For those of us who were around when Hack Wilson played, Mark Kram's article (Why Ain't I in the Hall?, April 11) is one of the best written, most poignant and most convincing ever to appear in your magazine.
EMIL STECK JR.
As I stood in the crowd at the 1975 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, watching Ralph Kiner receive his award, I couldn't help but notice this little old man who was fervently extolling another outfielder named Hack Wilson. Everyone just assumed the poor guy was senile; no one seemed to know much about a baseball player by the name of Hack Wilson. Afterward, the man told me that he lived in Chicago and had been a Cub fan for most of his 90 years. He said he'd seen great players come and go but that Hack had set records that will never be broken. And then he eagerly went on to cite all of Wilson's statistics. Even though this extraordinary character died before I was born, I suddenly became one of Wilson's fans. Kram was certainly accurate when he closed his article by saying that "the fans never forgot Hack Wilson. Only baseball did."
I remember Hack Wilson also. But not the way Mark Kram does.
I played second base for a club of traveling amateurs. We roamed the country during the summer months challenging any team we could find, usually another group of amateurs. Like Hack Wilson, we spent many a night and early morning in the speakeasies. One night, in fact, we met Mr. Wilson in one of these. What happened I have never forgotten and never will. A drink, another drink, a fight, and a shattered bottle of booze. Thanks to Mr. Wilson's rage, I have since viewed the right side of my life over the bridge of my nose. The sight of my right eye was gone; my ball playing days were over.
I suggest that Mr. Kram is searching for something with one of his eyes closed, too.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I have won at least four pitchers of beer at the pub here answering trivia questions to which Hack Wilson was the answer. But like a lot of other people, I assumed he was already in the Hall of Fame. He had to be—190RBIs!
So, maybe Hack is in better company being "on the out." Ten years from now there'll probably be some free agents elected to the Hall who couldn't bat in 190 runs with their mouths, although that's what'll get them there.
ROBERT M. KUNKEL
Kram was right on except for the two fly balls Hack missed in the 1929 World Series. I listened to this game on radio, and the announcers and writers all said Hack lost those two fly balls in the sun and that he didn't have a chance. Even the great outfielders, the likes of DiMaggio, Mantle and Kaline, couldn't have caught the two Hack was so unjustly criticized for missing.
I'm in no position to nominate Hack Wilson to the Hall of Fame, but Mark Kram should get an award for an exceptionally well-written story.
Mercer Island High School
Mercer Island, Wash.
INS AND OUTS
In considering who ought to be in the Hall of Fame, Robert Creamer should have added Pete Browning (.343 lifetime average) and Arky Vaughan (.318 lifetime average, .385 in 1935).