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  • Mantle the "Commerce Comet"

    Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders notwithstanding, it is still said that Mickey Mantle ran the fastest known hand-time sprint to first base. He legged it out in 3.1 seconds. That's 90 feet, people. We're talking about a 3.1 second 30 yard dash.

    Herb Washington did a stint as a pinch runner for the 1970's A's, but I don't recall sportswriters listing a home-to-first time for him.

    I don't have a calculator at my pc, but what type of 60 meter time could Mantle have run if he maintained that pace? It sound like, in football relevance, a 4.2 time in the 40 yard dash.

    Bijan C. Bayne

  • #2
    Re: Mantle the

    True enought about Mantle's 3.1. But remember that it was in a drag bunt situation from the left-handed batter's box. Figure that he has a moving start, and that he's travelling closer to 85 feet and you've got something that's even more generous than the manner in which football 40y dash times are taken.

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    • #3
      I remember reading that Harrison Dillard said that Mantle had world class sprinter speed.
      I don't know in what context he made this comment, but before he tore up his knee, Mantle was supposedly as fast as they come.

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      • #4
        Let us not lose sight of the fact that this time was taken by some individual unknown to us. That kind of timing leaves so much room for error that it is merely notable in comparison to others in the same situation. Baseball times are quite open in admitting that they do not start their watches until the timer sees movement from the runner.

        It is doubtful that Herb Washington had any times from home to first, as he was recruited as a pinch runner. In any event, the above comment holds true for his times, as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kevin Richardson
          It is doubtful that Herb Washington had any times from home to first, as he was recruited as a pinch runner.
          Correct - he hever had an AB: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players ... =washihe01

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          • #6
            Mantle did have that speed for about 2 or 3 years. Supposedly Ichiro has recorded a similar plate to 1st time. The problem is that to record such a time your hitting mechanics are as important as your wheels. If Mantle had trained to be a sprinter he could have been world class for the 50's as 10.5 sprinters were considered world class then and I have no doubt that he could have recorded times in that range.......

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            • #7
              I suspect that the 3.1 time is as legit as the supposedly 565 feet as the distance of Mantle's infamous home run in Washington, D.C. In an article a few years back, the Yankees former PR Director admited that he made up that number out of thin air.

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              • #8
                Phillies' leadoff hitter, Richie Ashburn (a LH hitter), was said to be the only player of Mantle's era to record the same time to first.

                Also, Pedro Ramos, a Senators pitcher challenged Mantle to a race, but Mantle suppposedly declined.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Track fan
                  Mantle did have that speed for about 2 or 3 years. Supposedly Ichiro has recorded a similar plate to 1st time. The problem is that to record such a time your hitting mechanics are as important as your wheels. If Mantle had trained to be a sprinter he could have been world class for the 50's as 10.5 sprinters were considered world class then and I have no doubt that he could have recorded times in that range.......

                  I dont know how many guys today if placed back in the 50s could beat Barney Ewell, Hal Davis, Mel Patton, Andy Stanfield, Bobby Morrow, Dave Sime or Ray Norton... a 10.2 or 10.3 sprinter from the 40s or 50s IS world class... and a typical 9.9 sprinter today would have likely been a 10.3 sprinter of the era 1940-1960....

                  Mantle was a great athlete there is no doubt about that... he was the total package... anyone that has seen footage of him knows that he was just like a piece of iron... all muscle.... I would imagine that he would have been an outstanding running back on par with the freakish glenn davis. Whether he could have covered 100m in 10.5 Im not so confident... but he certainly had wheels....
                  ... nothing really ever changes my friend, new lines for old, new lines for old.

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                  • #10
                    Some random thoughts:

                    ï‚· Dave Sime started out at Duke on a baseball scholarship
                    ï‚· Jackie Robinson lettered in track at UCLA
                    ï‚· Willie Mays was at least as fast as Mantle
                    ï‚· The fastest MLB player I’ve ever seen was Willie Davis of the ‘60’s Dodgers. (I don’t mean fastest 60m or 100m time—I mean the fastest on the basepaths and chasing fly balls.)
                    ï‚· It appears that the bullet symbol in Word turns into a box when it’s pasted into a message on this Board. Paragraph indentation doesn’t migrate well either. (Both of these issues may have more to do with my computer ineptitude than the limitations of the Board’s software.)

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                    • #11
                      see above... sorry.
                      ... nothing really ever changes my friend, new lines for old, new lines for old.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tandfman
                        Some random thoughts:? The fastest MLB player I’ve ever seen was Willie Davis of the ‘60’s Dodgers. (I don’t mean fastest 60m or 100m time—I mean the fastest on the basepaths and chasing fly balls.)
                        Dont' forget that Davis (Roosevelt of LA) was the farthest HS long jumper in the land in '58 at 25-3/25-5w. Indeed, that made him the No. 3 prep ever, just 1.5" off the HSR of the time.

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                        • #13
                          But in making these comparisons, let us not forget that Mantle's time was collected by someone who was almost certainly looking for a fast time, and most probably not trained in timing, the way it was done in athletics. The watch doesn't start until the batter moves, adding a couple of tenths to the runner, and a couple more to the timer to respond. Yes Mantle was fast, he could hit, and he could drink most of us (even our British friends) into a soggy heap on the floor. But I don't see him as markedly faster than his contemporaries on the track.

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                          • #14
                            All accounts I've read regarding Mantle's speed, including Harrison Dillard's comment listed above, say that Mantle WAS markedly faster than all his contemporaries...at least until he tore up his knee in his 2nd or 3rd season.

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                            • #15
                              I remember reading that Willie Mays said that Mantle was much faster than he was when they first came up, before Mantle developed knee problems.

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