Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Best George Steinbrenner Stories - Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin and a Cow

Billy Martin - Yankee Manager, second baseman
Billy told this story on The David Letterman Show, December 4, 1985.

This one time, Mickey Mantle took George hunting. Mickey was a country boy but George grew up in the city. Mickey takes him to a farm right outside Commerce, Oklahoma. Mickey had known the farmer since he was a kid. When he called to make sure the gates would be unlocked, the farmer asked him if he would kill an old cow. The cow had been a family favorite but was now suffering and in lots of pain. The farmer was a tough guy but couldn't bring himself to put the old girl down. Mickey told him no problem -- but let's play a joke on Mr. George Steinbrenner III.

They pull up to the farmhouse in a big, shiny limo. Mickey tells George to wait outside while Mickey lets the farmer know that they are going to be hunting out back. A couple minutes later, Mickey storms out of the house slamming the screen door.

"That old fool won't let us hunt!" Mickey yelled. Then he rushed pass George, grabbed a shotgun out of the car and went into the barn. George chased after him.

"What are you doing, Mickey?" asked an out of breath George.

"I'm gonna kill one of the bastard's cows!" Mickey yelled. And he did.

As they were walking back to the car, the farmer storms out of the house yelling and cussing. Mickey grabbed George and pulled him into the limo. A clearly shaken George whispered something to his driver but instead of gunning the engine, the driver got out of the limo, walked up to the farmer, pulled a revolver from a shoulder holster and put a bullet in the farmer's head, recreating almost exactly, the earlier scene in the barn.

Now, Mickey was shaken and he began crying. He told George all about the joke gone bad. George said, "Don't worry son, I'll handle everything." He had the driver take Mickey back to the airport. Then George spent the entire evening consoling the only surviving family member, a comely daughter.

A month later, George Steinbrenner paid for the abortion and the girl's entire college education. When the sheriff started snooping around, President Gerald Ford himself, made sure nothing came of the investigation.

George Steinbrenner was a complicated man.

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