Letters From Lefty Revisited

letters-from-lefty Houston’s Mickey Herskowitz wrote a lot of very entertaining pieces during his salad days as a sports columnist for the old Houston Post, but none were more engaging than his “Letters from Lefty” to his girl, Alice. They began with the message he wrote to her on March 19, 1962 from his first spring training camp with the Houston Colt .45’s in Apache Junction, Arizona on March 19, 1962.

“The ball park is a mile from our hotel, and Dick Farrell, who used to pitch for the Phillies, always takes the short cut across the sage and underbrush. Along the way he shoots at various objects with a .22 pistol. I predict that Farrell will be the first guy in camp to lose a toe.” (Letters from Lefty, Page 4)

Now where on earth can 2015 Houston Astros fans hope to get that kind of inside job insight on what’s really going on in spring training with the current club’s season for ascendancy from the realm of hopeless mediocrity? We know that Lefty still has to be on the Astros’ 40-man roster somewhere, even it’s between the lines. He hasn’t been heard from since March 22, 1966, but that could be remedied. All he needs is for Mickey Herskowitz to help him put those letters home together again.

From the start, Mickey made it clear that the character pitcher named “Lefty” was copied directly from the great Ring Lardner’s early 20th century run with the “You Know Me, Al” series of letters about life in baseball, but he did it in the distinctive Herskowitz style. And once Lefty negotiated his base salary with George Kirksey up from $1.50 an hour to $1.75 an hour, he had struck a deal that would insure him a place in the Houston bullpen forever. We think that the record of the 2014 Astros bullpen is fair enough testimony to the fact Lefty is still with the club. He has simply lost his letter-writing buddy, Mickey Herskowitz.

If you’ve never read “Letters from Lefty,” or if, like me, you needed to retrieve a new used copy, a few dirt-cheap original 1966 printings are available at Amazon.Com. Here’s the link, in case you decide to do yourselves a nostalgic favor.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=letters+from+lefty

And, Mickey, if you’re listening out there, and you have the time this season, each morning, a few “Letters from Lefty” on the 2015 season that you file away for a post season book sequel would make for a beautiful and popular seller in the 2016 spring training book market.

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