I just finished reading The Americanovakian Open. Ivan Lendl may have played well, and he is on your cover, but guess what? I still don't care.
Although Curry Kirkpatrick only alluded to the disqualification of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming from the men's doubles because of their tardy arrival, it is obvious that, after 7 years, the USTA has finally realized that it can operate without groveling to McEnroe. It took McEnroe just a bit longer to realize the same thing—7 years and 15 minutes to be exact.
It was refreshing to read that Peter Gammons thinks Mike Schmidt deserves a third MVP award (It's Oscar Time For Baseball, Sept. 8). I think most baseball fans would agree that Schmidt is one of the best players of his time and a certain Hall of Famer. However, most fans are not aware of how he stacks up against the greatest players of all time. Schmidt has won more home run and RBI titles than any player in National League history. If he wins his eighth home run title this year, he will have equaled Henry Aaron and Willie Mays combined. If he wins his fourth RBI title, he will tie the alltime National League record. Philadelphia fans (especially those of you who have booed him over the years), take note: You are watching a once-in-a-lifetime player. Do you really think it is just a coincidence that five division titles, two NL pennants and a world championship followed Schmidt to Philadelphia?
There is no doubt that Roger Clemens has been most valuable to the Red Sox this year. But if we are going to be consistent, there is no justification for Clemens's getting the MVP award when Ron Guidry was beaten by Jim Rice in 1978. Guidry got the Yankees to their 163rd game almost single-handedly. Rice was the leader of the Red Sox team that suffered one of the worst chokes in the history of professional sports. If ever there was an argument for a starter, or any pitcher, winning the MVP, it was in 1978, not 1986.
Boston's Jim Rice started September by beating up on opposing pitching staffs. If, as Don Mattingly says, September is when it really counts and both the Red Sox and Rice remain hot, then a second MVP award for Rice would surely seem appropriate.
Dave Parker deserved the MVP last year, and he deserves it this year. Without him, Cincinnati would be on the bottom. Gary Carter? Give me Parker.
SCOTT E. HOLSTAD
FOR WANT OF A HOT STOVE
Deep within the pages of Ron Fimrite's story on windy Candlestick Park (Gone With The Wind? Sept. 1) lies the revelation that 20,000 seats were equipped with a radiant heating system, which, naturally, didn't work. Right? Wrong. Well, maybe some of each. My cousin Kurt Helmstaedter, who was an interior designer on the job, told me this story: He was at an early-season game with owner Horace Stoneham that first year. The weather was chilly, but on that night the heating system did work; it was near perfection. Then about the sixth inning, Stoneham wondered out loud, "Say, who pays the bill for all of this heat, me or the city?" That was the last time the radiant heating system worked.
Have you noticed the great similarity between Oklahoma's two football dynasties, the Bud Wilkinson teams of 1947 to 1963 and the Barry Switzer teams of 1973 to the present?
After the first 154 games, each had a record of 126-24-4, for a winning percentage of .818. Each had three national championships (1950, 1955, 1956 and 1974, 1975, 1985, respectively). Each had one Heisman Trophy winner (Billy Vessels, 1952, and Billy Sims, 1978) and two Outland Trophy winners (Jim Weatherall, 1951, and J.D. Roberts, 1953; and Lee Roy Selmon, 1975, and Greg Roberts, 1978). Each also had one Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year ( Jerry Tubbs, 1956, and Billy Sims, 1978). What's more, Wilkinson's split T and Switzer's wishbone are primarily rushing offenses.
As for this season, Switzer is to be admired for scheduling first-class teams for nonconference games; OU plays seven teams that went to bowl games last season.
ABE K. PIERCE