By Dick Lally
June 8, 1969: Mickey Mantle day. I grew up idolizing Mantle, and when he came back on the field to accept the adoration of a crowd that under appreciated his great skills for far too long, I must have set the Guinness Book record for most goose bumps in an afternoon.
We sat in box seats on the third base side, I was fourteen and the cheering was as dense as concrete, a baseball version of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. I came back a month later for Old Timers’ Day and received the commemorative recording of the event as a keepsake. I had it for years until it was lost in a move.
During the regular game that day, my friend Patty and I went to the concession stand and found Mike Burke signing autographs. The Yankees president had that great head of grey hair which he wore stylish coiffed and nearly down to his shoulders. Patty called out, “You’re a hippy,” and Burke said, “That’s right. Want to hear me hear me sing ‘Purple Haze?,” an answer that completely charmed the crowd of teenagers massed around him.
Dick Lally is the author nineteen books, including nine on baseball.