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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Yankees' Spring Training -- Without Mickey Mantle, March 18, 1969


1969_0318_sports_runover The Yankees were turning a page in 1969, getting ready for a season without Mickey Mantle. Some people thought they just didn't look like the Yankees anymore.

The Times' John Wiesbusch watched as people visited with Manager Ralph Houk about his team and mostly about the retired Mantle.

"Yeah, believe me it's not the same. It's not the same now but it won't really hit us until we get to Yankee Stadium," Houk said.

"The locker room is the thing that will be different. They say it was the same with Ruth and Gehrig and I know it was with DiMaggio. That's why you tuck their uniforms away in trophy cases along with the memories."

But this being spring, the news wasn't all bad.

"Watch that No. 28, Thurman Munson, a catcher," Houk said deep in the story. "He's going to be a great one. ... When you get on base against this guy you better just stay there on the bag. ... I wouldn't be afraid to use him, but naw, he needs a year or two more in the minors."

Munson played in 26 games in 1969 and eventually became the Yankees' captain. He was killed in a plane crash during the 1979 season.

--Keith Thursby

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Comments (4)

The right hand story is more interesting in light of the Manny controvery :) Torre is a hold-out

Thanks Dave--We had a post over the off-season on Torre and the Dodgers' attempts to trade for him. And we did send the Torre item out this morning on Twitter, where we give daily updates on the Daily Mirror. Check us out at

The interesting part about the Torre story is that the Braves turned down Nolan Ryan and three other players for Torre and Bob Aspermonte. Wow.

Bob Aspermonte hit a walk off home run at the first Dodger game I ever went to when I was eight years old.

Here's my initial post from last December:

Turns out the Dodgers were interested in more than Joe Torre, the manager. They once tried to acquire him as a player.

The Dodgers offered the Braves Willie Davis and Tom Haller for Torre and Felipe Alou, according to a story in The Times. The Braves wanted to trade Rico Carty instead of Alou. But the Dodgers apparently didn't like that combination.

Torre started his career with the Braves in Milwaukee and was traded to the Cardinals in 1969 for Orlando Cepeda. He finished his playing days with the Mets.

Torre ultimately managed the Mets, Braves and Cardinals before the Yankees and of course the Dodgers.

--Keith Thursby


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