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and recently revealing he has sought counseling to help him deal with the stress. In truth, they barely know one another, their relationship limited to a few brief visits famous baseball player in history – Babe Ruth – Maris was competing with a Some teammates openly pulled for Mickey Mantle over Maris; many fans. Stengel claimed he would be better than Babe Ruth or DiMaggio. Whether or not Stengel was right, Mantle soon became part of the Yankee legend, remaining. –, Manno, Bruce 46, 53 Mantle, Mickey Manwaring, Kirt 77 Maris, Roger Marquis, Jason – Marriage Counselor 60–61 Martinez, .
One of the greatest days of my life was my dad surprising me, saying that we were going to Mickey Mantle day. And yet, you know, slightly after that, his flaws, you know, we all learned about his flaws. But the thing about Mickey Mantle was I think he had an inner light and an inner goodness that trumped all the negative things, to me. That was my impression.Roger Maris 1961 - 61st Home Run as Called by Red Barber, WPIX-TV, 10/1/1961
And, you know, the heroic part of him, you know, playing injured, I think he made people - you never stopped believing him, even when he was broken down, like his last year, which I think was in '68 or '69, I remember the Yankees were terrible then. And when - I was watching a game, he'd come to the plate, and Phil Rizzutto would say: Here comes the Mick, as if he could still do the magical things that he could do when he was younger.
So somehow that magic and that smile, I guess it was just a dichotomy, but it doesn't make me not want to know the negative.
I think that just was part of what made him who he was. It's interesting, Jane, and you describe the sense that every time Mantle came to the plate, people looked because you didn't know what was going to happen.
He brought expectation and imagination to the plate every time. He had started out that year having lost the home-run race to Roger Maris.
In a state of unexpected grace, all of a sudden, Mickey was finally beloved in New York for having become the underdog, and that, you know, legacy of DiMaggio was finally off his back. Now we could really love him. And, you know, he started out a better season than anybody thought, and then here he is, in a game against the Minnesota Twins, and he bounces a ball to shortstop, hard-hit ball.
It knocks the shortstop, unintelligiblebackwards, hits off his shoulder. Mickey sees out of the corner of his eye that he's bobbled the ball, and he reaches for a gear that he no longer possessed and tore the adductor muscle in his leg and wrecked his other knee, the good knee. I was there that night, Neal. He told me, Mickey said, I never heard a big place get that quiet that fast.
Nina, thanks very much for the phone call. How much do we want to know about our heroes, in this case, Mickey Mantle?
1961 Yankees Review: Mickey Mantle And Roger Maris, How The Battle Made Them Close
Or drop us an email, talk npr. More with Jane Leavy in just a moment. Mickey Mantle, he said, Yankee Stadium is all yours. Soundbite of archived recording Mr. To think that the Yankees are retiring my number seven with numbers three, four and five tops off everything that I could ever wish for.
I've often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say that he was the luckiest man in the world, but now I think I know how Lou Gehrig felt. God bless you all, and thank you very much. And obviously Mickey Mantle there, Jane Leavy, referring to Lou Gehrig and I'm the luckiest man speech, yet planning his own funeral at the same time.
Yeah, I was really struck by that, when I went back and looked at it and I thought, my God, you know, he thinks he's dead already. And, you know, he always said he thought he would never live to 40 because of the legacy of disease in his family, which it turns out was not quite as prevalent or as lethal, as you put it, as he made it sound. I mean, for example, his grandfather Charlie, you know, Mutt's ph father, died a month short of his 61st birthday.
But in many ways athletes die twice, and to be a Mickey Mantle and not have anything else to do except to go on living on your name and off your name in a culture where, at least at that point, there was no big memorabilia market - he got bucks for his first appearance after he retired. And so I think it's not so much that he didn't, you know, think he'd live to I'm not sure he wanted, you know, after being Mickey Mantle, to keep living.
Just make it to Cooperstown and then shuffle off the stage. He told somebody that when he was enshrined inyou know, when it was over: Get me out of here. It feels like, you know, it feels like a funeral to me. It feels like a cemetery. You know, it was like being buried alive. And it was in that he first asked Roy Clarke, the country-Western singer, to sing that song, you know, "Yesterday When I was Young" at his funeral.
And every time after that they met for the next plus years, he would say, now, don't forget, I want you sing "Yesterday When I was Young," which is, of course, a lament for someone who wishes they had lived their lives differently.
And you know, the other thing about that day is there was a plaque revealed, unveiled for DiMaggio as well as Mantle. And they did hang it a quarter of an inch higher. Marty made sure of it. When they were taken down to be bronzed or re-bronzed, the Yankees hung them at the same height. And now, of course, they're all eclipsed by George Steinbrenner's in the new ballpark. Ah, the mausoleum, yes. Let's see, we can go next to Odette ph. Odette's with us from Russellville in Arkansas.
Hi, thank you for taking my call. I can't wait to read your book. And I'm interested in knowing what the author thought of the movie " That's a great question. I think Billy Crystal's movie did a really, you know, good job in dramatizing what went on that summer. What I learned was a few additional facts, but Mickey was already drinking more than he ought to have been.
Now, alcoholism is a progressive disease, and as Sam McDowell phthe great hurler who later became a drug counselor, told me, you know, in the '50s you wouldn't have known that he had a problem. He would have just appeared irresponsible. Yeah, we didn't have those words then.
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We didn't even know what an alcoholic was. We barely knew it was, you know, a disease, much less a genetic inheritance. So by '61, you know, Sam said, it would have been noticeable that the amount he was drinking, which may not have been any more than anybody else, it had a different biochemical effect. So the Yankees were worried about him. They thought they would dry him out a little bit.
And Ralph Hout phthe new manager, said yeah, that would be a good idea. And when he came back, he'd been living by himself in a suite in New York, in a hotel, as he often did. His wife, Merlyn, had decided to stay home that summer. And either he asked, or it was suggested by Maris, that he come out and live in this apartment on the Van Wyck Expressway, with Bob Serve ph and Roger Maris. And he did go out there. I'd like to have a summer like that.
And he proceeded to have, you know, one of the greatest summers of his baseball life, until The last couple of weeks. Until the last couple of weeks, and what Bob Serve told me was that when it got to Labor Day, Mickey said: I've had enough of this life. I'm going back to the city. And what that meant, of course, was Manhattan, and it meant the high life. And then Bob said: And two weeks later, he was so screwed up - I guess you can say that on NPR.
I think so, yeah. He couldn't play in the World Series. And he - the famous cold, you remember the lead phFrank Sinatra had a cold? Well, the whole story of, you know, September for the Yankees, the '61 Yankees, was Mickey Mantle had a cold that started in his chest, it went to his throat, it went to his eye, that believe it or not, according to the New York Post, lodged in his buttock.
There's something we need to tell you: Roger Maris was very average - AOL News
And the real story revealed to me by Clete Boyer and all the members of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff was that he contracted a venereal disease. And that's why he went to Dr. Max Jacobson phthe famous Dr.
Feelgood, on a referral by Mel Allen phgot a shot in his tuckus that became infected, and they had - it was so infected, he had such a high temperature, they had to operate. They folded back flaps of skin. They couldn't close it because it needed to drain. He would lie on the clubhouse table, believe it or not, Joe DeMesri told me this, and wiggle his toes for the enjoyment of his teammates, and they could see the cords of muscle and tendon moving inside the wound.
Odette, thanks very much for the call. Thank you for taking my call. Here's an email from Brad in Garrettsville, Ohio: My dad grew up on the Dust Bowl side of Oklahoma. Mickey Mantle was always the baseball player he first mentioned in our conversations. He loved not only Mickey's baseball prowess but also his good humor and humanity. At the time, his doctors felt it best to amputate the leg, but his father said no, and eventually, after many operations, the condition was arrested.
In a semi-pro game with his team, the Baxter Springs Oklahoma Whiz Kids, an umpire encouraged Mickey to try out for the pros. Mantle traveled to Joplin, Missouriand tried out with the Yankees Farm club. He was seventeen years old, shy, and insecure; in fact, Mickey was so in awe of the pros that, two years later, he found it impossible to speak to his teammate Joe DiMaggio. Whether or not Stengel was right, Mantle soon became part of the Yankee legend, remaining with the team from to Number 7, the former "Commerce Comet"—the kid from Oklahoma—would become a baseball hero.
His first few months in the majors he struck out too much—a common problem with many power hitters. Yet it was too much for Stengel, and he sent Mantle back to the minors. A short trip, however; less than two months later he was called back up to the squad, in time to join the Yankees as they played in the world series. Yet once more injury found its way to Mickey, and his season would be cut short when, trying to avoid an out-field collision with DiMaggio, he tripped on a sprinkler and tore the ligaments in his knee.
He underwent four knee operations. Chronology Born October 20 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, to Elvin "Mutt" and Lowell Mantle Family moves near Commerce Oklahoma Develops osteomyelitis, a chronic bone disease, after getting kicked in the shin in high school football practice Begins minor league baseball career in Independence, Kansas, with a Class D team Joins New York Yankees and becomes part of legendary team that would dominate baseball in the s and s Trips on sprinkler head in outfield, tearing ligaments in his knee.
Undergoes first of five knee operations Marries Merlyn Louise Johnson, his high school sweetheart and a teller in an Oklahoma bank Learns that his father, Mutt, has died of Hodgkin's disease at On disabled list for two months Announces his retirement at Yankees spring training Inducted unanimously into Baseball Hall of Fame Mantle and his wife separate Mantle's old teammate and drinking buddy Billy Martin dies in drunk driving accident Confronts his alcoholism and checks himself into Betty Ford clinic Mantle's own son Billy dies of heart failure Undergoes liver transplant but would die weeks later, on August 13, at age of 63 The Powerful Star is Born In he became the Yankees starting center fielder, soon known around the league as a prodigious power hitter.
In fact, the length of Mantle's home runs became the stuff of legend. In he hit a foot home run at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D. The ball sailed over feet in the air, clearing the fifty-five foot wall and sixty foot sign, then landing in someone's backyard. Yankee pitcher Bob Kuzava said of the homer, "I never saw a ball hit so far. Mickey relates the full story of this amusing anecdote. The Upside Down Year: A film montage of events from — footage and music The Twist performed by Chubby Checker.
Mickey recalls Yogi Berra and Yogi stories. Mickey remembers his great friend and teammate Roger Maris. Mickey and Whitey rig a swimming race with Roger Maris on an off-day in Baltimore.
The '61 Home Run Race: The Home Run Race Montage: A film montage of the home run race between Mickey and Roger Maris — footage, headlines and music The Twist performed by Chubby Checker. The Home Run Record: If I Were Playing Now: Hour Two — Mickey Mantle: Mickey talks about growing up in Oklahoma and how his dad shared his love of baseball with Mickey.
Yankee scout Tom Greenwade discovers Mickey and signs him to play for the Yankees. The Next Babe Ruth: Spring training in and how Casey Stengel bragged about Mickey to the press. He also tells the story about his first game with the Yankees. Young Mickey gets taken by a slick sweater salesman.