Thank you for Frank Deford's article on Jim Bouton (A Magnificent Obsession, July 3). It showed us a real baseball player, not a money-hungry free agent like Reggie Jackson or Rich Gossage. No other player would even try a comeback at 39. Good luck, Jim, you may be the only real baseball player left.
Bouton may never pitch in a major league game again, and he seems to acknowledge this, but his willingness to remain at the minor league level where he can play baseball is truly inspirational. We could use a few more men like Jim Bouton—who goes so far as to "pay to play"—to help balance out the situation that now exists in professional sports where many players demand six-and seven-digit salaries just to show up for the games.
I read Deford's article about 39-year-old Bouton during the lulls in one of our City Major League games in which a 46-year-old pitcher who led the local team to the national AABC title in 1953 made his first appearance of the season. He pitched 4? innings, gave up two hits, one earned run and finished off by striking out the final batter, who, like most of the rest, hadn't even been born when that title was won.
Maybe the Mariners ought to give him a chance.
JOHN JAY WILHEIM
Battle Creek, Mich.
MONSTERS OF FENWAY
Right you are about the Red Sox (Suddenly They're up in Arms in Boston, July 3). They have been good since 1970, never falling below .500, but this is undoubtedly their best year of the decade. These Sox can compare with the teams of Foxx and Williams. Don't be surprised if they wind up as the 1978 world champs.
Larry Keith gives some cogent reasons why the Red Sox are so far ahead in the American League East. The Sox don't have the flamboyant Reggie Jackson, but they have the most awesome hitter in baseball in Jim Rice. He doesn't have a candy bar named after him, but then again he's not hitting .268 with 13 home runs like Jackson.
Before George Steinbrenner goes broke on the Yankee payroll, he can assure himself of a pennant winner this year if he buys the Red Sox.
JOHN BARKS JR.
BETTER THAN THE BEST?
Larry Keith says Garry Maddox, a lifetime .296 hitter with three Gold Gloves, is the best centerfielder in baseball (He's in Love with His Clove, July 3). Mr. Keith, I'd like to introduce you to Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox, a lifetime .305 hitter with one Gold Glove. Lynn was Rookie of the Year in 1975 and American League MVP the same year. Last season, after a serious injury, Lynn batted only .260, but he had 18 home runs and 76 runs batted in. This year, as of July 7, Lynn was hitting .326 with 13 home runs and 43 runs batted in, compared with Maddox' .297 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Granted, Maddox has played three more years than Lynn and is a fine player, but I think that before Mr. Keith pronounces Maddox the premier centerfielder in baseball, he should take a good look at Lynn.
You ruined my July 4th holiday. Until then I was one of the very few who knew Garry Maddox was the best centerfielder in baseball. Then along comes Larry Keith and tells the world.
I was elated to see that the world's No. 1 single sporting event (one billion viewers this year, including myself) was on the cover of the world's No. 1 sports magazine. Thanks.