First, credit where it’s due. Here’s where I found this photo:
Well. That’s definitely Ernie Banks and that’s definitely Mickey Mantle, and so I began searching for exhibition games the Cubs played in Yankee Stadium in 1958.
None. Nor in 1957, 1959, 1960... not one.
Up until the 1960s, major-league players often went on what were called “barnstorming tours” after the regular season was over. This was done basically to make money, to supplement their salaries. If they didn’t do that, they were likely working other jobs in the offseason.
In 1958, teams led by Mantle and Willie Mays went on one of these tours. This photo was taken before a game at Yankee Stadium Sunday, October 12, 1958. It was Mays’ first appearance in New York after the Giants left for San Francisco and reports said he was loudly cheered at every appearance. (Remember, there were no N.L. teams in New York from 1958-61.)
Banks was on the N.L. team for this game. The Chicago newspapers covered it only with a linescore.
I found a boxscore in the New York Times. The N.L. won 6-2. Banks played the entire game at shortstop and went 1-for-4 with a double, walk, stolen base and RBI.
So Ernie did get to play one game in Yankee Stadium, even if it was “just” an exhibition game. Some of the game’s biggest stars played in that game. Besides Banks, Mays and Mantle, the game featured future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Whitey Ford, Richie Ashburn, Gil Hodges and Bill Mazeroski. 21,129 attended on a Sunday afternoon.
I’ll be doing these occasionally over the offseason and this is just a reminder: If you have photos of the Cubs or Wrigley Field you’d like me to sleuth, send them over by email (address on my profile here) and I’ll do it!