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Original Issue


In the short time since the baseball strike began I've noticed some drastic changes in my life and in my mental and physical behavior. I'm having fewer headaches and stomach problems. I'm losing less hair. I'm getting more sleep as a result of not worrying or staying up to listen to games on the West Coast. I have money in my pocket that would otherwise have been used to pay for tickets, tolls, parking, scorecards and hot dogs. I spend more of my time at work doing my job, because I don't have to keep sneaking off to get scores. I've rediscovered the opposite sex. So, what's bad about the strike? I'm miserable!
Scotch Plains, N.J.

Historians may one day record that grown men once played a little boy's game, with many of them being paid millions of dollars to hit a ball with a bat and run around a diamond, until they decided to go on strike. Then the historians may have to add that when the strike was over, a strange thing happened. The fans decided to go on strike, and the game was over—this time for good.
West Hempstead, N.Y.

This letter is in response to the third-rate comment by Mark Coffman of Goree, Texas (19TH HOLE, June 15), who wrote, "How can you consider it a perfect game if it was played in Cleveland?" The Indians' Len Barker, who pitched that perfect game, seems to have found something in Cleveland that he didn't have when he was playing in Texas. Barker was traded to Cleveland by the Rangers after he had a 1-5 record in the 1978 season. Since joining the Tribe he has had a 6-6 record in 1979 and led the league in strikeouts in 1980 with a fine 19-12 record. Maybe Cleveland isn't perfect, but many people. Barker included, seem to prefer it to other places.
Youngstown, Ohio

I am very disappointed that the letter from Mark Coffman was even considered for publication in your usually tasteful magazine. Cleveland has been getting bad press for too long from people who are talking through their hats. How many cities have sold 77,000 seats to an All-Star Game? With respect to Coffman, what's a Goree, Texas anyhow?
Middlefield, Ohio

Any game played in Cleveland is perfect when our Indians are on the field!
Willoughby, Ohio

Thanks for Jim Kaplan's enjoyable profile of racquetball's Dave Peck (A Peck of Pounds, but No Bushel of Laughs, June 15). Peck has always been one of our sport's finest ambassadors. However, I take exception to Charlie Brumfield's less than gracious remark about Peck's hometown of El Paso.

As Dave's sponsor for the past two years, we at Ektelon have found the people of El Paso most cooperative and proud of their city, as they should be. After all, Peck, Lee Trevino, who got his start in El Paso, and UTEP's national championship track team were the subjects of three articles accounting for 16 pages of the June 15 issue of the top sports publication in America.

Good for you, El Paso!
Vice President and General Manager
San Diego

Clive Gammon's remark about Jacksonville, Fla. and Calgary, Alberta being NASL cities that "seemed to have been chosen by a computer with a sense of humor" was out of line (Manic but Not Depressive, June 15). As of June 7, the Jacksonville Tea Men were 13th in attendance out of 21 teams. That puts them ahead of such out-of-the-way places as Chicago and Los Angeles. And if Gammon had been following the Tea Men a little more closely, he would have known that they have beaten the Cosmos and the Rowdies, two of the league's so-called name teams.

What a tremendous article about a man who still remembers where he came from (Lee Trevino, Midnight, Room 170, Holiday Inn, Pensacola, Fla., June 15). In a world in which almost everyone seems to want to conform, it's nice to see that Trevino is still the person he was when he started. He has always been one of my favorites because of his golf personality; now he's my favorite because of who he is.

Barry McDermott wrote a memorable piece about "the unseen side" of Lee Trevino. Some of us golf fans can't relate to Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson, but Trevino looks, acts and even swings a little like we do. I hope he plays on the Tour for another 15 years, because without Lee I believe pro golf is in for a lot of trouble. His sport needs him much more than he needs it.
Warren, Conn.

I haven't the words to express my compliments on your story about Archie Manning, except to say that I'm glad it was finally written (The Patience of a Saint, June 8). For 14 years, I along with thousands of others have watched with great joy as Archie Manning played football. Lord knows his play is a thing of beauty. I only hope all fans have a man like Manning to bring sports into their homes—a man to show the truth about sports and the way they were meant to be played. Yes, Coop, he's a good man.
Greenwood, Miss.

There are a couple of things I'd like to say about writer Paul Zimmerman's description of the time when integration came to Drew High. It would be very interesting to know what Ruby Nell Stancill meant when she said, "There was no violence, no ugly incidents that made headlines. The people here aren't like that. The Carter children were simply ignored."

I think the article should have said that the Carter children simply ignored the rest of the students. Ignored spitballs, name calling and other little nasty remarks. If you had wanted to know why the Carter children ate on the gym steps instead of in the cafeteria, I could have told you; but the article, of course, was about Archie Manning. I could write a book about Drew, Miss. and how it "isn't redneck country."

I enjoyed reading Curry Kirkpatrick's article on Mel Purcell (Not Many Escape the Cell, June 8), but I take exception to Kirkpatrick's observation that Mel arrived on the tennis scene with the legacy of a loser. Mel's dad, Bennie, a basketball All-America though only 5'9", remains a legend at Murray State for his tremendous ability and desire to win.

After his barnstorming days with the Washington Generals, Bennie became a very successful high school basketball coach before returning to his alma mater as a coach. I had the privilege of playing under Bennie in high school, and I consider him the equal of any of today's great coaches. He had the ability to get the maximum effort and performance from his players, and he instilled a winning attitude in his teams. He is the most dedicated and fiercest competitor I have ever encountered in sports. In addition, he is one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. If Bennie Purcell is a loser, then Pete Rose can't hit.
Mount Vernon, Ill.

Mel Purcell comes by his tenacity and determination honestly. In 1974 I took a tennis course at Murray State under his father, Bennie. In the spring Murray State is often called Muddy State by students because of all the rain—or snow—that falls in that season. Nonetheless, Bennie told us on the first day that if the temperature outdoors was 35° or more, we would play. He wasn't kidding! I learned a lot about tennis, though.

By the way, Bennie has been named the Ohio Valley Conference men's tennis Coach of the Year the past two years. His teams have won two straight conference titles and have 27 dual-match victories in each of the last three years—quite an accomplishment.
Murray, Ky.

After reading the June 8 issue, specifically the articles about John Lucas (Picking Up the Pieces), Ben Oglivie (Swingo, Ergo Sum) and Archie Manning (The Patience of a Saint), I think I have discovered the secret behind writing a piece on what makes an athlete tick: Interview his lawyer.
Stillwater, Okla.

In reply to the letter from Joseph Brotheim (19TH HOLE, June 15), I, too, watched the segment of The Baseball Bunch in which Johnny Bench instructed the Bunch on the proper way to catch a fly ball, i.e., with two hands. Before that I had taken a picture of Bench catching a fly ball in a game between the Reds and the Pirates here in Pittsburgh. My photograph shows Bench catching the ball with both hands, not just one, as reader Brotheim saw him do in another game.

What does this prove? Only that Bench is human like the rest of us, and that he practices what he preaches—sometimes.

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