Monday, February 20, 2006

A bit of fact checking

As we all know, I tend to be a bit skpetical and this leads me to do some fact checking. In reading about US skelton team memeber Uhlaender, there were a number of quotes from her dad who played for the twins in the 60s. I can't find the exact quote in the AZ newspaper, but I recall him telling her not to be nervous - that he played in Yankee Stadium in his ML debut in front of 60,000 fans and his idol (Mantle) in CF.

Well, not quite. His debut was against the White Sox. Ken Berry was in CF. but to his credit, there were 27,000 fans there. and they were battling for first place (ended up winning) so I'm sure it was exciting.

As for Mantle and 60,000 fans at the toilet, well in 66 when he finally played in NY in July, Mantle was in CF (and only 17,000 fans showed up). so the nervousness in his "debut" was almost a full year after his first major league game. And the 60,000 fans, well that must have been in his imagination (or more likely in MIN when they were good). In fact he once played in the toilet in front of a mere 9,000 fans at the end of the 66 season.

And those were the only two seasons that his scenario could have happened because after 66 the Mick played first base for his last two seasons. Its funny how time makes certain memories a lot different than they actually were.


  1. Here's the quote: "My dad said, 'You're going to be nervous, but remember everyone there took the same steps you're taking'. He told me about his first time at Yankee Stadium with 60,000 people in the stands and Mickey Mantle playing center field. He said he walked to the plate telling himself, 'They went through the same thing I did. Now I've just got to go up there and do it.' I asked him, 'Do what?' He said, 'Hit the ball!' That's what I've been trying to do - hit the ball."

  2. Damn you are good Ear. So I was wrong about the part where it was his major league debut, but the part about there being 60,000 people in the stands in Mickey Mantle in CF was pure fiction.

    So his first time in Yankee Stadium (at least that he played) was July 26, 1966. So Mickey was in CF, but there were only 17,811 people in the stands. I guess considering he went 0-5 he might want to forget as much as he can about that day.

  3. Actually, the media seems split about whether she thought it was his ML debut. "Earlier this week Katie recalled how her dad helped her relax by relating the story of his first major league at-bat in Yankee Stadium with 60,000 fans looking on." (Google News is how I've been getting this.) Either she told different things to different reporters, or the reporters are just stupid. Probably both,

  4. She ended up finishing 6th. I'm tempted to make a mean joke about what she'll tell her kids, but she seems like a really nice person, so I won't. (I guess I did anyway though).

    Man -- tough year for Skeleton. The coach gets fired for sexual harassment, the world's top sledder Lund was kicked out for taking the baldness pill, and another teammate can't compete because she "was run over by a bobsled". Yikes

  5. Now this one has another quote saying he struck out swinging at a pitch 3 feet over his head. Since his credibility is already in question, sounds like this might be another fact checking situation for me.....

    You know if I had a child in the Olympics, I would let my child enjoy the moment and try not to become the fodder for quotes.

  6. Okay - so he is not a total liar:

    from retrosheet

    out; Debut game for Ted Uhlaender; TOVAR BATTED FOR
    GRANT; Tovar struck out; Versalles singled to shortstop;
    Valdespino grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
    White Sox 4, Twins 3.

    Of course no way to tell if it was swining or looking.

  7. Or three feet over his head.

  8. Just went back and read your earlier comment - I was pretty sure I had read that it was the debut as well (for some reason I even think it was a direct quote from HIM not from the daughter, but I'm not sure). thanks for that clarification. And thanks for letting me call you Ear instead of Earl.

  9. Speaking of Olympics and other sports, wasn't there an NFL player (running back?) on a bobsled team a few Olympicses ago? I can't figure out who.

  10. I thought there were a few of them. for some reason the names herschel walker and willie gault come to mind.

  11. I believe Walker was part of an olympic bobsled team a while ago (e.g. '94). It didn't work out all that well.

    Anyway, I seem to remember my dad telling me stories about walking to school in freezing snow up-hill both ways. I still can't find that hill.