view raw text
Mantle Hits Hard As Ruth, Gehrig Dickey, One-Time Teammate Of Babe, Lou, Says Mickeys Power at Plate Unexcelled By JOHN GRIFFIN United Press Sports Writer NEW YORK, N. Y., June 25. Mickey Mantle, whose long-distance home runs are impressing the baseball world again, "hits as hard as Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig." Bill Dickey, one-time Yankee teammate of Ruth and Gehrig and now the teams batting coach, expressed that opinion today after a week that saw Mantle slug a 486-foot homer into the center-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium Tuesday and follow the next day with another blow only slightly shorter. "Mickey has as much power as any hitter I ever saw," said Dickey. "That includes Ruth and Gehrig. "Of course," Dickey admitted, "Mickey doesnt get that power into the ball nearly as often as they did. Hes not consistent but when he connects well, no one ever hit a baseball harder than he does." "I wouldnt say he has more power than Ruth or Gehrig, but he has as much," said Dickey. Why didnt Ruth and Gehrig hit as many titanic homers as Mantle, Dickey was asked. "It just could be that the ball is a little livelier now than it was then," he answered. "It could be. That would make the difference." Best Switch Hitter Dickey, who has the job of tutoring Mickey, said even he couldnt tell whether Mantle, perhaps the greatest "switch" hitter in baseball history, wallops the ball harder left-handed or right-handed. "Hes hit some pretty long clouts left-handed, like that one this week into the center-field bleachers," said Dickey. "But his two longest did happen to be right-handed. "Everybody talks about the ball he hitr" out of Griffith Stadium in Washington April 17, 1953," Dickey added. "Nobody ever did that before, and it sure was some clout. "But I think his best was the one he hit here against Billy Hoeft of the Detroit Tigers August 12, 1953" said Dickey. The one-time catcher stepped out of the Yankee dugout and pointed at the corner of the third deck of Yankee Stadium out where it curves behind left field. "It landed about 20 feet back in there, about 25 feet from where the upper deck ends," said Dickey. "If hed hit it a little more to the right, theres a good chance it would have been the first homer ever hit out of Yankee Stadium." Yankee manager Casey Stengel chimed in with an observation designed to scare the other American League teams. "Hes only 23 years old and hes still learning," said Casey. "How far is he gonna hit em when hes 30?"