for me?
•According to Joshua Evans of Lelands, a sports memorabilia auction house in New York City, Hillerich & Bradsby made several thousand of these bats decorated with decals from about 1912 to '15. They came in three sizes, the smallest, like this one, about 15 inches long; midsize, about 22 inches; and full size, 30 inches and longer. The bats were sold as souvenirs, and fewer than 50 are known to be extant. Evans says that this Georgia Peach bat, which appears to be in good condition, is worth from $1,500 to $2,000. The Cobb bats are the most valuable. Others featured stars like Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner.—ED.
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