A great article on Billy Martin (SI, April 23). His fiery personality jumped right off the pages. The best story I've ever read and I've read many. You really made the man live—terrific job!
So Billy Martin thinks that perhaps the reason he has not followed in Lou Gehrig's footsteps as the captain of the Yankees is the reluctance of the Yankee management to part with an extra $500 per season. The "take-charge guy" indeed! Such wonderful ballplayers and fine gentlemen as Gehrig, Rolfe, Henrich, DiMaggio, Keller, Dickey, Rizzuto, Berra have been take-charge guys, too. Baseball is still a game that pays off in runs, and the guy that can dent home plate with his spikes is still the superior of the fellow who dents his opponent's chin with a fist. The above could do on the field of play the things that Stengel's darling talks about to the press.
When young Mr. Martin learns that one World' Series does not a Yankee make, perhaps he might settle down and show that he is worthy of the uniform of champions.
Captain of the Yankees, Billy? My boy, when cows give beer you will have it made.
Martin is no credit to any sport; he is an arrogant, poor loser! You also forgot to mention that he once slammed the ball into Courtney's face on the base paths, while the then St. Louis catcher was wearing glasses!
L. S. THORNWALD
MY BIG BANG
Paul O'Neil deserves orchids for his very fine story,
The Damndest Yankee of Them All
, but I can't bring myself to concede that the same goes for all sides of the so-called hero.
Billy Martin makes much of the action of his draft board and consciously, I opine, imitates another ballplayer, a truly great one, who recently popped off about draft boards also. But in the case of Ted Williams I think it was called for and unselfish.
Billy Martin chortles in quotes "I had three cars when I went into the Army," and he still presumes to wonder why the draft board and the general public thought it was pure chiseling on his part to bring up the matter of "dependents."
As far as I'm concerned, if the Yankees pay him $20,000, I think he's overpaid, and come hell or high water I'll always get a big bang out of witnessing Billy Martin being stopped cold at home plate by the gutty play of a superb Roy Campanella.
GOOD TO THE LAST WORD
Congratulations on The Damndest Yankee of Them All. In my book Billy Martin is tops. Your piece caught the flavor.
JOHN T. CROLY