The line most of those will remember who were there that day is this one by Mel Allen in his introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, A magnificent Yankee, the great number seven, Mickey Mantle.”
June 8, 1969 was all Mickey Mantle - - the Yankee legend had his number 7 retired before 61,157 at the Stadium. At that time the only other retired numbers were three, four and five - for Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.
“When I walked into this stadium 18 years ago,” Mantle said in his speech, “I felt much the same way I do right now. I don’t have words to describe how I felt then or how I feel now, but I’ll tell you one thing, baseball was real good to me and playing 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer.”
The Mick received a 10-minute standing ovation. Kids paraded around the field with posters in tribute to the one-time kid from Oklahoma. And Mantle and Joe DiMaggio exchanged plaques which later were placed on the centerfield wall.
Mantle was driven around the Stadium on a golf cart to the rising roar and cheers of the huge crowd. “And the guy that was driving me,” Mantle recalled, “was Danny, one of the ground crew guys who came up at about the same time I did in ’51.