Shieber: A classic photo of Jackie and Mickey

From SABR member Tom Shieber at Baseball Researcher on February 1, 2016:

Recently, my friend Marty Appel shared a wonderful photo on Facebook.

That’s Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson (#42) playing first base and the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle (#7) right by his side. The iconic numbers, the idyllic setting, the casual poses. It all makes for a simply beautiful shot.

I got to wondering: What can I learn about this image? So I set to work.

A few key clues were quickly apparent. The palm trees in the background made it quite clear that the Dodgers and Yankees were playing one another during a spring training game. Since Jackie preceded Mickey to the big leagues by four years, the earliest the photo could have been taken was Mickey’s first spring training with New York: 1951. But in that year (and that year alone), the Yankees held spring training in Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, there’s a famous image of Mickey taken at Phoenix’s Municipal Stadium in 1951. It’s his Bowman rookie bubble gum card.

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Originally published: February 2, 2016. Last Updated: February 2, 2016.