After reading the article on Willie Mays (Say Hey No More, Aug. 7), I feel sorry for the little boys who live in Mark Mulvoy's neighborhood. I'm sure he takes delight in gathering up their baseballs when they land in his yard. To thousands of little boys, and to baseball fans of all ages, Willie Mays is immortal. He is immune to knockdowns, strikeouts, errors—and to old age. Please let us hang on to our memories of the big guys. We want to remember these men, who have contributed so much to sport, at their best.
Willie Mays is still a great ballplayer and he will die a great ballplayer. Willie playing anywhere but center field sounds funny, but so did the idea of the other great center fielder, Mickey Mantle, playing first base. Willie is Mr. Giant. Without him there are no Giants.
From your account one would gather that Willie is a malingering, neurotic hypochondriac, bumbling about the outfield and grudgingly resentful at the plate. How about his friendliness (he's always talking and laughing), his even temper (has he ever been thrown out of a game?), his sportsmanship (his interviews are gems of modesty) and his leadership (he's an excellent team captain). You might add that his batting average and RBI totals are respectable, too.
You speak of the aging Willie Mays struggling to finish the season. You show Mr. Mays sitting in the locker room looking quite dejected and you present two pictures exhibiting a Mays error as if it were something usual.
Well, I just listened to the poor rundown Mays hit two homers and a double, driving in three runs—all within a span of two games. The batting average of Mays is no longer in the .280s (it was .296 on August 3). Could it be that the man is getting well?
SAN FRANCISCO SOPHISTRY
Perhaps the reason that Willie Mays does not get the protection he wants is that Marichal and the other Giant pitchers don't dare protect him (and the other Giant hitters) for fear they will incur the wrath of San Francisco fans and sportswriters. After Marichal's notorious retaliation against Roseboro several seasons ago, Marichal received more criticism from the San Francisco sportswriters than from those of any other area, including Los Angeles. At the same time, the San Francisco press (and fans) have long idolized Don Drysdale, even though he has consistently been accused of throwing at Giant batters, particularly Mays. Giant fans, and 49er fans, endure beanings and other assorted indignities visited on the home team in silence, saving their hoots and catcalls for the locals, perhaps from a misplaced sense of what constitutes sophistication. This has to be one of the reasons that the Giants and the 49ers never live up to their potential.
JOHN A. JUDGE
The All-Star charity football game has become a farce and a bore (No Place for Stars to Shine, Aug. 14). Imagine Wilt Chamberlain and Co., or the Baltimore Orioles, playing an All-Star college team in basketball or baseball. It would be no contest, just as the football game turned out to be. With professional sports as they are today, the possibility of an upset has become less and less of a reality.
I suggest that the promoters take an objective look at the All-Star game and modernize its concept. Why not have the college All-Stars play against a team of the top professional rookies of the previous season? Or against a team of the top three-year men selected by coaches, players or fans? Give such a team three weeks to practice, as the All-Stars have, and you'd have quite a game, with tremendous fan appeal.
I have no doubt that golf's best shot for Gay Brewer is the fade (How to Hit Golf's Best Shot, Aug. 7), but to consider it the best shot in golf seems totally unfounded.
Brewer does not seem to realize that the weekend golfer's chronic problem is not hooking but avoiding the ills of the dub, such as the topped shot, shanked shot, etc. Brewer's information might also cause the more competent golfer to have trouble making solid contact and to come up with a banana slice.
Kansas City, Mo.