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Bonehead Play

July 25, 1993

As a baseball fan who has been looking forward to Ken Burns' documentary "Baseball" ever since I first heard the project announced, I was pleased to see Robert Strauss' article on the work in progress ("He's Rounding Third . . . ," July 11).

However, I was more than a little annoyed while reading that the PBS series will include "20 minutes on the 1908 failure of New York Giants rookie Fred Merkle to touch second base to end the World Series."

As any half-serious baseball fan knows, the Merkle "bonehead" incident did not happen in the World Series but two weeks before the end of the 1908 season.

It led to a one-game playoff between the Giants and the Cubs, in which future Hall of Famers Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown and Christy Mathewson, who had won 37 games that year, pitched for the Cubs and Giants, respectively; in one of the most legendary games in all baseball history, the Cubs won, 4-2, and went on to meet the Tigers in the World Series.

Given the reputation of Burns and that of his consultants, I can only assume the error is Strauss'.

I'm sure The Times was besieged with calls, faxes and letters from outraged baseball fans concerning this mistake. To all of those you can add mine.


Redondo Beach

Axelrod is correct. In addition, an anonymous reader notes: "Any idiot knows this is not shot at Yankee Stadium," referring to a photograph of Babe Ruth at the plate, reprinted above. "Where are the home white pin-stripes? The openings in the stadium background are at old Comiskey Park in Chicago."

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