Thanks for the wonderful profile of Sam Malone (Everybody Knows His Name. May 24). I happened to be walking outside Memorial Stadium in Baltimore on the day that Lee May hit that shot out of the park. (As soon as Mayday came in, I knew the game was over, and I had made an early exit to the parking lot.) The ball bounced once on the blacktop, ricocheted off a red Corvette and then rolled around for a few seconds before I was able to pick it up.
I still have the ball. Since Cheers opened, I have had a lot of offers for it, but some things, like Steve Rushin's article, are absolutely priceless.
I enjoyed the article on Mayday Malone, but as a long-suffering Red Sox fan, I must add a postscript to your story. It seems that Sammy's last major league appearance, in 1978, was not the last time he would affect the Sox that fateful year. It's a little known fact that before he was waived, Sam taught his "slider of death" to Mike Torrez. Of course, when Torrez's back was to the wall in the '78 playoff game against the Yankees, he remembered his buddy's pitch and tried to sneak it past Bucky Dent. You know the rest.
I first met Sam Malone in 1972 as a 12-year-old, when he approached my mother at Anaheim Stadium while we were sitting above the dugout at my first big league game. He gave me an autographed ball to keep me quiet and to get my mother's attention. Recently I took my wife and son to a card show in Boston. I wanted my son's first autograph to be the same one his old man had gotten. While I was standing at the end of the autograph line, my wife and son went up and walked past the front of the table. She caught Sam's eye, and he motioned for her to come over. He began the conversation by giving my son an autograph and my wife his phone number. Sam may have retired from the game, but he's still pitching.
Newport Beach, Calif.
I wish the article had talked a little about Sam as a hitter. I vaguely remember his coming to bat in the middle innings during a game against Mickey Lolich and the Tigers in 1972. There were two outs, and Carlton Fisk was on third base. Surprisingly, Malone hit a sharp one-hopper to rightfield. In a play that exemplified the careers of the two players, Al Kaline took away Malone's RBI single by gunning him down at first base to end the inning.
Although you told the story of Sam Malone's exit from the big leagues, you did not tell the story of how Don Zimmer fired coach Ernie Pantusso during the '78 season because Zim was unhappy with the way Coach had dealt with some of the Red Sox players. Coach related this story to Diane in an attempt to console her after she had made some blunder.
Coach: "Diane, it looks like you booted a grounder. You know what I used to say when one of my players made a mistake?"
Diane: "What was that?"
Coach: "Nothing. That's why I got fired."
Out of baseball and in need of work, Coach was offered a job as a bartender at Cheers, and the rest is history.
State College, Pa.