About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Number 7 on the Yankees in 1951.

Mickey Mantle started his rookie season with the Yankees wearing uniform number 6.  Cliff Mapes, who also wore number 3 for the Yanks previously, started 1951 wearing 7 on his Yankee uniform.  Bob Cerv started 1951 with the Kansas City Blues.

Cliff Mapes 1951 Bowman card.
Both Mantle and Cerv played for the 1951 Kansas City Blues in the AAA American Association.

On July 31, 1951 Mapes contract was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from the New York Yankees.

The game logs for the three Yankees who wore number 7 in 1951 shows when they played in Yankee games:

Mickey Mantle (6): April 17 through July 13; .260 BA; sent down to Kansas City Blues.

Mapes (7): April 20 through July 26.

Bob Cerv (7): August 1 through August 20; called up from the Kansas City Blues; apparently Cerv was given the number 7 that had been worn by the recently departed Mapes.  When returned to the Kansas City Blues Cerv was zero for at least his last 7 Yankee AB; .214 BA.

Mickey Mantle (7): August 24 through September 30; assigned number 7 after .361 BA in 40 games in KC.

From Cliff Blau:

Per the August 21, 1951, Hartford Courant, Mantle and Hogue recalled from minors, Cerv and Wiesler sent down.

Then Mantle was called for another military physical exam, which is why he didn't play until the 24th.

Cerv replaced Mapes and Mantle replaced Cerv.  That seems to be how number 7 got passed along.

So what happened to number 6?  Wasn't that part of the Mantle legend, that he was given number 6 in spring training 1951 because he would follow the great Yankees who had worn numbers 3 (Ruth), 4 (Gehrig) and 5 (the aging DiMaggio in his final season)?

Note: Bobby Brown "missed 1½ seasons due to military service during the Korean War.".

Why didn't Mantle get number 6 back when he returned from KC?  Veteran third baseman Bobby Brown played 103 games in 1951 but the first was not until April 26.  In 1947,1948,1949,1950 Bobby Brown and only Bobby Brown had worn number 6, so the Yankees had given Brown's number to Mantle in spring training 1951 a further sign of the team's high regard for Mantle.  In Brown's rookie season of 1946 he played in only 7 games and wore ... number 7.

In 1951 Brown was given number 9.  Apparently when Mantle was sent down to KC Brown switched from 9 back to his familiar number 6.  Maybe the Yankees did not expect Mantle back in 1951; maybe they no longer thought he would be great; maybe they just wanted to satisfy Brown.  When Mantle returned in late August the next available number was 7 because Cerv had been sent down to KC.  So much for continuing the string of consecutive numbers for great Yankees.

Bobby Brown kept number 6 for the remainder of the 1951 season and wore 6 in the 29 games he played in 1952 the last of which was July 6.  Twenty year old third baseman Andy Carey apparently wore number 54 May 2 through May 11.  Carey was probably sent down to AAA where he played 106 games in 1952 for Kansas City (AA) and Syracuse (IL).  Carey played again for the Yanks August 2-15 and September 26-28 and was given number 6, which Carey wore for the remainder of his Yankee career, four games into the 1960 season.

In 1961 number six was worn for 13 games by Deron Johnson who was then traded to the Kansas City As (AL).  Clete Boyer then switched from number 34 to 6, which Boyer wore for the remainder of his Yankee career: 1966.  In 1965 Johnson led NL with 130 RBI.  Other players including Roy White wore number 6 after Boyer.

The last person to wear a Yankee uniform with number 6 was four time World Series winning manager Joe Torre 1996-2008.

1 comment:

Show Biz Mike said...

Thanks for this very interesting information.