Old-Timers’ Day is not wasted on the young. The current Yankees are looking forward to Sunday’s annual event at the Stadium. One day, their time will come.
Imagine an older version of Aaron Judge homering before a full house at Yankee Stadium.
There’s famous precedent for that occurring.
In 1973, Whitey Ford was on the mound and Mickey Mantle was at the plate. Sure, they were in cahoots, but that was OK. Mantle fouled off a couple of pitches from Ford before launching a drive into the leftfield seats for what became known as his last Yankee Stadium homer.
Mantle and Ford entered the Hall of Fame together the following summer. Ford, now 88, is expected to attend Sunday’s festivities.
Before they were pros, the current Yankees were kids and fans. “My father told me all the stories,’’ pitcher Chad Green said. “Everybody wants to be in that position. I can’t visualize it right now, it’s a little early, at least for me. But time is flying by right now.’’
Among the scheduled attendees will be Tim Raines, who played with the Yankees from 1996-98 and will be honored about a month before his induction into Cooperstown, where he will wear a cap of the Montreal Expos.
Jorge Posada will become the first member of the Core Four to appear in uniform as an old-timer. Also expected: Don Larsen, whose perfect game in 1956 makes him the only person to pitch a no-hitter in the World Series, and Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Rich Gossage, Rickey Henderson and Joe Torre.
Old-Timers’ Day may not have the cachet of the Mantle-Joe DiMaggio years — DiMaggio insisted on being announced last and competed with Mantle for the loudest ovation — but don’t tell that to the players of today.
“I would like to be part of it at some point,’’ Gary Sanchez said. “That’s a long, long time ahead.’’
Austin Romine said, “I just sit out there and listen and watch. The Hall of Famers. It’s the Yankees. I really like Old-Timers’ Day. It gives me the chance to talk to some of the best. There are lot of Yankees greats that are here still doing commentary,’’ a reference to Paul O’Neill and David Cone. “Just to be around some of these guys is unbelievable.’’
Former Yankee and Met Lee Mazzilli, 62, enjoys getting back on the field. “It’s like we’re all 20 again, even though we’re not,’’ he said. “The hard part is getting out of bed the next day.”
Forgive the old-timers if a pop fly drops in front of or behind them, or if they make some errant throws or have grounders get by them. Said official scorer Billy Altman, “There are no errors in old-timers’ games.’’