I sincerely hope that Curry Kirkpatrick is as wrong about Portland not winning the NBA championship as he was about Phoenix winning it (Why Is This Man Eating Popcorn? April 17).
I can forgive your pick of the Phoenix Suns, but I'll never understand how you could all but ignore the Denver Nuggets.
STEPHEN A. MARSH
Here is my vote for the Milwaukee Bucks.
WILLIAM (WILBUR) MARKERT
...the Philadelphia 76ers.
In your article Shadowers, Snipers and Superpests (April 17) you say that Bob Gainey of Montreal is "the Shadow." If you were to ask Gainey's teammate Guy Lafleur who is the best leftwinger in hockey, I feel sure he would vote for Don Marcotte of the Boston Bruins. In their last two meetings during the regular season, Marcotte held Lafleur to a total of four shots. Marcotte also kills penalties and, in addition, has scored 20 or more goals in five of the last six seasons. If anyone deserves the Frank Selke Trophy for best defensive forward, it is Marcotte.
As an avid Bruin fan, I am compelled to comment on Maple Leaf Dave (Tiger) Williams' cocky words about being tired of beating up Terry O'Reilly. I have viewed their matchups for years and I think O'Reilly must be tired of beating up on Williams.
C. J. CORBETT
I was a 10-year-old Giant fan delivering the Daily News in the Bronx on the morning of July 31, 1959 when I spotted a photo on the back page of a man named Willie sliding through a cloud of dusty clay across home plate. The caption read something like, "Willie...4 for 4.... " At first I was disappointed to find that it was not my hero, Willie Mays, but another Willie in Giant garb. It was bad enough that the Giants had left New York, but now to think that someone else could assume, even for one day, the Say Hey Kid's glorious station was too much. I knew there could never be another Willie Mays.
Now, nearly 20 years later, still a Giant fan although transplanted to the South, I know there will never be another Willie McCovey, either. Thank you for honoring him so well (The Cable Cars, the Fog—and Willie, April 17).
ARTHUR D. D'ALESSANDRO
Your story on Willie McCovey was an excellent portrayal of one of the finest players the game has ever known. My only regret is that you did not include a picture of Big Mac swinging a bat. McCovey's swing has to be the most picturesque of any I have ever seen.
You have it all wrong! Willie McCovey isn't associated with such San Francisco landmarks as cable cars or fog. When he swings his bat, it's more like the 1906 earthquake.
ALAN R. EAGLE
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
CAREW AND FOSTER
Your April 10 cover photograph of George Foster and Rod Carew spotlighted two remarkably gifted athletes, and Jim Kaplan's statistical breakdown was the best I've seen on them. But there are several incredible numbers on Carew that weren't included. Carew hit .388—239 hits in 616 at bats. Lyman Bostock, who finished second in the AL averages at .336, could have had 50 hits (and at bats) added to his season total and still have been below Carew. NL batting leader Dave Parker could have tacked on 52 hits (and at bats) and still fallen short of Carew.
Much has been said about the gap between Carew's average and the "magic" level of .400, but let's examine his .388 more closely. Had he batted an additional 100 times but gotten no more hits, he still would have averaged .334. And had he batted an additional 180 times with no hits, he would have averaged .300. Rod Carew is a superb hitter. He had a splendid season. Never mind .400.
Redwood City, Calif.
While listing the accomplishments of Rod Carew you neglected to mention that few, if any, major league first basemen had higher fielding percentages last season. Carew didn't win the Gold Glove, but he should have.
New York City
•Carew fielded .994, just below the .995 averages of league-leading first basemen John Mayberry of the Royals (AL) and Steve Garvey of the Dodgers (NL). As for the Gold Glove awards, Garvey won in the National League and Jim Spencer (.991 for the White Sox) in the American.—ED.
You stated that Rod Carew's 16 career steals of home are a major league record. While Carew is the leader among active players, Ty Cobb heads the alltime list with 35. Carew currently ranks 12th behind Cobb, George Burns (27), Frank Schulte (22), Johnny Evers (21), Jackie Robinson (19), Frank Frisch (19), George Sisler (19), Jimmy Sheckard (18), Eddie Collins (17), Joe Tinker (17) and Larry Doyle (17).
Trivia buffs may wish to note that George Foster's initial claim to fame was that Willie Mays was pinch-hitting for him on Sept. 22, 1969 when Mays hit his 600th home run.
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