As the station continues its week-long look at the history of the Bronx, rare behind-the-scenes photographs involving Mickey Mantle and other top players of the New York Yankees golden years are featured in a book by Bronx-born photographer Marvin Newman. Borough reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
The New York Yankees of the glory years of the 1950s and 1960s were champs on and off the baseball field. Bronx native and sports photographer Marvin Newman had the access to take snapshots of the players in their most personal moments.
More than five decades later, Newman has a collection of rare behind-the-scenes photos that capture a side of the players that fans probably never saw.
One photo shows Mickey Mantle wrapping his legs before a game, since he suffered from a bone disease and numerous injuries.
"I don't think they understood how much pain he was going through to play the game," says Newman. "The bandage that he did was not just a simple bandage around one side of his thigh. I think for the public it was an eye opener. I think a lot of sympathy for Mickey occurred after they saw that picture."
Newman used color prints, which were rare during that time. In one photo in Newman's book "Yankee Colors: The Glory Years Of The Mantle Era," the lens captured Mantle and Billy Martin in the locker room playing a baseball game that had the ball attached to a string.
"They were having the time of their lives and I think they were absolutely unaware of me," says Newman.
Another photo shows Mantle during spring training, riding a tractor and proving he was a real country boy from Oklahoma.
"Mickey said, 'Marvin, you want to see me driving the tractor?' I said, 'Do you know how to drive a tractor?' He says, 'Of course I do, I was raised on a farm," says Newman.
There are also photos of the first African-American player to put on the Yankees uniform. Elston Howard took the field for the Bronx Bombers in 1955.
Newman says Howard was friendly, but not looking for a lot of attention.
"It wasn't that he kept to himself so much, but he didn't put himself out, or he wasn't as outgoing as the other ball players," says Newman.
The Yankees dynasty won nine World Series championships from 1949 to 1964, and five in a row from 1949 to 1953.
"This made the Bronx the pinnacle of baseball excellence and therefore it was a very positive point of view and point of pride for the people of the Bronx and New York City," says Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan.
That Yankees dynasty is still the proud holder of the most consecutive World Series championships ever won -- five from 1949 to 1953 -- and was also perhaps the classiest team that ever played.
A Glimpse Of The Old Bronx View a gallery of past times in the Bronx, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York and the Bronx Historical Society.
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