Hey, Billy Crystal! It Would Be "MAHVELOUS" If You Could Take Me Out to the Ballgame! (Dedicated to Mickey Mantle)

Wow, Billy Crystal's going to play for the Yankees! Just one day and it's an exhibition game, but still, wow! Must be nice to be famous enough to be able to play ball at Yankee Stadium. I'm so jealous I'm kavetching! You see, Billy Crystal and I have at least one thing in common. We are both huge Yankees fans. Yup, we both bleed Yankee blue.

I've been a Yankee fan as long as I can remember. I was a tomboy and I loved baseball. Not softball, that's for girls - baseball! Besides my hands were too small to really get a good enough grip on a softball to throw it properly and what's with that weird underhanded pitch softballers use? Eeuuww! Nah uh, no sirree, it's baseball or nothin' for me!

My favorite Yankee was Mickey Mantle. I just loved "The Mick". He was my hero. I even went so far as to actually collect a few baseball cards if Mickey was on them. I left the minor leaguers to Butthead (my dippy brother) - I only dealt in Mickey! I had quite a collection of cards after a while and I had the pleasure of free chewing gum with each packet.

I traded off any card with a player whose initials weren't M.M. Needless to say I had a lot of duplicates and inevitably my brother would try to coerce me into giving him a Mickey for some other player. "You've got five of those! You don't need five!" he'd holler at me as he poked me in the arm. I was littler than my brother so I didn't poke him back but he never got one of my Mickey Mantle baseball cards! What a butt he was (hence the name Butthead)!

Of course, he had the last laugh on me. He saved all his cards and when he grew out of baseball card collecting my mother packed them away in a shoe box for him. I grew up and got interested in boys (that were not as unattainable as major league baseball players) and my cards disappeared along with my stuffed Lambie, and a headless doll. (I suspect my mother decided my interest in baseball wasn't healthy for a girl and tucked my sacred Mickey cards into my brother's shoe box where she thought they really belonged, but I can't prove it.)

Decades later Mom gave Butthead his box of cards which, by then, had become quite valuable. I'm sure he sold them off and bought something stupid, like a car or something. I wonder how much my Mickey's brought him? Oh, well there's no crying in baseball, according to Tom Hanks.

Some years later, when I had grown up and forgotten all about my Mickey Mantle obsession I was flying to Hawaii and who should they usher into first class? MICKEY MANTLE!!!! That's right, I got to fly to paradise along with Mickey and I even got up the nerve to ask him for an autograph. Do you know what he did? He pulled a baseball out of his briefcase and signed that for me - not a napkin, not an ordinary piece of paper, a BASEBALL signed by MICKEY MANTLE! What a guy! What a sport! And he was still great looking and still had that sweet smile.

I guess the Gods of Baseball sent me an air born miracle for all my years of devotion and that's what I prefer to believe! P.S. I still have that ball and it's enshrined in a glass case in a safe place where smelly little boys (like Butthead) can't get their hands on it!

You can view larger images of "Mickey Mantle Pops It!" and enjoy some trivia on "The Mick" on my Tributes Page at PopArtDiva.com. Post images Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.