I strongly disagree with Hecht's statement that Don Mattingly is easily the American League MVP. George Brett's credentials appear to be at least as strong. Using the very accurate formula (hits + walks) X (total bases) � (at bats + walks), one finds that Brett actually created more runs than Mattingly—142 to 140. Plus, he led the majors in slugging (.585), though he enjoys no short rightfield porch at Royals Stadium, as does Mattingly at Yankee Stadium. And, of course, he came through spectacularly in the last week of the season with the divisional title on the line.
With all due respect to Gene Mauch of the California Angels, I find it very hard to believe that Hecht could have selected him as his AL Manager of the Year. Under the strong leadership of manager Bobby Cox, the young Toronto Blue Jays held off the charge of the New York Yankees in September and October to win the first division title in their nine-year history. I say congratulations to Bobby Cox and the Blue Jays on a very exciting 1985 season!
You picked the Cardinals to finish 15th and Whitey Herzog managed them to a first-place finish, yet Hecht chose Pete Rose as NL Manager of the Year. How inconsistent can you be? If Rose had taken his weak bat out of the lineup, who knows what the Reds might have done? Herzog was the best manager in the National League. SI was overwhelmed by Rose's career and overrated him in '85.
ROBERT and ANDREW WAGGENER
While flying back home to Oklahoma recently, I eagerly plowed into a copy of the Oct. 14 issue and was amazed to read William Humphrey's article on hunting woodcock (Birds Of A Feather). My regular hunting partner and I were returning from the Fourth Annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt in Grand Rapids, Minn., where for three days we enjoyed some of the world's finest ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting with some true "gentlemen bird-hunters."
The article warmed us, just as much as the last drinks we shared with our Minnesota friends. Humphrey's story will help keep our memories alive long after the tall stories—legitimized by scars on face and hand—fade.
ROBERT BASS BERRY
It's probably because I'm from an urban area, but I'll ask the questions anyway. Why is shooting little birds out of the sky looked upon as a sport? Why are its enthusiasts considered sportsmen? Why does an author who professes respect for the beautiful little woodcock so relish blowing it away?
HIT AND MISS
As one who also photographed Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit, I have studied your Sept. 23 pictures of that historic event and believe that the one you printed on page 6 (LEADING OFF) is actually a photo of Rose connecting during a subsequent at bat. My frame-by-frame examination of a videotape of the game reveals that the background detail in your photo does not match the detail in the video and in my photo of Rose's record hit. Instead, it matches that of a pop fly to left on Rose's third plate appearance. The record-setting hit came on Rose's first appearance that evening.
Huntington, W. Va.
?Perdue is correct.—ED.
I don't believe it. Someone besides me saw Al Luplow's catch in Fenway Park more than 20 years ago (REPLAY, Oct. 14)! For years my stock rejoinder, after witnessing a spectacular fielding play, has been, "That was nothing compared to the catch I saw Luplow make in 1963." Now, thanks to Jay Feldman's article, maybe somebody will believe me.
GEORGE P. CENCI
Kendall Park, N.J.
Please extend my thanks to Feldman for filling in some facts on a never-to-be-forgotten catch. On June 27, 1963 I was an 11-year-old Red Sox fan sitting in the bleachers, with a perfect view of the bullpen. I have always remembered Dick Williams as the batter, but the man who made the catch was just "some outfielder for the Indians" to me. It is nice to know that it was Al Luplow. Though nameless until now, he has always been my personal yardstick for measuring fantastic efforts on the baseball field.