The New York Yankees Asked Mickey Mantle to Tell a White Lie About Stan Musial

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The New York Yankees Asked Mickey Mantle to Tell a White Lie About Stan Musial
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Stan Musial

During the 1950s and 1960s, the all-star game was meaningful. Inter-league play and free agency, two prime movers that contributed greatly to the American and National Leagues losing their identities, was decades away.

In 1960, two all-star games were played in order to supplement the players' pension fund. The National League won the first, which was played in Kansas City on July 11 by a score of 5.3. The second game was being played at Yankee Stadium two days later.

Ticket sales for the game lagged well behind expectations. The Yankees announced that bleacher tickets priced at $2.10 and general admission tickets priced at $4.20 would go on sale at the Stadium the day of the game. Paid attendance was a disappointing 38,362.

Stan Musial was selected to the National League's squad despite having the first sub-par offensive season of his career.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Solly Hemus had the temerity to actually bench Musial at the end of June, which led some "experts" to claim that sentiment had played a role in Musial's selection.

National League manager Walt Alston, who had managed the Dodgers in Brooklyn before Los Angeles stole them, admitted that it was true, but Alston knew that Musial almost always rose to the occasion.

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Alston told reporters "Sure sentiment entered into it. He is the kind of man I'd like to have around if a situation develops in the ballgame where a big hit could win the game."

One thing that New Yorkers, especially those from Brooklyn knew was that it wasn't smart to underestimate Stanley Frank Musial.

In the seventh inning, Musial pinch hit for pitcher Stan Williams. Facing former teammate Gerry Staley, Musial hit a prodigious home run into the upper deck in right field, increasing the National League's lead to 4-0. It was his sixth all-star game home run, which broke his own record.

Musial told baseball writer Harold Kase that he had a feeling he would hit a home run.

"I thought I would hit a home run today. I had that certain feeling. Remember the all-star game I won with a home run in Milwaukee. I had the feeling that day too."

The National League won easily, 6-0. Whitey Ford was the losing pitcher, The Yankees little gamecock became the most scored-upon pitcher in All-Star history.

Roger Maris stranded seven of the 12 American Leaguers left on the bases. Maris, Mantle, Skowron and Berra had a pair of singles in 11 at bats.

Stan Musial's first appearance at Yankee Stadium since 1943 brings to mind a little known event that occurred when Mickey Mantle first joined the Yankees in 1951. Mickey related the story to Tom Molito, who has written an excellent book about his friendship with Mickey.

Mickey and Tom were sitting in Mickey's hotel room at the Regency in New York. The two friends were being relaxed by the liquids in their glasses when Mickey said offhandedly,

"Tom I'm going to tell something that the Yankees made me do. When I came up in 1951, a guy from some paper asked me who was my favorite player. I told him Stan Musial. Well, the Yankees didn't like that at all. They said that I had to say that Joe DiMaggio was my favorite player."

Mickey grew up in Oklahoma and the Cardinals were the closest team. He used to listen to the Cards on the radio when Musial was having some of his "Mickey Mantle seasons."

Musial finished 1960 hitting only .255. He didn't break the .300 mark again until 1962 when he hit .330/.416/.508. He retired the following season after hitting .255 once again.

Not too many individuals know that Musial was Mantle's favorite player.



References:

All-star game tickets put on sale by yanks. (1960, Jul 10). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. S3-S3. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/115195645?accountid=46260

All-star musial sentimental pick. (1960, Jul 08). Boston Globe (1960-1979), pp. 31. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/250982829?accountid=46260

Boston Globe. "A.L. Humbled, 6-0. Mathews, Mays, Musial, Boyer Produce Big Blows." 14 July 1960. p.33.

Molito, Tom and Harold Friend. Double Dating With Mickey Mantle. New York, 2011.

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