YES just ran the Mickey Mantle Yankeeography, last weekend.

In only one hour, the production could never do true justice to the litany of statistics, anecdotes, and other back stories revolving around the enigmatic Mantle, but they still evoke tears to the old timers who saw the grinding pain through which "the Magnificent Yankee" played, and dominated pitchers like few others before him.

Don't take that wrong: Mickey (like the Bambino) retired with the MLB record for most strikeouts too, to go with those other accomplishments, thankful that he got to see Reggie blow his K record away!

And during the featured #7 retirement ceremony, the presenter of the retired Jersey to Mickey (Whitey Ford) received the worst booing of his life at Yankee Stadium when he said (and I'll paraphrase), "To our leader who treated the fans to great hustle, booming homers, great catches, (pause) and an occasional strikeout..... (pause again as the boos got loud).

Mickey's ovation was over NINE MINUTES LONG! I have still never seen nor heard of a longer one in my entire 60+ years of life, yet!

It's peculiar that the "antibiotic" shot Mickey received in 1961 that cost him his last chance of also breaking that elusive 60 home run barrier was "whitewashed" by the Yankees, even so far as seeing Ralph Houk gloss over it in his interview about it.

Conspiracy theorists claim that Mickey was sent to a friend of Mel Allen's for a shot, and others retorted that maybe Mickey was allergic to penicillen. But if that were true, Mickey would have been dead or seriously ill enough to require hospitalization which (strangely) he did! But Mickey was given penicillen as a teenager, when it was the new wonder drug, and it saved him from having to lose a leg because of the affliction: osteomyelitis, which made him 4 F during his Army eligible years.

The conspiracy gained credence when Mel Allen was let go before the 1964 World Series, but subsequent releases claim it was Ballantine Beer that caused Mel's ouster, in a cost cutting move, because they were hemorrhaging cash as the company needed to make several cost cuts, none of which worked. Ballantine "went six feet south and permanent" in 1969!

Back to Mickey - subsequent research has shown that Mickey once hit four consecutive homers over two games, and is one of five Yankees to accomplish the feat (in any number of games). No answer here - it may become a trivia question at a later time!

When I cringe as Mickey let his limp show during home run trots (because the adrenaline of the swing dissipated), it brings me to mind of the late Thurman Munson, who was seen in 1978 World Series footage actually struggling mightily just to rise to a standing position, his legs failing him, the same pain of the faces of teammates and the umpire, almost in the same tears as me!

I will cut this short now because the Nor'easter is bearing down on us and my power could go out for another 80 hours, this week.

Please stay safe.


MATSUIFAN INC. 2007