As baseball wheels into its final month the question is: Which National League team will fade the least (It's That Time Again, Aug. 30)? Instead of "Here Come the Cubs," your cover headline should have read "Down Go the Pirates." The NL must be pretty bad if no one can catch a couple of .580 percentage "powerhouses." It seems all a National League team has to do is play .500 ball to have a shot at the pennant, while Detroit and Boston, each playing better than .500 ball in the American League East, are completely out of it.
It is becoming apparent that the Orioles are a dynasty of the Yankee mold, while the only thing close to a dynasty in the National League is San Diego. The Padres may have full control of last place for the next 10 years.
I enjoyed your excellent articles by William Leggett and Ron Fimrite concerning the pennant races in the National League, but I would like to dispute a statement made by Mr. Fimrite in his portion of the story. He said that Richie Allen was a problem athlete in both Philadelphia and St. Louis. True, Richie had his differences with the Phillies' management and fans and even with his teammates. This, coupled with his flamboyant but solitary life-style, resulted in his finding himself a member of the Cardinals. But the Redbirds accepted Allen even if they did not exactly welcome him. After all, had they not traded away their incumbent catcher, Tim McCarver? In any event, Allen collected 34 homers and 101 RBIs for the Cards while being injured a good part of the time. He was subsequently peddled to Los Angeles because the Cards needed Ted Size-more to bolster their infield, which consisted of an aging Julian Javier and a good-field, no-hit shortstop named Dal Maxvill.
We Dodger fans love Richie, and he tries to supply the game with the necessary excitement. If you will notice, a number of his home runs this season have been booming shots over the center-field wall. You can bet that we are glad he's a Dodger.
Santa Monica, Calif.
Bill Grabarkewitz says in your article that the Giants don't have any fans, but he is wrong. The Dodgers may have better attendance than the Giants, but let's not forget that the Bay Area houses two professional baseball teams, the Giants and the A's. The A's, who are going to draw at least a million fans, have Vida Blue to show off. The Giants will draw over a million fans, too. The Giants lost ground to the Dodgers, but they always jump out ahead, and this time they'll stay ahead!
Thank you, William Leggett, and thank you, SI, for giving some overdue publicity to one of baseball's premier pitchers, Ferguson Jenkins.
Thank you for the write-up we Cub fans have been longing to read. Maybe the Cubs can win their first pennant since 1945!
Since you printed an article on the Pirates in the Aug. 2 issue, it was only fair of you to print another article on the miraculous comeback of the Cubs and Cards 28 days later. I'm sure that the latter article struck a hopeful note in the downtrodden hearts of the people in Chicago and St. Louis. However, as a Pirate rooter, I am not worried. As far as I'm concerned, the Bucs are going all the way.
RICHARD E. CARRAWAY
I beg to differ with you concerning Joe Jares' article New Bats and Arms in the Box Score (Aug. 30). He says that Henry Aaron and Earl Williams are the best 1-2 power package in either league. As of Aug. 30, Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell, major league leader in home runs (42) and RBIs (112), and Bob Robertson (26 HRs, 65 RBIs) were ahead of their Atlanta counterparts in both power categories.
NOEL J. TOPPER
As of Aug. 27 Willie Stargell and Bob Robertson of the Pirates had hit a total of 39 doubles, topping the output of 29 by Williams and Aaron. Williams and Aaron did have a 10-point advantage in batting average and they had hit a total of three triples to only one for Stargell/ Robertson, but neither of these categories is a power yardstick. What is important is that the Pirate pair had hit 68 home runs to 64 for the Braves" duo. Stargell and Robertson had also produced 177 RBIs, 11 more than Williams/Aaron.