It's players like Mark McGwire who make the Albert Belles and Mo
--Geoffrey S. Gollihur
Bravo to the Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire (Man on a
Mission, March 23). In this age of selfish, self-absorbed
multimillionaires, how refreshing to see a man embracing his
community and giving back to children in need.
Dave Gordon, Sacramento
We are Oakland A's fans who have coached a Challenger Little
League team for children with special needs. In the league's
first year, McGwire donated the funds for all the uniforms and
the equipment. We will miss McGwire's power and leadership on
the A's, but we wish him the best in St. Louis.
Linda and Al Leck, Danville, Calif.
If Roger Maris's record is to be broken, it seems McGwire is the
man most worthy of the honor.
Janet Barry, Bethlehem, Pa.
Please let me know how to get in touch with McGwire's Foundation
for Abused Children.
David Konjoian, Andover, Mass.
--Cardinals Care, 250 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102-1722,
Attn. Dr. Ed Lewis.--ED.
I haven't been to a big league baseball game since 1917, at
Fenway Park in Boston (no, he didn't hit one), but I follow
baseball. Your Scouting Reports (March 23) were over the plate.
Mal Clarke, Harpswell, Maine
You argue that not every team is doing all it can to win,
because of, among other things, clueless management and weakness
of will. If one compares SI's rankings (based on how much a team
is doing to win, as stated) and the team payroll, the two are
highly correlated. Your presentation ignores the plight of
small-market teams. Owners have not addressed the issue of
revenue sharing adequately.
J.M. Miles, Kansas City
Tim Crothers's report on the Pirates was disturbing. "Moribund,"
"boring," "a fluke"? Come on, give us a break! The young,
low-budget 1997 Bucs were a shot in the arm for baseball. Money
and power take center stage in your report. What about heart and
loyalty? Do you think Marlins fans are excited this year after
going from buyout to burnout?
David Weible and Bob Dull, Knox, Pa.
RECORDS IN JEOPARDY
In your listing of records likely to be broken in 1998 (Caution:
Falling Records Ahead, March 23), you include the mark for the
worst ERA by a league (5.04), set by the American League in
1936. That made me mindful of the National League of 1930, which
was not far behind, at 4.97. To illustrate the value of
pitching, the Philadelphia Phillies that year helped balloon the
league average by having a 6.71 ERA, still a major league
record. The Phillies had eight hitters bat better than .300 and
had a team average of .315, but they finished last with a 52-102
record, 40 games out of first.
Jack Meyers, Kansas City, Mo.
You quote odds of 6 to 5 that Mark McGwire will break Babe
Ruth's two-year homer record. He needs 57 this year to surpass
Ruth's phenomenal total of 114 in the 1927 and '28 seasons. You
quote the same 6-to-5 odds that McGwire will hit at least 50 and
become the first player to have three consecutive 50-home-run
seasons. In other words, you think that McGwire is as likely to
hit 57 dingers as he is to get 50. Millions of kids learn math
through sports. Please watch your oddsmaking more carefully.
David U. Himmelstein, Cambridge, Mass.
In Caution: Falling Records Ahead (March 23) you say the major
league record for most hits in a season (257) was established by
Dick Sisler (left) of the Cardinals in 1920. The record was set
by his father, George Sisler (center), of the Browns in 1920.
The elder Sisler, who set this record in a 154-game season, was
one of the first dozen players admitted to the Hall of Fame.
Dick did play for the Cardinals, as well as the Phillies, but in
the late 1940s and early '50s. He hit an extra-inning homer on
the last day of the '50 season that won the pennant for
Philadelphia. He later managed the Reds and coached for the
Cards. Dick's younger brother, Dave (right), pitched for four
big league teams in the '50s and '60s.
Fred Heger, President
St. Louis Browns Historical Society