Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Baseball Birthday...Mickey Stanley

Today we celebrate the 71st Happy Baseball Birthday! of former Detroit Tigers Gold Glove outfielder Mickey Stanley.

Tigers manager Mayo Smith had a decision to make going into the 1968 World Series against the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Future Hall of Fame right fielder Al Kaline had waited 16 years to play in a World Series, and the Tigers had three other terrific out fielders, in Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, and Stanley.

Kaline had been hurt much if the 1968 season, but "Mr. Tiger"  was going to play, he had to be there, so the question was how to get the other three in the everyday lineup.

The final answer was one that took guts from Mayo Smith.

If it worked, its a genius move, if not, criticism from Tigers fans and baseball people everywhere.

To this day Mayo Smith is considered a genius by all Tigers fans.

Mitchell Jack Stanley  did what his manager asked, and moved from his Gold Glove center field spot to bevome a starting shortstop in the World Series. 

In seven games as the Tigers shortstop,  Stanley made just two errors.

The Cardinals scored no runs off those two errors.

Al Kaline hit .379 in the series, and had the game winning hit in Game 5, with the  Tigers down in the game, facing elimination from the World Series.

A four time Gold Glove winner, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stanley made his debut for the Tigers on September 13th, 1964, at age 22.

Mickey played 15 years for the Tigers, and no ball player was better in center field than #24 for Detroit in the late 1960s and early '70s.

A lifetime .248 hitter, Stanley collected 1,243 base hits, 117 off them home runs, in 5,477 plate appearances in 1,516 games, all wearing the old English Detroit "D."

Happy Baseball Birthday! Mickey Stanley!

Play Ball!

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