Mark Kram's Their Lives Are on the Line (Aug. 18) was the most eye-opening article I have ever read. I'm a Yankee fan all the way and after a recent beanball incident in a game between the Yankees and the Orioles I was rooting for Catfish Hunter to bean every Baltimore batter, no matter what the cost.
If that article taught me anything it is never to root for the beanball.
One way to solve the beanball problem might be to award the batter first base not only when he's hit by a pitch, but whenever in the umpire's judgment he would have been hit if he hadn't ducked.
Give the hit batter two bases.
Remove the pitcher from the game.
As an ex-semipro pitcher I must suggest that it is not only the hitter who should be pitied, but the pitcher, who, after he releases the ball, is left defenseless and unbalanced, facing the possibility of the ball being rammed right back down his throat.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Mark Kram makes the usual obeisance to Walter Johnson as a pitcher of supreme gentlemanliness. He says that Johnson was one of those "pitchers who are intransigent pacifists and will not throw at hitters in any situation. [He] would never pitch tight."
So, tell me, how come this great control pitcher and "intransigent pacifist" is the all-time major league leader in hit batsmen with a total of 204?
HERMAN L. MASIN
New York City
? Johnson accumulated that total over a span of 20 years (1907-27), most of it early in his career when his fastball was sometimes wild. He was always afraid of killing somebody, and in later years batters took advantage of that fear by crowding the plate. As Johnson continued to strike them out (the career strikeout record also is still his), some batters inevitably were hit.—ED
Mark Kram's article was a fine one. However, I take exception to one statement regarding Greg Luzinski. On page 36 there is a reference to the incident in which he went to the mound to get at Bill Greif. It should be made clear that he gestured toward Greif with his bat, then threw it aside. He went at Greif with only his two fists. In no way would Luzinski hide behind a bat.
GEORGE E. CIPOLLA