SI Vault
June 29, 1998
The neighborhood in which I grew up was middle-class, yet six Braves lived within 10 blocks of my house.—WILLIAM B. KENNEDY, Columbus, Ind.
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June 29, 1998


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The neighborhood in which I grew up was middle-class, yet six Braves lived within 10 blocks of my house.
—WILLIAM B. KENNEDY, Columbus, Ind.

Milwaukee Braves
John Schulian's piece on Milwaukee's National League past (National Pastime, June 1) struck a chord in my middle-aged heart. The first big league game I saw was in County Stadium on my sixth birthday, in September 1957, after the Braves had clinched the pennant. Warren Spahn pitched, and he and Red Schoendienst hit homers. Great memories. Who holds the record for career home runs by two teammates? Not Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the mighty Yankees, but Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves.
GEORGE ROONEY, Yucaipa, Calif.

I've covered presidents and events at the White House as a journalist, but for fond memories nothing compares to my baseball autographed by Joe Torre and Hank Aaron. Camden Yards may be a beautiful park, but give me a brat in County Stadium anytime.
DAVE FORMAN, North Potomac, Md.

When my father was 14 years old, he and a friend were hitchhiking to County Stadium. As they walked down Viliet Street, a car pulled over and the driver asked, "Where are you guys going?" "To the ballpark," they replied. "Hop in," the motorist said. As they climbed into the car, the boys were overcome with joy. The driver was Spahn. He happened to be going that way.

As a youngster, I heard many stories involving the Braves, including the one about the time my mom went to the door of Eddie Mathews's high-rise apartment while on a fund-raising mission for her Catholic grade school. Eddie, who had just hopped out of the shower, answered the door with a towel wrapped around his waist and bought all of her remaining candy bars.

When the Braves were visiting Pittsburgh in 1961, I asked my mother to pen a note to Eddie Mathews inviting him to dinner with our family that night. I crawled on top of the Braves' dugout and tossed the note to the first player I saw. A few innings later the batboy wandered along the third base line, apparently looking for somebody. I ran to the railing, waved and, sure enough, he had a note from Mathews accepting the invitation. It was an unforgettable evening.
EDWARD SOLOMON, Philadelphia

Armando Benitez
Was Tom Verducci's article about Orioles pitcher Armando Benitez (Fevered Pitch, June 1) supposed to elicit a sympathetic response in readers? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him because his teammates (sensibly) shunned him after he intentionally drilled Yankee Tino Martinez? Please! The real story here is Martinez, who was forced by his injury to miss the same number of games (eight) that Benitez received as his suspension.
SUSAN PERGER, Highland Park, N.J.

Instead of throwing at the next batter, Benitez should have tried to shut down the Yankees for the rest of the game. That's how to get even.
JOSH SMITH, Westminster, Md.

Indy 500
You stated that the Indy 500 was filled with replacement players (INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS, June 1). Let's give these drivers some respect. They may not be household names to the rich and famous, but they are to the true race fan. Unlike some of the CART drivers, who buy their rides, the no-names earned theirs with their skill in Saturday-night dirt-track races.
ED BARTLETT, Haven, Kans.

The no-names, while plagued with mechanical problems, put on an exciting show with lots of passing and the full support of the 300,000 fans in attendance. It's easy to forget that drivers like A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Al Unser were considered no-names until they made their mark at Indy.
MIKE JOSEPH, Speedway, Ind.

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