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Al Rosen booted a ball at third base, allowing the National League to tie the score at 5--5. Frank stayed in the game and kept it that way. By the bottom of the 12th, when no further progress had been made, everyone was getting thirsty. "Do something," AL catcher Yogi Berra implored leadoff hitter Stan Musial, who hit Sully's first pitch for a game-winning home run. "I was only following Mantle's advice," Frank said, but the memory still rankles.
Mantle, who regarded the All-Star Game as an interruption in a weekendlong cocktail party, had played all three hours and 17 minutes. He exacted his revenge on Sully when the Yankees returned to Fenway on Aug. 16. There was a moment of silence for Babe Ruth—it was the seventh anniversary of his death—and then, in the top of the third, a crash: Mantle's 30th home run of the year, his fourth in three days, an opposite-field shot that sailed over the 379-foot mark in left center and hit a building across the street. Frank lasted 22/3 innings.
But Mantle wasn't done with him. One day, Sully isn't sure exactly when, he returned to the Hotel Kenmore, where he lived during the season, to find his VW Beetle sitting on the sidewalk, wedged tightly between a telephone pole and a brick wall. "I had to call a tow truck," he says, "to pick the front end of it up and drag the damn thing far enough so I could get in."
When Sully got to the ballpark the next day, Vince Orlando, the clubhouse man who worked the visitors' locker room, told him he had overheard Mantle laughing about it with his pal Bill (Moose) Skowron.
If Mantle's accomplishments during the 1955 season (.306, 99 RBIs and a league-leading 37 home runs) were a prelude to what would be the greatest year of his professional life, the World Series that fall was a reminder of how hard it would be for him to sustain good health and good fortune. In mid-September he tore his right hamstring trying to beat out a bunt. No one knew enough sports physiology back then to understand that a hamstring was subjected to abnormal stress—sometimes more than it could bear—when it had to compensate for a compromised knee. Mantle could play in only three of the seven World Series games against the Dodgers, managing two hits in 10 at bats, and is sometimes credited with delivering a belated world championship to Brooklyn.
By September 1956, Mantle was on the cusp of complete redemption, vying with Ted Williams for the batting title and making a serious run at baseball's elusive Triple Crown. When the Yankees arrived in Boston on Sept. 21 he was batting .350, five points behind Williams, who did not yet have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. All the talk going into the series was about whether the Yankees would pitch to Williams.
The Yankees left 20 men on base that day and, thanks to a solo shot by Mantle in the second inning, set an AL record for most home runs by a club in a major league season (183). Again, Sully was the victim. "Damn near broke the back wall at Fenway," Frank says. "Hit the last brick on top of the wall in dead centerfield. I thought it was going to wipe out the Citgo sign."
It was Mantle's 51st home run of the season. He went 3 for 5, raising his average to .352, four points behind Williams. The sports pages began referring to Sully as Mantle's "favorite cousin."
By the end of the weekend Mantle was batting .356, six points ahead of Boston's favorite brooder. (And he would go on to win his Triple Crown, hitting .353 with 52 homers and 130 RBIs.)
Sully and Mickey would soon show up in the same locker room, but only in an artist's imagination. After Sunday's game Tom Dowd, the Red Sox' traveling secretary, arrived in the losers' clubhouse with orders for Sullivan, catcher Sammy White and rightfielder Jackie Jensen: They were to report to a studio in Stockbridge, Mass., the next day. They weren't given a choice, and it didn't occur to them that they had one. Williams, whose presence had also been requested, was not about to drive clear across the state to pose for anybody on his day off, in the middle of a race for the batting title, but he agreed to allow the artist, a guy named Norman Rockwell, to use his likeness.