The baseball nuts with whom I associate had varying reactions to The Washington Post's recent poll on sports interest.

Some thought that with baseball finishing down in third place, prospective franchise buyers would be less likely to put up millions to bring a team here. Others thought it was amazing that professional baseball, which hasn't even existed here for six years, almost tied basketball for second place. "It's a wonder to me," one man commented, "that when people were asked if they like baseball they didn't respond, 'What's that?"'

Charles F. Franke of Bethesda is among those who think the third-place finish was a good showing, and that this would be a wonderful baseball town if only we had a decent team to support.

Franke says he was a steady patron of Our Wonderous Nats through 34 seasons - right up to the day Bob Short fled to Texas with them. During that span, Franke kept a record of how the team fared, and this is what it shows:

In 38 seasons, Washington finished over .500 only six times. The team won 2558 games and lost 3353 for a sad .432 percentage. It never won over 90 games in a season, but it lost more than 90 games on 19 separate occasions. It never won a pennant but finished dead last 11 times. Yet despite that sorry record, the team always drew well and made a good living for a large brood of Griffiths.

I think Franke makes a good case for the return of baseball to Washington. If you have $10 million to spare, you and I ought to pool our money and see if there's a team available for $10,000,050.