“I want you to stay away from my brothers. You are prone to trouble. You are always in trouble.” -Mickey Mantle
After a private screening of the award-winning documentary Long Road Home, John Malangone spoke in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.
In 1937, at the age of six, John found a broken umbrella in the basement of his East Harlem tenement. He stripped it and turned it into a javelin. John threw it, accidentally hitting a child in the head, piercing his skull. The child was only a year older. He was also John’s uncle.
As a teenager, Malangone couldn’t play for his high school team because he was “classified” as intellectually slow. Paul Krichell, the scout who first identified Lou Gehrig and Whitey Ford as prospects, spotted John in a sandlot game. Soon, Malangone was a 17-year-old catcher in the Yankees organization.
John’s life story -- as featured in Pinstripes and Penance by author Michael Harrison -- offers an unvarnished look into that organization and a man’s struggle with memories of a life-changing childhood tragedy.
On an October evening in the Clubhouse, we heard stories about the rich and often tumultuous culture of East Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s... betting on ballgames, the Hoodlum Priest, the Mob, hijacking tractor trailers in Winston-Salem and dropping them off at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike, and many more. John also reminisced about Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Earl Weaver.
Pull up a chair, relax, and listen in on the life of the best New York Yankee prospect you never heard of: John Malangone at the age of 84...