There are many stories told about Mickey Mantle and his teammates, but one of my favorite Mantle stories includes one of his best friends and teammates, Billy Martin. In fact, Mantle named one of his sons after Billy. Anyway, these two were as different as night and day, except when it came to drinking and having fun. Mickey, of course, grew up in a country setting in Oklahoma, while Billy grew up a city boy, born in Berkeley, California. Billy had never been deer hunting and Mickey decided to take Billy to a friend’s ranch in South Texas. As they arrived, Mickey told Billy to just stay in the car while he went to the door to let his friend know that they were there to hunt. Mantle’s friend welcomed him and told him sure they could hunt but he wanted Mickey to do him a big favor. The rancher had an old mule that was in his last days and he wanted him put down and did not have the heart to do the deed. That if Mickey would kill the old mule for him, the rancher would have the vet come out in the morning and dispose of the mule and Mickey would have his many thanks. Mickey agreed. It was here that the trouble started. On the way back to the car to get his gun, Mickey decided to play a joke on Martin. Mantle wore a mad look on his face and when he got to the car, he went immediately to the trunk and opened it while muttering under his breath. Mantle took out his gun while Billy questioned what was going on. Mantle said, “We’ve come all the way and that old Son-of-a-gun will not let us hunt on his land, so I’m going to shoot his mule.” With that, Mickey loaded his gun, went over to the barn, pointed and killed the mule with one shot. No sooner had the smoke cleared; Mantle heard gunfire from behind him and when he turned to see what was happening, Billy had his gun out, loaded, and was shooting the rancher’s cows and chickens. Anyone who knew the feisty Billy Martin would understand this story. I wonder what it cost them to get out of that mess.