A Very Vague Question about a NY Yankee

Does anyone know the story about the little boy about Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle? The one where the little boy approaches one of them, and they either act like a jerk to him or are nice?

I was trying to tell this story to my brother today, but all I could remember was the above. I know there’s a legendary story in which Mickey or Joe meets a young fan and is either nice to him or mean to him, but I can’t remember who it was or which way he went. Also, trying to google things like “little boy” and “Joe DiMaggio” or “Mickey Mantle” and “legend” have been, for obvious reasons, unsuccessful.

Can someone give me the straight dope on what I’m talking about?

Wow… just… wow.


That’s what I think about you, too, dick.

So… You want to know about Joe Dimaggio or Mickey Mantle, and if he was nice or not nice to a fan, at some point? Sorry for my initial reaction :rolleyes:


Moderator Warning

Insults of this kind are prohibited in GQ. Do not do this again.

Since this is about baseball, I am moving this The Game Room.

General Questions Moderator


While I am not issuing a formal warning, I note that this kind of response is not appreciated in GQ either. If you can’t contribute information, just ignore the thread.

General Questions Moderator

You’ll almost certainly have to provide some additional information. Your description is just too vague.

Well, this website has 148 anecdotes with “yankee” in them. Maybe one of them’s about a player who was or was not nice to a kid sometime.

This isn’t exactly a story, but Mickey Mantle was quoted saying, “God gave me everything and I blew it. For the kids out there, don’t be like me!”

He was referring to how he was a poor role model (because of his off-the-field behavior and drinking problems).

There is no one signature story about Mantle or Dimaggio’s dealings with kids seeking autographs. It’s quite possible that the OP has read or heard an interesting good/bad anecdote about how one of those men treated autograph seekers, but there is no one legend that’s widely told about either.
Certainly nothing as famous as the (not entirely bogus) legend of Babe Ruth hitting a home run for a dying boy in the hospital!
For what it’s worth, neither Mantle nor Dimaggio was an admirable person in private life. Each could be a real jerk, though in completely different ways. Dimaggio was a cold, mean, money-grubbing, paranoid, heartless prick without a true friend in the world- but he knew he was perceived as the embodiment of class, and went out of his way to maintain that image. He didn’t much like kids (and was a bastard to his own son, Joe Jr.), but often said he always had to be at his best, because “Some kid might be seeing me for the first time today.” He didn’t like signing autographs (except when paid hefty fees to sign merchandise), but usually did so graciously because he was so aware that his wholesome, perfect image required it.
Mantle projected a happy-go-lucky, good ol’ boy image, but was a major drinker with a mean streak. I never met him, but my older male relatives in New York (who’d grown up loving him) told me some horror stories about how he’d rebuff kids seeking autographs in gross, obscene terms, while keeping his patented country boy grin on his face.

Thanks; for some reason I was thinking there was a specific story about one of them that was a part of baseball lore (one that everyone would have known instinctively, without many more details). Apparently I was wrong. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

In case anyone reading this thread is unfamiliar with that story, here’s a brief summation of it.

Mantle’s last season was the year before I attended my first major-league baseball game at the old Cleveland Stadium, but my Aunt Karen (who attended several Indians contests over the years) related stories of Mickey telling kids who were hanging around the Yankees’ dugout that he wouldn’t be giving them autographs, and that they should “get the hell out of here”.

From Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? by Maury Allen:

“As DiMaggio jogged in after a game one day, a youngster ran onto the field and grabbed his cap. Joe retrieved it quickly. ‘It’s not the cap,’ Joe DiMaggio explained to writer Tom Meany. ‘It’s the kids sticking their fingers in your eyes, down your neck, on your forehead. Anything can happen when they do that.’ Like most players, he also saw the loss of a familiar, comfortable cap as a possible disturbance to his equilibrium and performance.”

Could that be it?

Mickey Mantle was a bit of a dick to me as a kid when I asked for his autograph, saying it was too late and he had a plane to catch. I’ll be saddened though if that was the incident that reached legendary status. :smiley:

For whatever it’s worth, I take more satisfaction from the fact that we had a conversation, however brief, that I probably could have from him signing some piece of paper.