There was a discussion in the Baseball Fever boards a while ago whether the venerable Mickey Mantle ever played at the Polo Grounds, and I believe it was determined he made one appearance, for an exhibition in 1957. Anyway, it got me to thinking about the Polo Grounds’ descendant, Shea Stadium, and how many times old #7 stepped to the plate at Shea (and probably stepped out a few times to let the planes pass as well).
Since, unfortunately, the Mets and Yankees did not meet in the World Series during Mantle’s career (Mick just missed his shot, retiring before the Mets’ first championship season), any appearances would have had to be limited to exhibition games of some sort.
First up would be the most obvious, the All-Star Game at brand new Shea on July 7, 1964. Mickey went 1-4, with the one hit a 6th inning single off the Phillies’ Chris Short, and scored along with Harmon Killebrew on a Brooks Robinson triple that just eluded Willie Mays and tied the game at 3-3 (Johnny Callison winning it for the NL with his classic walk-off in the 9th).
After that, the only other exhibitions where the Yankees would play in Queens would be the Mayor’s Trophy Game (NYNL vs NYAL), revived in 1963 at Yankee Stadium. With the game at Shea every other year, Mantle played in the 1964, 1966 and 1968 contests in Flushing (boxes below).
August 24, 1964 – A month after the ASG, 0-0, appeared to have walked in his first and only at bat, and Pepitone pinch-ran for him.
June 27, 1966 – 0-1.
May 27, 1968 – 1-2, a single off Dan Frisella.
So, Mick’s career at Shea: 4 games, going 2-7 in 8 official trips to the plate (.222), with 2 singles and a run scored.
Incidentally, the 1968 game above was not his last at-bat in an NL park – he went 0-1 in the Astrodome at the ASG on July 9th, in his last ASG appearance, striking out in his only at bat. Who was the NL Star who struck him out? None other than Met Tom Seaver, the only time the two faced each other in their careers (video of the K below).
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3 thoughts on “Welcome to Shea Stadium; now batting, #7, Mickey Mantle”
Also interesting: AsI recall, and as the boax score confirms, Whitey Ford pitched an unning in the 1968 Mayor’s Trophy Game at Shea even though he had retired (I think) the year before.
Wow great catch, what a amazing tidbit! You are correct, Ford did retire in 1967, but was a Yankee coach in ‘68, and I guess was itching to pitch! I went back to the NYT account, which does discuss his performance: “Whitey Ford pitched one inning for the Yankees and retired three batters in a row, even though Ken Burkhart, the plate umpire, called two automatic balls against Whitey for putting his hand to his mouth while on the mound.” (Temp was around 50, cold for late May). Ford struck out Ed Charles and got Tommie Agee and Don Bosch on grounders in his one inning of work. Thanks for the trivia!