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Mickey Stanley
Outfielder
Born: July 20, 1942 (1942-07-20) (age 67)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 13, 1964 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1978 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Batting average     .248
Home runs     117
RBI     500
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • Gold Glove 1968-1970, 1973

Mitchell Jack "Mickey" Stanley (born July 20, 1942 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) was a baseball player for the Detroit Tigers from 1964-1978. Stanley was known as a defensive outfielder over his 15-year career, though he is best remembered for the last few weeks of the 1968 season. He is considered a living legend to many Tiger fans around the universe.

Contents

Early life

Stanley prepped at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Professional Baseball

Stanley made his MLB debut in center field with Detroit on September 13, 1964.

Stanley was an excellent defensive outfielder, winning Gold Glove Awards in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1973. For 9 consecutive seasons, from 1966-1974, Stanley played the majority of the Tigers' games in center field. He had speed, a strong arm, good hands, and an ability to take the perfect first step. In both 1968 and 1970, Stanley led all American League outfielders with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. In 1973, Stanley played 157 games in center field and had 420 putouts, 10 assists, 3 double plays, and only 3 errors. His 1973 Range factor of 2.74 was well above the league average of 2.02.

Stanley was an adequate but not overwhelming hitter. In 1970, the speedy Stanley was second in the American League with 11 triples. Until 1968, he was used mainly as a defensive replacement, pinch-hitter and even part-time first baseman.

He earned a regular spot in the lineup in 1968 with his slick fielding, .259 average and hustle. The fact that outfielder Al Kaline spent part of the year injured also boosted Stanley's playing time.

With the American League pennant clinched and two weeks left in the season, Smith asked Stanley to play the last 9 games of the regular season at shortstop, the first time he had ever played the position. Stanley did an adequate job and became the starting shortstop for the entire 1968 World Series. Ray Oyler, the regular shortstop, did not bat and appeared in only four games as a defensive replacement-- the four games the Tigers needed to win the series.

In its "The End of the Century" series, ESPN rated Mayo Smith's decision to move Stanley to shortstop for the 1968 World Series as one of the 10 greatest coaching decisions of the century.[1]

Stanley returned to play 59 games at shortstop the next year, while Oyler was allowed to be drafted by the expansion Seattle Pilots. However, the Stanley-at-short experiment did not work long-term and Detroit finished the 1969 season 19 games out of first. Stanley's batting average also dropped to .235. It recovered only when Stanley was returned to the outfield for the remainder of his career with occasional appearances in the infield.

Stanley played full-time until the 1974 season, then completed his career as he had started it from 1975-1978 as a utility outfielder, defensive replacement, but this time with an occasional infield appearance too.

Stanley is also remembered for his quote on being struck out by fireballer Nolan Ryan: "Those were the best pitches I ever heard."[2]

After retiring from baseball, Stanley signed with the Detroit Auto Kings, a professional softball team and played a part-time role in their only season (1980). Detroit won the Eastern Division of the North American Softball League (NASL) and advanced to the league finals, where they lost to the Milwaukee Schlitz.

Stanley now resides in Brighton, Michigan.

Footnotes

See also

External links

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