FOR THE BIRDS
My congratulations on Jonathan Yardley's article (Gimme an O..., April 7). It was an outstanding piece of work. He put into writing what many of us Oriole fans experienced in 1979. I, like Yardley, was permanently bound to the Birds by that unforgettable Detroit series in June.
Also, I was happy to see that you pointed out in your scouting report that, despite the Orioles' great record last year, many of their players had off-seasons or had not yet reached their potential. I thought I was the only one who realized that!
I commend Jonathan Yardley for putting into words feelings I had thought could never be expressed. I missed only five Oriole home games in 1979, and I was one of those cheering from Section 34. I take offense only at the generalization that the "youthful exuberance" of Section 34 was "fueled by weed and brew." Our enthusiasm was fueled by the excitement generated on the field.
As a lifelong Tiger fan, I grew up hating the Orioles the way some people hate the Yankees, and yet I got goose bumps reading Jonathan Yardley's story about what happened in Baltimore last year. The article brought back memories of 1968, when Al Kaline led the Tigers to the world championship.
Now, however, I am a former Tiger fan—I disowned them when they traded Ron LeFlore last December—and I almost find myself rooting for those "damn Orioles" to go all the way.
ROBERT L. SCHUITEMA JR.
Heinz Kluetmeier's cover photograph of St. Louis' Keith Hernandez (April 7) was perfect. So were the inside photos and the descriptions of Hernandez and teammate Garry Templeton (Stars of the '80s, April 7).
In answer to your cover question "Who is Keith Hernandez?", everybody will know who all the Cardinals are by the end of the season.
Never mind who Keith Hernandez is and what he is doing hitting .344. What's he doing winning the MVP award? San Diego's Dave Winfield deserved it.
Your colorful picture of Keith Hernandez could more aptly have been titled, "Who Is Keith Hernandez and What Is He Doing Making $3.8 Million Over Five Years?"
You are aware that this is the second time that a strike, or the threat of one, has dampened fans' excitement on Opening Day, but do you know that on both occasions, in 1972 and 1980, you featured a St. Louis Cardinal on the cover of your Baseball Issue ( Joe Torre and Keith Hernandez)? In each case the player was the reigning National League MVP and batting champion ( Torre with .363 in 1971, and Hernandez with .344 last year). Moreover, both times Pittsburgh was the reigning champion, having defeated Baltimore in seven games in the World Series.
JONATHAN S. ETKIN
New London, Conn.