Updated: Mar 9, 2022
October 10, 1964 - Game #3 / St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees
It is 1964 for Mickey who was playing in his last ever World Series. October 10, 1964 was the day of Game 3 and with the Series tied at one game a piece the Championship was still up for grab. It was a pivotal game for both teams. The Yankees took an early lead into the 5th inning. Tensions were high and with a quality Cardinals pitching staff led by Bob Gibson, runs were not going to be easy to manufacture. Mantle was having an MVP-type Series with great hitting and offensive support for his team. Yet the greatness of Mantle would be tested in the 5th inning of Game 3. Mantle had been moved over to right because it was getting painfully hard for him to run and so they moved Roger Maris over to Center and put Mickey in Right. Then it happened. A ball hit to Mantle who later admitted nonchalantly going after it and the ball slipped through his legs. This error was a costly one as it allowed a runner to score and the Cardinals to even up the tally at one-a-piece! You can only imagine how Mickey felt at that moment. (As I'm writing this it takes me back to another player whose error cost the Red Sox Game 6 against the Mets when Bill Buckner lost control of a slow roller up the first base line and through Buckner's legs. You know how that turned out?!) The weight of the error was weighing on Mantle in this nail-biter. The Yankee Fans were anxious for a moment to cheer. However, the score remained 1-1 by end going into the Yankees bottom of the 9th. And almost as if scripted by a Hollywood screen writer the stage was set with Mantle leading off in the bottom of the 9th. It was reported later, as Mantle passed Elston Howard who was already in the On Deck Circle told Ellie that he could go back to the dugout because he was going to end the game and send everyone home happy....ok maybe not verbatim but that's the gist of Mickey's remarks. And as only true legends can, like Ruth in his "Called Shot" in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs pointed to the center field stands and hit a mammoth homer right to where Ruth said in a pointing gesture would go. And as Mick stepped to the plate and his teammates looking on Barney Schultz threw a knuckle ball with no knuckle on it and Mantle sent it skyward like a missile clearing the stands and sending the happiest Yankees Fans home knowing their hero had brought them another World Series game win! Mantle with his blast had become only the 5th player in World Series history to hit a walk off home run in a World Series game. It was also the home run that broke Babe Ruth's World Series Home Run Record putting Mantle one ahead of the Sultan of Swat at 16 dingers. And although the Yankees would wind up losing the Series to the Cardinals, Mickey would go on to him 2 more home runs and finish his legendary career with 18. Mickey would finish the series with a .333 batting average, 3 home runs and 8 RBIs in the 7 games. One of the finest World Series most any player could ever have! However, Mick was not just ANY player!
A card that never was created by Kevin Stiffler for illustration purposes
Mickey Mantle's Historic Walk Off Home Run in Game 3 of the 1964 World Series - St. Louis Cardinals vs the New York Yankees