WILSON, TERRY AND KLEIN
Hack Wilson's recent induction into the Hall of Fame is a tribute to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S effective article on Wilson some years ago (Why Ain't I in the Hall? April 11, 1977). Wilson's election results primarily from his gaudy 190 RBIs in 1930. His overall stats are unimpressive—fewer than 2,000 hits, fewer than 300 home runs, fewer than 1,000 runs scored, .307 average, etc. In fact it can be argued that Bill Terry and Chuck Klein had better seasons in 1930 than Wilson did. Terry had 254 hits (to Wilson's 208) and batted .401 (to Wilson's .356). Klein had 250 hits, led the league in doubles (59), runs (158) and total bases (445), knocked in 170 runs and hit .386. Terry has been in the Hall of Fame for 25 years, and now Wilson joins him.
What of Chuck Klein? He had his best years when the Phillies played in tiny Baker Bowl from 1929 to 1933. But should a player be penalized for the park his team used? Klein led the National League in hitting once; in stolen bases once (during an admittedly lethargic 1932 season); in hits, doubles and RBIs twice; in runs and slugging percentage three times; and in home runs and total bases four times. He paced National League outfielders in assists three times. All this in an amazing five years during which Klein had 1,118 hits, 232 doubles, 180 home runs, 658 runs scored, 693 RBIs and a .359 average. Few if any major-leaguers can match that productivity for a five-year period. Klein had 300 lifetime home runs and a .320 average. In his only World Series—with the 1935 Cubs—he hit .333 and had a game-winning home run.
Like Wilson, Klein has been dead for many years. And Klein is apparently as forgotten as Wilson was before SI rediscovered him. If he can be forgiven for hitting well in Baker Bowl, Chuck Klein deserves to enter the Hall.
H. R. COURSEN
MOMENTS AND MEMORIES (CONT.)
Time-traveling within your Silver Anniversary capsule (Aug. 13) was most pleasing. Your itinerary, selection of stops and excellent views of the stream of sports heroes and heroines in action made me feel like a first-class passenger.
R. C. SEWARD
Your Silver Anniversary Issue was fantastic, but hats off to Chuck Schmidt and Dickran Palulian for a colorful and stunning cover!
You ended your Silver Anniversary LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER with the note that on the following Thursday night your inaugural cover subjects—Eddie Mathews (at bat), Wes Westrum (catching) and Augie Donatelli (behind the plate)—would meet again in Milwaukee to pose for a re-creation of the Aug. 16, 1954 cover shot. I, for one, would like to know how close the picture came to duplicating your first cover.
New York City
?For a comparison between photographer Mark Kauffman's 1979 retake and his 1954 original, see below.—ED.