Profound thanks to Steve Wulf for his marvelously therapeutic glance back at the 1964 Phillies (The Year of the Blue Snow, Sept. 25). I got to one late-summer game that fateful year, and I remember a neighborhood kid snaking his way through the crowd outside Connie Mack Stadium and chanting, "[Chris] Short better have it tonight. They ain't got nobody else."
Blasphemy, I thought. Short made quick work of the Cubs that day, but on the way home I read a newspaper column warning that the pitching staff was being overextended. Again, heresy, but I thought about what the kid had said.
Wulf has provided a much-needed sense of resolution for all of us who have grieved over the Phlop for 25 years. We're in his debt. I only wish he had stayed a fan through 1980, when things got better for the faithful.
WILLIAM R. DRENNAN
When I turned 14, in August 1964, I told my parents that the best birthday present would be tickets to the World Series to see my Phillies. I still display those unused deluxe-box tickets in my den, but instead of regarding them as tokens of derision and frustration, I have come to see them as symbols of the unpredictability of life's endeavors. Thanks to Wulf for a fine article and a chance to reflect on a powerful rite of passage.
JAY NOREIKA, M.D.
As a former resident of St. Louis, I can assure you that there are plenty of baseball fans for whom the 1964 Cardinals have "a stronger identity" than the '64 Phillies. May I suggest that 25 years has been long enough for this pity party? We should give equal time to the story of how Gibson, Brock, Boyer, Flood, White, Groat, McCarver, Javier et al. staged a stirring drive to give St. Louis its first pennant in 18 years and then defeated a solid Yankee team in a memorable seven-game World Series.
In SCORECARD (Oct. 2) you reprinted several clever names suggested by San Francisco Examiner columnist Rob Morse for the city's proposed ballpark. My favorite, however, comes from Herb Caen's column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Caen suggested that we sell corporate sponsorship of the stadium to Ralph Lauren. The Giants' new home could then be called the Polo Grounds.
There is gold in them thar back issues of SI. That was my thought upon returning from this year's annual convention of the Golf Collectors Society in Miami last month. One of the treasures I acquired there was a set of five consecutive SIs, beginning with the March 11, 1957, issue, which featured Ben Hogan's series entitled The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. The bid on this lot was $100—or $20 per issue.
Admittedly, I am a hopelessly addicted golfer and collector of the game's memorabilia. These recently acquired issues of SI will take their place alongside other golf-related items, such as my hickory-shafted Calamity Jane putter.
My vote for SI's Sportsman of the Year goes to Joe Montana. The type of game-winning drive he engineered in Super Bowl XXIII with slightly more than three minutes left has been the rule rather than the exception during his college and professional careers. It almost appears as though he is the calm eye of a hurricane: While all else around him is a blur of confusion, his steadying confidence seems to enable his teammates to elevate their performances.
Aside from his phenomenal achievements on the field, I find his dry sense of humor in interviews a welcome change from the self-centered comments of the many spoiled stars of today.
DORIS B. CHASE