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®Copyright 1998-2010
Official Mickey Mantle web site

Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life®
The Award-Winning Videography Program & Its Companion Volume Official Web Site & Catalog - Featuring Mickey Mantle's Life Story

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Mickey Mantle
"Mini-Biography"
A biography of Mickey Mantle
by Lewis Early

(Part 2 of 3)

(Excerpted from the award-winning DVD, Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life® - The Deluxe Lost Stories Edition - Mickey Mantle tells his own life story (autobiography) on DVD. Click Here to learn more about it. Click Here to see an outline of the contents of the DVD.)

 

Part 2: Mickey Signs with the Yankees

Scout Tom Greenwade Discovers Mickey

Yankees scout Tom Greenwade, who discovered Mickey for the Yankees, examines Mickey's knee. Mickey suffered a number of serious injuries throughout his career.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

Mickey Mantle was known for his incredible speed. The Mick is a blur in this photo as he beats out a single. Mickey could run from home to first in 3.1 seconds - in 2.9 seconds on a left-handed drag bunt! He was one of the fastest players ever.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 Injuries

Except for a brief visit to the minor league team in Kansas City later that summer, Mickey never looked Mickey Mantle is examined at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York after his knee injury in the 1951 World Series. Mickey was plagued with injuries throughout his career.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...?
 

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We highly recommend Mickey's Videography Program:
Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life
®
The Deluxe Lost Stories Edition
(2 hours)
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...


Click Here for Details!

We also recommend the second Videography Program
in the Comes To Life® Program Series:

John Madden: The American Dream
Comes To Life® (1 hour)
Now on DVD! The original program in its entirety - not one frame has been omitted.
"60 delightful minutes - A must!" - USA Today, The Washington Post, The Oakland Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, The TODAY Show, ESPN...


Click Here for Details!

 

© Copyright 1998-2010 - Lewis Early
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