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Who's at bat, part two? (CASE CLOSED)
2008-07-20 15:18
by Bob Timmermann

This time, I don't know the answer and the photo below is on display at the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library.



It's from Game 4 of the 1963 World Series. So your choices are:


  • Bobby Richardson
  • Tom Tresh
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Clete Boyer
  • Phil Linz

Those were the only five right-handed, fair-skinned batters for the Yankees in the game. I'm leaning to Richardson as the photographer would have tried to take a shot early in the game. Richardson was batting second. And the batter is choking up a bit on the bat, which is not something Mantle or Tresh would have done.

Don't be fooled by the fact that all the crowd was in their seats. This other photo taken of Koufax warming up and getting ready to face leadoff man Tony Kubek, shows an equally full house.

Photo by Gordon Dean of the Hollywood Citizen News

UPDATE - I posted the query to the SABR mailing list. So far I have received word from people who insist that the batter is Bobby Richardson. Or Tom Tresh. Or Mickey Mantle. Or possibly either Richardson or Tresh. And it would only be a few more months before the Warren Commission was assembled to study such matters from the time this photo was taken.

Wayne McElreavy has sent me a link to a picture of a 1961 baseball card showing Bobby Richardson at bat. Richardson is holding the bat almost exactly like the batter in the photo.

2008-07-18 10:41:47
1.   larry slimfast
It's Cody Ross's mom.
2008-07-18 10:41:48
2.   Xeifrank
What's amazing, is how well behaved the fans sitting in the LCF bleachers seem to be.
vr, Xei
2008-07-18 10:48:52
3.   DXMachina
He's nowhere near big enough to be Mantle, and the facial silhouette doesn't look right for Mickey, either.
2008-07-18 10:56:54
4.   Calyankee
Looks like Richardson to me.
2008-07-18 11:02:37
5.   DXMachina
Ya know, looking up pictures of Richardson, Tresh, Boyer, and Linz, it's amazing how much they all sort of resemble each other. I don't think it's Boyer, because he seems to have had a perpetual five o'clock shadow. Richardson was a lot shorter than the others, but it's hard to tell how tall the batter is in the picture.
2008-07-18 11:35:01
6.   Cliff Corcoran
3 No way that's Mantle. Otherwise, you got me, but he looks like he's gonna swing and miss.
2008-07-18 11:55:01
7.   Bob Timmermann
If it is Richardson, he didn't strike out in t his at bat. He fouled out to catcher.
2008-07-18 11:59:17
8.   old dodger fan
Your library has much more interesting pictures than mine does.
2008-07-18 12:44:51
9.   Suffering Bruin
I always knew Dodger Stadium had bigger dimensions back then but it's still disorienting to see 410 in left center. Also, I see white was very much the "in" color back then. Tom Seaver described the Dodger stadium mound as "like falling off a mountain" but I'm not so sure looking at this photo.

Nice photo from the year of my birth. For all I know, I was in momma's arms watching the game on television. She was a Yankee fan back then, living in Tuscon, holding an oversized baby and waiting for her baseball hero, the Mick, to step up to the plate. I wonder if she could sense the large baby squirming in pain with every reverential thought given to a Yankee. I'm sure she must have noticed.

2008-07-18 12:54:04
10.   68elcamino427
No padding on those wooden walls - Ouch!
2008-07-18 12:54:58
11.   El Lay Dave
The shortness of Koufax's shadow (I thought it was always long!) would seem to corroborate your supposition of early in the (Sunday day) game. In fact, assuming a 1:05 start, top of the first might seem likely.

Is it certain that Hector Lopez, who batted in the 2nd, is too dark? And check out his grip. (Yeah, just a posed photo.)

2008-07-18 12:55:57
12.   Bob Hendley
Didn't Linz wear glasses?
2008-07-18 14:02:16
13.   Eric Enders
It's not Mantle. Here's a photo of Mantle taken in Game 4. Note that he's wearing a white undershirt with longer sleeves than his jersey -- I don't think our guy is -- and that he's also displaying more white in his stirrup sock than the guy in our photo. And not choking up.

Here's a photo of the first pitch of the game. The shadows are in exactly the same position as in our photo. Note where the shadow line is on the fans in the top rows of the pavilion.

2008-07-18 14:35:04
14.   Bob Timmermann
I think the batter is too fair-skinned to be Hector Lopez.

It has to be a first inning batter because of the crowd shot. The crowd in the LF pavilion right before Kubek hits is identical to the crowd where our mystery man is hitting.

Somebody would have to have gone to the bathroom!

2008-07-18 16:04:49
15.   larry slimfast
13 Why is Mantle hitting lefty?
2008-07-18 16:26:05
16.   Eric Enders
16 The image was apparently inadvertently reversed. If you look carefully you can read KROY WEN on his jersey.
2008-07-18 16:26:40
17.   Eric Enders
Also note the left-handed catcher.
2008-07-18 16:35:01
18.   larry slimfast
I wondered why approximately 90% of the crowd was left-handed too. I just couldn't put 2 and 2 together...
2008-07-18 17:47:05
19.   Bob Timmermann
I would also add that another reason why this picture has to be in the first inning is that the mound is still in relatively pristine shape. If it were the second inning, both Koufax and Ford would have messed it up more.

Also, the batter's box lines are still visible.

2008-07-18 20:52:17
20.   popup
Great photos Bob. I am not sure of the identity of the batter in this photo or the previous one. It is odd though that a midget sized Willie Davis appears to be playing just beyond the back slope of the mound.

Stan from Tacoma

2008-07-20 16:12:34
21.   DXMachina
Maybe there was a second batter.

But whoever that is up there, it ain't Mantle.

2008-07-20 19:18:01
22.   Bob Timmermann
Besides Eric Enders other proof about Mantle another person has pointed out that Willie Davis is playing the batter straight away, which he most assuredly wouldn't have done with Mantle at the plate.
2008-07-21 06:50:58
23.   DXMachina
Also, if we're sure that it's the first inning, our only choices are Richardson or Tresh. Mantle didn't get up until the second.
2008-07-21 07:02:58
24.   Bob Timmermann
One of the Mantle supporters tells me that he doesn't care about the undershirt and he insists that the field could still be from the second inning.

But I can't believe the field would still be in that condition after one full inning.

The mound is nearly pristine and you can still make out the outline of the batter's box.

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