Turbow: The early years of Mickey Mantle

From SABR member Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on July 17, 2017:

On January 6, 1951, it was announced that Joe DiMaggio—36 years old, perpetually injured, and hardly certain about his long-term future with the Yankees—would be offered the same $100,000 salary that he had received in 1950. Little effort was made to obscure that the figure was based largely on past performance, or that the marginalization of the Clipper had already begun.

The minor leaguer most prominently mentioned to replace DiMaggio was a 19-year-old from northeast Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle.

“Mantle is a shortstop on the Binghamton roster,” reported the New York Times in announcing DiMaggio’s 1950 contract, “but, in the opinion of Tom Greenwade, veteran scout, ‘might be a great center fielder.’ This means that the Yankees are looking to the day when DiMaggio hangs up his glove.” So eager was the Times to anoint the next coming that their assumption about Mantle having played with New York’s top farm club was not close to accurate. In fact, Mantle had spent the previous season two levels below Binghamton, and three below the big leagues, with the Joplin Miners of the Class-C Western Association.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/early-years-mickey-mantle

Originally published: July 17, 2017. Last Updated: July 17, 2017.