It seems only fair to make it clear to all your readers who are planning to drive to Mexico this year that Mr. Olsen's adventures, however laughable, have been very special indeed.
RACHMAEL BEN AVRAM
Foreign Press Service, Olympic Organizing Committee of Mexico
New York City
Cincinnati reader Stu Graff (19TH HOLE, June 17) states that Pete Rose's old high school, Western Hills, has sent eight players to the majors, "as many major league ballplayers as have been produced at any high school in the country."
I beg to differ. A quick check discloses that Beaumont High School in St. Louis has sent a total of 10 players to the majors during the past 25 years. Namely, Lee Thomas, Bob Miller, Roy Sievers, Bobby Hofman, Bob Wiesler, Lloyd Merritt, Jack Maguire, Buddy Blattner, Jim Goodwin and Chuck Diering.
I don't think Western Hills, or McClymonds High in Oakland, can match this record.
St. Louis, Mo.
RULES OF THUMB
Mark Mulvoy's rude and senseless comments regarding the decision made by Umpire Harry Wendelstedt on the batter hit by a Don Drysdale pitch (The Giants Find It Tough, June 10) were the most obviously biased that I have ever read. The rule which requires that a hit batter must have made an attempt to avoid being hit in order to be awarded first base is just one of the many rules a knowledgeable baseball follower remembers.
The umpire is paid to make decisions according to a set of rules, whether or not everyone remembers them. I would expect that the umpire should remember the rules of the game even if players, managers and sports reporters do not.
Mr. Wendelstedt should be commended for making the correct decision in a rather tense situation, and Mr. Mulvoy should be ashamed of his unfair criticism of that decision.
Officials at most sporting events go out of their way to protect the big names in sports. I have seen pro basketball games in which a big-name player such as Jerry West or Elgin Baylor would almost have to commit murder to have their sixth or last personal foul called on them. I have seen mediocre pro golfers ask for a free drop and be refused in situations where a Nicklaus or a Palmer would have been given relief. In fact, one year at the Masters I saw one player (whom I will not name) ask for a free drop. He was refused and, when the official walked away, the player remarked to the gallery, "I guess it depends on who you are as to whether or not you get a fair ruling."
The latest incident is Don Drysdale's record-breaking shutout in San Francisco. With the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Drysdale hit Dick Dietz with a pitch. Umpire Harry Wendelstedt said Dietz made no attempt to get out of the way of the pitch and simply called it a ball. If Willie Mays had been at bat I wonder if the umpire would have made the same call. A few weeks ago Joe Torre was hit in the head with a pitch he said he never saw. Since he didn't see it, he made no attempt to get out of the way. If Umpire Wendelstedt had been behind the plate, Joe Torre would probably have been asked to complete his turn at bat before going to the hospital for X rays.
A pitcher as great as Drysdale doesn't need help to pitch a shutout. Let's quit giving the big names the breaks. They don't need them.