This Week's Trivia Answer

Friday, February 19, 2010

On Tuesday I asked, When was the first and only time the Yankees had spring training on the West Coast?


And everyone who voted got the answer right. It was 1951. I guess my hint made it really easy, but it's good to know that nobody thinks Mickey Mantle's rookie season was 1976.

In 1951 the Yankees held spring training in Phoenix, AZ for the first time because co-owner Del Webb was from Phoenix and wanted the team to hold spring training in his hometown. He was able to do this by agreeing with New York Giants owner to switch locations for the 51 preseason.

The Yankees competed in the Cactus League that year, and manager Casey Stengel brought in a lot of minor leaguers into camp becasue the team had been aging. A young shortstop by the name of Mickey Mantle, who was not expected to make the team, caught the eye of Stengel. The 19-year-0ld displayed power from both sides of the plate (which was not common then) and incredible speed. Mantle made 55 errors in the minors the season before, and had trouble with balls right at him. So Stengel moved him to the outfield, and eventually, he would become Joe DiMaggio's successor.

Nonetheless, the only time the Yankees opened spring out west was pretty eventful. For more on the Spring of '51 and the start of Mantle's career, I got my information from:


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