It could be argued that the legend of Mickey Mantle was born on October 7, 1952. Locked in a tight World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the three-time defending champion New York Yankees needed a new hero they could count on to keep the dynasty rolling through the next decade. In the last half of Game 7, the soon-to-be 21-year-old Oklahoma native proved worthy.
The series was a back-and-forth affair played on consecutive days—no off days were scheduled since the teams were neighbors. Each team collected 50 hits in the seven game series.
With the game tied at 2 in the sixth inning at Ebbets Field, Mantle cut loose on a Joe Black pitch, blasting a towering solo home run to right center.
In the seventh, with Preacher Roe now on for the Dodgers and two outs, Mantle gave reliever Bob Kuzava some breathing room with an RBI single. The Yankees won 4-2, making it four straight titles.
In the locker room, Don Wingfield, a highly regarded photographer for The Sporting News, grabbed an elevated position and snapped a photo of the young Mantle shaking hands with Gene Woodling, who had homered in the fifth to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and hit .348 in the series. That one-of-a-kind 8×10 image bears the Wingfield-Sporting News stamp on the back and is among the top items in RMY Auctions’ May catalog. Bidding is set to continue through Saturday night.
What was next for Mantle? A talk show tour? A trip to some sun-splashed resort? A series of Instagram posts chronicling it all?
Nope…at least that’s what he told writers inside that clubhouse in Brooklyn.
“I’ve had enough excitement for one season,” he told the United Press, “so I’m going right back to work in the lead and zinc mines of Oklahoma, where things are a little more quiet.”