A memorable date in Yankees history

As we get ready for the Yankees and Rangers to get going here at Yankee Stadium, it’s worth mentioning that there are two very cool Yankees footnotes that have transpired on April 17s in years past:

April 17, 1951: Bob Sheppard works his first game as Yankee Stadium public address announcer and Mickey Mantle makes his Major League debut, going 1-for-4 with a 6th-inning single off Bill Wight in a 6-1 win vs. Boston.

Sheppard went on to work 121 consecutive postseason contests, including 62 games in 22 World Series from 1951-2006. He was also the public address voice for the New York football Giants for 50 seasons, from their move to the original Yankee Stadium in 1956 through the 2005 season.

Sheppard worked his final Yankees home game on Sept. 5, 2007 vs. Seattle before being sidelined by illness. (Click here to see a YouTube video from the upper deck of the pre-game introductions.)

April 17, 1953: Mickey Mantle clears the left-field wall at Washington’s Griffith Stadium with a 565-foot home run off Chuck Stobbs in the fifth inning of a 7-3 Yankees win. Yankees PR director Red Patterson retrieves the ball and announces that he measured off the distance, giving birth to the phrase “tape-measure home run.”

If you check out Jane Leavy’s book on Mantle, ‘The Last Boy,’ she delves deeply into the myth of the Griffith Stadium homer, including tracking down the young boy who actually retrieved the ball. (For much more on Mantle’s prodigious homer, check out this site.)

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