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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mickey Mantle: 565 foot home run, then bunt single in the same game!

OK, it wasn't really 565 feet but the legend was built on that number ...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962): "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

The Yankee publicity guy, Red Patterson, introduced the concept of the tape measure home run into baseball lexicon with Mickey Mantle's titanic blast early in The Mick's third season.  Patterson supposedly went outside the Washington ball park to determine how far Mantle's homer had traveled.

The physics of baseball now assure us that such a feat is impossible.  But the purpose of this post is to highlight something from the previous post.

Real men bunt ... and hit homers.  Monday, May 12, 2014

Finally, the original tape measure home run game, the ultimate in homering and bunting in the same game:
Friday, April 17, 1953, Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC
Attendance: 4,206, Time of Game: 2:27
Yankees 7, Senators 3
Mantle's PA by inning:
2 - against lefty Chuck Stobbs, leading off batting cleanup, 0-0: walk
3 - against Stobbs, 2 out, Berra on first Yanks up 1-0 on Martin's homer off Stobbs: Groundout: 3B-1B
5 - against Stobbs, 2 out, Berra on first Yanks up 2-1: HR "measured" at 565 feet, which is probably exaggerated but helped establish the Mantle legend
8 - against Julio Moreno, leading off, Yanks up 4-2: walk
9 - against Moreno, one out, Yanks up 7-3: bunt single to second

Washington fans must have thought this guy came from another planet.

That planet would probably be Krypton, which produced Kal-El, renamed Clark Kent by his Kansas earth parents and then Superman by the rest of mankind as he fought for truth, justice and the American way.  Apparently, Mick-El, Kal's brother, landed in Oklahoma and was taught to switch hit by his earth father, Mutt.

Batting righty against southpaw Chuck Stobbs, Mantle hit his legendary home run.  Then later batting lefty against 5'8" Cuban Julio Moreno, Mantle had a bunt single.

Who does that?  Why would he bunt after hitting such a long home run?

That bunt single was Mantle's last plate appearance (PA) against the 32 year old Moreno who pitched in the big leagues 1950-1953.  Mantle had three singles in ten at bats (AB), plus that one walk; one strike out.

Chuck Stobbs was 6'1", 185.  The lefty pitched big league ball through 1961 starting at age 17 with 16 innings in 1947 and 1948.  1953 was his first season with Washington.  In 1957 he led the American League with 20 losses (8 wins) and 126 earned  runs.  Stobbs is forever linked to Mantle by that long home run.  As they used to say, that homer would have been out of every park, including Yellowstone.

Stobbs faced Mantle 114 times, fourth most for Stobbs.  Eight homers in 106 AB: one homer every 13.25 AB.  Batting righty Mantle homered about every 15 AB on the road (same as lefty) and every 19 AB in Yankee Stadium where he homered every 13 AB batting lefty.  Mantle's OPS: career .977, v. Stobbs .948.

Mantle attempted bunts in 39 games in which he also homered.  In two of those games he hit two homers; those games are detailed in the previous post.  But somehow even those two homer/bunt games do not seem as amazing as this game in the nation's capital.  The 565 foot homer off Chuck Stobbs followed by the bunt single.  It was out of this world.

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