RELIVING THAT CALL
Ron Fimrite's article (In The Eye Of The Storm, Jan. 6) on World Series umpire Don Denkinger provided an extremely interesting behind-the-limelight perspective on The Call. There is no excuse for people harassing Denkinger and his family in their private life. This incident serves to highlight another factor that needs to be considered in the continuing controversy over whether instant replays should be used in sports officiating. That factor is the safety of the officials. The time has come for the umpires and Peter Ueberroth to view the instant replay, which can prevent inflammatory bad calls, not as a threat but as a tool of the trade.
A fellow high school official, who is also a pastor of a local church, once said to me that the people who attack sports officials for their judgment calls are the same people who will attack a policeman for doing his job, a judge for upholding the law and, ultimately, God if things do not go their way. In my opinion, Don Denkinger is an umpire with guts, and that is why he made it to where he is. He has nothing to be ashamed of.
Glens Falls, N.Y.
I hope Denkinger receives one more letter—from the St. Louis disc jockey, apologizing for his bonehead decision to give out the Denkingers' address and phone number.
CHARLES D. SAMPLE
Denkinger told it like it was: His call did not cost the Cardinals the World Series. The Cardinal owner just might suggest that his team's '86 spring training begin in a classroom. The subject should be Composure—And What Happens If You Lose It. Whitey Herzog should be included in this lesson.
I'm glad you gave Denkinger a chance to have his say, even though he doesn't admit the effect such a critical missed call had on the Cardinals' concentration, and thus the outcome of Game 6. It was a bonehead call.
DWIGHT R. JANSON
Denkinger says, "But I do know that I didn't cost the Cardinals the World Series, not with all that happened afterward." If he had not blown the call, there would not have been an "afterward." The umpiring of the Series wasn't the only factor in the Cards' loss, but it sure didn't help.
East Alton, Ill.
To publish an article that bleeds with compassion for a man who, by his own admission, blew the call is the ultimate insult to the Cardinal organization and its loyal fans. I guess SI just couldn't resist starting 1986 by pouring salt in the wound.
Mount Vernon, Ill.
William Nack's article on Mike Tyson (Ready To Soar To The Very Top, Jan. 6) comes at just the right time. Only a few weeks ago the American Medical Association stated that the sport of boxing should be banned because it physically harms the athlete and provokes violence in the athlete and the spectator. I believe that Tyson and the thousands of other youths who left the streets for gyms and boxing rings would disagree.
Great Neck, N.Y.
DITKA AND YOUNG
Thanks for the engaging looks in your Dec. 16 issue at Bears coach Mike Ditka (Once A Bear, Always A Bear) and Giants general manager George Young (SIDELINE).
In Curry Kirkpatrick's piece on Ditka, Beano Cook was quoted as saying, "Ditka could do anything. Jeez, he played basketball for Pitt." Some of us at Bucknell also remember him as a baseball player for Pitt. In a 12-10 Pitt victory over Bucknell in Lewisburg in 1960, he hit the longest home run anyone has seen here. He was 2 for 5 in the game.