April 17, 1951, seventy years ago today, at Yankee Stadium, Mickey Mantle made his major league debut. It would also be Joe DiMaggio’s last opening day game. Since spring training DiMaggio has been hinting 1951 would be his last season. The Yankees, opening day opponent was the Boston Red Sox lead by Ted Williams.
Before the game: Joe, Mickey, and Ted were put together for a photograph by the photographers. As Joe and Ted greeted each other, Mantle shifted awkwardly, as Joe forgot to introduce him to Williams. It was Williams who stuck his hand. “You must be Mick,” he said. Does he belong in the same picture with such super-stars as DiMaggio and Williams? The next 153 games will go a long way toward deciding that question. Arthur Daley April 18, 1951.
Mickey Mantle’s first MLB game boxscore line in his first game, 4AB, 1R, 1H 1RBI.