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Former Yankee Richardson talks about baseball and faith in Tacoma

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on May 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm with No Comments »
May 7, 2010 2:15 pm

Former New York Yankee Bobby Richardson became a legend on the diamond, but he turned to stories of faith and mortality to inspire a crowd of about 1,400 people today at the Pierce County Prayer Breakfast.

“It’s important how we live,” Richardson said at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. “There is a power in our example.”

Richardson, 74, mentioned Yankee greats and teammates such as Yogi Berra, Roger Maris and Tony Kubek in his message at the 32nd annual prayer breakfast. He talked at length about his friendship with legendary Yankee center fielder Mickey Mantle, and how Mantle came to Christian faith shortly before dying in 1995.

Richardson himself was a seven-time all-star second baseman, who won four world championships while with the Yankees from 1955-66. Richardson went on to coach baseball at several universities.

But despite his accomplishments, Richardson focused on what’s important in life off the field.

He defined a “man’s man” as “one that dares to stand for principle when the whole world stands against him.”

He said what counts is “strength of will, not muscle.”

Richardson, 74, lives with his wife, Betsy, in Sumter, S.C.

He signed with the Yankees at the age of 17 on the day he graduated from high school. The Yankees invited him to a workout with the team in Yankee Stadium.

There, at the batting cage, Mantle told him, “‘Come over kid, step in here and take some swings,’” Richardson recalled.

“It started a friendship that lasted a lifetime,” Richardson said.

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