That was a nice piece Barry Lorge wrote about Opening Day at Fenway in 1967 (April 8). However, it is self-evident that he has not steeped himself in the history of baseball, for otherwise he would not have dismissed Walt Dropo as "hapless."

To be sure, Dropo's major league career was fairly short and his lifetime numbers were unimpressive, but his rookie season was the stuff of which dreams are made. That was 1950. He hit 34 home runs, drove in 144 (tying for the league lead with teammate Vern Stephens), with a batting average of .322 and a slugging percentage of .583. The statistics on Ted Williams for his first year, 1939, were strikingly similar: 31, 145, .327 and .609.

Lorge must have been about 1 year old in 1950, so there is no way he could have shared in the excitement over Dropo, but believe me, he had the rest of the league terrified. He stood out on a team where the starter with the lowest average was Bobby Doerr (.294), who only hit 27 home runs and battled in 120 and would probably be paid $800,000 a year these days.

But the divine spark was gone from Dropo the next year and after a while he drifted to the Tigers, where all he did was get 12 hits in 12 at-bats, something no major leaguer except Pinky Higgins has done before or since.

Hapless, my eye!