As I read Rick Reilly's article on Reggie Jackson (That's Not All, Folks, March 31), I thought about the fact that big-name baseball players often seem to overstay their welcome. I know that they can't stand leaving the game after all their terrific years, but it mars their legendary careers and destroys our images of them for them to hang on too long.
Rod Carew stayed too long and Tommy John is trying to do the same thing. I live near Baltimore, and I saw Brooks Robinson play until he could barely bend at the waist. He finally bowed out in '77. Jim Palmer waited until '84 before quitting, while his last decent year was '82.
Wouldn't it be neat if our heroes would retire when they were still at the top? Then no one would remember them as anything but legends.
Owings Mills, Md.
I have long been a Reggie fan, so I hope Gene Mauch will wake up and put Reggie back in rightfield where he belongs. What he contributes on offense while playing that position more than makes up for anything he lacks defensively. My hat's off to you, Reggie; baseball needs a lot more people like you.
If there is a drink to be stirred in Anaheim this baseball season, you can bet the farm that Reggie Jackson will be the straw that does it. He may be pushing 40, but there is not a more exciting player in the major leagues.
I can't speak for Jackson, but I know that I'd rather be the DH for any team than have a mongoose in my sleeping bag! Reilly never fails to make me laugh. Thanks for a fine article on a great player.
THE BIRD'S BIG YEAR
I just finished Gary Smith's article on Mark Fidrych (The Bird Fell To Earth, April 7) and I can't tell you how much it affected me. What Mark did for the city of Detroit in the summer of '76 is something I can't fully put into words. As much fun as we Detroiters had in 1984, it didn't equal the fun we had watching Mark play ball that magical year.
I feel that there should be some kind of niche created for Mark in the Hall of Fame, telling the world about that very special person and season. It would be a great gesture on the part of baseball to give back to Mark some of the magic that he gave all of us. I wish him the best of luck in everything he takes on for the rest of his life.
KEVIN R. CRAVEN
Thank you for the bittersweet story about the Bird. I still remember the excitement of seeing Fidrych in action at Tiger Stadium. Although Mark's fame was fleeting, he made the mediocre Tigers worth watching, and a then 13-year-old boy a baseball fan for life. Thanks, Bird!
West Bloomfield, Mich.
There aren't many sports articles that suggest a movie script, but Smith's story is definitely movie material. Now if only Fidrych's dream of making it back to the majors would come true. Wow, what an ending!
DENNIS M. TERRONE