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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mickey Mantle was benched for not hustling in 1960.

Bryce Harper has not hustled this season.  Harper was benched earlier in the season for that and was benched yesterday for his part in a fight started by teammate Jonathon Papelbon, which Papelbon instigated in part because Harper did not hustle; also because Harper publicly criticized Papelbon for hitting Manny Machado Sept. 23 after Machado had homered off Papelbon.

Harper is 22 years old and may be voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the National Conference.  Mickey Mantle had been American League (AL) MVP in 1956 and 1957.  In 1960 Mantle was in his tenth season, all managed by Casey Stengel, who unbeknownst to Stengel, was in his final as Yankee manager.  Mantle was the undisputed king of the AL.  Stengel pulled Mantle from a game for not hustling.

Sunday, August 14, 1960, 6:02PM, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 29,970, Time of Game: 4:26
Second game of doubleheader

Senators 6, Yankees 3 in 15 innings

Bottom of the 6th, Yankees Batting, Behind 0-1, Senators' Jack Kralick facing 1-2-3
b60-10---NYYC. BoyerJ. Kralick-6%55%Single to LF (Line Drive)
b60-101--NYYR. MarisJ. Kralick-16%39%Single to RF (Line Drive); Boyer to 3B
b60-101-3RONYYH. LopezJ. Kralick3%42%Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B; Boyer Scores
b61-111--OONYYM. MantleJ. Kralick8%50%Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B
1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Senators 1, Yankees 1.
Top of the 7th, Senators Batting, Tied 1-1, Yankees' Eli Grba facing 4-5-6
Joe DeMaestri replaces Roger Maris (RF) playing SS batting 2nd
Bob Cerv replaces Mickey Mantle (CF) playing LF batting 4th
Tony Kubek moves from SS to CF 
Hector Lopez moves from LF to RF 
To make matters worse Roger Maris was injured sliding into second trying to break up a double play, allowing the tie run to score.  Then Mantle grounded into a DP but did not hustle running out the ball.  Stengel benched Mantle.  Both Maris and Mantle left the game after the 6th inning.  To make matters even worse, the Yankees lost 6-3 in 15 innings.

Worst of all, Maris did not play again until Aug. 26 and hit only four more home runs in the regular season, none in his final 14 games, which gave Mantle a chance to rally and pass Maris by one (40 to 39) and win his fourth and final AL home run crown.

Maris had hit two homers Aug. 6 giving him 35.  Mantle had last homered July 31 and was stuck at 27.  Mantle hit nine homers in September.  Maris hit number 39 Sept. 16; Mantle had hit number 34 five days earlier.  Mantle finished with two homers in Washington Sept. 28 off lefty Chuck Stobbs, giving Mickey the lead 40 to 39, which is how they finished.  Yes, Stobbs is the guy off whom Mantle had hit his legendary "565" foot tape measure home run in Washington in 1953.

In game one of the Sunday doubleheader Yogi Berra caught even though Berra had become the regular left fielder with Elston Howard as the starting catcher.  Maris and Mantle, of course, played the entire game, won by the Senators 5-4, which may have had Stengel in a bad mood.  Howard caught all 15 innings in game two, going 0 for 7, including the final out.  Berra was forced into action because two starting outfielders, Maris and Mantle, had unexpectedly left the game after the 6th.  The Yankees scored a run in the 9th to tie it 3-3; Berra then pinch hit in the 9th for relief pitcher Bobby Shantz and was walked intentionally.  Because of the shortage of outfielders, Berra remained in the game and played right field with three plate appearances.

The night after being benched Mantle was back in a makeshift starting lineup.

Monday, August 15, 1960, 8:14PM, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 24,233, Time of Game: 1:56

New York Yankees

Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · Export  · PRE  · LINK  · ?
Tony Kubek SS-RF4000004.287.325.423.748-0.0961.010.000-0.096-0.835
Hector Lopez LF3210114.282.358.384.7430.0951.440.147-0.0520.310
   Joe DeMaestri SS0000000.
Mickey Mantle CF4224004.276.401.573.9740.6621.870.703-0.0412.9202·HR
Bill Skowron 1B4020014.319.349.576.9240.0680.970.113-0.0450.51722B
Yogi Berra RF-LF2000214.305.378.487.8660.0701.140.102-0.0320.710
Johnny Blanchard C3010004.261.292.413.705-0.1081.350.018-0.126-1.110SH,GDP
Clete Boyer 3B3000003.263.315.426.742-0.1701.560.000-0.170-1.305
Bobby Richardson 2B3000003.256.298.300.598-0.1341.660.000-0.134-1.005
Art Ditmar P3010003.
Team Totals294743333.241.313.483.7950.3891.411.130-0.7410.32718
Mantle was criticized in the press and booed by Yankee fans when he first batted.  However, fans are fickle and Mantle turned the boos to cheers with a pair of two run homers.  The first tied the game 2-2 in the 4th and the second put the Yankees ahead 4-3 in the 8th.  That was the final score.

I remember a New York Daily News cartoon by Bill Gallo the next day.  In a series of boxes, two cartoon characters sitting in the bleachers represented the Yankee fans at the game.  Initially, they expressed their annoyance with Mantle.  One is hit on the head by a ball, then the second is also hit, both with Mantle's home runs.  Then they are reconciled with Mantle.

1960 AL MVP:

Voting ResultsBatting StatsPitching Stats
1Roger MarisNYY225.08.067%7.51364999814139112270.283.371.581.952
2Mickey MantleNYY222.010.066%6.3153527119145409414111.275.399.558.957
3Brooks RobinsonBAL211.03.063%4.1152595741751488235.294.329.440.769
4Minnie MinosoCHW141.02.042%2.815459189184201051752.311.374.481.855
5Ron HansenBAL110.01.033%3.9153530721352286369.255.342.440.781
Mantle had two more first place votes than Maris.  One more and Mantle would have been MVP.  Maybe the benching incident cost Mantle that award.

Maris homered in his first World Series plate appearance; it was off Vern Law, who won the Cy Young award in 1960:

Wednesday, October 5, 1960,, Forbes Field
Attendance: 36,676, Time of Game: 2:29

Pirates 6, Yankees 4

The Pirates beat the Yankees 4 games to 3 despite the Yankees outscoring the Pirates 55-27.  Mantle had three homers and 11 RBI in the WS.  That would have broken Berra's 10 RBI record except that Yankee teammate, Bobby Richardson, had already gotten 12 RBI by the time that Mickey reached 11.

Mantle became an icon in 1961, playing hurt and being the "old school" Yankee to the newcomer Maris who had the audacity to challenge the record of 60 homers in a season held since 1927 by Yankee Babe Ruth.  Mantle was considered the rightful player to break the record and some fans resented Maris.  Maris won that home run race over Mantle, 61 to 54.

What would Gil Hodges and Billy Martin do about Didi Gregorius? Sunday, April 12, 2015

Yankee manager Joe Girardi ...

Billy Martin game 7 saving catch
1952 World Series
front cover Baseball Digest Oct. 1958

via Wikimedia Commons
Girardi, Gil Hodges and Billy Martin all played for New York World Series champions and each later managed a New York team to a single championship.  Hodges and Martin must have learned something in the 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 World Series in which the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Yankees.  All but 1953 went seven games.

Years later both did the same thing: pulled an outfielder and replaced him with the other team still batting.  As manager of the Mets Hodges slowly walked from the home dugout toward the pitcher's mound and continued out to left field where he asked Cleon Jones if he was injured.  When Jones indicated that he was not Hodges returned to the dugout with Jones, who had not hustled enough for Hodges.

Martin had the same reaction while managing the Yankees years after the Hodges move.  During a nationally televised Saturday afternoon game in Boston a Red Sox batter dropped a pop fly in front of right fielder Reggie Jackson.  Reggie returned back to regular depth and turned to face the next batter only to see Paul Blair coming out to right.  Reggie asked why but Blair simply referred Reggie to manager Martin.  A dugout confrontation ensued complete with Billy trying to get at Reggie while Billy was held back by coach Yogi Berra and Reggie influenced but hardly restrained by coach Elston Howard.  For all his street tough style Billy Martin wanted no part of the much larger and younger Reggie Jackson, at least not while Jackson was facing Martin.  Reggie was no marshmallow, salesman or otherwise.

Both Hodges and Martin intentionally humiliated a starting player.  Each was sending a message to that player, to all the other players and to the media that certain minimal expectations must be met or there will be consequences.

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