Robert W. Creamer's And Along Came Ruth (March 18) evoked a boyhood memory. The time must have been between 1916, when "he was the best left-handed pitcher in baseball," and 1918, when "he began his transition from mound to outfield."
The place was Lebanon, Pa., and in the off season Ruth, like many other big-leaguers, had opted for the infields and outfields of industrial baseball, the Bethlehem Steel League in this instance. He did not, however, either pitch or play the outfield; he played first base for Lebanon.
He apparently worked only mornings, because afternoons found him on the diamond and 8:30 a.m. found him sauntering along to the Bethlehem plant by way of 7th and Chestnut Streets, where he picked up a
from this newsboy every morning the team was in town.
ROBERT C. HYNSON
What might have happened to the Babe's career if the designated hitter had been permitted in his time? If the present American League rule had been in effect then, Ruth could have taken his regular pitching turn as long as his arm stayed good—batting for himself. Then, between his turns on the mound, he could have been the designated hitter, with no need to play the outfield.
Barring the possibility of his arm giving out, he would have become, in addition to the game's top home-run hitter (at least until 1974), one of the top left-handed pitchers of all time, ranking along with Grove, Plank, Waddell, Hubbell, Koufax, Spahn, etc.
HOWARD W. MILLER
Just seeing the cover I knew that this would be a great issue. Ruth did more for sports than any other person ever will do. More than the Aarons, more than the Russells, more than the Howes or Nicklaus or Unitas. The Babe will always be No. 1.
I just want to add my admiration for a superb job of research by Mr. Creamer that brings Ruth alive to a new generation. We can all thank Mr. Creamer's uncle for taking him to his first Yankee game.
Robert F. Jones' sensitivity for life and for sport is apparent in this delicate and brutal article (Slaughter on South Island, March 18). He has made readers aware of an existing problem and has personalized it so beautifully that sportsmen the world over will weep a little to themselves—as I did.
ROGER W. SMITH
After serving in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division (1969-70), I found the slaughter of the South Island red deer a familiar story. My only regret is not being able to bring down these helicopters with rifle fire. A bloody good thrill should be shared by man and beast alike. I prefer the animal's viewpoint.
J. V. WILLIAMS
North Jackson, Ohio
The grim fate of the red deer of New Zealand is a perfect example of a wilderness absent of predators.