Mantle Far From Awed by the Rookie Sluggers

A number of rookies already are playing long ball in the American League, but Mickey Mantle says he’ll wait a while before awarding the seal of approval to such as Jose Canseco and Pete Incaviglia.

“I know they can hit the ball a long way, but you don’t realize how good these pitchers are,” Mantle said. “Once they find out if you have a weakness, you’re in trouble. I started out with the Yankees when I was 18 years old, and they found out I couldn’t hit a ball high and inside hitting left-handed. Guys with good stuff could pitch me high and tight, and I had a blind spot.

“Billy Martin (like Mantle a broadcaster these days for the Yankees) told me that Canseco and Incaviglia both hit the ball a long way, and they say Canseco hits it farther than anybody, but we’ll just have to wait and see. You can’t just say somebody’s going to be a phenom like that. It takes a year or two to find out.”

For sure, they found out in Cleveland, and it was painful. Remember Joe Charboneau?


Would-you-believe-it dept.: They call him a blown-up light-heavyweight, but Michael Spinks, at 205 pounds, is heavier than was Rocky Marciano (184), Joe Louis (198), Jack Dempsey (187) and Jack Johnson (192).

Add Spinks: He has beaten Larry Holmes twice, and Holmes knocked out Gerry Cooney, but if it comes to a Spinks-Cooney showdown, Holmes said he would pick Cooney.

“He’ll beat Spinks,” Holmes said. “He’s too big and punches too hard for Spinks.”

Trivia Time: What do tennis pros Steffi Graf of West Germany and Stefan Edberg of Sweden have in common? (Answer below.)


The Denver Post reports the following exchange between New Jersey Net Coach Dave Wohl and official Hugh Hollins in an NBA game at Atlanta:

Wohl: “Why don’t you call the foul? You call it on us.”

Hollins, after calling a technical: “That’s one; you want out of here?”

Wohl: “Yes.”


Hollins: “That’s two, you’re gone.”

Wohl, walking past Hollins en route to the dressing room: “You s.o.b.”

Ouch: Dan Vierria of the Sacramento Bee, on former UCLA and NBA guard Lucius Allen, who does the color on Sacramento King telecasts: “Lucius Allen is the root canal of television sports analysts. It hurts to watch him.”

Said Charles Barkley, after teammates Julius Erving, Bobby Jones and Sedale Threatt helped Philadelphia take a 2-1 playoff series lead over Washington: “Doc came through, Bobby came through, Sedale came through, and now they’re through.”


Wrote John McGrath of the Denver Post, after Chicago Cub Manager Jim Frey reportedly accused the team of ineptness earlier in the week: “Boy, does that conjure a lot of ghosts from summers past, like Dom Dallessandro and Chris Cannizzaro and Dee Fondy and the ‘College of Coaches’ and Walt Moryn and Vic Roznovsky and Jimmy Stewart (the one who had a career batting average of .235, not the one who starred with Katharine Hepburn in ‘The Philadelphia Story’) and Cal Koonce and Bill Faul (who hypnotized himself before pitching, which may or may not be why he had a career record of 12-16) and Eddie Miksis and Jose (Superstar) Cardenal, who once, after arriving at the ballpark several hours late, complained of an overly loquacious family of ‘creekus’ in his bedroom.”

Trivia Answer: They were the gold medalists in the exhibition tennis tournament in the 1984 Olympic Games. Quotebook

Pitcher Mike Flanagan of the Baltimore Orioles, on Yankee Stadium fans: “I could never play in New York. The first time I came into a game there, I got in the bullpen car and they told me to lock the doors.”