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19TH HOLE: The readers take over
August 11, 1958
THE LONG VIEW:WACHT VS. HANDICAP COMMITTEESirs:Alas, that Mr. W. W. Wacht has withdrawn his lawsuit against the handicap committee of the Pines Ridge Golf Club (E&D, Aug. 4). Whether he realizes it or not, surmises and conjectures on the might-have-been of his defense of his golf handicap (34) would have relieved the spiritual boredom of 19th hole bull sessions across the country for many moons to come.
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August 11, 1958

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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THOMAS REVEALED
Sirs:
Congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for being the first nationally published magazine to devote a full-fledged article to one of the greatest guys in professional baseball today, Frank Thomas (SI, July 28).

I have known Frank personally for nearly three years. In that time I can truthfully say that he has never let anyone down. I remember vividly an incident last summer where he and his wife had dinner with a friend and me instead of going to a parade with some of his teammates. Of course, he got a free meal, but the fellows who went to the parade got $60 each. That meant a lot to me.
RUTH THOMAS
(no relation)
Pittsburgh

Sirs:
I used to think that you were against Pittsburgh. Thank you for the story and for proving me wrong.
DAVID E. COCHRAN
Glen Dale, Va.

Sirs:
Roy Terrell does an outstanding job. I read his articles just to see how he is going to express himself. The recent one on Frank Thomas was excellent. I imagine Thomas is a similar type of person to Gene Littler, the golfer. Actually, they look a lot alike.
ST. CLAIR BROMFIELD JR.
West Hartford, Conn.

BASEBALL: THE CURFEW
Sirs:
In Yankee Stadium the other night the Boston Red Sox were beating the Yankees 5-3 in the 11th inning when they were struck down at 11:59 p.m. by the New York State curfew law. The game was stopped, the score returned to what it had been at the end of the 10th (a 3-3 tie) and it became necessary to play the whole thing over from the start at a later date. I'd like to know more about a law that allows this foolishness to happen.
ALLAN DANIELS
New York City

?All this happened because a law was passed in 1919 not to forbid, but to allow, baseball to be played on Sunday. It was called the Sunday Baseball Bill and the arguments for and against it were hot ones back in March 1919, just four months after the end of the first World War. According to the papers of the day, "baseball enthusiasts, labor representatives and diamond stars back from battling the Hun" turned up in Albany to speak a good word for baseball. "I ask you to pass this bill," pleaded one orator, "in memory of the men who will never get back to the diamond, the men who have made the Great Home Run."

The opposition played on patriotic themes, too, claiming that "Sunday baseball means the Germanization of the United States." This was a somewhat slanted reference to the fact that Sundays in Europe, including Germany, were not so much days of rest as holidays, when people hiked, boated, played games and in general had a pleasant time.

The law made baseball legal only after 2 p.m. on Sunday, giving everybody time to get home from church, have a big dinner and take the trolley to the ball park. Since the first night game was still 20 years away, nobody foresaw that extra innings on Saturday night might spill over into the early minutes of Sunday morning. All this explains why, 39 years later, the Red Sox lost their two 11th-inning runs and on Sunday will have to play over again from the start a game they almost certainly would have won. Similar laws are on the books in Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia: no baseball after 11:59 p.m. on Saturdays. The trend to Saturday night baseball continues, but nobody expects the laws to be changed. Recently, in a belated act of common sense, the American League changed its rule to match the one already in effect in the National League (the Pirates and Phillies also have a 6:59 p.m. Sunday curfew to live with). Hereafter, games interrupted by curfew will carry on, first chance, from the point of interruption. But that Red Sox-Yankee game—nope, all over again.—ED.

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