MINUS THE MICK
You made the silly statement that Ralph Houk knows that "without Mantle the world champion Yankees are goners" (The Yankees' Desperate Gamble, July 2). The New York Yankees are a championship club with a championship tradition of 26 pennants and 19 world championships. The present edition of the Yankees has enough depth to form two major league clubs that would come in first and second in any eague. How can you say that the loss of any single player from such a team can have so great an effect?
Walter Bingham was 100% correct. Without The Mick the world champion Yankees are goners.
Your superior article on Mickey Mantle should inform all baseball fans, including Yankee haters, of the value of this extraordinarily great player to the Yankee organization and all of baseball. The secret to the phenomenal Yankee success lies in the fact that, in addition to the normal quantity of good players, they have always had that one individual capable of superhuman feats. There have been Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra and now Mantle. These men have all performed in a manner which would inspire their teammates to play better than their normal capability. Roger Maris' performance last year is a tribute to the mere presence of Mantle in the same lineup. Mickey's record over the past decade, acquired in spite of constant injuries to his legs that would finish most men, is one of the fine examples of a characteristic that we can never have enough of—leadership.
I am writing in answer to a lot of your 19TH HOLE letters. I have really enjoyed SPORTS ILLUSTRATED through the years but can't say I enjoy all the letters that have been written concerning my son, Jerry Lucas (June 4, 18). Anyone who says Jerry is not an all-American boy should have the pleasure of spending a few hours with him. He is a gentleman. He has tried hard all through life to be the kind of boy any mother would be proud of. I am very happy Jerry chose the way he did. In my honest opinion, Cincinnati has very poor fans, win or lose. Jerry found a lot of things he liked about the people in Cleveland. He likes people who are not always thinking of themselves. He likes the type that is not always finding fault over the least thing. I know how gossip has hurt my son, although he would never say so.
There is one thing I would like to put a lot of people straight on. Jerry is not after all the money he can get. If so, he would never have gone to Ohio State. They promised Jerry nothing; they gave him nothing of the material things of life. They gave him a wonderful background, an education he can always be proud of. Also he met and married a very precious girl. If Jerry and Treva are happy in Cleveland, that means more to me than all the money Cincinnati could give him.
MRS. JEAN LUCAS
I reached the boiling point after reading your remarks about the Vada Pinson-Earl Lawson incident (SCORECARD, July 2). Like hundreds of other writers all over the country you grabbed your pen and rushed to the defense of Lawson. You couldn't be different, like one California writer who said at the end of his story, "Knowing the kind of boy Vada is, that sportswriter probably got exactly what he deserved."
Earl Lawson hasn't learned yet that when he questions a player's hustle or courage he is treading on very thin ice, especially when that player has just completed a near-three-year string of consecutive games played. During this stretch Pinson played when he was sick and when he was injured. A bad leg stopped his consecutive-game string and, just after his return to the lineup, the people who still read Lawson were told that Vada was lackadaisical and was squandering his talent. It seems to me you all showed poor judgment in leaping to the defense of a writer who could be wrong.
I am not wholeheartedly in favor of athletes slugging sportswriters; actually I am not wholeheartedly in favor of anybody slugging anybody, and the vast physical difference between the average athlete and the average critical writer renders it particularly unfair. But that still does not give the writer the status of the umpire. There are a number of fine sportswriters. There are also a number of bad ones. If the good ones on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would campaign to clean out the bad, what a wonderful profession they might have. That is my opinion, typed up and submitted for publication, at my own risk. If any sportswriter feels so offended that he wishes to look me up and take a swing at me, that's his business and mine. I don't demand any special rules to protect me from the consequences of my own voluntarily written words.
K. C. MACLOUD
While not an advocate of the eye-for-an-eye theory, I do think in this case that if it was fair for "Critic" Earl Lawson to deliver an arbitrary verbal punch to Vada Pinson via his powerful newspapers, it was equally fair for Pinson to return the favor via his own medium, a powerful batting arm.
New York City
I enjoyed your article about the wonderful victory of Ni�a in the Bermuda race (A Veteran's First Victory, July 2). However, as the one responsible for the racing tactics on Gaylark I am a bit aggrieved at your statement that we "blundered" into our win in Class B. I would be the first to agree that we were lucky, but we actually went just where we planned, hitting the Gulf Stream about 30 miles west of the rhumb line Sunday afternoon, angling east and coming out early Monday about 10 miles on the other side of the rhumb line to catch the storm winds.
CHARLES C. PRICE III