Thanks for the editorial on "The Foul, Hot Summer" (SCORECARD, July 25). As a sports fanatic and an environmentalist, I'm glad to see you warning those who are unaware. If something isn't done, we might see only sandlot (literally) baseball and AstroTurf golf courses. Also, muddy, snow-covered football fields might become as extinct as dodoes.
Redington Beach, Fla.
Kenny Moore's story about the exclusive fraternity of gracefully aging discus throwers (The Old Men and the Discus, July 25) was yet another in a long line of poignant and illuminating stories by one of your finest writers. The friendship between Wolfgang Schmidt and Mac Wilkins, which has survived political harassment, geographical separation and even Schmidt's imprisonment, is a reminder of the real goals and benefits of Olympic competition.
LANDY ANDERTON Raleigh, N.C.
SOAP BOX DERBY
Frank Deford captured the heart and essence of Akron and its relationship with the Soap Box Derby (Real Boys, Aug. 1). Everyone here knows when it's Derby week (especially those of us who work downtown; all day Monday the champs arrive with sirened police escorts), and it's a source of pride for Akronites. Thanks, Frank. We all need to be reminded what "sport" was meant to be.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Oh, nostalgia! I grew up in the nearby town of Tallmadge and was on Tallmadge Hill with my father for those early All-American Derbies. A big thrill in my youth was racing at Derby Downs in 1940 in the local contest. After World War II, I volunteered as an usher at the Derby for several years, and one of my old snapshots shows Jimmy Stewart racing in the "jet equipped" car you pictured. Thanks for the memories.
WILLIAM B. SHREVE
Frank Deford gave us an insightful look at a wonderful tradition. Having grown up in Akron, I can attest that the Midwest remains not only a wonderful place to live and to build a future for a family but also "the one true place for boys"...including Tom Sawyer.
U.S. House of Representatives
Steve Wulf's article on American beizbol in the Soviet Union (The Russians Are Humming, July 25) brought back memories. In the summer of 1967, while I was serving as an assistant Air Force attach� in Moscow, the American embassy rented a large soccer field in Lenin Stadium for two hours each Saturday morning for eight weeks. There we laid out a regulation Little League baseball diamond. The bases, as well as about a dozen bats, two dozen baseballs, a dozen gloves and other equipment, were all donated by several Little League baseball teams in Fairfax, Va., where I had lived and coached in 1965 and '66.
My wife, my son and I, plus a few embassy Marine guards, were the coaches, trainers and umpires. We invited the children of American, Canadian, British, Australian, Indian, French and Swedish diplomats, businessmen and TV and newspaper correspondents to participate. Boys and girls from six through 12 played. We had a rule that no one could strike out or walk. Every batter hit the ball somewhere. Little by little, curious Russian children and adults came to watch, and finally we coaxed a few Russian youngsters to play. They could hit and catch the ball fairly well, but had difficulty fielding and throwing the ball. In our next to last game, one team completed a double play. It wasn't anything like Tinker to Evers to Chance, but it was Clarke ( Great Britain) to Smith ( U.S.) to Nickoliaev ( U.S.S.R.), and it resulted in a five-minute celebration.
Unfortunately, our attempt at Little League baseball in Moscow lasted only one year because we could not afford to pay $125 a week for the use of the field for only two hours. I hope one of those Russian children who played beizbol with us 21 years ago now has a son playing on one of the Soviet teams.
COL. LEON G. MARK, USAF (RET.)
Last January I was in Moscow on a musical tour through the U.S.S.R. and Poland. One evening, after I had made a late-night visit to Red Square, my bus back to the hotel swung through the Dynamo sports complex, past the hockey arena, gymnastics center and the indoor, glass-walled soccer field, where the lights were on. A beizbol game was in full swing. Midnight baseball on a winter's night in Moscow—my homesickness was cured.
Steve Wulf indicates that "designated hitter" is in the Russian vocabulary but does not mention whether the Soviets have actually adopted the DH. If not, their game is un-American—American League, that is.