I believe Roy Blount does an injustice to a great pitcher with a mediocre team in his article on Phil Niekro ( Atlanta Tranquility Base Here, Aug. 4). I have little patience with nit-picking, but in this case I am speaking up for a grand guy, a fine pitcher and a player who never received the credit that he deserved.
It was Eddie Rommel's fate to pitch for the old Philadelphia Athletics during one of their worst periods. Eddie was a knuckleballer, but he used it mainly as his "out" pitch—he had a good fastball and what is known today as a slider. In 1922, he won 27 games, lost 13 and the A's finished seventh. Cy Perkins caught him and did a fine job, although he was the first to admit that he was never sure where the knuckler was going.
In his well-written piece on Niekro, Blount makes the observation that Niekro "should be the first knuckleballer ever to win 20 games in a season."
Not so, Roy, in my opinion. Eddie Rommel has already done better than that.
WALTER R. GODARD
Colonel, USAF (ret.)