Issue Date: July 15, 2006
City: Bronx, NY
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Printing method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾
Batting – hitting a small, fast ball with a thin round stick – is a marvel of eye-body coordination. In the split second that it takes for a 95-mph ball to reach home plate, a batter must determine where the ball is and predict where it will be when it reaches home plate. Then, he must swing the bat so that it connects with the ball precisely when the ball reaches the plate.
Most players only get a hit 25 percent of the time, giving them a batting average of .250. The ball players honored on the “Baseball Sluggers” stamps all have higher batting averages than that: Roy Campanella – .276; Hank Greenberg – .313; Mel Ott – .304; and Mickey Mantle – .298.
Mantle (1931-95) hit 536 home runs and averaged 83 runs batted-in per year over the course of his career. His father named him in honor of baseball great Mickey Cochrane and taught him to hit right- and left-handed.
As a teenager in Oklahoma, Mantle developed great strength from summers working in the lead mines and doing farm chores. That strength enabled him to hit long home runs. In 1960, he hit a ball against the Detroit Tigers that was estimated to have gone 643 feet.
Mantle played 18 years for the New York Yankees. He was in 16 All-Star games and seven World Series.