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It's Not First Time Slugger Has Hit Leadoff

June 24, 1989

I have to agree with Scott Ostler's defense of Tom Lasorda's decision to use Kirk Gibson in the leadoff spot, although the glowing results to date are self-evident.

There is also a precedent for Lasorda's move.

When Willie Mays was at his pinnacle in the mid- to late 1950s, an All-Star manager received similar umbrage over his decision to have Mays lead off. However, the National League lineup was so loaded that the manager drooled at the prospect of affording Mays an extra at-bat.

I wish I could remember the results of Mays' efforts.

DON BUDAY

Hollywood

Editor's note: It wasn't rare for Mays to lead off in All-Star games. He did it eight times. The first six times (1958, twice in '60, '65, '66, '68), his totals were 10 hits in 23 at-bats with eight runs scored. In '70 and '71, the last two times he led off, he was hitless in five at-bats overall.

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