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THE MANTLE OF THE BABE
Robert Creamer
June 18, 1956
Some old champions improve with age. Thus Swaps sets a new mile record at Hollywood Park and Archie Moore defends his title by scoring the 88th knockout of his career in London. But the overpowering onrush of youth is one of sport's inevitable and most exciting dramas, exemplified last week by a 21-year-old Floyd Patterson battering his way a step nearer the coveted heavyweight championship. And by the brawny young man at the right, Mickey Charles Mantle, who eyes the most famous baseball record of all: Ruth's magic 60
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June 18, 1956

The Mantle Of The Babe

Some old champions improve with age. Thus Swaps sets a new mile record at Hollywood Park and Archie Moore defends his title by scoring the 88th knockout of his career in London. But the overpowering onrush of youth is one of sport's inevitable and most exciting dramas, exemplified last week by a 21-year-old Floyd Patterson battering his way a step nearer the coveted heavyweight championship. And by the brawny young man at the right, Mickey Charles Mantle, who eyes the most famous baseball record of all: Ruth's magic 60

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A FITTING WALLOP

"The first Zachary offering was a fast one, which sailed over for a called strike. The next was high. The Babe took a vicious swing at the third pitched ball and the bat connected with a crash that was audible in all parts of the stand.... The boys in the bleachers indicated the route of the record homer. It dropped about half way to the top. Boys, No. 60 was some homer, a fitting wallop to top the Babe's record of 59 in 1921.

"While the crowd cheered and the Yankee players roared their greetings the Babe made his triumphant, almost regal tour of the paths. He jogged around slowly, touched each bag firmly and carefully, and when he imbedded his spikes in the rubber disk to record officially Homer 60, hats were tossed in the air, papers were torn up and tossed liberally and the spirit of celebration permeated the place.

"The Babe's stroll out to his position was the signal for a handkerchief salute in which all the bleacherites, to the last man, participated. Jovial Babe entered into the spirit and punctuated his kingly strides with a succession of snappy military salutes....

"The ball...was fast, low and inside. The Babe pulled away from the plate, then stepped into the ball and wham!...it was about 10 feet fair and curving rapidly to the right.

"The ball which became Homer 60 was caught by Joe Forner, of 1937 First Avenue, Manhattan."

Through the jargon of that anonymous writer seeps the unmistakable hallmark of high sporting drama. Whether Mickey himself will ever know a similar moment depends as much on his ability to emulate Ruth's poise and presence and competitive spark as it does on his bat, but his broad, broad back seems ready to receive the mantle of the Babe.

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