It really doesn't matter why Paul Molitor left Milwaukee or why the Brewers' front office let him go (Career Move, March 29). What matters is that Milwaukee has lost a class act. Year after year, game after game, whether I was outside listening to the Brewers on my radio or inside watching them on television, there was Molitor, leading off in the first or coming to the plate with two out and two on in the bottom of the ninth.
Such moments are what baseball is all about. Brewer games won't be the same without old number 4. But you can bet that I'll be buying my tickets to the first Blue Jay-Brewer series in Milwaukee.
Paul Molitor had to choose a new number for his Toronto uniform because his familiar number 4 is assigned to Alfredo Griffin. As a tribute to Robin Yount, his friend and former teammate, Molitor picked 19, Yount's number for 20 seasons in Milwaukee. Brewer fans will miss the gentleman that Molitor is.
The main reason Molitor left Milwaukee is that the Brewers didn't want to re-sign him at his market value. What other explanation is there for the way they jerked him around last fall? The Brewers didn't approach him until well after the regular season, and then it was with a one-year contract that asked him to take a pay cut. A pay cut? After two of his best seasons in the majors? I don't blame Molitor one bit for leaving Milwaukee.
Names of the Game
If, as you say, the NHL's soon-to-be-retired conference and division names are "eccentric" (SCORECARD, April 12), then the league's new, user-friendly names are a bland sellout.
Although the geographical realignment of the divisions and the changes in the playoff format are long overdue, the name changes pushed through by Gary Bettman, the new NHL commissioner, are ludicrous. Hockey cannot be turned into a clone of the other three major pro sports. The old names give the NHL its identity. Each one represents someone who holds a special place in hockey history (except maybe that of the prince of Wales).
You claim that in making these changes, "Bettman persuaded his owners to put the good of the many over the demands of the few." Perhaps my friends and I are some of the few to whom you refer, but our minority represents the only true NHL fans left in this country. Mr. Bettman, your Americanization plans for the league do not stand a chance. Please leave my sport alone.
You certainly gave the right title, Puerto Rico's New Patron Saint, to your story about Texas Ranger outfielder Juan Gonzalez (April 5). God has given us various talents, but most of us do not give back to society the way Gonzalez does. His work with the poor and the schoolchildren of Puerto Rico is truly saintly. To have achieved his status in life and not be caught up in the glitter and glory is beautiful. We need more people who live by his creed.
CLAIRE A. HOOEY
I am a little upset with Jack McCallum's Ranking the Drafters chart (INSIDE THE NBA, March 29). McCallum lists the back-to-back world-champion Chicago Bulls dead last, with -50 points, and the Detroit Pistons, who at week's end were battling for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth, as No. 1, with +4 points. What gives? Especially after Rick Telander's article on Bull general manager Jerry Krause's uncanny ability to seek out and recruit talent (The Sleuth, March 15).