BRICKBATS FOR DESIS
Saying that the American League's designated hitters get more hits than the National League's pitchers (Off the Bike and into the Box, May 7) is like saying that bricklayers lay more bricks than brain surgeons do. Of course they get more hits, but whatever the game is they're playing, it isn't baseball to me. Part of the charm of baseball is in seeing the manager exploit the strengths and weaknesses of his players, making his moves to utilize the skills, or lack of them, that each man possesses. The DH rule has taken much of this finesse out of the game, profoundly changing it for the worse.
If one DH is good, I'll bet my Pirate yearbook that somebody is going to figure that two is better. If two, why not nine? Better yet, why not 18—nine righties and nine lefties? How about bringing back Dick Stuart and giving him a job as a DFB (designated first baseman)? More jobs for young and old!
There are possibilities in other sports, too. Consider a DBFGR (designated blocked field goal runner) for Garo Yepremian. Suit up Bill Sharman and have him become Wilt Chamberlain's DFS (designated foul shooter). And, by all means, have a DP (designated putter) for Sam Snead.
All of these things make about as much sense to me as the DH rule. What scares me is that I can truly see them coming.
JAMES W. DAVIS
Princeton Junction, N.J.
While the designated hitter will produce a lot more hits and runs for the American League than ever before, I feel that the DH should bat ninth in his team's batting order, the spot that pitchers have been relegated to over the years. After all, it's the pitcher the DH is replacing, isn't it?
If, as William Leggett suggests in his article, the American League has a more exciting brand of baseball due to its new DH rule, somebody had better tell its fans. On Sunday, May 6, the American League drew only 64,745 for seven games (including one doubleheader); the Nationals drew 137,002 for seven (one doubleheader). That is an average of 19,572 for Feeney's boys as compared with 9,249 for Cronin's. If the DH is as stimulating as Mr. Leggett suggests and if the National League were to adopt it, I assume the NL probably would draw three times as many fans as the AL. However, I predict that Chub Feeney will stick with his DO (designated out, i.e., the pitcher) and feel twice as nice about it.
B. RONALD ROMMEL
Kansas City, Kans.
Regarding your article, Charles Feeney may answer Joe Cronin's "letter" thus:
Glad you are enjoying yourself. We can hardly wait to see you in the World Series where your Desis will have to take the rest of the year off and your pitchers, who haven't swung wood all season, will have to fend for themselves, just like the good old days. We think it will be a lot of fun.
Concerning your article on Luis Tiant (Where There's Smoke, There's Luis, May 7), I thought that the pictures were obnoxious. At least you could have shown more photos of Luis playing baseball; I really don't want to see him taking a shower. I like Tiant, but I like him best in a uniform.
I enjoyed Myron Cope's article on Luis Tiant. Tiant never has gotten the credit he deserves, but Eddie Kasko has done something right by putting him in the Red Sox starting rotation.
Charleston, W. Va.