By Don McLeese
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Additional resources for Jackie Robinson (Equal Rights Leaders)
Dad could truly be described in this way, but he called me “Mick,” an obvious reference to Yankee superstar Mickey Mantle. Only Dad ever called me Mick— and he only called me Mick while we were on the ball ﬁeld. ” The meeting on the pitcher’s mound included the manager, a coach, the pitcher and catcher, and each of the four inﬁelders. It was the last inning of a playoff game with the bases loaded, nobody out, and the team on the ﬁeld holding a 6–4 lead. The batter waiting to hit was my ten-year-old son, Michael.
The day was September 29, and the ﬁrst game of the 1954 World Series was the event. The matchup featured the pitching-rich Cleveland Indians, the winningest team in the modern era (111 wins in a 154-game season), and the New York Giants, led by their exciting young center ﬁelder Willie Mays. Because of their pitching and starstudded lineup, the Indians had been installed as prohibitive favorites. With a rotation of Bob Lemon, Early Wynn (eventual Hall of Famers), and Mike Garcia, the Indians featured one of the best starting staffs ever.
Doc, though, impressed me more. A real doctor, the only one I had ever seen outside of a medical ofﬁce, was the shortstop. That September I started college. Academic requirements, the need to have a job to pay school expenses, and the fact that City College’s baseball team practiced a long subway ride from the downtown location of my classes prevented baseball from ﬁtting into my life. Dad never really accepted my choosing academics over baseball, but he never said so. By the time I completed my formal education, I had two graduate degrees to go along with my college diploma.