Mickey Mantle Should Have Been a Dodger
Unlike most in baseball, Ralph Kiner, who played for Branch Rickey in Pittsburgh, was not a fan of his. Kiner often said Rickey had lots of great players and lots of money, he just wanted to see to it that the two never got together. Well in late 1947 Rickey was still with Brooklyn and was approached by his chief scout, Tom Greenwade, who walked into his office and asked for a $1000 raise. Rickey told Greenwade, who was one of those who had recommended Jackie Robinson, that Tom was doing a fine job and was a brilliant scout, but if he was really serious about the raise, well don’t let the door hit you in the a-s-s as you leave.
As Greenwade was highly regarded he had no trouble finding a new job. George Weiss of the Yankees hired him. Ironically Weiss was also famous for his penurious ways, but as he had only recently been hired as G. M. by the Yanks and was eager to impress his bosses, he jumped at the chance to add a man of Greenwade’s caliber to his staff. When Greenwade came to the Yanks from the Dodgers he brought with him his notes and contacts. The Yanks wisely also let Tom retain Missouri and its environs (which included Oklahoma) as his main scouting territory. In 1948 Greenwade through some of those contacts ran across a 16 year old by the name of Mickey Mantle. He wasn’t impressed until the second time he saw Mickey, but after that he managed to hide Mickey from most other scouts and signed him a year later when he graduated high school.
Mantle later said that Greenwade was the only scout who really pursued him and the only one who offered guaranteed money. Mickey was signed for $1500, $400 of which was an advance on his first 3 months salary. Even Branch Rickey couldn’t have objected to an $1100 signing bonus. Can you imagine how many championships that cost Brooklyn. An outfield of Snider, Furillo and Mantle might have been the best in the history of baseball. And as Furillo had come up as a centerfielder we are talking about 3 outfielders whose coverage on defense would have been incredible.