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The fans speak out.

In reading the article on the "Majors' Top Starters" in the November issue, I was shocked that Ben Sheets of the Brewers was not even mentioned.

Living in Wisconsin and being a life-long Brewer fan, I admit I may be a tad biased, but show some love!

Last season, Sheets ranked fourth in the National League in ERA (2.70), second in strikeouts (264), tied for third in innings pitched (237), and third in quality starts with 24.

He also had an 18-strikeout performance against Houston, and a one-hitter against the Angels.

It was unfair to leave Ben off the (Top 10) list. His only blemish was his won-lost record (12-14) which was the result of a stagnant Brewer offense that failed to score him runs.

Place Sheets on any other team, and he wins 20 games easily.

Travis Udulutch

Sun Prairie, Wis.

Watching Terry Francona's Red Sox one night last season reminded me of his dad, Tito, who lost the 1959 American League batting title because he failed to get the required 400 at-bats.

Tito needed only one more at-bat. Did the Indians make any effort to get him another at-bat?

Joe Shaffer

Grand Junction, Colo.

In 1957, the rule governing batting championships was changed, eliminating the requirement of a player needing 400 at-bats to qualify for the title.

Instead, the new rule read: "A player must have a total of at least 3.1 plate appearances (which include at-bats, walks, sacrifices and hit by pitch) for every game scheduled to qualify as the league leader in batting average.

Thus, with a 154-game schedule in use at that time, Francona would have needed 477 plate appearances to qualify as the American League batting champion.

He fell far short of that mark, with 399 at-bats, 35 walks, six sacrifices and three times hit by pitcher for a total of 443 plate appearances.

So, one more at-bat that year still wouldn't have gained him the title despite the fact he hit .363 to the winner's .353 mark, posted by the Tigers' Harvey Kuenn.

I still can't understand why Jim Kaat isn't in the Hall of Fame. If his 283 wins, 4,530 innings pitched, and a career 3.45 ERA aren't enough, how about the fact that he won 16 Gold Gloves (for defensive excellence)!

If Brooks Robinson can make the Hall with a .267 career batting average, then surely they have room for Kant.

Frank Watson

Uncasville, Conn.

In the October issue of Baseball Digest in the article on "Sloppiest World Series Confrontations," the author made a reference to a quote attributed to Heinie Zimmerman of the Giants as his defense of futilely chasing Eddie Collins of the White Sox across home plate in the 1917 World Series.

The author had Heinie saying, "Who was I supposed to throw the ball to--myself?"

Most sources, however, have Heinie saying, "Who was I supposed to throw the bail to--Klem?" Bill Klem was the home plate umpire.

Richard A. Smiley

Chicago, Ill.

I was watching a game last season, and a play was made where the umpire's call was obviously wrong and proven so by the instant replay on TV.

Why can't each manager have the opportunity to have three close plays reviewed per game in order to have the right calls made?

Let's leave the balls and strikes alone, just the plays on the field. I think getting the right calls made is fair, not only to the players but to the fans as well. I would like see a response from Baseball Digest and readers on this subject.

Donna Welch

Hooksett, N.H.

If managers on each team had the option of calling for a review of at least three plays in a game through the use of instant replay, there undoubtedly would be too much of a delay in the progress of the game.

During the regular season, maybe the option of one review for each manager would be in order.

When a team's entire season is at stake in the Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series, however, we see nothing wrong in giving managers broader freedom in calling for review of plays that might determine the outcome of a game, involving, for example, cases of disputed calls on home runs, tag plays at second base or perhaps fans' interference.

Outside of disputed ball-and-strike calls, major league umpires, by and large, do a petty good job as long as they are positioned to make the right decision. Their mistakes usually come when, perhaps through no fault of their own, they are not in the right spot to call a close play correctly.

I noticed that last season. Jeff Bagwell built his career totals to more than 1,500 runs scored and 1,500 RBI.

How does he stack up with the all-time greats in this regard?

Bill Goodman

Memphis, Tenn.

In the 2004 season, Bagwell became the 27th player in major league history to have accumulated at least 1,500 RBI and 1,500 runs scored. See the accompanying chart.

If you were a manager in 1957 and you had Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial and Ted Williams on your team, in what position in the batting order would you put each one of them?

Tim Moule

Grass Valley, Calif.

With four hitters in the lineup like the ones you mention, it wouldn't matter much where the manager placed them in the batting order. The manager could close his eyes while his team was at bat, and later ask his bench coach how many runs had scored.

However, for the sake of argument, we'd bat Musial second, Williams third, Aaron fourth and Mantle fifth.

Musial (lifetime .331 BA) and Williams (.344) were on base a lot, and would be imposing table-setters for Aaron (.305 BA) and Mantle (.298 BA).

My dad and I were discussing a game we attended while on a summer vacation in Montreal in 1972.

I was only seven at the time, but he remembers that Ken Singleton, whose exploits we later enjoyed when he was an Oriole, hit a game-winning home run.

Could you print a box score of that game?

Peter Ephross

Brooklyn, N.Y.

The game you mention took place on June 24, 1972, with the Expos beating the Phillies, 5-4, in nine innings.

With Montreal trailing, 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Singleton hit a two-run homer that proved to be the winning hit. See the accompanying box score.

My father-in-law (who is 90) and I (who am 58), do not recall a time in major league baseball when more bats have been broken during a game.

Does anyone know if we are imagining this or are we accurately assessing what we see? And, if more bats are breaking, does anyone know why?

Ralph E. Stubbs

Elberon, N.J.

You're not imagining the increase in broken bats. Two reasons for the increase: Thinner bat handles, and more young hurlers who throw extremely hard inside pitches.

My dad was the greatest man I will ever know. He taught me everything I know about baseball.

Dad passed away in 2004, and his passing made me think of the first game he ever took me to see.

It was in May (I believe) of 1963 at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers. The starting pitchers were Al Downing for the Yankees and Mickey Lolich for the Tigers.

During the game, Bill Freehan hit the first home run I ever saw in person. I would truly appreciate it if you printed the box score of that game as a remembrance of a great day with a very great man.

Tom Smail

Lake Hiawatha, N.J.

The game was played on June 15, with the Yankees winning, 9-2. Freehan did not hit a home run in the game, but Rocky Colavito slammed one for the Tigers and Tom Tresh, one for the Yankees. See the accompanying box score.

Has there ever been a player who led his league in batting average, home runs, or RBI in his last season in the majors?

David Mogentale

New York, N.Y.

Since 1900, we can't uncover any batter who led his league in BA, home runs or RBI in his final season. We did find out, however, that Shoeless Joe Jackson led the American League in triples with 20 in his last year with the White Sox in 1920.

Last season was Barry Bonds the first player ever to lead his league in batting average and have less than one hit a game?

Barry Adico

San Jose, Calif.

For the 2004 season, Bonds topped the National League in batting with a .363 mark while accumulating 135 hits in 146 games.

Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi accomplished the same feat in 1942 when he led the N.L. in batting with a .330 average while collecting 102 hits in 105 games.

I grew up watching baseball in the 1960s. Like everyone else, I knew how great pitchers like Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal were, but two other pitchers come to mind from those days.

The two pitchers are Bob Veale of the Pirates and Jim Maloney of the Reds. Could you give me their career stats?

Terry Shaw

Avondale Estates, Ga.

Veale, a big 6-6, 212 pound left-hander, pitched in the majors for 13 years (1962-1974), primarily with the Pirates (1962-1972), finishing with a 120-95 won-lost record and 3.08 career ERA.

He was a hard-thrower and was wild (he led the N.L three times in walks), but from 1964 through 1967, he won 16 or more games. In 1967, he pitched seven shutouts for the Pirates.

Maloney, a fireballing right-hander, toiled 12 years in the majors, with the Reds (1960-1970) and Angels (1971), finishing with a 134-84 mark and 3.19 ERA.

He pitched two no-hitters, one in 1965 against the Cubs over ten innings, and another in 1969 against Houston. In 1965, Maloney pitched ten hitless innings against the Mets at old Crosley Field, but the Reds lost the game, 1-0, in the 11th on a Johnny Lewis home run.

His best years were 1963 when he Went 23-7 and 1965 when he posted a 20-9 record.

After retiring as a player, Maloney managed Fresno in the California League, and operated an auto dealership.

The Boston Braves once had a player, a catcher, I believe, who was the only batter to hit a ball over the clock at old Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.

It wasn't Del Crandall. Do you know who it was?

Shirley Cramer

Lancaster, Pa.

We checked with Hall of Famer Robin Roberts who began his long pitching career with the Phillies in 1948, and he said he could not recall a batter from the Boston Braves hitting a ball over the right-center field scoreboard.

The Braves, of course, were stationed in Boston through the 1952 season before moving to Milwaukee. Walker Cooper, a power-hitting catcher, played for the Braves in 1950, 1951 and 1952, and he might be the player you are thinking of, but we can't ascertain that he hit a homer over the scoreboard.

In 1955, the Phillies bought a new scoreboard from the New York Yankees, and it was installed at Connie Mack Stadium for the 1956 season.

Later a clock was installed atop the scoreboard, some 75 feet high, and it should be mentioned that in 1960, Dick Allen, then with the Phillies, hit a home run that cleared the top of the scoreboard.

In response to a letter in a recent issue of Baseball Digest, it was stated that "the patriotic fervor that accompanied World War II forced the playing of the national anthem before all major league games for the first time in 1942."

It might be noted that Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee actually introduced the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" during the seventh inning stretch of Game 1 of the 1918 World Series which was contested, of course, during World war I.

Fr. Gerald Beirne

Greenville, R.I.

Since the Cy Young Award began in 1956, there have been three years in both the N.L. and A.L. during which a pitcher won 25 games but failed to capture the award.

In 1966, when only one Cy Young Award was issued, Jim Kaat won 25 games for the Twins, but lost out to Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers (27-9).

In 1971, Mickey Lofich of the Tigers won 25 games, but the award in the A.L. went to Vida Blue of the A's (24-8).

And, in 1974, Fergie Jenkins of the Rangers became the third and final A.L. pitcher to miss out when he won 25 games, but lost out to Catfish Hunter of the A's (25-12).

In the N.L, it was the same pitcher, Juan Marichal of the Giants who failed to garner a Cy Young Award three times despite notching 25 victories in each season.

In 1963 Marichal posted 25 wins, but lost out to Kotffax (25-5). He again had 25 triumphs in 1966. but the award was earned by Koufax.

And, in 1968, Marichal won 26 games, but lost out to Bob Gibson of the Cardinals (22-9).

In fact, in those three years, Marichal did not even receive a single vote because the winner each season was a unanimous selection.

Jim Winthrop

Norwalk, Conn.

On Labor Day, 1934, I traveled from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, my home town, to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh on a street car to attend my first ever baseball game along with my older brother.

I was 12 years old. Reserved seats along the first base line were 81.10 and I bought a program for ten cents.

I kept score the best I could as I wanted to remember that glorious day forever. It was a double header between my Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, my mom cleaned house as they do, and my precious program was gone.

My memory has become clouded after these many years, but I think the Pirates won both ends of the double header, beating both Paul and Dizzy Dean.

As I followed baseball through the years, I think I saw something great that day. I think five batters and one pitcher who played for the Pirates in those games are now in the Hall of Fame.

They include Paul and Lloyd Waner, Fred Lindstrom, Arky Vaughan and Pie Traynor, along with starting pitcher Waite Hoyt.

How many Cards who played that day are also in the Hall of Fame?

Frank Rinella

Las Vegas, Nev.

On that day, the Pirates won both ends of the double header against the Cardinals, beating starter Paul Dean, 12-2, in the opener, and topping Dizzy Dean, who pitched in relief to only four batters, 6-5, in the second game.

A reported crowd of 20,000 watched that Labor Day twin bill.

There were nine future Hall of Famers who saw action in the double header. They included five Pirates: left fielder Fred Lindstrom, center fielder Lloyd Waner, right fielder Paul Waner, shortstop Arky Vaughan and pitcher Waite Hoyt.

Future Hall of Famers on the Cardinals included second baseman Frankie Frisch, left fielder Joe Medwick and pitcher Dizzy Dean.

Leo Durocher, who was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager, was the regular Cardinal shortstop that year, but he did not play in the double header, his place being taken by Burgess Whitehead.

I want to ask about Rogers Hornsby's six consecutive batting titles from 1920 through 1925.

What was his average for those six years, and was that average the greatest display of hitting by any major league player in the history of the game?

Tom O'Neill

Philadelphia, Pa.

Yes, the only player who came close to Hornsby over a similar six-year span was Ty Cobb.

From 1920 through 1925, Hornsby had 3,268 at-bats and 1,296 hits for a .397 batting average.

From 1909 through 1914, Cobb had 2,999 at-bats and 1,185 hits for a .395 BA.

Hornsby's seasonal averages for the six years were .370, .397, .401, .384, .424 and .403.

Cobb's batting marks were .377, .383, .420,. 409, .390 and.368.

Cobb may have put together the greatest display of hitting when he won nine consecutive American League batting titles from 1907 through 1915. During that span, Cobb totaled 1,786 hits in 4,745 at-bats for a .376 average. His career mark was .366 over 24 major league seasons.

I enjoyed reading the article written by Wayne Coffey in the October issue in which he stated Joe DiMaggio participated as a player on ten teams that won the World Series.

For the record, DiMaggio's Yankees won nine world championships.

Henry T. Sarnataro

Middle Village, N.Y.

You're right. Author Coffey failed to note that in 1942, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series

After winning the opener of the Series, the Yankees lost four straight games to the Cardinals.

It was the Yankees' first World Series defeat in their last nine appearances, dating back to the Cardinals' victory over them in the 1926 Fall Classic.

We're planning on a trip to Arizona next March. Can you tell me the teams that go to spring training in Arizona, and the best weeks to go to see them play?

Kal Sheheen

Kenmore, N.Y.

The best time to see spring training games usually is in mid-March.

Here is a list of teams that train in Arizona:

American League: Anaheim Angels (Tempe), Chicago White Sox (Tucson), Kansas City Royals (Surprise), Oakland A's (Phoenix), Seattle Mariners (Peoria), Texas Rangers (Surprise).

National League: Arizona Diamondbacks (Tucson), Chicago Cubs (Mesa), Colorado Rockies (Tucson), Milwaukee Brewers (Phoenix), San Diego Padres (Peoria), San Francisco Giants (Scottsdale).

Would you please print the mailing address of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig?

Richard Prince

Shrewsbury, Mass.

The office of the Baseball Commissioner is: 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 3060, Milwaukee, W153202.

I agree with the letter-writer in the November issue who said Stan Musial does not receive the credit he deserves.

When he was playing, Start The Man was mentioned in the same breath with such contemporaries as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron and Mickey Mantle as one of the greatest players ever.

But, today, Musial doesn't seem to get the same sort of acknowledgement.

Maybe, it's because he didn't play in New York like DiMaggio, Mays and Mantle, or didn't have the ego and self-promotion of Williams, or didn't assume the status of underdog and martyr as did Aaron.

But, his lifetime achievements still rank him as one of the greatest all-time players and he deserves to be recognized as such.

Mark Simpson

Laurel Hill, N.C.

Ichiro Suzuki is the only major league ball player that I know of who is addressed by his first name and whose first name appears on the back of his jersey.

Does this have something to do with his Japanese heritage?

Laurie Sweeney

Shelbyvine, Ill.

When Suzuki, which is a fairly common name in Japan, broke in as a rookie with the Orix Blue Wave in the Japanese League in 1992, there were several players on the team with the same last name.

So, in order to distinguish them, the manager had their first names lettered on the back of their jerseys, and Ichiro has been identified in baseball by his first name ever since.

What ever happened to Mark Grace? Where is he now?

Gene McCloskey

Jersey Shore, Pa.

Grace was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks broadcast team during the 2004 season, serving as a television analyst on the Diamondbacks Television Network and Fox Sports Net. At the end of the 2004 season, he was granted an interview for the Diamondbacks managerial position for the '05 campaign

He, his wife, Tanya, and sons live in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Here's an oddity that I hope you can verify for me. In 1979 and again in 1990, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds won their respective divisions and faced each other in the National League Championship Series.

During the entire decade of the 1980s, the only teams in the National League that did not win division rifles were the Pirates and Reds. Is this true?

Danny Chaskin

Lakewood, N.J.

Yes. With the exception of the Pirates and Reds, every one of the 12 N.L. teams won either an East or West Division title during the 1980s.

In 1981, the Expos gained the East Division championship by beating the Phillies in a special five-game playoff series. That year, because the schedule had been shortened by a strike, winners of the first half and second half of the season were required to meet in a playoff series to determine the ultimate division winner.

The Expos captured the decisive fifth game, 3-0, behind the pitching of Steve Rogers who beat future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

Last season, Carlos Beltran and Steve Finley hit more than 30 home runs while playing with two different teams. How many other players have slugged 30 or more HR in a season while splitting time with two or more clubs?

Marty Blake

Houston, Tex.

Our research has uncovered 20 different players who have hit 30-plus home runs in a season with two clubs. Fred McGriff is the only player to accomplish this feat two times. See the accompanying chart.

The list of pitchers with multi-homer games in the November issue of Baseball Digest includes Bucky Walters of the Red Sox who hit two homers on May 13, 1934.

It should be noted that Walters was not a pitcher in 1934. He played 23 games at third base for the Red Sox that year. He became a bona fide pitcher for the Phillies in 1935 when he toed the rubber in 24 games.

Shelby Freymiller

Lancaster, Wis.

Waiters did pitch in two games in 1934 for the Phillies, but on the date when he hit two home runs in a game for the Red Sox against the White Sox, he was playing third base. His homers included a grand slam and a two-run blast, leading Boston to a 14-2 victory. Walters didn't become a pitcher full time until 1935.

Also on our list was Chief Bender who clubbed two homers in a game in 1906 while playing left field. Bender was a starting pitcher for the A's during his 15 years in the majors, but on May 8, 1906, manager Connie Mack was shorthanded because of injuries and used Bender as an outfielder.

Unlike Waiters who came up as a position player, Bender was a pitcher by trade and still should be listed among hurlers who have hit multiple homers in a game.

The chart in our November issue was still under research at the time of publication, but with the help of SABR home run expert Bob McConnell, the total number of pitchers who have hit two or more homers in a game is 51(including Chief Bender) since 1900. McConnell discovered that Bill Lee hit one, not two homers in a game in 1936 and in 1961, Danny Murphy was an outfielder

Added to the list are:

Ed Summers, Tigers 1910; Jim Shaw, Senators 1919; Garland Buckeye, Indians 1925; Jess Doyle, Tigers 1925; Jack Knight, Phillies 1926; Phil Collins, Phillies 1930; Chief Hogsett, Tigers 1932; Bill Lee, Cubs 1941; Dave Koslo, Giants 1949; Jim Hearn, Giants 1955; Babe Birrer, Tigers 1955; Dixie Howell, White Sox 1957 and Dick Donovan, Indians 1962.

I recall listening to a radio broadcast of a game in which Early Wynn and Ralph Terry both had no-hit games entering the ninth inning of the contest. I'm pretty sure it was a White Sox game at Yankee Stadium.

If my memory is correct, Johnny Callison of the White Sox ended Terry's no-hit bid on a ninth inning hit.

I know that Early Wynn never pitched a no-hitter and I don't recall who won the game and by what score.

Based on when Callison started his career, I think the game may have been played in July of 1959.

Can you verify my facts?

Andrew J. Bednarz, Jr.

Grapevine, Tex.

The game you recall, took place on July 17, 1959 at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 42,020 fans. Chicago's Early Wynn and the Yankees Ralph Terry both tossed shutouts through eight innings, before Chicago's Jim McAnany collected the first White Sox hit in the 9th followed by a sacrifice by Wynn that was fielded by Terry who missed the force at second.

Luis Aparicio then sacrificed runners to second and third followed by a Nellie Fox intentional walk. With the bases loaded, Jim Landis added the second Chicago hit to drive home two runs and give the White Sox the lead and an eventual 2-0 win.

The first hit off Wynn came in the eighth frame when Terry was called safe on an infield roller The Yankees got their second and last safety off Wynn in the ninth by left fielder Norm Siebern.
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Title Annotation:Letters To The Editor
Author:Udulutch, Travis; Shaffer, Joe; Watson, Frank; Smiley, Richard A.; Welch, Donna; Goodman, Bill; Moul
Publication:Baseball Digest
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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Next Article:Players with 1,500 RBI and runs scored.

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