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Merlyn was forthright about Mickey's infidelity in A Hero All His Life: "He was married in a very small geographic area of his mind." Merlyn had come to understand that her husband regarded marriage as "a party with added attractions."
Mantle knew New York's demimonde as well as its café society. His roommate, Noren, introduced him to a celebrity essential: the fixer. Julius (Big Julie) Isaacson, the president of the International Union of Doll, Toy and Novelty Workers, was also a would-be pitcher who threw with such velocity that he could knock down a wall—but only if he didn't aim at it. He was 6'3" and weighed a couple of hundred pounds. A boxer, he later managed Ernie Terrell when Terrell became heavyweight champion. Big Julie was a good friend to have when you were falsely accused of getting someone pregnant. "Mickey had a problem," said Isaacson. "A girl was trying to shake him down. It wasn't his. We had the girl come over to the Edison. We met her there. Took her to the East River and told her she had two choices: Leave Mickey alone, or this."
Weiss was not the only high-level official who took an interest in Mantle's off-field activities. Mantle was one of millions of Americans on whom FBI director J. Edgar Hoover kept tabs. He never was the subject of an FBI investigation, but when his name surfaced in other probes, Hoover kept the notes. In 1969 John Ehrlichman, counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, requested a background check on Mantle and a group of other baseball personalities. The FBI responded, "Our files reveal that information received in June, 1956 indicated that Mickey Mantle was 'blackmailed' for $15,000 after being found in a compromising situation with a married woman. Mr. Mantle subsequently denied ever having been caught in a compromising situation. Mr. Mantle readily admitted that he had 'shacked up' with many girls in New York City, but stated that he has never been caught.
"A confidential source, who has furnished reliable information in the past, advised in June, 1957, that a very prominent Washington, D.C. area gambler and bookmaker arranged dates for members of the New York Yankees baseball club at a Washington, D.C. house of prostitution. Allegedly, Mr. Mantle was one of the members of the team who was entertained at this house of prostitution."
Merlyn said that she had no knowledge of her husband's FBI file, but she had no doubt who was leading him astray. "Why can't you get Whitey Ford to room with Billy on the road?" she asked Noren one day.
He told her, "Merlyn, he won't do it."
On June 24, 1957, the Copa Six were summoned to appear before a grand jury at the Criminal Courts Building in lower Manhattan. The Manhattan district attorney had declined to prosecute Bauer, so Edwin Jones pursued his only remaining legal remedy: a citizen's arrest on a charge of felonious assault. He demanded $250,000 in damages. Bauer exercised his right to have the case presented to a jury, which his lawyer no doubt hoped would be stacked with Yankees-loving peers.
Mantle was the last of five players to testify. He took the stand with a mouth full of bubble gum. Admonished about his lack of decorum, Mantle obligingly removed the offending wad and stuck it to the bottom of his chair. "I was so drunk I didn't know who threw the first punch," Mantle testified. "A body came flying out and landed at my feet. At first I thought it was Billy, so I picked him up. But when I saw it wasn't, I dropped him back down. It looked like Roy Rogers rode through the Copa on Trigger and Trigger kicked the guy in the face."
The grand jurors were still laughing when they handed down their decision.
BAUER IS CLEARED IN ASSAULT CASE; GRAND JURY REFUSES TO INDICT YANKEE PLAYER