Bravo for recognizing those "no-name" Birds from Baltimore (Smile for the Birdies, June 18). We're tremendously proud of our Orioles and the best manager in baseball, Earl Weaver. Douglas S. Looney captured it all when he said this team plays together. These guys may be no-names to the rest of the country, but not to those of us who are rooting for them here in Maryland. Come October, I hope everyone will know the Orioles by name.
It's remarkable that Earl Weaver has such an outstanding record—a .596 won-lost percentage in 10½ years as Baltimore manager—when he never played a game in the major leagues. It is also interesting to note that Baltimore has three coaches who never played in the majors, namely, Third-Base Coach Cal Ripken, Batting Coach Jim Frey and Pitching Coach Ray Miller.
I enjoyed your cover story on the Orioles, but you said that except for Jim Palmer and Mark Belanger there isn't another Baltimore player whose name is worth dropping. Eddie Murray and Al Bumbry have each been named Rookie of the Year, and Murray and Mike Flanagan were selected to the 1978 American League All-Star team. Ken Singleton played in the 1977 All-Star Game. I'm a native of Baltimore who moved to Missouri last July. Aside from missing relatives and friends, there are only two things I long for: hot, steamed Maryland crabs and the great Baltimore Orioles.
Lake St. Louis, Mo.
What's the name of the beautiful girl pictured modeling an Orioles halter top on the roof of the dugout?
•Barbara Van Cutsem, and she's one of five Oriole Basebelles.—ED.
Correction. Earl Weaver was baseball's shrewdest manager, and Baltimore was a power in its division. Billy Martin is back, and the Yanks can't be far behind!
New York City
PICKING THE ALL-STARS
I couldn't agree more with your SCORECARD item (June 18) on the inequities of baseball's All-Star voting by the fans. But, as a fan, I get a kick out of filling out a ballot when I attend a game, so I suggest a compromise. Why not allow the fans to continue voting under the present system, but also have the players ballot? Should there be differences in the outcomes of the two votes, the leaders in the player voting would start the game, although the fans' selections would automatically make the squad.
By this method, fan participation would be maintained and fan interest enhanced by the challenge of trying to predict the players' selections. What do you say, Bowie?
JAMES G. DIETTE, D.D.S.
I play softball three nights a week and was planning on calling it quits next season at the age of 38. But after reading and thoroughly enjoying The Secret Life of Rocky Perone (June 18), I now plan on playing until I'm 50. I feel great and can still keep up with the younger players on the team. Besides, I'm also the manager, which makes it much easier to keep myself in the starting lineup. Too bad Richard Pohle, a.k.a. Rocky Perone, wasn't a manager as well.
I remember Dick Pohle from a baseball school we both attended in Cocoa, Fla. in 1957. He impressed me then with his tremendous desire and love for the game. It would be nice if a greater number of the more gifted athletes in the big leagues had some of that burning desire. God bless Dick Pohle. He's beautiful!
I was said to be over the hill at 27. I was signed by the Houston Astros when I was 19 years old and played in the minors for four years before being released. Three years and a knee operation later I had a tryout in Florida with the Minnesota Twins. After pitching three perfect innings in an intrasquad game, I was spotted by one of my old coaches from Houston. He said, "What are you trying to do, old man?" I had led the Twins to believe I was 24, not 27. The next day I was kicked out of camp.
So wherever you are, Rocky Perone, all of us who are "over the hill" wish you all the luck in the world. I wish I were in your spikes!
DANIEL T. LEBRIGHT
Come on! How could Richard Pohle fool then San Diego Padres Scout Jim Marshall or anyone else with that ridiculous rug?
Cornwell Heights, Pa.
Rocky Perone, George Plimpton, ad nauseam. You keep on printing stories about has-beens trying to come back, or about those who never were and don't realize they never will be, or about old men whose egos won't accept the natural process of aging. Every time the story is the same, only the names are changed. It's boring. James Thurber said it all in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Please find some new stories.
HERBERT W. WONG
When Lon Hinkle took his famous shortcut, driving down the adjacent 17th fairway while playing the 8th hole at the 1979 U.S. Open at Inverness (Up a Tree in Toledo, June 25), no one mentioned that Walter Hagen used a similar ploy during the third round of the 1921 PGA Championship at Inwood Country Club on Long Island. Hagen drove down the parallel 18th fairway to get a better, though longer, second shot at the 11th green. Late that night club pro Jack Mackie, the club president and a number of their cohorts planted a large weeping willow between the fairways, blocking the route for subsequent rounds.
Nor did anyone mention that Ed Furgol, who won the 1954 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, saved a crucial par on the 18th hole of the final round by hitting his second shot to the 18th fairway of the upper course after being stymied by trees on the left of the 18th fairway of the lower course, on which the tournament was being played. Furgol was completely within his rights—as were Hinkle and Hagen—because the upper course had not been declared out of bounds.
HAROLD A. SEGALL
New York City
•In The Walter Hagen Story (as told to Margaret Seaton Heck), Hagen relates his encounter with the willow on the fourth round of the '21 PGA this way: "I thought the gallery seemed unusually excited and noisy. I knew something was happening but I couldn't figure just what. I teed up my ball, looked up and saw that willow tree confronting me. The gallery really laughed now at the surprised look on my face.... 'I never saw such fast-growing trees in my life,' I remarked.... The laughter grew into a roar, but not at my remark. Instead a sudden fierce gust of wind had whipped loose the guy wires holding the tree on the edge of the lagoon...and the willow was out of business. 'Well, I timed this about right,' I told them. 'Now if I can time my tee shot as well I can be down in my regular spot on the eighteenth fairway.' Some fellow in the gallery said, 'You can't beat him!' And no one did that day." Indeed, Hagen won the championship, the first of his five PGA titles. And to this day a willow, known sometimes as Mackie's Tree but mostly as Hagen's Willow, stands on that spot at Inwood Country Club.—ED.
It was with great interest that I read Robert F. Jones' article Clamor Along the Klamath (June 4). He deserves credit for his thoroughness in researching and reporting the local battle over a disappearing natural resource—salmon.
To help boost California's salmon population, I have introduced legislation in the State Assembly that will allow private industry, under state supervision, to undertake salmon-ranching operations along the coast. A salmon ranch enhances native stock by propagating and releasing fish into coastal bays and estuaries. The fish are recaptured when they instinctively return to the point of release after maturing in the ocean. My bill (AB 1458) provides that while the adult fish are at sea, they are to be public property and could be caught by any state-licensed fisherman—commercial or sports. The salmon rancher would market his catch of returning fish, with selected salmon held out for further propagation.
Certainly, natural salmon runs should be protected from overfishing, pollution, hydroelectric dam interference and other controllable factors. But restorative action alone won't get to the heart of the problem, which is meeting a growing demand for affordable protein-rich food. Salmon ranching offers to do this.
California State Assembly
Go ahead and give Joe Paterno a medal for Penn State's 1981 football schedule (SCORECARD, June 11), but pin one on Warren Powers of Missouri, too. Mizzou's typically tough 1978 schedule included Nebraska, Notre Dame and Alabama (Penn State's 1981 opponents), with Oklahoma thrown in for good measure. By the way, Penn State's 1981 schedule also finds the Nittany Lions playing Missouri. Tough schedule, Joe.
Because Alabama has an easy football schedule this year, do you suppose the wire services will keep the Tide out of the No. 1 spot, as they did Penn State all those years because of the Lions' weak schedule?
P. L. SAGAMANG
Your SCORECARD piece was little more than biased rubbish. You state that Alabama has "adroitly avoided" Southern Cal and Nebraska—against which Alabama is 2-2 and 3-2, respectively, in recent years—as if the athletic directors of these schools had begged Bear Bryant for games in 1979 but had been stubbornly refused. Why not state that Southern Cal and Nebraska have adroitly avoided Alabama? You later add that Alabama "doesn't even meet Georgia," while omitting the fact that the Crimson Tide does play, among other SEC schools, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU, all of which should be better than Georgia this fall.
You conclude by looking a mere three years into the future to sing the praises of Joe Paterno for his tough 1981 schedule, completely overlooking the fact that Alabama played Nebraska, Southern Cal, Missouri and Washington last year, in addition to a tough SEC schedule. It didn't earn Bear Bryant a medal of honor, but it did win him the national championship.
MICHAEL A. ROBINSON
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.