A very touching story (Now Playing Right: Manny Sanguillen, March 19). Yes, a great story and a fine picture of the plaque on the door of Roberto Clemente's old room. Johnny Bench says the Pirates won't come off the bench swinging anymore without Clemente to inspire them. Forget it. They have to prove they can win without Clemente. That should be enough to inspire them.
Floral Park, N.Y.
The fact is that the Pirates are too good a team to be considered dead because of the loss of one player, even if that player was Roberto Clemente. Any team that hits .274 must have some reserve strength. And if the hitting fails, the Bucs can always rely on their pitching (2.81 ERA in '72).
Roy Blount rightfully points out that the Pirate defense is leaky, but, having been a Buc fan for many years, I believe I can suggest some changes other than those mentioned: move Dave Cash (a fine second baseman) to shortstop, Rennie Stennett (a speed demon) to second, and Gene Clines to right field. Manny Sanguillen should stay at catcher, where he does an excellent job.
Still, it will not be easy. The whole division looks much stronger. But I'm sure the Pirates will find an answer.
Manny Sanguillen is the best choice the Pirates could have made.
BRUNO DOSSO JR.
Great Neck, N.Y.
I hope whoever plays right field this year for Pittsburgh gives it everything he's got, just like Clemente.
I'd like to thank Peter Carry for his fine article on Lenny Wilkens (New Stripes, Same Old Slick Tiger, March 19). This, coupled with your Feb. 26 article on Norm Van Lier, proves that the small man with hustle, unselfishness and brains can not only survive in pro basketball, but control a game supposedly dominated by the big man.
The true value of Lenny Wilkens is brought out by the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers are having their best season with him and the Seattle SuperSonics one of their worst without him.
We in Seattle miss Lenny not only because he is a great player and coach, but also because he is a fine man. I understand that trading is part of any sport, but one does not trade a player of Lenny Wilkens' caliber just because he is getting a little old.
Your article was a fitting tribute to Lenny Wilkens, truly one of the most underrated players of all time. Even in his college days Lenny was the catalyst who made his team go, leading Providence to the first of its many NIT appearances. I can't help but think the Atlanta Hawks must rue the day they traded Wilkens away. With his ability to make the effective play in a simple manner, he could have taught Pete Maravich the control he needs to become a superstar in the NBA.
JOHN F. CONROY