I was the typical 10-year-old who watched Jackie get up and brush off the dirt from his rear end; who watched Carl turn a sure single to right into an out at first; who watched Campy pick off a man stealing, as if he were tossing the ball back to the mound.
Today I am the typical 32-year-old businessman flying the shuttle back from Boston and crying for my 9-year-old son, who will not have the advantages in life that both my father and I had. Thanks for telling me something that I had almost forgotten.
Port Washington, N.Y.
I saw my first major league game in 1940 in Ebbets Field. On that day of overwhelming impressions, two things stood out: the incredible combination of colors—the green, green grass, the rich brown infield dirt, the brilliant white Dodger uniforms—and the smell of the grass. Somehow I never expected that smell. I mean in the middle of Brooklyn, in that ratty old ball park! Later in the game, the cigar smoke, spilled beer, hot dogs, Hilda Chester and the guy who used to scream "Cookeeee" numbed the sensibilities. But that initial smell Eve never forgotten. And somehow when O'Malley moved to LA. and when Monsanto invented AstroTurf, baseball for me lost its magic. Pete Reiser, where are you?
I lived only three blocks from Ebbets Field. At the time I was rather fortunate because the father of one of my friends worked there. When the Dodgers were away, we were allowed to play on the field. I couldn't start to explain the feeling of being on the same field where some of the world's most famous ballplayers made their names.
Reading and enjoying Roger Kahn's piece brought to mind many trips I made to Ebbets Field from New Rochelle, N.Y. to root for the Dodgers.
Invariably sitting in front of me in the grandstand behind home plate was a vociferous rooter for all the visiting teams. He didn't care who the opponents were.
Every time a play or a decision went against the Dodgers, his booming voice would cry out, "Eat your hearts out, you bums!"
I often wonder if he went out to California with the team.
A. RANDALL RUSKIN, D.D.S.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
I heartily concur that Ken Brett (A Pitcher with a Lot of Clout, Aug. 5) is indeed a very pleasant and refreshing flashback to those good old and long-gone days of the above-average hitting pitchers. I can well recall Wes Farrell of the Indians with his natural hitting ability. Also, back in the '30s there was Fred (Red) Lucas, the pugnacious hurler of the Cincinnati Reds and, subsequently, the Pirates. Though not a power hitter such as Ferrell or Brett, Lucas was a very reliable and productive pinch hitter, besides getting his share of hits in the games in which he pitched. For my part, the American League designated-hitter role is for the birds (and I don't mean the Orioles) and I'm glad that the National League did not adopt it. It makes for a far more exciting game when the pitcher takes his regular turn at the plate, since there is always the element of surprise in the eventuality of an unexpected and timely hit. Would that there were more fine hitting pitchers around today like Kenny Brett, for I'm sure that the game would then be more exciting.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
THE LONG VIEW
The new flip technique in the long jump (The Flip That Led to a Flap, July 29) is enjoying a lot of publicity and is touted in your magazine as being "the first significant long-jump breakthrough in more than 50 years." This is probably true, as there are only so many things a jumper can do on his way to and into the sandpit. But while we are revolutionizing jumping technique let's make an even more fundamental change.