Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bill Dickey (Mickey Mantle)

You guys got to see this kid we have in camp. Out of Class C ball, hits 'em both ways -- five-hundred feet both ways! You've got to see him.

Bill Dickey, a Hall of Fame catcher who spent his entire 19-year playing career with the Yankees, was a coach for the team when he saw Mickey Mantle for the first time during spring training in 1951.

Mantle had spent the 1950 season with the Class C Joplin Miners.  (In those days, Class D was the lowest minor-league classification.)  Mantle hit .383 with 26 HR and 136 RBI as the Miners dominated their competition, finishing the year with a 90-46 record.  

On Opening Day 1951, the 19-year-old Mantle was in the starting lineup for the Yankees, playing right field and batting 3rd (behind Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto and ahead of HOFers Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra). 

Mickey Mantle was born on this date in 1931.

Mantle as a Joplin Miner

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