Gehrig talks to the pressIn reading a letter (Aug. 8...

LETTERS

August 29, 1993

Gehrig talks to the press

In reading a letter (Aug. 8, 1993, written by Donald Klein) I could not believe that we are going to start comparing the statistics of a shortstop (Cal Ripken) and a first baseman (Lou Gehrig) who are a half-century apart. Let's try a comparison you won't read in record books.

Imagine, if you can, Lou at Oriole Park watching Cal break his consecutive games record and Lou gets interviewed by the press.

Press: How many times did you extend yourself for a line drive and slam your body onto the AstroTurf?

Lou: Never.

Press: Do you feel shortstop is a more demanding position than first base?

Lou: Yes.

Press: Did you ever play in only one inning just to keep your streak alive?

Lou: Yes.

Press: Do you think being in a lineup with players such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio helped your stats?

Lou: Absolutely.

Lou Gehrig was a great player in his era. Cal Ripken is a great player in his. Donald Klein is probably right when he said that Cal won't have a 184-RBI season, but who does anymore? Cal is in the same league with Lou and he will be in Cooperstown with Lou; it will just be a different era.

Brian Hearn

Bowie

Preaching to the choir

Hats off to Donald Klein for his insightful letter concerning Cal Ripen and Lou Gehrig. Klein has suggested what many of us not caught up in the Ripken streak mania have long thought: It will be a sad day if Gehrig's record is broken by one of considerably less talent.

Yes, I can hear the lament from the Ken Rosenthal-Jeff Rimer-Stan White Church of the Holy Ripken. He plays a more demanding position, the air travel, the night games, etc. I would suggest that the train travel of Gehrig's day was no joy, nor was the playing of day games in the stifling heat of St. Louis, Chicago and Washington in heavy flannel uniforms.

Paraphrasing the former senator from Texas, there is no doubt someone out there who can legitimately say: "I knew Lou Gehrig, Lou Gehrig was a friend of mine and you're no Lou Gehrig."

Roger A. Godin

Bel Air

Shakespeare on Thompson

Like thousands -- perhaps even millions -- of baseball fans over the years, I was delighted and proud that Chuck Thompson was inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Aug. 1 as a Hall of Fame broadcaster.

He received the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting during the past 44 years, but should have also received a special award from the public for what Aristotle called "excellence in character" and for his generous humanity.

Chuck not only has one of the most pleasant voices among broadcasters -- friendly, warm and calm. He is also one of the most knowledgeable. That is the ideal combination and explains almost five decades of distinguished broadcasting of Orioles games.

Although I live in Washington, I have always loved the Orioles. They play exciting baseball and their fans are also extremely devoted. But another reason for my interest is Chuck Thompson, whose broadcasting talents may not be flamboyant, but are certainly formidable. On radio, fans could "see" the Orioles' games clearly.

Somehow, that respected and popular broadcaster inspires Shakespeare's tribute: "a proper man as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man."

How wonderful and enjoyable Chuck Thompson made so many summer days and nights!

Stephen G. Callas

Washington

Maris one of a kind

Baseball trivia -- on Aug. 6, 1960, Yankees great Roger Maris crushed his ribs in a base-running collision. At the time he was batting .300 and leading the majors with 35 homers and 91 RBI, seven games ahead of Babe Ruth's 1927 record pace. Those 1960 statistics would also lead all of today's future Hall of Famers.

Then came 1961 and for those two seasons, Maris became only the fourth, and last, player to hit 100 or more home runs over two seasons, the only player to hit 50 home runs six weeks before the end of the season, the only player to challenge Ruth's 60-homer record two seasons in a row.

Those are stats unmatched by today's future Hall of Famers: Schmidt, Bonds, Perez, Brett, Winfield, Ripken, Mattingly, Boggs, Griffey, Belle, Fielder, Rose, Sandberg, Puckett, Gwynn, Thomas, Olerud, Palmeiro, Gonzalez, McGwire and Canseco.

And still -- Maris-haters in the Baseball Writers Association continue to claim Maris was only a minor-leaguer -- not worthy of the Hall of Fame.

C.W. Edwards

Annapolis

Heave-ho for Hemond

Congratulations and much success to the new owners of the Orioles.

May I suggest that the first order of business be the immediated "retirement" of general manager Roland Hemond and the gentleman who extended his contract too many years ago.

No explanation is necessary for an Orioles fan or anyone who reads this newspaper's sports section.

Harry Acker

Aberdeen

Oates too cool

I'm now convinced the Orioles will never win a pennant with Johnny Oates as manager. He's too laid back. He's not aggressive and he displays no leadership.

Oates was less than average as a ballplayer, and he's less than average as a manager.

Earl Weaver would have had the present Orioles team out in first by at least 10 games.

John C. Zaruba

Baltimore

*

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