YEAR OF THE REDS
Congratulations to Ron Fimrite and SI's photography crew for a fantastic view of the World Series (Ah, How Great It Is, Nov. 1). Your comparison of lineups and batting averages of great teams was very beneficial for those who like to study statistics. Incidentally, judging by your picture on page 22 of Pete Rose diving into third base, I would give him the Anti-Gravity Award of 1976 over Julius Erving, whom you show on page 24.
"How good are the Reds?" Very good!
It is evident from Ron Fimrite's article that the 1976 Cincinnati Reds are being rated as one of the best teams in baseball history. I cannot argue that, but the Reds have a long way to go before they equal the 1927 New York Yankees. The '27 Yanks did not beat their opponents, they destroyed them. They batted .307 as a team, scored an unbelievable total of 975 runs and hit 158 home runs. Those figures speak for themselves. So please don't compare the Reds to the '27 Yanks. I wouldn't want you to embarrass them.
The 1927 Yankees would have about as much chance of beating the 1976 Reds as Waite Hoyt would have of beating a Ferrari on foot.
Ron Fimrite's article is as fine a piece on the national pastime as you have ever put in print. But why leave out the glowing stats of the 1961 Yanks? Mantle and Maris hit more home runs (54 and 61) than any other two men on the same team in the game's history. In addition to them, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, Elston Howard and Johnny Blanchard all hit more than 20 homers, helping the team break the alltime home-run record. Whitey Ford compiled a 25-4 record, head and shoulders above that of any of the staff aces on the 1927 or 1937 Yanks, the 1955 Dodgers or the 1976 Reds.
K. G. AMELI
My observation of the 1976 World Series is that the Big Red Machine's greatness was clouded by the Yankees' horrible flop as contenders for the world championship. Please flash back to October 1975. That was a measure of the greatness of the Reds, of the 1975 Red Sox and of baseball.
To lose to the 1976 Reds should be no disgrace.
Chanute AFB, Ill.
The Reds have twice proved their superiority, but the 1977 club will face a test that the great teams of the past never encountered: competition from All-Star squads made up of ex-free agents. The Reds will win again, though.
What better proof is there that the baseball season is too long than a picture of Series hero Johnny Bench on the cover of an issue of SI dated Nov. 1?
New Haven, Conn.
THURMAN AND JOHNNY
The Cincinnati Reds dominated the Series, but let's not get carried away. Sparky Anderson's remark about embarrassing Thurman Munson by comparing him with Johnny Bench was absurd. Although Bench is a better defensive catcher, Munson's bat speaks for itself. He was superior to Bench in just about every offensive category in the last two years. In 1976 Munson outhit Bench by 68 points while playing only six games on artificial turf. He scored 17 more runs and had 77 more hits. He had 83 more total bases, three more doubles, one more home run and 31 more RBIs. Munson also had more sacrifices and sacrifice flies, and he struck out fewer times than Bench. To my mind, Sparky embarrassed Bench by comparing him with Munson, the best player in the game today.