Regarding “Support Tampa Bay Baseball Museum” (Our Views, Oct. 13): I am looking forward to visiting the museum with my family and friends once it opens next spring. In mentioning Al Lopez and other baseball luminaries such as Wade Boggs, Lou Piniella, Tony LaRussa, Dwight Gooden, Tino Martinez, Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield who hail from the Tampa area, please don’t forget three living former Negro Leaguers who were born in Tampa and paved the way for some of the players you mentioned. They are Walter “Dirk” Gibbons, Clifford “Quack” Brown and Raydell “Lefty Bo” Maddix, and they have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share.
Walter was a pitcher for two seasons (1948-49) for the Indianapolis Clowns. After playing with the Clowns, he went to Canada and played in the Manitoba and Dakota League. In 1950, after pitching against the Jackie Robinson All Stars, he was sent a ticket to meet Robinson’s team in Puerto Rico, but instead he was drafted and sent to Korea. After the war, he pitched in Canada in the ManDak League and is a member of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
Raydell was a left-handed pitcher who played for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1946-1953. He took 21 months off to fight in the Korean War. He also went on to play for the Tampa Rockets, Panama City Blue Sox and the Michigan City ball club. Pitching back-to-back no hitters in Luther Williams Stadium (Macon, Ga.) for the Panama City Blues, he was 24-2 in 1945.
Clifford played second base and shortstop for the Philadelphia Stars from 1949 to 1951. He once played in three games in one day in three Virginia towns and hit a home run in each game. He coached baseball for the Belmont Heights Little League in Tampa for 10 years and mentored future major leaguers such as Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Derek Bell, Carl Everett, Vance Lovelace and Floyd Yeoman.
Neil J. Armstrong
Change welfare rules
I am not against helping people in need, evidenced by my thousands of hours of community service, but I am annoyed by people who become dependent on government handouts because it is easier than working. I would suggest Congress start with reducing fraud in the welfare system instead of taking veterans’ benefits, closing public monuments and taking from Social Security “entitlement,” which it is because citizens paid into that program.
I would suggest that a change be made allowing so much for a household instead of per child. Since taxpayers pay for prenatal care, birthing and dollars per child after birth, a change might mean fewer illegitimate children, many who are not properly cared for, causing more medical costs. Additionally, why do taxpayers pay for free cellphones and minutes for use, when many working people can’t afford them?
L. F. Johnson
Medicare open enrollment
According to a recent survey, more than 60 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have never shopped around to find health or prescription drug coverage that might better suit their needs, despite their annual opportunity to do so. The current open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and continues until Dec. 7. Medicare is not a one-size-fits-all program, and a lot can change in a year in terms of health status and budget, as well as the plans that are available.
Perhaps even more concerning is the confusion surrounding the new state health insurance marketplaces (also called “exchanges”). The survey found that more than a third of older adults who are aware of the exchanges incorrectly believe that Medicare beneficiaries can shop for and enroll in Medicare coverage through them. Simply put: People cannot enroll in Medicare plans through the exchanges.
I encourage the more than 188,200 Medicare beneficiaries in the Tampa area, as well as their caregivers, to take action during open enrollment by evaluating their options and deciding whether they should switch to a new plan that would better meet their needs. Like in years past, people can shop for and compare plans in their area at www.Medicare.gov.
The writer is the regional vice president of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Tampa.