Congratulations on Jack Olsen's excellent article on Al Kaline (The Torments of Excellence, May 11), a man who deserves a better team than the Tigers. Say, the Yankees.
Bay City, Mich.
If San Francisco got sick of Willie Mays, if Los Angeles got sick of Sandy Koufax and if Milwaukee got sick of Hank Aaron the way Detroit got fed up with Kaline, the National League would be as dull as the American. If Detroit can't bear him, the Orioles can always use him.
The part about Kaline's youth in Baltimore was ridiculous. After all, how many major leaguers didn't make sacrifices as youngsters and play in three or four games each weekend? As for the Detroit fans, they don't have any reason to be disenchanted with Kaline. Any team that has traded away is many good players and had as many manager changes as the Tigers have had over the past decade can't expect many winners.
Al Kaline is one of those outstanding ballplayers, like Robin Roberts and Ernie Banks to name only two, who happen to have the misfortune of being stuck on nothing better than a mediocre team. Trade Kaline to a contending team, give him an opportunity it a World Series and watch how fast his present views on spring training, the owners and fans and the physical and emotional trains disappear.
KENNETH D. DRYDEN
General Manager Jim Campbell of the Tigers ought to have his head examined. If he isn't willing to accept Mays, Marichal and Cepeda for Kaline, the Tigers ought to trade Mr. Campbell for Horace Stoneham. If Stoneham were in Campbell's shoes he would probably be inclined to trade the whole Detroit ball club in exchange for Willie Mays—and the way Mays is hitting, the Tigers would be getting the better of it.
If the Detroit fans dislike Al Kaline so much they can just give him a one-way airline ticket to Cincinnati.
The Al Kaline story can be easily compared with the Roger Maris story. I'm sure that plenty of people thought that Maris was another Joe DiMaggio when he hit his 61 home runs. And look at Maris now! Same thing, isn't it?
It was a shock to me to hear that the people of Detroit had given up on Kaline. I can't help but feel that those people who have been booing him are just former Rocky Colavito fans who are sore over the fact that their superstar didn't make it with the Tigers. And now they are taking their disappointment out on the real star—Al Kaline. I'm glad to see that at least you people know what it takes to be a great ballplayer.
R. DUNCAN MacDONALD
Notre Dame, Ind.
Only a nitwit could boo such a champion.