A secondary purpose is to promote competitive balance among the clubs and to give those that are down in the standings precedence over those that are above them in the acquisition of certain player contracts. The rules still perform this limited function.
In the minds of most people, the waiver rules are supposed to enforce the June 15 trading deadline by preventing the assignment to contending teams of better-than-marginal players after that date. This is not the major function of the waiver rules. They have never completely prevented such player moves, as your editorial points out, and because today's player contracts are so complicated and so costly, the waiver rules are even less effective in this area now. It simply does not make sense for any club that is not in the pennant race to claim an older player with a high salary. If the fans and, as a result, baseball institutionally feel Tommy John-Don Sutton-type player transfers are undesirable, baseball will have to find some approach specially designed to restrict them.
L.S. MACPHAIL JR.
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs
New York City
LITTLE LEAGUE SCALE
Steve Wulf certainly captured the excitement of the 1982 Little League World Series championship game in his excellent article (A Big Day for a Little Man, Sept. 6). His account was not only informative, but also educational in that it provided a new definition for xenophobia. By definition, xenophobia is a "fear of strangers." We can assure you that Taiwanese players are not strangers in Little League World Series play.
The intense interest in this year's title game was undoubtedly the result of both superior play by the victorious Kirkland, Wash, team and the ending of Taiwan's 31-game Series winning streak by American youngsters. In addition to SI's excellent reporting, coverage of the Series by television, radio and other print media was unparalleled. And President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Sun Yunsuan of the Republic of China each wired congratulatory messages to the teams after the championship game. All this compares favorably with public reaction to the outcome of other major sporting events—on a smaller scale, of course.
CREIGHTON J. HALE
Little League Baseball
As a New York Yankee fan, I've never had a soft spot in my heart for the Baltimore Orioles or Earl Weaver. After reading Steve Wulf's story (Hoping to Bring in One Last Harvest, Sept. 13) about Weaver and the latest Oriole pennant drive, I'm not about to switch my allegiance, but I have increased respect for Weaver as a manager. The talent Weaver has for getting the most out of his players has never been more apparent. Considering the number of millionaire free agents playing for the Yankees, George Steinbrenner should be embarrassed to see his team 14 games behind Baltimore at this stage of the season. I hope the Orioles win the pennant one more time—for Earl's sake. The American League East just won't be the same without him.
Upper Darby, Pa.
My cowboy hat is off to E.M. Swift for the excellent article (No Guts, No Glory, Sept. 6) on Don Gay and the great American sport of rodeo. He did a fine job of depicting the pulsating world of the professional rodeo cowboy, and Lane Stewart's excellent photographs show that rodeo is a test of a cowboy's skill and stamina and, at times, a fight for his life. I'll be looking forward to your next article on the cowboy, a symbol of America once near extinction but now thriving in rodeo.
TODD C. MCCARTNEY
Your story on bull-rider Don Gay makes a valiant attempt to glorify one of the most inhumane "sports" around. You give only one short paragraph's attention to the cattle prod and dismiss it as "just a means to get them to move through the gates." And although two pictures accompanying the story show the rope that is cinched around the animal to make it buck, no mention is made of the rope.
"I love the bulls," says Gay, who goes on to say, "I'm not physically capable of abusing a bull unless I use a .44 Magnum.... You could hit one with a lead pipe and it wouldn't feel it." I think Gay is confused. Size has nothing to do with ability to experience pain.
Hooray for Charlie Brown, the bull that gave Gay a dose of his own medicine!
Rolling Meadows, Ill.
I had just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone National Park and was browsing through my accumulated issues of SI when, to my utter joy, I spotted Robert H. Boyle's article on Jack Gartside (No Fly-by-Night Cabbie, Sept. 13). My brother, Buz, and I met Jack in the park in 1975. After we invited him to our camp for spaghetti and poker—luckily, we didn't have much to lose—he began to share his bountiful fly-fishing knowledge. The next afternoon, Gartside gave me a few flies and we began fishing. Although nervous, I somehow hooked and landed a 17-inch brown trout on Gartside's Filo Fly. I was never prouder as I carefully released the fish, my biggest ever at the time.