June 9, 2013
Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age By Allen Barra Crown Archetype. 498 pp. $27 Reviewed by Bill Lyon Once upon a time, though not so very long ago, there was delivered unto us from Mount Olympus two players of baseball. They ran like cheetahs and sent batted balls into the stratosphere and their throws trailed blue flame and very soon it became evident that the case could be made that these two were not just players of baseball but the two very best.
October 7, 2012 |
The camera caught him coming in low and aiming high, like a rolling ball of butcher knives, a middle linebacker steaming along on the base paths, his uniform pigsty filthy with a warrior's colors, telling you he's down and dirty, his face contorted with the effort, seeking out a collision, and you are struck with this thought: The prudent man steps aside. Mike Trout, coming through. Here is how he is introduced in the antiseptic world of cyberspace: Michael (Mike) Nelson Trout.
April 17, 2011 |
When Tiger Woods had trouble with his putter, he became a national conversation. Brett Favre made an off-field pass, and we reveled via Twitter. After Cameron Diaz fed popcorn to Alex Rodriguez at the Super Bowl, America feasted. It's easy to forget that it wasn't always like this. Just as the reporters covering FDR overlooked his debilitating condition and JFK was given a pass in the media for his dalliances, sports figures, too, were once immune to the post-Watergate world of invasive coverage.
December 22, 2010
YOU WILL LIKE "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. It's about an Olympic distance runner named Louie Zamperini who becomes an Air Force bombardier on a rickety B-24. Crash-lands in the Pacific, scrambles onto a life raft, the start of a grim nightmare, bedeviled by ruthless sharks, most of them human. Hillenbrand is the talented woman who wrote "Seabiscuit," a brilliant book about a charismatic racehorse. Her ear is keen, her writing crisp, the story memorable. You will like "Making Words Dance," reflections on Red Smith, the unforgettable choreographer/wordsmith.
October 17, 2010
Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood By Jane Leavy Harper. 480 pp. $27.99 Reviewed by Bill Lyon There were those home runs, of course, those towering, titanic, majestic tape-measure launches, struck with equal ferocity from both sides of the plate, leaving his peers slack-jawed in awe as batted balls traveled to places previously unreached. And there were those blondes, of course, platoons of them, lush and warm and willing, an endless, accommodating supply, unashamedly brazen and softly solicitous, and as they would walk away to another hotel elevator, his peers would gape in undisguised envy.
November 23, 1997 |
Hundreds of fans of baseball legend Mickey Mantle turned out yesterday in New York for the sale of his memorabilia and in less than three hours bought up everything from a lock of his hair to a tuxedo and boat. The lock of hair, which Mantle gave to his longtime girlfriend and agent, Greer Johnson, as a joke, was sold for $6,900. It had been expected to bring in up to $600. In all, $541,880 was raised from the auction, to which Mantle's family had been strongly opposed. On Friday, lawyers representing Mantle's widow and Johnson worked out a compromise that cleared the way for the auction.
October 19, 1996 |
From home plate, Monument Park sits just beyond the right shoulder of Bernie Williams. Four stones, memorializing Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Miller Huggins and, this year, Mickey Mantle, provide the focus of Yankee Stadium's unique centerfield museum, a park that also includes 16 plaques. The names are from a time when New York grew its own, or at least plucked players from other organizations in the infancy, not the twilight, of their careers. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle - it was a time when kids in faraway places dreamed of playing in this park, in this city.
June 19, 1996 |
Tom Kaczor has collected sports memorabilia since he was a boy. Kaczor, a local real estate broker and former basketball coach at Bristol High and Holy Ghost Prep, cherished certain items in his collection - such as the 1953 autographed Mickey Mantle baseball card. He and his son Scott, now 25, had it autographed by Mantle when Scott was 5 and recovering from cancer surgery. The Mantle card, which Tom Kaczor values at about $3,200, and numerous other memories are gone now - stolen in a burglary of his Franklin Road home that he discovered Sunday.
October 12, 1995 |
A famous retired baseball player recently encountered his former agent on a commercial flight between two major cities. The duo had parted some years before, less than amicably, but the agent had retained an extensive inventory of autographed photos, baseballs, bats and other items. The ex-ballplayer said to the agent, "Well, I guess you're sitting pretty with all the autographed stuff of mine you have. " The agent replied, "Not as well off as I'll be when you die. " Well, the ex-ballplayer was not Mickey Mantle, but the result is the same.
August 21, 1995 |
In the final frantic days before Mickey Mantle's death, a Philadelphia physician was brought in to consult on the baseball star's deteriorating condition. The physician, Dr. Isaac Djerassi, an oncologist from Mercy Catholic Medical Center at Misericordia Hospital, flew to Dallas and examined Mantle at Baylor University Medical Center. Djerassi's presence at Mantle's bedside was unexpected because his cancer- fighting technique, considered state of the art 25 years ago, has been abandoned by leading oncologists.