Your article, Home Run Heaven (May 18), plays on a subject close to my heart. I have contended for a long time that the major league schedules are not played "with all things being equal." And I don't think that the best team always comes out with the pennant. Something should be done to require all clubs to tailor their parks to be identical.
Why do the San Francisco Giants hit so many home runs at home and win so many games at home? Why is the Pirate home run "total so low every year? Take Felipe Alou and Ed Bailey (who hit home runs at Candlestick Park) to County Stadium—and no more home runs! Take Dick Stuart out of vast Forbes Field and place him in Fenway Park and he practically leads the league.
Of course there are many other variables, but at least give us some uniformity by making all parks the same in dimensions. Or give the Pirates a six-game handicap at the start of the season.
J. D. DONATELLI
Laws are made to apply to everyone, and it should also be true of the laws of professional baseball. When the additions to Rule 1.04 were adopted, which said that no park may be constructed after June 1, 1958 with foul lines less than 325 feet and no present park lessened to within 325 feet, no mention was made about the parks already built with shorter foul lines. Charles O. Finley's recent protest to this, in the form of the Kansas City Pennant Porch, was a direct violation of this rule, but he did succeed in pointing out the advantage the Yankees have in this respect over the rest of the American League. The only other team, besides the Yankees, with such a short foul line is Boston, which has it guarded by a 50-foot fence in left field. The 44-inch wall in Yankee Stadium has allowed dozens of cheap home runs, impossible in any other park. Since the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium nine times more than any other team in the American League, they can develop their team to take advantage of the wall (such as lefty hitters and pitchers), and while they might not win all of their games with home runs to right field, the wall, by just being there, gives them a psychological edge over their opponents. A 30- or 40-foot fence in right field would certainly help to even out the usually lopsided American League pennant race.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
Seems to me that we have heard enough about home run porches!
Why doesn't Mr. Finley face the facts? Kansas City finished eighth in team standings, eighth in team batting, eighth in earned run averages and who knows where in team fielding. His best hitter's BA was a tremendous .280, and I doubt if the great slugger Wayne Causey could hit a ball 296 feet! Does Finley really think he could end "Yankee dominance" with that bunch of humpty-dumpties just by putting up a 296-foot fence?
Why doesn't Finley try to beat the Yanks like the Dodgers did—with bat and glove, instead of talk and porches?
WORDS TO THE WISE
Thank you for your suggested additions of surfing terminology to Webster's Third New International Dictionary (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, May 18). We are glad to have the words gremmie, hot-dogger, beach bunny, wahine and woody called to our attention and glad to put them in our files. We would have to have a lot of evidence of widespread general usage before putting them in any of our dictionaries, except, of course, wahine in its earlier sense. The word surfing is, as you say, here to stay, and we are glad to have evidence of such variations on it as surf (noun), meaning "dance," and surfer, meaning "trunks" as well as "person who surfs." Perhaps you will be interested to know that we are even more interested to find examples of blue-jeaned, beachside, suitmaker and palaka in SPORTING LOOK Editor Fred Smith's article on surfing fashions (High Surfdom).
P. B. GOVE
Editor in Chief, G. & C. Merriam Company Springfield, Mass.
It ain't so. Eric Ridder's entire crew from me on down has not jumped ship from Constellation to Columbia. I refer, of course, to the sentence in Carleton Mitchell's otherwise excellent article (A Heaping Cupful of Twelves, May 18) on America's Cup preparations in which I and the rest of Eric's crew are identified as sailing on Columbia. Mitch, of course, knows better, but somewhere down the line is a proofreader who doesn't. I, Dun Gifford, Buddy Bombard, Larry Scheu, Steve Van Dyck, Dick Goennel and Bob Connell are still very much on Constellation and wouldn't be anywhere else.
I know most of your readers will realize this was unintentional. Maybe you will find a way to mention the three other regular members of our crew, George F. (Fenny) Johnson, Don Wakeman and Fred Kulicke.
ROBERT N. BAVIER JR.
New York City