In fairness, the MLB Network sprinkled this MLB Tonight segment with all sorts of caveats, realizing that it’s probably absurd to be making this comparison in May of Harper’s rookie season.
But still, here is Bill Ripken, comparing Harper’s base-running, fielding and hitting with Mantle, while matching up footage of the two prodigies from the MLB archives.
“You look at Mick right here...that’s a pretty swing,” Ripken says while breaking down Mantle’s swing. “Look at Bryce Harper, in full HD, swinging the lumber through the zone. You see the back foot slide on Mickey Mantle as he attacks the baseball? Bryce Harper does the same thing. It’s pretty impressive. And then in fast motion, look at these two superior athletes attack, and look how they move forward a little bit. A little bit unconventional the way people want to teach it today, but both very similar in how they attack....
“I know it is a small sample size, but I tell you what, when you see the similarities in the skill sets of these two guys, it’s a lot of fun to go back to the black and white and compare some footage.”
Anyhow, hyperbole aside, it’s cool to see old footage of Mantle, so watch the clip for that if nothing else.
Bryce Harper steals home
Bryce Harper: born to wear pinstripes?
Is baseball ready for Bryce?