They played almost every day after school, and on the weekends they would even scrimmage one of the local semipro teams.“Strictly amateur, although you never know it from the size of the crowds.Years later, the younger Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane’s true first name, saying derisively, “I would have hated to be named Gordon.”1 By the time Mickey was 3 years old, the country was mired in the Great Depression.
But his focus quickly turned to the 16-year-old shortstop, who hit two long home runs, one right-handed and one left-handed.
”4 Mickey and his father were both stunned at first, but soon became excited about the prospect of Mickey becoming a Yankee.
Greenwade explained that because Mickey was only 16 years old, he would have to wait until he graduated from high school before the Yankees could sign him.
Although he rode the bench for the remaining few days of the season, the 18-year-old nevertheless traveled and took batting practice with the team.
He observed the likes of Joe Di Maggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto as they were locked in a pennant race with the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.
A whole mob used to drive out, mostly mining people and their families.”3 Mickey also loved to play football, but an injury early in his freshman year of high school prematurely ended his budding pigskin career – and almost his life.