A role model

Ten years ago today, I was weeks away from moving off to college. It was a fun summer, but I remember August 13, 1995 pretty clearly.

It was a Sunday, and I really didn’t have anything planned that day- but early in the morning, I could tell something was up- my father didn’t seem to be himself. Mickey Mantle, my father’s favorite ball player, who he said was the best he’d ever seen, had died.

I had never seen Mantle play. Way too young for that. I grew up watching Mattingly and Winfield, and more recently (for ’95), Paul O’Neill and Mike Stanley. But I knew the way my father talked about him that Mickey was special.

We knew he was sick. The video interview with him in a Yankee jersey that looked to be too big for him, saying “I”m a role model kids, don’t be like me” must have been hard to take for a lot of people who grew up idolizing the man. Thing is, no one talks about ballplayers the way people talked about The Mick.

I never got to watch you play, but thank you Mickey.

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