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Official Mickey Mantle web site

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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 FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions about Mickey Mantle)

Part One
(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.)

FAQs #1-10:

1. When was Mickey Mantle born, and where was his birthplace?

Mickey was born on October 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, located about 35 miles southwest of the town of Commerce.

Rare photo of Mickey Mantle as a baby with his father, Elvin "Mutt" Mantle.2. What can you tell us about Mickey's family?

Mickey was the oldest son of Elvin "Mutt" Mantle and Lovell Mantle. He had three brothers: twin brothers Ray and Roy and brother Butch, the youngest, as well as a sister, Barbara. He married hometown sweetheart Merlyn Johnson on December 23, 1951 and had four sons: Mickey Jr., David, Billy and Danny.

3. How did Mickey become a switch-hitter and such a great home run hitter?

Mickey Mantle with his dad, Elvin "Mutt" Mantle (left) and fellow ballplayer Cliff Mapes (center) at a lead mine in Oklahoma after Mickey's rookie season, 1951.Mickey's dad, Mutt Mantle, was a great baseball fan. He shared his love of the game with Mickey. Every day after Mickey came home from school and Mutt returned from working in the lead mines, he and Mickey's grandfather Charlie would pitch to Mickey. Mickey batted left-handed against Mutt, who was right-handed, and right-handed against Grandpa Charlie, who was a lefty. From an early age Mickey showed tremendous natural talent and great power from both sides of the plate. It is said that Mutt foresaw the platooning that later became common in baseball, and that by teaching Mickey to switch-hit he insured that Mickey would play more in later years.

4. I know Mickey had problems with his legs. How did he originally injure them?

While playing high school football Mickey was accidentally kicked in the leg. The wound developed into the bone disease osteomyelitis, and it almost cost Mickey his leg. Mickey's mother refused to let doctors remove his leg and transferred him to the Crippled Children's Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade examines Mickey Mantle's knee. Mickey points to the scar from his injury in the 1951 World Series.Hospital in Oklahoma City, where he received a brand-new wonder drug, penicillin. It saved his leg. However, Mickey was plagued with leg problems for the remainder of his life.

5. How did the Yankees discover Mickey Mantle?

When Mickey was in high school he played baseball with a team called the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. New York Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade was sent to see a teammate of Mickey's named Billy Johnson. In that game Mickey hit two long home runs into a river that ran behind the ballpark's outfield fence. Greenwade was so impressed he wanted to sign Mickey with the Yankees on the spot. Upon finding out that Mickey was still in high school, he told Mickey that he would come back and sign him right after he graduated from high school, which is exactly what he did.

Mickey Mantle with Joe DiMaggio in 1951, Mickey's rookie season with the Yankees.6. When was Mickey's first season with the Yankees?

Mickey's first season with the Yankees was 1951. After a terrific spring training in Arizona (the Yankees, who regularly trained in Florida, traded spring training camps with the NY Giants that spring), Casey Stengel talked owners Del Webb and Dan Topping, and General Manager George Weiss, into signing Mantle. He even convinced them to pay Mickey a $7,500 salary, $2,500 above the $5,000 major league minimum.

7. When did Mickey play his first major league game?

Mickey's first major league game was against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 1951. Mickey played rightfield, where he made three putouts. At the plate he went 1-for-4 with an rbi single to leftfield in the sixth, and he scored a run that same inning when Yogi Berra singled to center.

8. What was Mickey's original uniform number with the Yankees?

Rare photo of Mickey Mantle hitting a right-handed home run wearing his original number - 6 - his rookie year, 1951.When Mickey first came up with the Yankees he was given uniform number six. In photos from the first part of the 1951 season he can be seen wearing number six. In July of that year, after a particularly horrendous slump, Casey Stengel sent Mickey down to the Yankees Triple A minor league team in Kansas City to regain his batting swing. In August Mickey was brought back up and was given his famous uniform number seven, which had become vacant while he was away. Seven remained his number for the remainder of his career.

9. What was the longest ball Mickey Mantle ever hit?

Mickey's longest measured home run (measured when he hit it) was hit on April 17, 1953 at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. It is his best-known homer and the home run that coined the term "tape measure home run." The pitcher was Chuck Stobbs. It traveled 565 feet and was measured by Yankees' PR Director Red Patterson, who used a measuring tape to determine the exact distance. This 565-foot home run was the only ball ever hit that cleared the left-field bleachers at Griffith Stadium in a regular season game in its 32 year history. However, several other Mickey homers probably went farther. Here are some other notable Mickey Mantle home runs:
    Detroit, 9/10/60 - Mantle unloaded an incredible home run over the right-field roof Diagram of Mickey Mantle's epic 643-foot home run hit at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on Sept. 10, 1960 - Accoring to the Guinness Book of World Records, it's the longest home run ever measure after the fact.through a light tower (which it may have grazed) and out of the park. The pitcher was Paul Foytack. Years later researcher Paul Susman, Ph.D. found eyewitnesses who confirmed exactly where the ball landed on the fly. Dr. Susman then measured the distance, which turned out to be an astonishing 643 feet! This was almost certainly the longest home run Mickey hit in a regular season game that could actually be measured to the spot it landed, and probably the longest homer anyone ever hit in a regular season game that could be measured to the actual landing point. This 643-foot home run is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest homer ever "measured trigonometrically."

    Detroit, 6/18/56 - The Mick walloped a Diagram of Mickey Mantle's home runs hit out of Tiger Stadium in Detroit on  June 18, 1956 and Sept. 17, 1958. Both ball went completely out of the park!tremendous homer over the right-field roof between the light standard and the end of the upper deck. The ball went completely out of the park and landed on the adjacent Trumbull Avenue. It was all the more impressive because it was hit into a stiff wind. Again, the pitcher was Paul Foytack. (This was the first out-of-the-park homer Mantle hit off Foytack.) This home run brought about Tigers' manager Bucky Harris' famous remark, "That would bring tears to the eyes of a rocking chair." Just two days later Mickey would hit two homers into the upper deck bleachers in centerfield at Briggs Stadium - something no player had ever done even once. Both of those home runs landed high above the 400 foot sign in the left-centerfield bleachers.

    Detroit, 9/17/58 - Although batting into a stiff wind, Mickey powered an amazing left-handed home run shot down the rightfield line that the rocketed high over the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium (then called Briggs Stadium). The ball was fair by about 10 feet. It went completely out of the park, crossed the adjacent Trumbull Avenue and slammed against the second story of a building on the far side of Trumbull avenue. A cab driver recovered the ball. This ball traveled well over 500 feet. Had it not struck the building it would have ranked as one of Mickey's absolute longest homers. The pitcher for the Tigers was Jim Bunning.

    Baltimore, 8/10/57 - Mickey launched a Diagram of Mickey Mantle home run out of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium hit on Aug. 10, 1957. It was the first ball to ever clear the hedge behind the centerfield fence and go out of the park. Distance: 540 feet!spectacular and historic home run at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. He hit a high, long home run drive that carried well over the the fence in centerfield and continued on its path past a hedge thirty feet beyond the centerfield fence. No one in the history of Memorial Stadium had ever hit a home run that cleared the hedge beyond the centerfield fence, which was over 460 feet from home plate. Mickey's was the first. The ball traveled well past the hedge and continued on to an estimated length of 540 feet. It was the longest home run ever hit to centerfield at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The pitcher for the Orioles was Ray Moore.

    Brooklyn, 10/3/56 - In the first inning of the Diagram of Mickey Mantle tremendous 2-run home run at Ebbets Field against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1956first game of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers Mickey crushed a two-run home run that flew high over the right-field screen at Ebbets Field. It continued its arc over the neighboring Bedford Avenue and landed in a neighboring parking lot across the street, where it caused about $500 in damage when souvenir hunters scrambled over the cars in search of the home run ball for a trophy. The distance was well over 500 feet. The pitcher for the Dodgers was Sal Maglie, who went on to win this game for the Dodgers 6-3. Maglie is better known as the losing pitcher in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series on October 8, 1956, when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game at Yankee Stadium.

    Yankee Stadium, 6/21/55 -  In the first inning against the Kansas City Athletics. Alex Kellner, a lefty, tried throwing Mickey a change-up. Batting right-handed, Mickey laid into it and absolutely hammered it. The ball took off on a bullet-like line drive path that shot past Kellner's ear and continued to rise until it shot over the 30-foot high centerfield screen near the 461-foot sign. It smashed into a seat in the ninth row of the bleachers, 486 feet from home plate. No one - not Babe Ruth, not Joe DiMaggio, not Lou Gehrig, not Hank Greenberg nor Jimmy Foxx - had ever hit a home run into the centerfield black seats at Yankee Stadium. Hitting a ball into the centerfield black seats was the Holy Grail of Yankee Stadium and another first for Mickey Mantle. Observers said that the sound that Mickey's bat made when he hit the ball was like an explosion. Jackie Farrell of the Yankees PR staff manages to get the ball from the fan who caught it, Oscar Alonso, and after some negotiating is able to send it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Yankee Stadium, 5/30/56 - Mickey Diagram of home run hit by Mickey Mantle off Pedro Ramos on May 30, 1956.  It was one of five home runs Mickey Mantle hit that struck the facade at Yankee Stadium in New York.belted his first shot to hit the façade in right-field. While no ball ever went out of Yankee Stadium during a game, this one missed by only 18 inches or less. The pitcher was Pedro Ramos. It is believed that Mickey twice jacked balls out of Yankee Stadium in right-field during batting practice and once even cleared the left-field seats in batting practice. If true, these were among the most epic shots in the history of the game. This was the first of five home runs Mickey hit in his career that struck the façade at Yankee Stadium. It's not likely that any player will ever equal that total.

    Yankee Stadium, 5/22/63 - "The hardest ball I ever hit was at Yankee Stadium in 1963." - Mickey Mantle. Mickey pulverized a ball that rocketed through the night toward the upper reaches of Yankee Stadium. Yogi Berra, thinking the ball was going out of the park, cried out, "This is it!" Players from both teams jumped off their benches to watch Diagram of the home run Mickey Mantle called, "The hardest ball I ever hit," at Yankee Stadium in New York on May 22, 1963. It hit the facade and bounce back to the infield. It's the closest a ball has ever come to being hit out of Yankee Stadium.history be made. But the ball struck the right-field façade just inches from the top. Mickey hit it with so much force that after slamming into the cement façade it ricocheted all the way back to the infield on the fly. The pitcher was Bill Fischer of the Kansas City A's. Mathematicians have calculated that, had the ball not struck the Yankee Stadium façade, it would have traveled at least 620 feet. This distance assumes the ball was at its apex when it hit the façade, and eyewitnesses are in unanimous agreement that the ball was still rising. Therefore, 620 feet is the low end distance estimate. A computer projection calculated that (had the ball not been obstructed by the façade) it would have been an astronomical 734-foot home run!

    Bovard Field, University of Southern California, 3/26/51 - In an exhibition game during a pre-season barnstorm tour of the west coast, Mickey blasted two long homers in the Diagram of two epic home runs Mickey Mantle hit at Bovard Field, USC in spring training on March 26, 1951. One hit a third-story porch of a house across the street, the other crossed an adjacent football field and traveled 656 feet!same game, one righty (it went out of the park, across a street and landed on the roof of a three-story house several houses down the street, a distance over 600 feet) and one lefty. The left-handed homer is a legendary shot that may well be the longest homer ever hit anywhere by anyone. It cleared the right-centerfield wall, crossed an adjacent football field, and landed 656 feet from home plate on the fly. This home run is well documented with two eye-witnesses (the USC center fielder, Tom Riach, and legendary USC Coach Rod Dedeaux). Both walked out (separately) after the game and pointed to the spot the ball landed. The two spots they pointed to were only a few feet apart. The photo of this home run (and many others) is in the film, Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life®, as well as the film's companion volume with the same name, and in the 1998, 1999 and 2000 This Day in Mickey Mantle History® Photo Calendar - Fact Books.

    Houston Astrodome, 4/9/65 - In an exhibition game played before the start of the 1965 season, the Yankees went to Houston to play the Houston Astros in the first game in the first indoor baseball stadium in the world - the Houston Astrodome. It was not only the first indoor ballpark, it later sported artificial grass that came to be known as "astroturf." Mickey Mantle waits for the pitch from Astros pitcher Turk Farrell that he belted to centerfield for the first home run ever hit in the Houston Astrodome.However, on April 9, 1965 the Astrodome had a field of Bermuda grass. Judge Roy Hofheinz, owner of the Astros, decided to christen the new ballpark - nicknamed "The Eighth Wonder of the World" - with an exhibition game against the Yankees. It was hoped the Mickey Mantle might hit a home run during the game and - possibly - the first home run ever in an indoor stadium. Mickey did not disappoint. Although injured, manager Johnny Keane put Mickey into the lineup in the first position. Leading off in the first inning for the Yankees, The Mick lined the second pitch of the game into centerfield for a single for the first hit in Astrodome history. Then, leading off in the sixth, he slammed a majestic drive deep into the centerfield stands near the 406 foot marker for a thunderous home run. As Mickey limped around the bases the crowd cheered him as if he were one of their own. In the photo to the right Mickey awaits the pitch from Turk Farrell that he belted for the first home run ever hit in the Houston Astrodome.

    Mickey hit many more legendary home runs, with shots that went out of ballparks in Pittsburgh, Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, Boston and others.

10. What was Mickey 's biggest contract with the Yankees?

Mickey Mantle holds up his pen and the contract he signed with the New York Yankees for the 1962 season.Mickey's largest contract with the Yankees was for $100,000. At the time he signed it in 1963 only Joe DiMaggio had received that much before. Mickey continued to play for that amount for the remainder of his career. Mickey, a very humble man, felt that it would be disrespectful of Joe DiMaggio for him to make more money than Joe. Naturally the Yankees were happy to oblige Mickey's stance.

Of course, that was in the days when the "reserve clause" was included in every player's contract, thereby preventing players from moving to a different team without the consent of their current team. It had the effect of holding down salaries, preventing players from negotiating fair market value. Curt Flood was the first player to mount a legal challenge against the reserve clause, in 1969. The Supreme Court ruled to "stand by things ruled" (stare decisis) and left the reserve clause intact. His courageous stance brought baseball's anti-labor stance into the public eye. In 1975 pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally again challenged the reserve clause, this time in arbitration, Mickey Mantle poses withe great Joe DiMaggio before a Yankees game in 1951, Mickey's rookie season.and they were victorious. the way for other players to challenge it in the future.

When asked what he thought he would make if he were playing now, Mickey said he liked what Joe DiMaggio said. Joe said that, if he were playing now, he would go up and knock on the door at Yankee Stadium. When Mr. Steinbrenner opened the door he would say, "Howdy partner!"

Next FAQs: 11-20

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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...

Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life - The Deluxe Lost Stories Edition Cover and DVD
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...

John Madden: The American Dream Comes To Life Cover and DVD
Click Here for Details!


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