Castro’s Maris & Mantle Book Offers Fresh History On Baseball Immortals
Long after they became legends, the story of former New York Yankees' teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris continues to evolve.
Last week marked the 60th anniversary of arguably sport's most celebrated record of the 20th century being broken. On October 1, 1961, in the Bronx, New York, Maris slugged his 61st home run on the final day of the regular season to surpass Babe Ruth's single-season record of swatting 60 round-trippers.
There is more to Maris and the then single-season home run record, and Mantle's hall of fame career to appreciate. Thankfully, author Tony Castro continues to serve up fresh stories on, not only this Yankees championship season of 1961, but the relationship earned between these former MVP winners.
Maris & Mantle - Two Yankees, Baseball Immortality, And The Age Of Camelot (www.Triumphbooks.com) reminds readers of just how athletically successful these two ballplayers were, in spite of the hurdles faces beyond the stadiums.
Castro delivers another all-star performance in Maris & Mantle. Nothing less is expected. He is everything an authority on a subject should be. Castro can be trusted, his work is verified, and his passion towards Mantle, in particular, is second to none. The story between these baseball giants should be told by Castro.
During the 1998 MLB season, it was St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGuire versus Sammy Sousa of the Chicago Cubs dueling, the same as Maris & Mantle did decades earlier, racing to take down the home run record. Forever remembered as "The steroid era", "Big Mac" clobbered 70 homers, and Sousa finished the season with 66 dingers.
In Maris & Mantle, it's Castro's deep-dive into the former Yankees' upbringing and how they were as teammates during the 1961 season that makes this a must-read.
"I'm always learning something new," Castro said of Mantle and Maris during a telephone conversation yesterday. " Weekly, people will call or I'll be somewhere, and have (Mantle) stories shared."
Among the 300 pages of Maris & Mantle (Castro has previously written three other Mantle books), the early years of each superstar's life is detailed. How Roger and Mickey found their way to the Bronx is every bit as captivating as that historic day when Maris hit home run 61 off of Boston rookie pitcher Tracy Stallard.
His journey from joining the Cleveland Indians as a rookie in 1957, to going to the Kansas City Athletics (and not wanting to leave), and then ultimately being traded to the Yankees for the 1960 season is a Maris story worth waiting for. Castro also identifies Yankees' hitting coach Wally Moses as being highly influential, and effective, in refining Maris' swing.
Maris' first game as a Yankee, Opening Day, April 19,1960, in his team's 8-4 win in Boston is a classic - 4-for-5 at the plate. It's fascinating nuggets of information, in detail, like this that makes Maris & Mantle a literary winner.
Castro's relationship with Mantle dates back to the early 1970's, when they were both living in the Dallas, Texas area. Sprinkled throughout Maris & Mantle are details that only family members could know and tell, as well as those from the inner-circles of the ballplayers. Hundreds of players, coaches, managers, friends, all who had their lives connected to them, Mantle in particular, are used as credible references in preparing Maris & Mantle.
Holly Brooke, Mickey's girlfriend during the 1951 season, and on-and-off for years later, as well as his wife Merlyn Mantle provide the details of the Yankees great.
Maris lived a far more private life than his fellow "M & M Boys" teammate. Roger and his wife Pat Maris weren't big city kind of people. They came from Fargo, North Dakota. A real gem that aids considerably to Castro's Maris & Mantle story comes from a fellow author - Peter Golenbock.
"Peter has an interview with Roger that has never been published. Back in 1973, Peter was at a New York restaurant at the same time as Maris. After dinner, Peter asked Roger if he could talk with him. They went outside, Peter turned on his tape recorder, and they talked for 30 -40 minutes," Castro explains.
With both Maris & Mantle both gone now for several decades, their lives, individually as well as Yankees, remain bigger than any particular moment in their careers. Tony Castro validates this with his newest revelation on them in Maris & Mantle - Two Yankees, Baseball Immortality, And The Age Of Camelot.