My Mickey Mantle storyOctober 30, 2010
We’re having techinical difficulties that preventing me from uploading any media. I hope to get that corrected soon. But in the meantime, I’m reading Jane Leavy’s new biography of Mickey Mantle, The Last Boy. I’ll probably review it in this space when I get done.
My father knew Mantle slighty — after my father died we received a card from The Mick, and he (my father) used to tell this story. I don’t know whether it’s true, but it’s a good one.
Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin were going hunting in south Texas. It was a spur of the moment thing; Mickey and Billy were talking about it, they threw some gear in the truck and just went. Mickey said he knew a guy who’d let them hunt on his land — no problem.
So they drove all night and pulled up in front of this farmhouse just after dawn. Mickey told Billy to wait in the truck, he’d just be a minute, just wanted to let the old guy know they were there.
Mickey walks up to the door, raps on it and walks in. He finds his old friend in the kitchen, coffee on.
“Me and Billy just drove down from Dallas, thought we might do a little hunting,” Mickey says.
“Well, you know that’s OK with me, Mickey,” the old guy responds, “But before you go, I’d like to ask a favor of you — a pretty big favor.”
“Why sure,” the Mick says. “What is it?”
“Well you see, Mickey, I got me this old horse. He’s been a good horse, but he’s getting old and he’s in a lot of pain. And I just can’t bring myself to — what I’m trying to say, is Mickey would you shoot my horse?”
Mickey is, of course, reluctant to shoot the farmer’s horse. But after a few minutes of discussion, he decided he’ll do it for the old guy. And, as he’s walking to the door he’s decided something else as well.
As he walks out the door, he starts swearing and stomping. He yanks open the truck door and grabs his rifle. Billy looks at the distressed Mantle and asks “what’s wrong?”
“The old so-and-so says we can’t hunt on his land,” Mickey fumes, “and I’m going to teach him a lesson — I’m going to shoot his horse.”
Mickey starts toward the barn, gun in hand, as Billy tries to hold him back. But he can’t hold him back. He goes into the barn as Billy cringes outside.
Mickey smiles to himself, knowing that he’s really worked Billy over good. He waits a minute. Then he hears Billy running back to the truck.
And then, from outside the barn. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Mickey runs out. “Billy, what you doing!”
“I think I got a couple of the old so-and-so’s cows, Mick!”