Angeles Times Syndicate–Week of 5/16/99
Washington Post TV Week Magazine – May 16-22, 1999
Tales From the Vault
By Martie Zad
The Washington Post
One of the best baseball videos ever produced, "Mickey Mantle: The
American Dream Comes to Life®,"
came out 10 years ago and was duly acclaimed.
A current look at this tape confirms that view. For an hour, Mantle
tells stories of fact, feat and, most all, frolic that center around his
18 glorious years as a hero, slugger and "bad boy" of the New York Yankees.
Mantle sits in his trophy room at home and tells his stories, (neither
interviewer Lew Early nor his questions are on the tape) in a plain ol'
down-home drawl, often with the back-lot grammar he learned while growing
up in Commerce, Okla. It's priceless Mantle, and often while he's telling
his tales, pictures and classic black-and-white film clips illustrate the
people or events involved.
During the 25th anniversary year of Mantle's induction into baseball's
Hall of Fame (Aug. 12, 1974), producer-director Lew Rothgeb and Baseball
Legend Video are doubling the pleasure of fans with another hour's worth
of Mantle stories that didn't make it onto the original video. Called the
"Lost Stories, " they had been stored in a vault, unseen publicly. Over
the years, Early said he was often asked if he had more stories of the
late outfielder. This is the answer. The new video, still titled "Mickey
Mantle: The American Dream Comes to Life®,"
contains the original hour of stories as well as the additional hour. The
price is $29.95, plus $4.95 shipping, until the August Hall of Fame anniversary,
at which time it will list for $39.95. (To order, call 1-800-843-6425.)
There is additional Mantle information on the Web site, www.themick.com.
The $29.95 special price has been extended.]
Recounting too many of the stories Mantle tells in his own fashion would
spoil the video for the viewer. But among his recollections, Mantle talks
of his dad's dream for his son and how his father and grandfather pitched
to him daily to be sure he attained the goal of playing in the major leagues.
He relates how he was signed by Yankees scout Tom Greenwade on a train
heading to Washington for the season's opener. He also tells of his awe
on his first visit to Yankee Stadium and how he could feel the "ghosts"
of legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
On the fun side, he tells of Casey Stengel's tabbing him, Billy Martin
and Whitey Ford as "Whiskey Slick," mentions "nosy poker," and talks about
in-flight jokes and pranks reserved for rookies (and Joe Pepitone in particular).
And he dispels the belief that he and teammate Roger Maris did not get
along. He calls Maris a great player, person and friend who was amazingly
precise about every phase of the game, and adds that if any of the four
Mantle sons were looking for a role model, he wishes they would choose
"The Lost Stories" are every bit as warm and charming as the original
batch. For baseball fans, especially Mantle buffs, this profile leaves
a legacy that's as big a boomer as one of The Mick's tape-measure