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The neighborhood in which I grew up was middle-class, yet six
Braves lived within 10 blocks of my house.
--WILLIAM B. KENNEDY, Columbus, Ind.


John Schulian's piece on Milwaukee's National League past
(National Pastime, June 1) struck a chord in my middle-aged
heart. The first big league game I saw was in County Stadium on
my sixth birthday, in September 1957, after the Braves had
clinched the pennant. Warren Spahn pitched, and he and Red
Schoendienst hit homers. Great memories. Who holds the record
for career home runs by two teammates? Not Babe Ruth and Lou
Gehrig of the mighty Yankees, but Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews
of the Milwaukee Braves.
GEORGE ROONEY, Yucaipa, Calif.

I've covered presidents and events at the White House as a
journalist, but for fond memories nothing compares to my
baseball autographed by Joe Torre and Hank Aaron. Camden Yards
may be a beautiful park, but give me a brat in County Stadium
DAVE FORMAN, North Potomac, Md.

When my father was 14 years old, he and a friend were
hitchhiking to County Stadium. As they walked down Viliet
Street, a car pulled over and the driver asked, "Where are you
guys going?" "To the ballpark," they replied. "Hop in," the
motorist said. As they climbed into the car, the boys were
overcome with joy. The driver was Spahn. He happened to be going
that way.

As a youngster, I heard many stories involving the Braves,
including the one about the time my mom went to the door of
Eddie Mathews's high-rise apartment while on a fund-raising
mission for her Catholic grade school. Eddie, who had just
hopped out of the shower, answered the door with a towel wrapped
around his waist and bought all of her remaining candy bars.

When the Braves were visiting Pittsburgh in 1961, I asked my
mother to pen a note to Eddie Mathews inviting him to dinner
with our family that night. I crawled on top of the Braves'
dugout and tossed the note to the first player I saw. A few
innings later the batboy wandered along the third base line,
apparently looking for somebody. I ran to the railing, waved
and, sure enough, he had a note from Mathews accepting the
invitation. It was an unforgettable evening.
EDWARD SOLOMON, Philadelphia


Was Tom Verducci's article about Orioles pitcher Armando Benitez
(Fevered Pitch, June 1) supposed to elicit a sympathetic
response in readers? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him
because his teammates (sensibly) shunned him after he
intentionally drilled Yankee Tino Martinez? Please! The real
story here is Martinez, who was forced by his injury to miss the
same number of games (eight) that Benitez received as his
SUSAN PERGER, Highland Park, N.J.

Instead of throwing at the next batter, Benitez should have
tried to shut down the Yankees for the rest of the game. That's
how to get even.
JOSH SMITH, Westminster, Md.

INDY 500

You stated that the Indy 500 was filled with replacement players
(INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS, June 1). Let's give these drivers some
respect. They may not be household names to the rich and famous,
but they are to the true race fan. Unlike some of the CART
drivers, who buy their rides, the no-names earned theirs with
their skill in Saturday-night dirt-track races.
ED BARTLETT, Haven, Kans.

The no-names, while plagued with mechanical problems, put on an
exciting show with lots of passing and the full support of the
300,000 fans in attendance. It's easy to forget that drivers
like A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Al Unser were considered
no-names until they made their mark at Indy.
MIKE JOSEPH, Speedway, Ind.

Nothing can take away from the history, pageantry and charisma
of the Brickyard. Years from now Eddie Cheever's likeness will
remain on the Borg-Warner trophy for all to see. No one will
remember Alex Zanardi's irrelevant CART victory at St. Louis.
GARY GRAY, St. Louis

B/W PHOTO: MARK KAUFFMAN [Johnny Antonelli pitching in game]


Your story brought to mind the trade that in my view cost the
Braves a dynasty. Before the 1954 season they dealt Johnny
Antonelli, a first-rate starter, for Bobby Thomson of Coogan's
Bluff and Ralph Branca fame. Thomson broke his ankle in spring
training, leading the Braves to bring up a kid named Henry
Aaron, who would hang around for a while. Antonelli, meanwhile,
anchored the '54 world champion Giants' staff and pitched well
for a number of years. If the Braves had kept Antonelli with
Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl (and, oh well, Gene
Conley), they would have won the two more games they needed to
beat the Dodgers for the National League pennant in '56, would
have won one more from the Bombers to prevail in the '58 World
Series and would have avoided the playoff that they lost to Los
Angeles in '59. In terms of its impact on the teams, the
Thomson-Antonelli crime ranks with Frank Robinson for Milt
Pappas and Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio.
DAVID B. KANIN, Rockville, Md.