On May 22, 1963 is was looking like another Yankees romp over the Kansas City Athletics as they led by the score of 7-0 going into the eight inning. The A’s put up six unanswered runs in the eight inning and another in the ninth to tie the game 7-7. The game remained tied going into the bottom of the 11th inning with Mickey Mantle coming up as the lead-off hitter.
It was clear that Mickey and the entire Yankee team were embarrassed that they let a seven run lead get away and now Mickey was hoping to end it with one swing of the bat. Mickey swung so hard at Bill Fischer’s first pitch, a slow curve, that he nearly fell to the ground. The A’s bench gave Mickey “the business” which infuriated The Mick. Can you imagine a super strong athlete like Mickey pumped up on adrenaline? Fischer then tried to sneak a fast ball by him and Mickey unleashed a perfect swing at just the precise moment, with his bat speed at its maximum point in the swing, the baseball struck the dead center of the sweet spot of his bat and took off like a bullet heading for the clouds over right field. The ball struck the facade 370′ from home plate and 118′ off the ground for game winning, walk-off home run. It came within inches of being the first fair ball ever hit out of Yankee Stadium.
Years later, Tony Kubek wrote, “I do remember a few things about the ’63 home run by Mickey. When a home run is hit, especially because of the sound they made off Mickey’s bat, one popped pretty quickly off their seat in the dugout. Many of his home runs had an unusually loud crack. I guess that goes along with the distance he hit them. In my mind’s-eye view, I do not recollect it bouncing all the way back to second base. I can picture it landing on the outfield grass in right field about halfway from the low outfield fence and the dirt portion of the infield. It rolled, by my estimate, another 15 yards and stopped before it reached the outer edge of the infield. The thing that I recall most was that the ball appeared to be still rising on impact. Now – and memories play tricks – but I do know this, the ball was NOT coming down when it hit the tower. This was not a fly ball! This was a high line drive like no one else could hit ’em.”