THE CRACK OF THE BAT
What an issue (April 7)! Beginning on page 36 Images Larger than Life shows the baseball player in his own world, "unaware of the vendor crying his wares in the stands." Twenty pages later, Born To Be a Dodger reveals Steve Garvey as the ultimate gentleman. And 22 pages farther on, Leo (The Lip) Durocher's story (That Old Gang of Mine) brings back memories of the rowdy Gas House Gang. Beautiful.
PLAYER AND FAN
Ron Fimrite's analysis of major league baseball today (Going to Bat for the Game, April 7) was superb. Sal Bando is an extremely articulate spokesman and his points were well taken.
By the way, I would like to see Johnny Carson work as long and as hard for the millions he makes each year. Take your $100,000, Sal, you earn it!
LEE S. SIMONSON
It was very interesting to read Ron Fimrite's speculations concerning the estrangement of fan and player. He seems to have missed an important point, though. In this day of six-figure contracts, the average fan expects a professional performance from the professional athlete. Mistakes, if they are caused by a lack of hustle or a lapse in concentration, make one wonder if the high salaries paid to the pros are deserved. As Fimrite states, "The modern athlete...is faster, stronger and better trained at an earlier age than his predecessors." Yet, sometimes it seems that the player of today lacks the desire or guts to give an honest effort on the playing field at all times. This obscures the tremendous physical abilities to be found in modern professional athletes, adding to the estrangement of player and fan.
WILLIAM J. PIGULA JR.
Roy Blount's article on Steve Garvey (Born To Be a Dodger, April 7) was superbly written and a fine tribute to an exceptional athlete. Garvey is unique: no pretense, no plastics; just real and refreshing. He is the finest gentleman to step into a Dodger uniform since Sandy Koufax. Who says nice guys finish last?
JOHN M. BAROODY
After the Oakland A's had won their second world championship in 1973, you put Pete Rose on the cover of your 1974 baseball issue. Now, after the A's have made it three straight, Steve Garvey pops up on the cover. What's going on? When will you give some credit to the A's in particular and the American League in general?
As for Garvey's statement that he may have had the best year ever in baseball, may I remind him of the year 1956 and Mickey Mantle? Mantle got 188 hits, scored a league-leading 132 runs and won the triple crown with 52 homers, 130 RBIs and a .353 batting average. He had a slugging average of .705 and won the Most Valuable Player award. And what is even more significant, Mantle did all this before expansion teams weakened baseball.
"This is the best year I can recall. Well, I guess it's the best year since 1956 when Bill Russell, Willie Naulls and Tom Heinsohn came into the league"—K. C. Jones (The Class with a Lot of Class, April 7).
"There are more good rookies playing now than any year I can remember"—Dick Motta (ibid.).
In 1970 the following rookies broke into professional basketball: Charlie Scott, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier, Dan Issel, Jim McMillian, Rudy Tomjanovich, Pete Maravich, Nate Archibald, Sam Lacey, Calvin Murphy, Geoff Petrie, Rick Mount, et al.