July 6, 2011
Photos of Levittowner Mickey Rutner during his baseball career, one with the fabled Connie Mack
Click on Mickey's photos to enlarge
By FRANK BARNING
Starting at the age of about 10, I wanted to be a baseball player when I grew up. By the time I was a junior at Division Avenue High School in 1959, the painful realization hit me that I needed a new goal. My varsity baseball "career" for the Blue Dragons consisted of two trips to the plate.
Through the years, my respect for good baseball players grew. Of course, those I hold in highest esteem made it to Major League Baseball, which is known in the business as "The Show". The term was popularized in my favorite baseball movie, "Bull Durham".
There was a man in early Levittown who had been to "The Show", albeit briefly. He had three sons, one of whom was in my class at Division, Toby Rutner. The other sons were Paul and Richard. Their dad was the late Mickey Rutner and if you check this blog's index (on the right hand side of this page), there are four links to stories about Mickey. Check them out.
Paul Rutner, a graduate of Levittown Memorial High School, has provided us with three photos taken during his dad's career. Except for 12 games with the Philadelphia Athletics at age 28 in 1947, Mickey toiled exclusively in the minor leagues. Our blog stories in the archives will fill you in on Mickey's career, family and his coaching of Levittown boys.
The 1947 photo posted above of him in an Athletics uniform is with fabled manager and team owner Connie Mack, who is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mack won and lost more games than any other manager. The others shots were taken while he played in the minor leagues for San Antonio (shown sliding) and with Birmingham (standing next to the man with a bat).
My friend Arnie Galeota, class of 1961, wrote a tribute to Mickey which closed with the line, "Mickey Rutner was a man to respect just by the way he treated everyone, the way he carried himself and boy could he play baseball!"