Ron Fimrite's story was a real eye-opener. From the things people hear and read about the Stick, they must think fans are paid to go to the games. Isn't it amazing how the Giants started to draw more fans when they put a decent team on the field? If the Giants can stay competitive, there will be a lot less talk about domes, moving downtown or going to another city.
When I, a lifelong National League fan, moved to San Francisco, I approached Candlestick Park with a degree of apprehension. For my first night game, my companion and I brought along down jackets, hats, gloves, etc. I've now been to a fair number of night games at the Stick, and you know what? It's not as cold as one is led to believe. If you want a cold ballpark, try Shea in April or on a frigid September evening.
The problem with the Giants is not their ballpark, it's their fans.
DOUGLAS W. FRIEDMAN
Since Candlestick has such a notorious reputation for its cold night weather, I thought I would heat up the debate, so to speak, by pointing out the warmest spots I've encountered at night as a Giant usherette: the lower boxes and the lower reserved seats of sections 5 and 7, between home and first base. But even if I were stationed 99% of the time in the coldest areas of the park—in the upper boxes near rightfield (commonly known as the Bob Uecker seats)—and always had to wear cotton in my ears, two sweaters, two pairs of socks, thermals and gloves, besides my regular uniform, I wouldn't give it up. As a photographer who was there in search of the typical San Francisco night fan said to me recently, "Although the people were bundled up, they were all smiling."
Great illustrations by John Huehnergarth! The humor he showed reminded me of an important side of sports—the light side. Fine work.
In reference to Willie Mays, Ron Fimrite notes, "It is often said that if he and Hank Aaron could have exchanged ballparks, there would be a different alltime home run king."
This is a common piece of folk wisdom that baseball fans repeat about these great players, and Mays himself has been quoted as saying that playing in Candlestick cost him 10 or 15 home runs per year. However, the facts clearly refute this legend. Mays played 12 full seasons in Candlestick, and in 8 of them he hit more home runs at home than on the road. The full story is made available by the statistical breakdowns in The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, which reveal that Mays hit 202 homers at Candlestick and 194 on the road during his San Francisco years.
We don't have to go far to find a player whose home run totals were clearly hurt by a ballpark that was his home for the major portion of his career. That player was Aaron. He spent 14 seasons in Milwaukee's County Stadium, where he had 195 home runs, while hitting 225 on the road. Aaron's Atlanta years compensated for the home runs he lost while spending the prime of his career in a pitcher's park. The final totals: Aaron, 385 round trippers at home, 370 on the road; Mays, 335 at home, 325 on the road.
Aaron is the greater home run hitter.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I just finished E.M. Swift's article on the New Orleans Saints (Is It A Sin For Saints To Win?, Aug. 25) and I'm not laughing, I'm not crying, I'm not even angry. Everything he said is true. For 19 seasons now, NFL teams and their fans have been laughing as the Saints fumbled and stumbled their way through games. This season will be different. The Saints are going to have a winning season. And one year—soon—they will be champions of the entire NFL. New Orleans will throw a party that will put other championship celebrations to shame, and the only laughing heard will be that of Louisianians.
LLOYD MANSION JR.