TULSA, Okla. (AP) A great-nephew of Oklahoma native Mickey Mantle takes the first step in his professional baseball career.
Blake King, a right-handed pitcher who led all junior college pitchers in strikeouts as a freshman, signed a minor-league contract with Saint Louis Cardinals in front of about 40 family members and friends yesterday.
The 19-year-old says he plans to work on locating pitches and developing a change-up after the Cardinals assign him to their rookie ball affiliate in either State College, Pennsylvania, or Johnson City, Tennessee.
King's grandfather, Roy Mantle, was a brother of New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle, who grew up in Commerce.
In his 18-season career, Mickey Mantle hit 536 home runs, played in 12 World Series, won three MVP awards and captured the Triple Crown in 1956.
This spring at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, King went 9-and-3 with a 1.05 earned-run average. His 123 strikeouts led the National Junior College Athletic Association.