Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter

Today, at a local New York TV studio, I told my baseball memories in front of a camera. One I told, I forced my Dad to take me to three straight Yankee games in May 1967 after Mantle hit his 499th homer. I was going to catch number 500. The Mick was going to hit it into the right field grandstands, and that's where we sat Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. I brought my glove.

Well, he didn't hit it Friday night, and it drove my father nuts that the Yankees were down by 10 runs in the 5th, Hal Reniff gave up nine earned runs and we didn't leave. I had to see every Mick at bat. He didn't hit it Saturday either. But Sunday, God bless, Stu Miller, the Baltimore Oriole pitcher threw a meat ball to Mickey and he cracked it. That ball was coming straight to me and I could feel the hair on my father's neck stand up. I watched it rise over first base, then travel most of the outfield high as the top of the grandstands, then like a broken balloon it started to fall and fall, into the lower right field seats. My excitement slipped for a second, but Mickey hit 500! Mickey hit 500! Mickey hit 500! Dad and I hugged and cheered ourselves hoarse right through the next batter. Our legs were rocky.

After the season, I wrote Mickey the letter on this page asking for an autograph. I wrote it out once, Mom corrected it in pencil (that's this copy) then I re-wrote it, and mailed that copy with a stamped addressed envelope. 5 months later, I got a picture of Mantle with a phony signature. I traced real ink over the name and made believe he signed it.

My Uncle Mickey was a terrific guest on this week's Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts radio show on the Centanni Broadcasting Network. We played music, too. Take a listen here at the link below.

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