I object. Pete Rose, who is now third on the alltime hit list—first on the National League alltime list—lost out on the SI cover to Wendell Tyler of the L.A. Rams. I save my milestone SI issues and would love to have had one of Rose.
Princeton Junction, N.J.
Thanks for the excellent story on Gaylord Perry (Bound for Glory, Aug. 24). It brought back my fondest baseball memory: a cool May night at Metropolitan Stadium, Rod Carew at bat, Perry pitching for the Cleveland Indians. A knockdown pitch by Perry sends Carew into the dirt. On the next pitch, Carew gently heaves his bat at Perry. Carew gets to first on a fielder's choice, then steals second and goes on to third on an error by the second baseman. Perry challenges Carew by going into his windup; Carew steals home on an extremely close play. Looks of mutual respect are exchanged. Perry loses 3-0.
The game of baseball is great when played by individuals of style, character and pride. People like Perry and Carew are burning gems in a sea of synthetics.
Once again Ron Fimrite has enlightened me with a superb sports profile. As a long-suffering Cleveland Indian fan, I've seen many a losing season. But I fondly recall Gaylord Perry's short (1972-75) stint with the Tribe. I spent many a hot August evening at Municipal Stadium, content in the knowledge that a Perry victory—whether against the umpires or the opposition—might be all we fans would be able to enjoy. Perry would be a helpful addition to any baseball team.
I would be the first to admit that I am fascinated and terribly amused when I watch Gaylord Perry baffle the National League's finest with his amazing assortment of licked and powdered lollipops, but cheating is still cheating!
Ron Fimrite mentioned that there are three other active pitchers besides Gaylord Perry who have a chance at winning 300 games in the next few years: Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer. He forgot to mention an exceptional pitcher who has been overlooked his whole career, which began in 1959! Jim Kaat has more career victories (278) than Silent Steve, Tom Terrific or Jockey Jim. He's as old as Perry but still has a lot of wins left in him.
Kaat has pitched for the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and is now working out of the bullpen for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's still an effective pitcher, as shown by his 6-2 record so far this year. He doesn't throw the spitter; he hasn't won the Cy Young Award in either league; nor has he as many strikeouts as Perry. I believe Kaat will get his 300th victory and that he will take his place in the Hall of Fame next to Perry, Palmer, Seaver and Carlton.
Upper Darby, Pa.
FLASHY IN NASHVILLE
I was formerly with the New York Yankee organization and am now with Los Indios del Valle in the Dominican Republic. What I am writing about is a statement Franz Lidz made in a May 25 TV/RADIO column on the summer show called The Baseball Bunch. The reason this letter is so late is that it takes a long time for mail to get to this area.
Lidz said that when Tug McGraw's jokes were working, the show went well, and when the jokes weren't going well, the show was "about as flashy as a Double A utility infielder." I take offense at that statement.
Last year I played for the Nashville Sounds as a utility infielder—a designation I didn't particularly relish. Nonetheless, I performed my job with alacrity, and I believe you will find many people in Nashville who will attest to this. I may not have been flashy in a hotdog baseball player sense of the word, but I was known to be a rather free-spirited sort. A few of my accomplishments, and I use the term loosely, were: sliding into all the bases during a rain delay, starting a fire in the bullpen and meeting the Soundettes at third base for a kiss. Now I ask you, are these the doings of an average, boring Double A utility infielder? Of course not! Therefore, I believe you owe me an apology.
J. MARK JOHNSTON
La Vega, Dominican Republic