It was with mounting indignation that I read Jack Mann's tabloid description of The Battle of San Francisco (Aug. 30).
Mann dutifully reported the Dodger demands for Marichal's crucifixion but made no mention of Roseboro's possible culpability. After all, as Mann said, the exchange of knockdown pitches had set the stage, and "any little thing could mean war." Any little thing, such as Marichal being hit in the ear by Roseboro, who was squatting three feet behind him. The usual retaliation for a knockdown pitch was that displayed by Koufax, who threw at Mays. Roseboro's act was an innovation. After he had been struck Marichal did not immediately begin to swing but stepped back, menacing Roseboro with his bat. Roseboro came toward him as if ready to fight, and Marichal, a short-tempered Latin who possibly did not want to risk injury to his pitching hand by striking at Roseboro's mask-protected face, flailed away. I am not making excuses for Marichal's actions. They were entirely unjustifiable, but they were certainly not unprovoked.
LAWRENCE J. YAKAITIS
I think it's about time for someone to defend Juan Marichal instead of condemning him. I have read articles by sportswriters from New York to St. Louis to Los Angeles, each one blasting the Giants' star pitcher for his mistake, but there is just one thing I would like to know. What would one of those great gentlemen have done in Juan's place? Handed Roseboro the bat?
BOB GRASSILLI JR.
I am shocked at the extremely mild punishment given to Juan Marichal by National League President Warren Giles. Marichal is a pitcher, and an eight-day suspension means that he loses only one turn in the Giants' pitching rotation. Thus, for committing the brutally barbaric and perhaps criminal act of assaulting another human being three times with a lethal weapon on an extremely sensitive area of the human anatomy—the head—Marichal is deprived of only one day's work.
How absurd! Leo Durocher was suspended for an entire year in 1947 for a far less serious offense. In my opinion, Marichal deserved at least a one-year suspension.
I saw the Battle of San Francisco myself, and it got me thinking about some others—the Battle of Philadelphia, for instance. You remember when Frank Thomas hit Richie Allen with a bat and was not penalized at all? He was, in fact, "rewarded" by being sent from the worst place to play baseball to the best. What's more, you can count the batters who have been beaned by Juan Marichal on one hand, whereas Einstein couldn't count Drysdale's beanballs on an adding machine.
Menlo Park, Calif.
No matter what your San Francisco readers will write you, Juan Marichal should be banned from baseball for his inexcusable and brutal act. Anyone irresponsible enough to pull such a stunt exhibits a lack of self-control unbecoming to our national pastime. Juan Marichal not only hurt John Roseboro, but he also hurt baseball.
Bluefield, W. Va.
My reaction as a heretofore avid baseball fan is that I'm going to really enjoy professional football and golf during the following summers and falls.
OF MICE AND MARRIAGE
As far as I'm concerned Palmer, Nicklaus and Player have been dethroned by Laura MacIvor, Meezie Pritchett and Gail Sykes (Rock and Roll in the Rockies, Aug. 30). These little ladies have advanced the game of golf 50 years. (And if lovely Laura should like to date anyone besides an Air Force Academy plebe I can be found this fall at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.)
RANDALL W. RICKMAN
If I had known that the fine game of golf offered such a beauty as Laura MacIvor I would have taken it up long ago!