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Comes To Life®
The Award-Winning Videography™ Program
& Its Companion Volume Official
Web Site & Catalog - Featuring Mickey Mantle's Life Story
(Part 2 of 3)
A biography of Mickey Mantle
by Lewis Early
(Excerpted from the award-winning DVD,
Dream Comes To Life® - The
- Mickey Mantle tells his own life story
(autobiography) on DVD.
more about it.
Click Here to see an outline of the contents of the
Mickey Signs with the YankeesScout Tom Greenwade Discovers Mickey
In 1948 NY Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to
Baxter Springs to watch Mickey's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson,
in a Whiz Kids game. During the game Mickey hit two homers, one
righty and one lefty, into a river well past the ballpark's fences. Greenwade
wanted to sign Mickey on the spot but, upon finding out that he was only
sixteen and still in high school, told him he would come back to sign him
with the Yankees on his graduation day in 1949. Good to his word, Greenwade
was there right on schedule, signing Mickey to a minor league contract
with the Yankees Class D team in Independence, Kansas. Mickey signed for
$400 to play the remainder of the season with an $1,100 signing bonus.
It was one of the great steals in baseball history. Tom Greenwade was quoted
in the press release announcing Mickey's signing as saying that Mickey
was the best prospect he'd ever seen.
Mickey's Blazing Speed
After finishing the summer at Independence, where
his team won the K-O-M (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) Championship (the beginning
of Mickey's incredible string of playing for championship teams), Mickey
went on to play at the Yankees' Class C team in Joplin, Missouri. The following
year, 1951, Mickey was invited to spring training with the Yankees in Arizona.
Mickey had one of the great rookie springs in history. His speed was unbelievable
to Yankees' manager Casey Stengel. (Mickey's a blur
as he races from home to first in the photo on the right.) He was clocked at an incredible 2.9
seconds from home to first on a left-handed drag bunt (after his 1951
World Series injury he slowed to a still blazing 3.1 seconds), and
could round the bases in an amazing 13 seconds! He pounded homers
to places where a ball had rarely been seen hit before and, by the time
the Yankees reached New York for their exhibition series with the Brooklyn
Dodgers, Casey talked Yankees' owners Del Webb and Dan Topping, and General
Manager George Weiss into bringing Mickey up to the Yankees for the season.
It was the first time any player jumped from Class C directly to the Yankees.
World Series Injury First
of Many InjuriesExcept for a brief visit to the minor league team
in Kansas City later that summer, Mickey never looked
back. That fall the
Yankees played the New York Giants in Mickey's first World Series. Yankees'
center fielder Joe DiMaggio, in the last season of his career, was slowed
by a nagging heel injury. Casey Stengel asked Mickey to help DiMaggio in
center (Mickey was playing right-field) and on a pop fly by Willie Mays
Mickey's spikes caught in a drain cover when he stopped suddenly to avoid
a collision with Joe. Mickey went down as if he'd been shot, and was carried
from the field on a stretcher. It was the first of what turned out to be
many injuries he suffered during his playing career.
One of the questions baseball scholars ponder
is the great "What if?" What would Mickey have accomplished if he had been
healthy during his career? A question that will never be answered, but
the answer certainly would make a staggering difference in Mickey's lifetime
stats. What if...?
© Copyright 1998 - Lewis Early
We highly recommend
The American Dream Comes
Now on DVD
with nearly 200 on-screen pages of bonus features!
"The best baseball program ever made!"
- USA Today, The Washington Post, The NY Daily News, Newsday, The Los
Angeles Times, The TODAY Show, ESPN, Larry King Live...
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recommend the second Videography™
in the Comes To Life®
Madden: The American Dream
Comes To Life®
Now on DVD! The original program in its entirety -
not one frame has been omitted.
"60 delightful minutes
- A must!"
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Oakland Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, The TODAY Show, ESPN...
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© Copyright 1998-2010 - Lewis
All Rights Reserved