Mantle's sons throw out first pitch on dad's night

Mantle's sons throw out first pitch on dad's night

NEW YORK -- David and Danny Mantle's childhood was full of trips to Major League stadiums, where they'd run around with all the other kids while their father, Mickey, went to work. It didn't seem out of the ordinary.

"We were raised just to be ordinary kids and we never acted like we were better or anything," David Mantle recalled. "He was just dad."

On Friday evening, David and Danny lined up opposite each other at Yankee Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees' game against the Twins as part of Mickey Mantle Triple Crown Bobblehead Night.

They soaked in the roars from the crowd, the same adoration their father tried to shield them from. It took years before David Mantle finally understood the importance his father held for baseball fans. He attended an Old-Timers' game in Texas as a senior in high school, and Mickey Mantle was honored before the game.

"I remember I saw everybody stand up and applaud him forever and ever, it made my hair stand up and all that," David Mantle said. "And I think that's when I really realized what he meant to all the fans."

David Mantle recalled his father's failed attempts at family leisure. Once, they tried attending a Harlem Globetrotters game.

"We were probably in the stands for five minutes and we had to leave," he said.

On Friday, though, the Mantle boys embraced the spotlight. Fans who attended the game received bobbleheads commemorating the 60th anniversary of their father's Triple Crown-winning 1956 season.

"It's an honor to have him still thought of," Danny Mantle said.

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.