According to Tom, Dr. Yancey said he could do it all right, did it all the time. But, he said, Mickey would probably feel better having it done at Johns Hopkins or somewhere back East.
"Now," said Tom, "bear in mind that this was the boy who wasn't going to let anybody operate on him. Doc Yancey had handled him just right. Mickey stood up and said, 'Either you do the operation or nobody does!'"
Dr. Yancey did it.
I went to St. Louis and called on Bill DeWitt. Bill, formerly assistant general manager of the Yankees, is now administrator of the newly created minor league fund.
"I'll tell you something about Mickey," said DeWitt. "Last spring before I signed Mickey to his 1956 Yankee contract, I went to see him in the hospital. He had just had his tonsils out. We got talking and Mickey opened up with me. He said, 'Look, I was glad to see Yogi [Berra] get the Most Valuable Player award. There's no better guy in the world than Yogi. But I'm just wondering. What's a guy have to do to be considered most valuable?'"
Bill said that was the opening he wanted.
"Well, Mickey [said Bill], I'm glad you asked me. Maybe, when the baseball writers are deciding who's been most valuable, they take other things into account. Maybe a ballplayer has to do more than have a good season on the field. Maybe he has to win a little personal popularity. Maybe he has to put out a little effort. Maybe he can't brush off every newspaperman who approaches him or just clam up on him. Maybe he must make a real effort to be a little cooperative."
Bill said Mickey took all that in. Then Bill went on:
"Mickey, I think you're going to be the greatest star there ever was, you're going to break every record in the books, but you've got to realize that a star has some obligations, too. If you make an effort and keep out of jams, there'll be no stopping you. But you've got to do your part. You've got to come out of that shell."
Now a year later, Bill had just seen Mickey at the baseball writers' dinner in Chicago.