Monday, October 31, 2011

Sandy Koufax vs Mickey Mantle: No Comparison

Jane Leavy who authored books on Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax had some interesting comments on both icons. Leavy grew up as a New York Yankee fan and Mantle was her hero. She first met Mantle in 1983 while working for the Washington Post. Mickey had showed up late for the interview with blood shot eyes and the smell  of alcohol on his breath. Mickey put out his hand and said "Hi, I am Mick". Jane responded "I am nervous". Mickey smiled and said "Why are you nervous? You afraid I am going to pull on your titties?" Mickey ended the interview by passing out face first in Leavy's lap while trying to feel her up. Mickey being Mickey.

When Leavy met Koufax she told him that growing up she always hated him because he made Mickey look so bad in the 1963 World Series. John Roseboro said that Mickey was so overmatched by Koufax in that series that Mantle would yell back to Roseboro, "How the (expletive) do you hit this (expletive)!?"

Koufax who is intensely private did not want a book written about him but he decided that if book was going to be written about him anyway he might as well make sure it was accurate. He never gave Leavy an on the record interview but he was available to verify stories told to Leavy by people who knew Koufax.

Koufax has always been bothered by the perception of his private nature. People have assumed he is private because he is trying to hide something. This perception grates at Koufax. Leavy does a great job in the book of explaining his private nature and the real reason behind it. Leavy said that Koufax ruined all men for her. He is a true mench she would write and it turns out she was cheering for the wrong guy growing up.

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