BILLY AND THE ACES
What happened to the great Oakland A's starting pitchers of 1980 and 1981? I think the stats you printed at the end of Ron Fimrite's article (What Ever Happened to the Class of '81? Sept. 10) tell all. Whether it was because of inspiration, competition, fear, "Billy Ball" or all of the above, every one of these "phenoms," with the possible exception of Brian Kingman, who lost 20 games in 1980, pitched better than he had a right to expect.
Forest Park, Ill.
All the pitchers except for Brian Kingman say Billy Martin wasn't the cause of their injuries, that their own competitiveness and desire were. That makes me feel good because I think Martin is an excellent manager and I'd hate to think he misplayed five aces.
Grand Isle, La.
I'd like to point out that the so-called magic number formula works only when there are two clubs left with a chance to win a major league division title. Often, with three or more teams having a chance, sportswriters incorrectly conclude that when the current second-place club is eliminated, the other clubs will be, too. The club which, at the time, is in third could remain "uneliminated"; all it would require is a sufficiently low number of games won by the leading club, the necessary number of losses by the club originally in second, while the club originally in third wins all its games.
For example, a statement in my local paper on Sept. 12 that the Tigers could clinch the American League East with any combination of Detroit wins and Toronto losses totaling seven was in error. The Blue Jays could have lost four games while the Tigers won only three and the third-place Orioles won all their games. Toronto would indeed be eliminated, but not Baltimore!
GOLF'S MYSTERIOUS MR. X
I had the opportunity to caddie for Miller Barber (The Extraordinary Mr. X, Sept. 17) in the Western Open following his marriage in 1970. Although Mr. X was on the leader board entering the final day, his putting faltered and he finished out of the top 10, but he paid me what the second-place finisher paid his caddie. I always wanted him to know he was one of the top five golfers chosen in the caddie draw. [Tour caddies do not work the Western Open; instead, Chicago area clubs send their top caddies and, through a draw, the best of them have the honor of choosing their pros.] He's a gentleman and a generous man. I'm fortunate that for the last 14 years, Miller Barber hasn't been a mystery to me.
Clarendon Hills, Ill.
Barry McDermott should be applauded. His article on Miller Barber was fantastic. The oldtimers still have it.
J. SCOTT RAY
I enjoyed the Sept. 17 EXTRA POINTS item regarding the Packer cheerleaders. I agree with Max McGee: "There just aren't enough good-looking girls in Green Bay for the Dallas Cowboy cheerleader look." I just hope McGee's wife isn't from Green Bay!
Isn't Green Bay in Wisconsin? I believe that's the state that had 30� below zero weather the last two years. I think the high school skirt-and-sweater look is much more appropriate and sensible.
As for beautiful girls, we have plenty. But is it written in stone that cheerleaders are there only to seduce the fans? Maybe in Dallas, but not in Green Bay. We have something you may not have realized we had: pride.
There are many good-looking girls in Green Bay. Perhaps they don't all want to be cheerleaders. Has Max McGee looked elsewhere? Anyway, Max isn't exactly Joe Namath! People who live in glass houses....
De Pere, Wis.