"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Not Off By Much


The SI baseball preview is out and it features Jane Leavy’s essay “Sully and the Mick” from Rob Fleder’s “Damn Yankees” collection:

The inquiry arrived via e-mail with a note of urgency from my publisher: You might want to take a look at this. Mrs. Frank Sullivan had just received a condolence call from a dear friend who had learned of her husband’s death on page 162 of The Last Boy, my 2010 biography of Mickey Mantle. Mrs. Frank Sullivan was upset. She was also surprised because her husband, an All-Star pitcher for the 1950s Red Sox, was sitting beside her on their porch in Kauai watching the sunset and sipping his favorite wine from a box. Mrs. Frank Sullivan wished to know how soon I might declare him undead.

I was appropriately mortified. Mickey murdered the ball, sure, but I had killed Frank. My apology was prompt and profuse. I had tried to find Frank Sullivan, honest. Two former teammates (at least!) and one heretofore unimpeachable online source had reported that Frank was putting on his pants one leg at a time in a better world.

I had grieved for him and, truth to tell, for myself because Frank wasn’t just another dead ballplayer. He was responsible for the best line ever uttered about Mantle, maybe the best line ever uttered by a major league pitcher. Asked how he pitched to the Mick, Frank answered on behalf of the 548 menaced hurlers who faced Mantle over 18 years: “With tears in my eyes.”

I had to use it. So I put Frank in the past tense.

The “late” Frank Sullivan e-mailed the next day:

Dear Jane, it would distress me big time if you were to lose a minute’s sleep over this. I know I haven’t. And besides, you’re probably not off by much.

Check it out.


1 Bruce Markusen   ~  Mar 21, 2012 5:51 pm

Having nothing to do with Mantle, I love that old Yankee doodle logo. Why they have allowed that to be supplanted by the bland "NY" is a mystery.

2 RIYank   ~  Mar 21, 2012 6:28 pm

River Avenue Blues:

Nick Swisher stayed at the complex all day to receive treatment on his two injured groins, but he’s feeling better. They’re going to take it day-by-day and make sure it’s 100% before getting him back on the field.

How many groins does Swish have, exactly?

3 Ben   ~  Mar 22, 2012 7:44 am

[2] Don't ask questions you don't want answered.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver