At the end of the 1956 season, manager Casey Stengel yukked it up with Mickey Mantle after the Yankees' star won the Triple Crown. On May 30, 1956, Mantle hit a homer that almost left Yankee Stadium. Bob Gilman / Getty Images

May 30 in sports history: Mantle's monster of a mash

Here's a look back at notable sports news on May 30 through the years:


1956: Mickey Mantle hit his share of prodigious blasts. But the one he hit on this day 64 years ago was out of this world — and almost out of Yankee Stadium.

In the opener of a Memorial Day doubleheader, Mantle crushed a 1-0 pitch from Washington Senators righty Pedro Ramos that nearly left The House that Ruth Built. The ball hit the Stadium's right-field facade, about 18 inches from leaving the ballpark.

A check of the Stadium's blueprint indicated that the ball hit a point 370 feet away and 117 feet above the ground, according to The New York Times. Had the ball not hit the facade, it was estimated that it would have traveled 620 feet.

"It was the best I ever hit a ball left-handed," said Mantle, who would go on the win the Triple Crown that season by hitting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBI.

Mantle and Ramos entered the game with some history. In the series before the Senators came to the Bronx, Ramos had hit the Mick with a pitch to retaliate for one of his teammates getting knocked down with an inside delivery.

"Sure enough, Pedro hit me with his first pitch," Mantle said. "It didn't make me mad — he didn't try to hit me in the head or anything, you know, just in the butt — but after the game he came up to me and said, 'Meekie, I'm sorry I have to do that.'

"I said, 'That's OK. But the next time you do it, I'm gonna drag a bunt toward first base and run right up your back.' He said, 'You would really do that?'

"The funny thing about it was," Mantle continued, "that the next time up was the time I almost hit one out of Yankee Stadium. It hit the facade. After the game he came up to me and said, 'I'd rather have you run up my back than to hit one over the roof.' "

On this date in 1962, Ramos had his day in the sun. Pitching for the Indians, he tossed a three-hitter and hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in a 7-0 victory over the Orioles.

FOND FAREWELLS

1935: Babe Ruth made his last major league appearance, playing one inning for the Boston Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Five days earlier, the Bambino hit three runs in a game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. But in his final big league at-bat, the Sultan of Swat hit a grounder to first base off right-hander Jim Bivin.

Those expecting the Babe to go out with a bang likely were disappointed. After the final out of the first inning, Ruth apparently walked out to center field, left the Baker Bowl and never suited up for another game.

Three days later, the Braves gave Ruth — who was 40 at the time — his unconditional release, and he announced his retirement.

In 1936, Ruth -- shown above in rare footage from 1935 -- was part of baseball's first Hall of Fame class along with Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. 

1967: Nine days after throwing his last pitch for the Yankees, Edward Charles Ford — aka Whitey — announced his retirement at the age of 38.

"This is a much tougher job than I ever thought it would be," said Ford, who fought back tears while speaking to a crowd of more than 41,000 at Yankee Stadium. "But I have no complaints. "I came in wearing a $50 suit and I'm going out wearing a $200 suit, so that's pretty good."

In his 16-year career with the Yankees, the southpaw went 236-106, for a .690 winning percentage, which is the highest of any pitcher with more than 200 victories post-1900. The 1961 AL Cy Young Award winner, who helped the Bombers capture 11 pennants, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.

BONUS BASEBALL

1977: Cleveland's Dennis Eckersley pitched a 1-0 no-hitter against the California Angels. It was the only career no-no for Eckersley, a six-time All-Star who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004 after winning the AL MVP and Cy Young Awards as the Oakland A's closer in 1992.

1982: Baltimore's Cal Ripken Jr. began his record consecutive-games streak by starting at third base and going 0-for-2 with a walk against the Blue Jays. Ripken's streak, which ended at an incredible 2,632 games and spanned more than 13 years, shattered Lou Gehrig's mark of 2,130.

1986: In his MLB debut, center fielder Barry Bonds went 0-for-5 — with three strikeouts and a walk — as the Pirates lost to the Dodgers 6-4 in 11 innings in Pittsburgh.

RACING STRIPES

1961: A.J. Foyt won the Indianapolis 500 for the first time. Foyt would win at the Brickyard three more times (1964, 1967 and 1977), becoming the first driver to do so. Al Unser and Rick Mears are the only other four-time Indy 500 winners.

1969: Mario Andretti won the Indianapolis 500 for the only time in his career. "This is the greatest," Andretti told The New York Times. "I don't know why, but you strive for it, I guess that's it."

Ten days earlier, Andretti wrecked in practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite suffering burns above his upper lip, the lower part of his nose and across both cheeks, Andretti guided his STP Hawk-Ford to victory.

"It's itchy now," Andretti said, referring to his burns, "but I had cream on it during the race."

ANOTHER WINNER

1985: The Oilers won their second straight Stanley Cup by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, 8-3, in Game 5 at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton.

The Oilers' Jari Kurri tied a Stanley Cup Playoff record with 19 goals, matching Reggie Leach's total with the Flyers in 1976. Wayne Gretzky finished with a Stanley Cup playoff-record 47 points. 

"We've been in three Stanley Cups in a row now, and I said last year that it was going to take a helluva team to take this beautiful trophy away from us," Gretzky, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy, told the Edmonton Journal.

Happy birthday...

  • Five-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler Gale Sayers, whose seven-year career with the Bears was cut short by injuries. In 1977, at age 34, Sayers became the youngest player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  (77)
  • P.J. Carlesimo, Seton Hall's "Coach of the Century" who led the Pirates to the 1989 national title game, which they lost to Michigan. As coach of the Warriors, he was choked at practice by Latrell Sprewell, who was eventually released by Golden State and suspended by the NBA for a year. (71)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who guided the Florida Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2007.  (55)
  • Twelve-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger and 2002 AL batting champion Manny Ramirez, who was the MVP of the 2004 Fall Classic, leading the Red Sox to their first world championship in 86 years. (48)

R.I.P.

1975: Runner Steve Prefontaine, who held every American distance record beyond 2,000 meters and finished fourth in the 5,000 at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Two movies about his life and career were released in the 1990s. He died in a car accident. He was 24.

2012: Basketball Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, who scored 59 points in a game in 1960. Twyman is best known for assisting his Cincinnati Royals teammate Maurice Stokes, who suffered a serious head injury during a game in 1958 and later a seizure that left him permanently paralyzed. He was 78.

2016: Rick MacLeish, one of the Flyers' "Broad Street Bullies" who helped Philadelphia win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974-75. He was battling meningitis and liver and kidney failure when he died. He was 66.


May 29: 'Goober stupid'? Nah. She was fabulous

A deputy editor for Yardbarker since February 2019, Stan Chrapowicki also has written for the New York Daily News, New York Post and saturdaydownsouth.com. Too young to witness Super Bowl III, he hopes to see the Jets win the Vince Lombardi Trophy before it’s too late.



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