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Mickey Mantle: Kansas City Royal

Dec 19, 2011, 11:34 AM EDT

Mickey Mantle AP

In the New York Times Dave Anderson speculated where big names in baseball history, from Ty Cobb on through the big stars of the 60s, would have gone if they had free agency. For each player it reads like this basically:

Mickey Mantle, the Yankees’ country kid out of Commerce, Okla., who was never completely comfortable in New York, was never happier than when the Kansas City Royals made him an offer he couldn’t refuse

Most of them tend to go for hometown teams, but there are some interesting ones.  I like that he has Frank Robinson going to the Angels. Frank Robinson did actually go to the Angels, so whatever.

Fun stuff on a slow day.

  1. thefalcon123 - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Mickey Mantle retired in 1968.
    The Kansas City Royals became a team in 1969.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      Given that the whole piece is about anachronism — “what if these guys played in the era of free agency?” — I don’t see your point.

      Anderson also has Satchel Paige signing with the Royals, who didn’t exist until he was 62. Or thereabouts. I would guess that he is aware of the discrepancy.

    • sdelmonte - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Ah, but there were the Kansas City A’s.

      Also known as the major league farm team of the New York Yankees.

  2. hotkarlsandwich - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Read the article. They are all today’s teams. Example – Roberto Clemente – Miami Marlin

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      Why would I do that when I can read a brief summary of the article and then shit all over it while being willfully ignorant of the proper context? You’re acting like this isn’t a comment board of a website and I should make an effort to provide intelligent, thoughtful feedback on a posting. I mean, that’s just ridiculousness.

      • Mike Luna - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        This comment gets all of my thumbs up.

      • cur68 - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        falcon, I think sarcasm and irony hour has been opened with quite the flourish today. In keeping with your theme I demand that this article be withdrawn. It offends Canadians: gotta write it in English & French, y’see.

      • SmackSaw - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        Best. Post. Ever.

  3. 78mu - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Did Anderson get paid for that? If so he should laugh all the way to the bank.

    How many players today go their home teams when they hit free agency? How many of them say they’ve always wanted to play in their dear old hometown even though other teams offered them millions more? I doubt the players of yesterday cared less about money than the players today.

    I wonder why Anderson didn’t write that Pujols would have signed with his hometown Royals?

    • Richard In Big D - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM

      See Wilson, CJ. It happens.

  4. sdelmonte - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I think that if there’d been a bidding war on Hank Greenberg in his day, the New York teams, always eager to have a couple of Jewish players to draw in a few more fans, would have tripped over themselves to bring him home.

  5. yournuts - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Hamering Hank Greenberg could have broken Babe Ruth’s 60 Home Run Record if they would have pitch to him the last 2 week of the season. Imagine what he could have done if he played in the Polo Grounds?

    • 18thstreet - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      Hank Greenberg didn’t believe they pitched around him.

      • mkd - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        Hank Greenberg said he didn’t believe they pitched around him. Because Hank Greenberg is a class act.

  6. sgm405 - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Why didn’t he just provide a list of Hall of Famers and their hometowns?

    Anyone who ever met Bob Feller knows he wouldn’t never left Cleveland, especially for Boston. Back then, players actually took pride in their teams/cities…it was more of a game and less of a business.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      “Back then, players actually took pride in their teams/cities”

      Back them, players had no opportunity to go to a different city and were forced to negotiate with just one team, thus providing this illusion.

      • mkd - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:07 PM


      • sgm405 - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:21 PM

        Not really. Players had genuine distaste for opponents back then. Bob Feller hated the NY Yankees until the day he died. It wasn’t all buddy-buddy like it is today.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      I gave a thumbs up to the first sentence.

  7. 18thstreet - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    I just finished Jane Leavy’s book on Mantle. (Good lord, it was depressing.) There’s no way that Mantle’s going to a small town.

    I also think he would have accepted whatever extensions the team offered him.

    • 78mu - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      Mantle was just like the players today. He grew up a Cardinals fan like a lot of people when St. Louis was the furthest south and west team in baseball. But by the time a player hits free agency those bonds are far outweighed by the fact that it’s more a job than it is a game.

      My favorite part of Leavy’s book is when Mantle put his hand on her leg during an interview and then promptly fell asleep before doing anything. The book does nothing if not portray Mantle as a flawed human being that was really good at playing baseball.

  8. agelardi - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Free agency has pretty much proven that players usually couldn’t care less about playing for the team of their childhood home but rather the team that pays them the most money. And sometimes the secondary motive is to go from a perenial loser to a winning franchise.

    Nothing will convince me that most of yester-years players wouldn’t do the same.

  9. kpow55 - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Ty Cobb to the home town Braves, how original? Never would’ve happened.

    He could’ve went to the Yankees I guess and Babe Would’ve been the 2nd best player on the team.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      “and Babe Would’ve been the 2nd best player on the team”

      Errr….while it’s true that Cobb was better for those couple of years that Ruth was in Boston and, well…a pitcher, I can’t thin of any other time when Babe would have been second to anybody.

      Think of it this way, Cobb’s career high in OPS+ was an incredible 209. Babe Ruth had 9 seasons with a higher OPS+!!!

  10. Gonzo - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Are we to believe that the players back then would be so humble to take way less money to play for a city they enjoyed? I think not.

  11. Richard In Big D - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    The only reason a star free agent would abandon the team that brought him up to go to a big market team for 20% more money than the pile he’s being offered at home (which will support his family in a lavish lifestyle for 4 or 5 generations) is because his momma didn’t raise him right.

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