As an A's fan, I wish to compliment Ron Fimrite on his fine article (On Tour With "Hair" July 31).
Indeed, the A's are a solid ball club with power (most home runs in the American League), pitching (second best to Baltimore in ERA), speed (Campaneris, Rudi, Jackson, Bando and Hendrick) and near-errorless fielding. All of this and a great manager in Dick Williams have given the A's the best record in the American League and a substantial lead over the Chicago White Sox. We'll see them in the World Series.
Ron Fimrite's feature story on the Oakland A's was very moving. It almost made me sorry our Red Sox knocked them off in four out of six games.
R. F. BUTTERWORTH
My heart really bled for Oakland Catcher Dave Duncan after I read that he felt his statistics were sufficient for him to make the All-Star team but that Earl Weaver kept him off by selecting "a mere rookie" from the Red Sox by the name of Carlton Fisk. If Duncan had looked in the newspapers, he would have noticed more impressive statistics—those held by Fisk. Carlton was hitting .310 and had a slugging percentage of .624! White Sox organist Nancy Faust plays Jesus Christ Superstar when the fantastic Dick Allen appears at the plate, yet he was batting only .300 and slugging .574.
If Duncan had criticized Weaver for not having picked Relievers Sparky Lyle and Terry Forster, I could agree with him.
I thoroughly enjoyed the article. As we know, the A's are a balanced, wholesome team. They don't have rules on clothes, hair or even bed checks. As Catcher Dave Duncan put it, "We do what we want off the field with whoever we want."
I feel there are other teams with just as much talent as Oakland, if not more, but something is lacking—a little freedom.
I have just finished reading Barry McDermott's article (Putting Out the Fires in New York, July 31), and I must say it is excellent. Sparky Lyle has to be the most underrated reliever in the majors. We all know Earl Weaver left Sparky out of the All-Star lineup. Danny Murtaugh of the National League picked Tug McGraw and Clay Carroll, who are both relievers.
I hope Sparky gets voted the American League Fireman of 1972 so that, once and for all, everyone will know who is No. 1.
Second-guessing is probably more of a national pastime than the game of baseball itself. But what irony. Earl Weaver omitted Sparky Lyle and asked, "Which of my selections would anyone like to switch for Lyle?" It was interesting, of course, that three of his former 20-game winners were chosen. Since Danny Murtaugh went with Tug McGraw and came out victorious, I guess it is obvious whom Lyle could have replaced! Hats off to SI for pointing out Weaver's "dilemma."
ROBERT M. WATERSON
New Haven, Conn.