Whoever thought baseball could die twice in the same year?
LAURIE RUSSO, NEW YORK CITY
Kudos to Richard Hoffer for depicting both sides of Mickey Mantle, the mythic slugger and the flawed human being ( Mickey Mantle, Aug. 21). In an era when the fall of a hero is more newsworthy than the rise, Hoffer succeeded in capturing the spirit of number 7.
JARED VIDERS, Philadelphia
Best cover I have ever seen.
LUKE FLANIGAN, Indianapolis
I am sure you will get hundreds of letters like this. I grew up playing Little League in the 1950s. I remember coaches who would not let anyone wear number 7 because it was unfair to those players who could not. We kept baseball cards in our caps for good luck, and Mantle's card was the luckiest. I wish I still had it.
JERRY P. CAMPBELL, Waco, Texas
From the time they broke into the major leagues in 1951 through the mid-'60s, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays captured the hearts and imagination of all baseball fans. Both demonstrated surpassing talent in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. Both embodied a true love of the game. Every time they stepped on the field, they communicated a joy in life that most of us could only dream of experiencing.
JIM ROBERTSON, Wooster, Ohio
When Mickey Mantle was the Yankees, the Yankees were baseball, and baseball was all that mattered.
ARSENE GERBER, Kenosha, Wis.
In those days, baseball, especially the World Series, captured the attention of almost everyone in our suburban New York community. The principal of my Catholic school, a strict disciplinarian, endeared herself to her thousand or so students by playing crucial innings over the public address system.
I sympathize with today's youthful fans who can't be sure their hero will still be on their team next season. When I tuned in for all those years in the 1950s and early '60s, I knew I would see not only Mickey but also Yogi, Whitey, Moose and other players who were relatively permanent fixtures and who were "my team."
LINDA McGOWAN, East Meadow, N.Y.
Our small town (pop. 10,500) is an excellent backdrop for the Mick we all remember. Reminiscences about meeting him at the drug store or at the barber shop still dot our conversations.
Another point of interest is that the first night baseball game was played here, in 1930.
RICK KNAPP, Independence, Kans.