Big League Stew

Mickey Mantle and Chet Coppock’s smitten mother: The oedipal complexities

David Brown
Big League Stew

Sorry about the autoplay. All right, how ya' doin', everybody?! Chet Coppock used to be the king of sport talk-radio in Chicago. He has been marginalized in recent years — well, the past 20 or so — never having assimilated with the all-sports station era that followed his lead, but he's still producing content and telling stories.

And the story he tells about his mom lusting after Mickey Mantle when Coppock was a 7-year-old boy in 1957, or so, is hilariously creepy. It's a challenge to listen without making yourself feel uncomfortable, given how many times he associates his own mother with sexuality — given how many times he SAYS "sexuality." And "bulged." And "ooze." And the way he says them. Shudder!

You see, the Coppocks had scored White Sox tickets, in the front row, by the Yankees dugout... :

"The first time Mickey Mantle — this country boy — came strolling out, my mother's eyes bulged, from Comiskey Park all the way to Lake Michigan. Every time Mickey came up, my mother — who, at the time, would have been 31, with estrogen still in full gear — looked at Mickey and you could just feel the sexuality ooze."

Not that it needed to get weirder, but at one point Coppock looks skyward and says he hopes his mom (who, like Mantle, is deceased) is "up in heaven, and sipping on Canadian Club, I hope to gosh you're doing it with Mickey Mantle."

Talk about an oedipus complex. At least we don't know what Chet's mom looks like, and that she wasn't lusting after Moose Skowron, so we don't have to envision it.

A little background on Chet:

If you were brought up in Chicago during the 1980s and '90s, you know the name Chet Coppock. He was a sports talk-radio pioneer, blasting out a weeknight show that preceded the era of the all-sports radio station (except for, like, the ones in New York and Boston).

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Back in the day, Chet blended a certain style — that of a bombastic carnival barker or ring announcer — with the best lineup of guests a listener could want. He told great stories. He could make the mundane seem magical, to the point that you wanted to strangle him sometimes because his schtick went overboard. But he also often seemed "in" on the joke sometimes, and was able to poke fun at himself. He also wore a fur coat, apparently without irony.

An example of his bombast came during the 1989 World Series, right after the earthquake delayed it. To the best of my recollection, this is how he posited a question to Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, who hosted the show before Coppock's:

"There's been a shake at the 'Stick,' do you want me to go live in 10?"

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(AP)

So that's who we're dealing with, here. A different cat — whose mom apparently prowled after Mickey Mantle with full transparency in front of her preadolescent son. I assume, because Coppock also talked about awesome it was to see Mantle strike out, that he and Coppock's mom never met conjugally. Which probably disappointed Coppock, who went on to say she and Mantle "would have made one hell of a combo."

Maybe so, Chet. Mickey Mantle seems like he would have made for an interesting stepfather. But it was your dad who got the Sox-Yankees tickets in the first place.

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