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Micky Mantle Day, June 8, 1969

 

The line most of those will remember who were there that day is this one by Mel Allen in his introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, A magnificent Yankee, the great number seven, Mickey Mantle.”

 

June 8, 1969 was all Mickey Mantle - - the Yankee legend had his number 7 retired before 61,157 at the Stadium. At that time the only other retired numbers were three, four and five - for Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.


“When I walked into this stadium 18 years ago,” Mantle said in his speech, “I felt much the same way I do right now. I don’t have words to describe how I felt then or how I feel now, but I’ll tell you one thing, baseball was real good to me and playing 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer.”
 

The Mick received a 10-minute standing ovation. Kids paraded around the field with posters in tribute to the one-time kid from Oklahoma. And Mantle and Joe DiMaggio exchanged plaques which later were placed on the centerfield wall.
 

Mantle was driven around the Stadium on a golf cart to the rising roar and cheers of the huge crowd. “And the guy that was driving me,” Mantle recalled, “was Danny, one of the ground crew guys who came up at about the same time I did in ’51.
 

“The last time around the park. That gave me goose pimples. But I didn’t cry. I felt like it. Maybe tonight when I go to bed, I’ll think about it. I wish that could happen to every man in America. I think the fans know how much I think about them - all over the country. It was the most nervous I’ve ever been but the biggest thrill."
 

“The thing I miss the most is being around clubhouse,” he continued. “Not the way I played the last four years - that wasn’t fun. I’ve got some guys on this team that are almost like brothers to me - Pepi, Tresh, Stottlemyre. I’m probably their biggest fan. First thing I do very morning is pick up the papers and see how they did.”
 

Mickey Mantle Quotables


“If I’d known I was going to live so long I’d have taken better care of myself.”
“Don’t do as I did. I’m living proof of how not to live.”
“Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, ‘Sure, every time.’”


“After I hit a home run I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.”
“The biggest thrill I ever had was in 1969, when they held Mickey Mantle day at Yankee Stadium.”


“I’ve often wondered how a man who knew he was going to die could stand here and say he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth, but now I guess I know how he felt.”
“I’ve heard about you.” “I’ve heard about you, too.”


Mickey responding to the Duke of Windsor when they met for the first time: “I figure I got all the breaks. Otherwise, I’d have been in the mines.”


“I guess you could say I’m what this country is all about.”


“All I had was natural ability.”


“It was all I lived for, to play baseball.”


“I think Ted (Williams) was kind of upset about losing the batting title to me in 1956. Of course, I got a couple of bunts hits to protect my average.”


“If I send the ball home, I know what will happen to it. My twin brothers will take it out on the lot, like any 20-cent rocket.” – on the baseball he hit 565-feet in Washington

 

“This year I’d rather lead the league in home runs, runs batted in and hitting.” Early 1956 if he thought he would break Babe Ruth’s home run record that year – he went on to win the Triple Crown


“To play 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer.”


“Ever since I retired,” Mantle said, “I keep having these dreams. The worst one is I go to the ballpark late, jump out of a cab, and I hear ‘em calling my name on the public address system. I try and get in and all the gates are locked. Then I see a hole under the fence and I can see Casey looking for me, and Yogi and Billy Martin and Whitey Ford. I try to crawl through the hole and I get stuck at the hips. And that’s when I wake up, sweating." 

 

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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