HAPPINESS IN THE NL WEST
I congratulate William Leggett on a fine article about the Houston Astros of 1972 (Here Come the Happiness Boys, June 5). It has been a long time since something great has hit this town of ours, but it was worth the wait. Now it is the Astros' turn to win the pennant, and it is going to happen this year.
As an ecstatic Met and Astro fan, I was overjoyed to see features in SI on both of those beautiful teams. The Mets have Willie Mays, not to mention indescribable balance and fans that don't quit. Jim Wynn summed up the Astros in one word: rowdy—and that once-beleaguered team is entitled to every bit of rowdiness it wants to exhibit. The divisional playoffs between the Astros and the Mets will be the sweetest series since spirit was discovered.
LISA DE LA FUENTE
How about Clockwork Orange as a nickname for the 1972 edition of the Astros?
Your article on the Houston Astros was a bit premature. In a four-game series with the Astros, the Cincinnati Reds scored a whopping 39 runs, including a pair of grand-slam home runs, and ousted Houston from first place in the division. Your article stated that the race to watch is the one between the Dodgers and the Astros. Although Houston does sport one of the best infields in the league (with Lee May and Tommy Helms, both acquired from the Reds), it is obvious that the Big Red Machine is back. Happiness abounds in Cincinnati!
Orange Crushed is the name for the Houston Astros after Cincinnati's Big Red Machine rolled through the Dome.
AT SHORT AND THIRD
In the article Big Gloves Hold Big Promise (May 22) Ron Fimrite said that the combination of Aurelio Rodriguez and Ed Brinkman is superior defensively to any short-stop-third base combination in baseball. True, he mentioned Baltimore's Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger but has he forgotten completely some of the National League's handy glove men?
Chicago's Ron Santo-Don Kessinger combination has earned some fame. Santo has led the National League in putouts seven times and in chances accepted nine times, and he also has the lead in other NL fielding departments. He is a pretty fair hitter, too (300 career home runs so far). As for Kessinger, many experts consider him the best shortstop in the league. I would take these two fielders ahead of any others, in either league.
You have done it again! Why don't you check the true case before printing the arbitrary, subjective appraisals that some of your writers decide are gospel truth? I am referring to William Leggett's allegation in his article on the Astros that Doug Rader is "the closest thing the league has to a Brooks Robinson with a glove."
Look at these 1971 statistics: Ron Santo handled 409 chances to 389 for Rader. Santo played in 14 more games than Rader. And Santo's fielding percentage was .958 while Rader's was .946.
Quit crowing for the Red Rooster, Mr. Leggett. It doesn't look good for a writer to lay an egg.