As with Marilyn Monroe, people just keep writing books about Mickey Mantle. The latest, “Season in the Sun,” focuses intensely on Mantle’s 1956 season, which was the greatest of his career and helped to reenergize baseball as it faced declining attendance, racial tensions, and economic uncertainties. The shy country boy from Oklahoma achieved virtual legendary stature as he won a rare Triple Crown (tops in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in) and starred in a “Subway Series” against the cross-town Brooklyn Dodgers.
Here’s an excerpt from A Season in the Sun:
“Yankees publicist Red Patterson had been waiting for this moment. On April 17 1953, World Series winner Mickey Mantle, batting right-handed, dug his cleats into the dirt around home plate, concentrating on Washington Senators southpaw Chuck Dobbs. Mantle’s eyes scanned the field as a brisk wind unfurled the American flag above the center-field wall. With the Yankees leading 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning and a runner on first base, Dobbs ran his fingers over the seams of the baseball. When he delivered a high fastball right over the heart of the plate, Mantle punished him, crushing it high into the cloudy gray sky. Senators second baseman Wayne Terwilliger swore that the ball flew so high that Mantle had already rounded second when it eclipsed the left-center-field bleachers of Griffith Stadium. After it clipped the National Bohemian Beer sign – about 460 feet from home plate and nearly 60 feet above the outfield grounds – it bounced onto Fifth Street. According to baseball lore, Patterson bolted out of his press box seat and declared, ‘That one’s got to be measured!’ ”