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.
After looking at the photo of Mayday, Yaz and Coach on page 68, it dawned on me why Sam's career went south in a hurry. Sammy has his jacket draped over his left shoulder. Come on, Sam, all good pitchers keep the chucking wing warm.
I was appalled to see you devote so much space to a fictitious former ballplayer when there are real former ballplayers who deserve the recognition. In fact, we have such a deserving former ballplayer right here in our community: Just last winter Sidd Finch opened a yogurt shop in downtown Sykesville.
The article on Sam Malone, whose career was shortened, in part, by his hedonistic life-style, caused me to reflect upon the shortened career of another pitcher, Sidd Finch, who, despite a monastic life, had his nascent career abruptly terminated by the crudest of fates—a sore arm. It is nice to report, though, that Finch recently regained his competitive fire and learned to throw the knuckleball after being tutored by Charlie Hough during spring training this year. Finch is attempting a comeback with the Florida Marlins' Triple A affiliate, the Edmonton Trappers. So far Finch, having yet to completely master the pitch, has enjoyed moderate success, pitching primarily in long relief. I'm surprised that SI missed this story.
MARK J. ROSENBERG
New York City
In looking at Larry Brown's rèsumè in El-wood H. Smith's POINT AFTER (May 31), it occurred to me that one little-known period of employment was not covered. Brown was offically the basketball coach at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., from May 28 to June 30, 1969. Although he never coached a game, he did some recruiting and was on campus for about three weeks. There are many stories about why he left, but we know that from Davidson he went to the Washington Capitols to resume his playing in the now defunct ABA.
Thank you for your INSIDE BASEBALL item (June 7) about Dale Murphy's retirement. I grew up watching Brave games and being in awe of Murphy as he hit home run after home run out of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. He was one of the most respected athletes in the game and will be missed by fans everywhere.
ALBERT TEAL JR.
Congratulations on producing such terrific pictures from Sam's baseball career. Can you show us the original photographs? The one of him getting carried off the field must be Jim Lonborg being mobbed by fans after he defeated the Twins on the last day of the 1967 season, in a game the Sox needed to win the pennant.
Lake Bluff, Ill.
•You're right; to create that shot of Sam, we used the photo of Lonborg you have in mind. We also used Lonborg for the picture of Sam following through, and Luis Tiant for the one of Sam watching a home run sail out of Fenway Park.—ED.
WALTER IOOSS JR.
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