I received my usual Christmas gift of another yearly subscription to SI, an automatic stocking stuffer to keep the old man busy on Thursday evenings! However, the hole in my stocking was enlarged considerably by the weight of The Audubon Society Review contained under the cover of your Dec. 28-Jan. 4 issue. Really, did you have to devote 29 columns of words and graphics to the art of bird watching with Super Bowl Sunday then only 4� weeks away?
HERBERT L. CURRID
FAREWELLS TO PAGE
Being a Viking fan, I've had a chance to follow the brilliant career of Alan Page, and now that he is retiring, I am delighted that SI has taken time to review his accomplishments (A Page Out of NFL History, Dec. 28-Jan. 4). He is ending his career with class, the same class he displayed throughout his 15 years in the NFL. When the Vikings let him go in 1978, they lost more than a defensive tackle; they lost Page's style, spirit and leadership. While Page was a Viking, the team went to four Super Bowls and rarely missed the playoffs. Since his departure, Minnesota has twice dipped below .500 and has missed the playoffs in two of the past three years. E.M. Swift was right when he said that football is going to miss this man.
Reading the article on the retirement of Alan Page saddened me for several reasons. Sure, football is just entertainment, and its importance probably is "blown far out of proportion to what it really is." But Page is (was) an idol for a lot of youngsters-and a lot of adults, too. What gives him the right to refer to a sport that some of us live and die with as "the toy department"?
I, for one, grew up with Page, and I have always admired him for his ability. Therefore, I would like to be able to say that I will miss him. But if his statement reveals the true Alan Page, I say good riddance!
STEVE E. IRVIN
DUMP THE DH?
Though there are some flaws in Jim Kaplan's VIEWPOINT (Dec. 14) in regard to the designated hitter rule in the American League, I agree with his suggestion that the DH should be discarded. Its only redeeming feature is that it enables American League teams to keep some of the best hitters around a year or two longer.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering the DH is that the rules should be exactly the same in both leagues. Either the American League should discard the DH or the National League should adopt it. It's a farce the way things stand now.
GEORGE (SPECS) TOPORCER
Huntington Station, N.Y.
Jim Kaplan's VIEWPOINT is way off base. The use of a DH has tremendous advantages. It can extend a good hitter's career; it provides the offensive excitement the fans want to see; and it allows a pitcher to concentrate on what's really important, pitching.
But the most significant point in favor of the DH rule is the fact that just about everyone at every level of play uses it. It allows coaches to utilize as many players as possible, which is important to kids who are learning the game. Also, fewer parents complain. Seeing as the National is the only league in America that doesn't have the DH rule, wouldn't it be wiser to simply have it adopt the DH, rather than have the American League drop it? The latter would appear to me to be a step backward.
JOHN E. KOCH
USAF Academy, Colo.
Jim Kaplan is right. The DH rule is awful. Just think about it. Whom would you rather see hit, Britt Burns or Greg Luzinski? I hate home runs. Tommy John or Reggie Jackson? I can't stand it when the fans get excited. Jon Matlack or Al Oliver? RBIs are dumb! It's time we saw a real confrontation in the American League again. Picture this: Ron Guidry, the pitcher, vs. Mike Torrez, the batter. A showstopper, literally. One, two, three—you're out, Kaplan.
I agree with Jim Kaplan's idea of dumping the DH in the American League. However, I think his assessment of the Los Angeles Dodgers as the third-or fourth-best team in the National League is highly unjustified.