A Moment In Time – 7/12/55

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maysnewpTuesday, July 12, 1955, the 22nd All-Star Game, County Stadium, Milwaukee. Top of the 7th inning, AL up 5-0, one on, two out, and Willie Mays leaps at the fence to steal a home run away from Ted Williams, which would’ve made the score 7-0. In the NY Times: “…Williams stroked a powerful smash to right center. But Willie gave chase and just as the ball appeared to clear the wire railing, the Say Hey Kid leaped up to snare the ball in his glove.”

As it was an All-Star Game, there were many press photographers present, and as shown here, there were photos taken from all angles of this amazing catch, since no doubt there were many cameras already trained on Mays. Willie was flying high in 1955, as the reigning NL MVP, batting champ, and with the other New York Giants, World Series Champions from 1954. Unfortunately, the Gold Glove award was not originated until 1957, but it’s a sure bet that Mays would have snagged a few in the early ’50’s, as he in fact won 12 straight NL OF GG’s right from the award’s inception until 1969. Also, in the ’50’s and ’60’s, you could’ve almost renamed the ASG “Willie Mays Day” as he participated in the game in every season of his career, except his rookie season (in which he was Rookie Of The Year!).

 

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The American League could’ve used that clout by Williams; after Mays caught the last out in the top of the 7th, above, he trotted in and led off the bottom of the inning with a single, eventually coming around to score as the NL tallied 2 in the 7th, and then for good measure, Willie also singled and scored during a rally in the 8th as the National League scored 3 more to tie it. Mays did strike out looking with two on to end the 9th, however, sending the game into extras. Would the Say Hey Kid have one more magical moment this day? Perhaps, but Stan Musial had other ideas, hitting a game-winning home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the NL a 6-5 victory – with Mays on deck.

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Griffith Glory

Just a quick post to show off these glorious color fan photos from the 1956 All-Star Game in Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC. It’s all here – the classic dark green of the stands, the beautiful National Bohemian beer ad so prominent in the old park, the striking colors of the uniforms, especially the backs of the National Leaguers (a lot of Reds present with their sleeveless unis, and especially Ted Kluszewski, with no undershirt at all – also a lot of Yankees lined up along the other side), all the pomp and circumstance, and lastly what would have to be Duke Snider batting in the 7th or 8th inning, with the White Sox’ Sherm Lollar catching, and ol’ Casey looking on from the dugout. So pop open a cold “Natty Boh” and enjoy. Box score link at bottom.

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http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1956/B07100ALS1956.htm

Welcome to Shea Stadium…now batting, #7, Mickey Mantle

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Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra at the 1964 All Star Game at Shea Stadium

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).

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Only known photo of Mickey Mantle batting at Shea Stadium, ’64 ASG

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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.

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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).