091968tOn September 19, the Yankees were in Detroit playing the first place Tigers in the third game of a three game series. The Tigers had won the first two games which clinched first place in the American League for them.

Denny McLain was the starting pitcher for the Tigers and he entered the game with an astounding 30-5 record. In the top of the eighth inning, McLain had a commanding 6-1 lead over the Yankees on his way to his 31st victory. With one out in the inning, Mickey Mantle stepped up to the plate while the crowd of 9,063 gave him a standing ovation. The crowd knew that Mantle would probably retire after the season so it was most likely his last at bat in Tiger Stadium. What followed next was something unprecedented in major league baseball history.

McLain called Tiger catcher, Jim Price, halfway to the mound and told him to tell Mickey that he wasn’t going to “work” on him. He added that Mickey had always been his hero and since this would be his last at bat, he wanted to see if Mickey could “hit one”. Price returned to the plate and conveyed the message to Mickey. Not sure he could believe Price, Mickey took the first pitch, right down the middle of the plate, for a strike. Price assured Mickey that the same pitch was coming again. Mickey fouled the next pitch off for strike two.

McLain shrugged his shoulders in puzzlement and asked Mickey where he wanted the next pitch. Mickey pointed to knee high. McLain delivered the next pitch exactly where Mickey requested it and Mickey parked it into the upper deck in right field. As he rounded the bases, Denny tipped his hat to Mickey. The fans gave Mickey another standing ovation and all of the players in the Tigers dugout also stood up and applauded The Mick!


Tiger third baseman, Don Wert, watches as Mickey rounds third after hitting his 535th career home run off Denny McLain in the eighth inning. The home run put Mantle in sole possession of third place, passing Jimmie Foxx, in the all time home run list.

1968 Topps Card

1968 Topps Card