So, I can only imagine the impact of Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. I doubt any other two men in baseball ever hit the ball consistently as hard and far. And I can make the argument that neither was the best player on his team. Lou Gehrig is a top five player and was regarded as better by many Yankees writers of the time.
More from Yanks Go Yard
- Yankees top prospects butt heads after Giants’ gritty win over Commanders
- CC Sabathia defends Yankees’ massive Aaron Judge contract
- Scott Boras closed Yankees-Carlos Rodón deal from Fenway Park, put cherry on top
- Orioles are bailing out Yankees and AL East by botching free agency
- 4 blockbuster trade targets that could be Yankees next ‘big’ move
Mickey has competition on his Fifties teams, as well. Yogi won three MVP’s in the 50’s, to Mickey’s two. And Yogi played catcher, which is the hardest and most important position. Then, of course, there is Mays. When you talk about five tools, Mays exemplified every one of them. There is not another player in history who played both sides of the ball better.
But Mickey Mantle was a greater player. He didn’t just hit home runs; he sent Zeusian lightning bolts and audacious thunderclaps straight into the imaginations and souls of baseball fans everywhere. It’s why they revere him, why those who saw him play will always think him more than a man. He didn’t just inspire his Yankees teammates and lift up his team with his 500-feet home runs. No, he inspired the fans and lifted them up by their souls.
Headley and the Yankees know that the season is long and can swallow a player’s focus. That’s what make baseball so hard.
I don’t know what Aaron Judge will be yet nor what kind of career he will have. I won’t know that until he has had a career to review. There is no part of this that in any way suggests he will have a career like the Mick’s. I am not even claiming he will have a career beyond tomorrow. No, this is about his reminding us of the greatness of the game and the men who played it bigger than any others.
And it’s about the greatness inside each of us, and how big we can be. Now, throw a thunderbolt at heaven.