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Mantle Gave It a Ride

May 23, 1963 - How high is up? A pair of Oklahomans, Major Gordon Cooper and slugger Mickey Mantle, can supply varying answers to the question. Cooper, America’s latest astronaut hero, zoomed around the earth 22 times at heights ranging from 100 to 166 miles above the earth’s surface. Mantle kept his feet firmly on the ground at Yankee Stadium, but he rocketed a baseball off the uppermost part of the right-field facade for a game-winning home run against the Kansas City Athletics last night. There is no telling how far it might have gone if it hadn’t hit the facade, 367 feet out and 108 feet, 1 inch up. In 1953 at Washington, Mantle, batting right-handed, hit the longest blow of his career: a towering fly 565 feet off Chuck Stobbs. Three years later, at the Stadium, Mantle blasted another off the right-field facade against Pedro Ramos. There were some awed remarks today from Mantle’s teammates and some of the Athletics. Said Manager Ralph Houk: “I wish it could have been cut into singles. We would have had enough hits for a week.” “That would take four of my best shots,” said Bobby Richardson, who specializes in double plays and doubles. Whitey Ford needled his roommate, saying, “I hit ‘em that hard, only they don’t go that far.” And from the Athletics: “He ought to have a league of his own,” said Norm Siebern, a former Yankee. “He’s too much for everybody else.” Kansas City manager Eddie Lopat, a long-time resident of the Yankee Stadium pitching mound, said it all: “I’m a pitcher. I know the sound. I just turned my back.”

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