SI Vault
August 24, 1964
PHILADELPHIA STORYSirs:Re: Let's Go, Phillies! (August 10): as a resident of a neighboring community, I can't blame Upper Darby. And certainly not Jack Olsen. Thanks for a fine job.STEPHEN M. RIVKIN Drexel Hill, Pa.
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August 24, 1964

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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?Like hitters in baseball, toreros are fortunate to average .300, or about one good fight in three.—ED.

Some years ago, you kindly printed a letter I wrote you about the late William (Sliding Billy) Hamilton, who played with Philadelphia and Boston from 1890 through 1901. Not long afterward Billy (along with Max Carey) was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, becoming its 86th member. I like to think that yours truly with the help of your 19TH HOLE had something to do with Hamilton's deserved election.

Bulwarked with that confidence, I am now writing to you about another great, Lefty O'Doul (see below), long overdue for his well-deserved place in Cooperstown.

Frank O'Doul toiled 11 seasons in the majors. At first he was a southpaw pitcher, with New York and Boston of the American League. He came back to the Pacific Coast League after arm trouble ruined his mound effectiveness, became a clouting outfielder and was called up to the National League by the New York Giants.

He hit .319 his first season back in the majors and was shunted to Philadelphia. In 1929 O'Doul stroked a torrid .398 for the Phils to win the National League batting crown and set a record with 254 base hits. He followed with a .383 mark the next year, only to lose out to Bill Terry's .401 and was traded to Brooklyn. As a Dodger he captured a second title with a .368 figure in 1932 at the age of 35.

His .349 lifetime major league average makes Lefty the No. 1 batter now living.
Haywood, Calif.

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