Monday, August 08, 2005

The Mick - Early Years

In the Summer of 1951, three men wore #7 for the Yankees. Cliff Mapes, a light-hitting outfielder who was traded to the St Louis Browns in the middle of season began with the #7 on his back. Bob Cerv, another Yankee outfielder, also put on the seven jersey that season. But it was the third player to wear that number in 1951 who gave it prominence. That third player was Mickey Mantle.

Mickey Mantle came up to the Majors for good in 1951, playing in right field, alongside Yankee great Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio retired that year, and Mickey spent the next eight seasons trying to live up to the high standards of the Yankees center fielder.

In the early part of his career, he was not embraced by fans, who fondly remembered DiMaggio and the Yankee glory days. It was only his tape measure home runs, and finishing second in 1961 behind Roger Maris in the Home Run race, that led Yankee fans to truly embrace him as one of their own.

As a rookie, in the 1951 World Series, Mantle got his spikes caught up in a drainpipe covering. He never played pain free again. Despite the constant pain, Mantle was three time MVP, won seven World Series and lost five. He hit a still-standing record 18 World Series home runs.



Anonymous Zwicker said...

If I'm correct, Mantle succeeding Dimaggio is one of only two times in baseball history where a Hall of Famer was the immediate successor to another Hall of Famer at the same position for the same team. Care to guess what was the other combination?

August 08, 2005 4:34 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I'm going to assume pitchers don't count.

August 08, 2005 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Zwicker said...

Good assumption.

August 08, 2005 4:38 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

steve young replaced joe montana, but that is a different sport

August 08, 2005 4:40 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

If SPD can stop watching NASCAR highlights for a few minutes, I'll bet he'd know.

August 08, 2005 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Zwicker said...

Is he around today?
Will you be attending the prayer session tonight?

August 08, 2005 4:46 PM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

didn't willie mays hays replace crash davis?

August 08, 2005 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Zwicker said...

Does that mean you guys give up?

August 08, 2005 5:52 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

not yet. wait until tomorrow.

August 08, 2005 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Menachem said...

Elston Howard replacing Yogi Berra is my guess

August 08, 2005 10:36 PM  
Anonymous zwicker said...

Elston Howard is not in the Hall.

August 08, 2005 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Menachem said...

Did Carl Yastremski replace Ted Williams?

August 09, 2005 8:27 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

A quick look at Baseball almanac shows williams ended his career in LF in 1960, and Yaz began his in LF in 1961

August 09, 2005 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it Musial and Brock?

August 09, 2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

didnt musial and brock play different positions?

August 09, 2005 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They both primarily played left field

August 09, 2005 11:24 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

ok. I just looked it up. Musial played OF for the cards through 1963. Brock came to the Cards in 1964.

However, Brock began his career as a Cub, so I don't know if Zwicker will accept this answer.

August 09, 2005 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Zwicker said...

Menachem got the one of which I was thinking. I'm not sure whether Brock and Musial played the same position or whether the former immediately succeeded the latter.

August 09, 2005 1:53 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Borck and Musial both played left field, according to anonymous, who is most likely our resident St Louis expert, Lippy. And Brock started for the cards the season after musial retired, which is a bit better than the mantle dimaggio take over, since Mantle and Dimaggio both played in the same outfield in 1951.

August 09, 2005 1:59 PM  
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