Friday, December 27, 2013

Pinch Hitting Guest Blogger: Ken Reed


I wonder how great Mickey would've been if he hadn't been injured so seriously and so much. The knee injury from the 51 Series was just the first. I saw a picture of Mickey on crutches detailing the injuries he suffered in his career! He had to tape himself from shoulders to knees before every game. He never complained - he just became bigger then life to some of the Yankee Fans. "We all knew, if the game was on the line and Mickey was coming up, we still had a very good chance of winning it"...said Bobby Mercer.
I think The Babe, Mantle, and Mays are top 3 (OF) of all time (not counting "Shoeless Joe"). But I honestly believe Mickey is the greatest ballplayer I ever saw. He did so much during his career while he was hurt. Without the injuries, there would have been no limit to the records he would have set maybe even brake Babe Ruth's career HR records and many other records along the way.

Joe D was famous for making every catch look graceful and easy. I've seen him play and as many, read books about Joe D, he was not a very nice guy! First words to a rookie were "Don't mess with my WS money"! Us kids from Hells Kitchen (Kitchen Trash) were never given a smile, wave or word from him. His words after  his 56 game hitting gig were (something like) "Hell I could have got more money from Hinze (57) with that last hit".

DiMaggio hot dogged it (some say, not me) going after the ball seeing Mantle coming on and only at the last moment yelled I got it. To be fair, Joe never dove or jumped for a ball, he was that good reading the ball, a talent very very few OF have...even the better ones! In this case his very late call, caused Mantle to try and stop, snag his foot on a sprinkler, the rest is history! Without DiMaggio's (so called) grandstanding, Mantle might have been the best of the best. In my mind, I saw one of the best outfielders of all time.

Some have read stories told by him, and others, about his partying, drinking etc. Without knowing Mickey or the way he talked, one may have gotten the wrong impression of him as a player...the played hard and lived harder...his drinking never got in the way of his playing the game.

One day after a double hitter, Casey told him he wouldn't play the next day, so, being Mickey he made a night of it at the Clubs. The next day he was more sleeping than awake in the dug-out when late in a tie game Casey told him he was going to Pinch Hit. Well, the thing is; he had only wrapped part of his legs, not all of them. he stepped up and untied the game with a HR...he could hardly trot around the bases so as he crossed home plate he said something like, "They will never know how hard that was!" after the game someone asked him, how hard was it to hit it out after sitting all game? Mickey looked at the guy and said, "I saw three and hit the middle one!" He was being self deprecating with a joke.

There will never be another Mickey Mantle but, the best of all, is A-Rod! Drugs and Drinking oh, what they could have been!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)