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Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle

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Mickey Charles Mantle was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 professional
Professional baseball
Baseball is a team sport which is played by several professional leagues throughout the world. In these leagues, and associated farm teams, players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system....

 baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 player. Mantle is regarded by many to be the greatest switch hitter
Switch hitter
In baseball, a switch-hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed.-Baseball:Usually, right-handed batters hit better against left-handed pitchers and vice-versa. Most curveballs break away from batters hitting from the same side as the opposing pitcher. Such pitches are often...

 of all time, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 in 1974
Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1974
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1974 followed the system in place since 1971.The Baseball Writers Association of America voted by mail to select from recent major league players andelected two, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle....

.

Mantle was noted for his hitting ability, both for average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 and for power. He won the Triple Crown in 1956, leading the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 in batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s, and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

.

Mantle played his entire 18-year Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 career for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 as an outfielder
Outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 and first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. He won three American League MVP titles and played in twenty All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

 games. Mantle appeared in 12 World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

, winning 7 of them. He still holds the records for most World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123). He is also the career leader in walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

s, with a combined thirteen: twelve in the regular season and one in the postseason
Major League Baseball postseason
The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series...

.

Youth


Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 563 at the 2000 census. The town is best known as the birthplace of baseball player Mickey Mantle.-Geography:Spavinaw is located at ....

, the son of Elvin Charles Mantle, a coal miner known as "Mutt," and Lovell (née Richardson) Mantle. Mutt named his son in honor of Mickey Cochrane
Mickey Cochrane
Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane was a professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers...

, the Hall of Fame catcher. Later in his life, Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane's true first name, as he would have hated to be named Gordon. Mantle spoke warmly of his father, and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. Mickey would use his natural right-handed swing against his left-handed father and then turn around and bat left-handed against his right-handed grandfather. His father died of Hodgkin's disease in 1952 at the age of 39, just as his son was starting his career.

When Mantle was four years old, the family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, where his father worked in lead and zinc mines. As a teenager, Mantle rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

. Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, playing basketball as well as football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

) in addition to his first love, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

 with osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

, enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin
Penicillin
Penicillin is a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi. They include penicillin G, procaine penicillin, benzathine penicillin, and penicillin V....

, saving his leg from amputation
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

. Additionally, Mantle's osteomyelitic
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

 condition exempted him from military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

, which caused him to become very unpopular with fans early on, who doubtless reasoned that a person who was physically fit to play baseball was sufficiently fit to serve in the military, particularly when it was observed that he was selected as an All-Star in the same year that his "medical exemption" had been given.

Minor league baseball (1948-1950)


Mantle began his professional career with the semi-professional Baxter Springs
Baxter Springs, Kansas
Baxter Springs is a town situated along the Spring River in the extreme southeastern part of Cherokee County, located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,238...

 Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game, Mantle hit three home runs. Greenwade returned in 1949, after Mantle's high school graduation, to sign Mantle to a minor league contract. Mantle signed for $140 per month ($ today) with a $1,500 ($ today) signing bonus.

Mantle was assigned to the Yankees' Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop
Shortstop
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the...

. During a slump, Mantle called his father to tell him he wanted to quit baseball. Mutt drove to Independence and convinced Mantle to keep playing baseball. Mantle hit .313 for the Independence Yankees.

In 1950, Mantle was promoted to the Class-C Joplin Miners
Joplin Miners
The Joplin Miners were a baseball team that lasted on and off from 1902 to 1953. They played in Joplin, Missouri. Initially, the team was known as the Colts before changing to Miners during the first season of play....

 of the Western Association
Western Association
The Western Association was the name of five different leagues in American minor league baseball during the 19th and 20th centuries.The oldest league, originally established as the Northwestern League in 1883, was refounded as the Western Association on October 28, 1887...

. Mantle won the Western Association batting title, with a .383 average. He also hit 26 home runs and recorded 136 runs batted in. However, Mantle struggled defensively at shortstop.

Rookie season: 1951


Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season. After an impressive spring training, Yankees manager Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel
Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel , nicknamed "The Old Perfessor", was an American Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in ....

 decided to promote Mantle to the majors as a right fielder
Right fielder
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

 instead of sending him to the minors.
Mantle was assigned uniform #6, signifying the expectation that he would become the next Yankees star, following Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 (#3), Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig , nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American Major League Baseball first baseman. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees . Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slams...

 (#4) and Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

 (#5). Stengel, speaking to SPORT
Sport (magazine)
Sport is a free French and London-based weekly sports magazine. It specialises in football, rugby, and tennis, together with handball in France and cricket in London...

, stated "He's got more natural power from both sides than anybody I ever saw." Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey
William Malcolm Dickey was a Major League Baseball catcher and manager.He played his entire 19-year baseball career with the New York Yankees . During Dickey's playing career, the Yankees went to the World Series nine times, winning eight championships...

 called Mantle "the greatest prospect [he's] seen in [his] time."

After a brief slump, Mantle was sent down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues
Kansas City Blues (American Association)
The Kansas City Blues are a former minor league baseball team located in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Midwestern United States. The team was one of the eight founding members of the American Association....

. However, he was not able to find the power he once had in the lower minors. Out of frustration, he called his father one day and told him, "I don't think I can play baseball anymore." Mutt drove up to Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 that day. When he arrived, he started packing his son's clothes and (in Mickey's memory) said, "I thought I raised a man. I see I raised a coward instead. You can come back to Oklahoma and work the mines with me." Mantle immediately broke out of his slump, going on to hit .311 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs during his stay in Kansas City.

Mantle was called up to the Yankees after 40 games with Kansas City, this time wearing uniform #7. He hit .267 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 96 games. He only appeared in two games of the 1951 World Series
1951 World Series
The 1951 World Series matched the two-time defending champion New York Yankees against the New York Giants, who had won the National League pennant in a thrilling three-game playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers on the legendary home run by Bobby Thomson .In the Series, the Yankees showed some power of...

.

Stardom: 1952–1964



Mantle moved to center field in 1952
1952 Major League Baseball season
The Braves were playing their final season in Boston, before the team relocated to Milwaukee the following year, thus, ending fifty seasons without any MLB team changing addresses.-Awards and honors:*Most Valuable Player...

, replacing DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season. Mantle played center field full-time until 1965, when he was moved to left field. His final two seasons were spent at first base
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. Among his many accomplishments are all-time World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 records for home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s (18), runs scored (42), and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 (40).

In 1956
1956 Major League Baseball season
-Regular season standings:-World series:-Awards and honors:-Statistical leaders:-All-Star game:- Triple Crown:*Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees - Mantle won the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in batting average , home runs , and runs batted in...

, Mantle won the Hickok Belt
Hickok Belt
The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, known as the Hickok Belt, was a trophy awarded for 27 years to the top professional athlete of the year in the United States...

 as top professional athlete of the year. This was his "favorite summer," a year that saw him win the Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

, leading the majors with a .353 batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, 52 home runs, and 130 runs batted in, and his first of three MVP awards. Mantle remains the most recent player to win the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in all three categories. He is also the last player to win a single league Triple Crown as a switch hitter.

Mantle won his second consecutive MVP award in 1957. Mantle led the league in runs and walks, and batted a career-high .365 (second in the league to Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

' .388), and hitting into a league-low five double plays. Mantle reached base more times than he made outs (319 to 312), one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 ($ today) contract. DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

, and Ted Williams, who had just retired, had been paid over $100,000 in a season, and Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000. Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time.
Mantle's relationship with the New York press was not always friendly. During the 1961 season
1961 Major League Baseball season
The New York Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games in the World Series. The season is most well known for Yankee teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle's pursuit of Babe Ruth's prestigious 34-year-old single-season home run record of 60...

, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris
Roger Maris
Roger Eugene Maris was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During the 1961 season, he hit a record 61 home runs for the New York Yankees, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs...

, known as the M&M Boys
M&M Boys
"The M&M Boys" was the nickname given to the New York Yankees' early-1960s slugging tandem of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. The nickname gained provenance during the 1961 season, when Maris and Mantle, batting 3-4 in the Yankee lineup, both challenged Babe Ruth's 34-year old single-season record...

, chased Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

's single-season home run record. Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had challenged Ruth's record for most of the season, and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury-prone, was a "true hick" from Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

, a native of New York's Borough of Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press. This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper-Midwesterner, was never willing or able to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees. So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team," and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider," and said to be "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by an abscessed hip late in the season, leaving Maris to break the record (he finished with 61). Mantle finished with 54 while leading the league in runs scored and walks.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series
1964 World Series
The 1964 World Series pitted the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals against the American League champion New York Yankees, with the Cardinals prevailing in seven games. St...

 against the St. Louis Cardinals
1964 St. Louis Cardinals season
The St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 83rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 73rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 93-69 during the season and finished first in the National League, edging the co-runner-ups Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies by one game each on...

, Mickey Mantle blasted Barney Schultz
Barney Schultz
George Warren "Barney" Schultz , was a professional baseball player. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. He was a pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1955-1965. He would play for the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs...

's first pitch into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium, which won the game for the Yankees
1964 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 62nd season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 99-63, winning their 29th pennant, finishing 1 game ahead of the Chicago White Sox. New York was managed by Yogi Berra. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they were defeated...

 2–1. However, the Cardinals would ultimately walk away with the World Series title.

Decline: 1965–1968


Injuries slowed Mantle and the Yankees during the 1965 season
1965 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 63rd season for the Yankees in New York and their 65th overall. The team finished with a record of 77-85, finishing 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins. New York was managed by Johnny Keane. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.This season marked the beginning...

, and they finished in 6th, 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

. Mantle hit .255 that season with only 19 home runs. After the 1966 season, he was moved to first base with Joe Pepitone
Joe Pepitone
Joseph "Joe" Anthony Pepitone is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder who played the bulk of his career for the New York Yankees. He also played several seasons with the Chicago Cubs and had short stints with the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves...

 taking over his place in the outfield. Mantle batted .237 in 1968.

Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969. When he retired, Mantle was third on the all-time home run list with 536. At the time of his retirement, Mantle was the Yankees all-time leader in games played
Games played
Games played is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated ; the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested.-Baseball:In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game,...

 with 2,401, which was broken by Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter
Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American baseball shortstop who has played 17 years in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. A twelve-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Jeter's clubhouse presence, on-field leadership, hitting ability, and baserunning have made him a central...

 on August 29, 2011.

Power hitting


Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball left-handed that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, based on where it was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m). Another Mantle homer, hit right-handed off Chuck Stobbs
Chuck Stobbs
Charles Klein Stobbs was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox , Chicago White Sox , Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and St...

 at Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium was a sports stadium that stood in Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1965, between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street, and between W Street and Florida Avenue, NW. An earlier wooden baseball park had been built on the same site in 1891...

 in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1953, was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson (hence the term "tape-measure home run") to have traveled 565 feet (172 m). Though it is apparent that they are actually the distances where the balls ended up after bouncing several times, there is no doubt that they both landed more than 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. Mantle twice hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium, nearly becoming the only player (along with Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson
Josh Gibson
Joshua Gibson was an American catcher in baseball's Negro leagues. He played for the Homestead Grays from 1930 to 1931, moved to the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936, and returned to the Grays from 1937 to 1939 and 1942 to 1946...

, though Gibson's home run has never been conclusively verified) to hit a fair ball out of the stadium during a game. On May 22, 1963, against Kansas City's Bill Fischer
Bill Fischer (baseball)
William Charles Fischer is a former American Major League Baseball pitcher for five American League teams in his nine-year career . He later was a longtime pitching coach for three MLB clubs...

, Mantle hit a ball that fellow players and fans claimed was still rising when it hit the 110 feet (33.5 m) high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field. It was later estimated by some that the ball could have traveled 620 feet (189 m) had it not been blocked by the ornate and distinctive facade. While physicists might question those estimates, on August 12, 1964, he hit one whose distance was undoubted: a center field drive that cleared the 22 feet (6.7 m) batter's eye
Batter's eye
The batter's eye or batter's eye screen is a solid-colored, usually dark area beyond the center field wall of a baseball stadium, that is the visual backdrop directly in the line of sight of a baseball batter, while facing the pitcher and awaiting a pitch. This dark surface allows the batter to see...

 screen, beyond the 461 feet (140.5 m) marker at the Stadium.

Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter even though he had more home runs from the left side of the plate: 372 left-handed, 164 right-handed. That was due to Mantle having batted left-handed much more often, as the large majority of pitchers are right-handed. In addition, many of his left-handed home runs were hit in Yankee Stadium, a park much friendlier to left-handed hitters than to right-handed hitters. When Mantle played for the Yankees, the distance to the right-field foul pole stood at a mere 296 feet (90 m), with markers in the power alleys of 344 and 407, while the left-field power alley ranged from 402 to 457 feet (139 m) from the plate.

Injuries


Mickey Mantle's career was plagued with injuries. Beginning in high school, he accumulated both acute and chronic injuries to bones and cartilage in his legs. Applying thick wraps to both of his knees became a pre-game ritual, and by the end of his career, simply swinging a bat caused him to fall to one knee in pain. Baseball scholars often ponder "what if" had he not been injured, and he was able to lead a healthy career.

As a 19-year-old rookie in his first World Series, Mantle tore the cartilage in his right knee on a fly ball by Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

 while playing right field. Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, in the last year of his career, was playing center field. Mays' fly was hit to deep right center, and as both Mantle and DiMaggio converged to make the catch, DiMaggio called for it at the last second, causing Mantle to suddenly stop short as his cleats caught a drainage cover in the outfield grass. His knee twisted awkwardly and he instantly fell. Witnesses say it looked "like he had been shot." He was carried off the field on a stretcher and watched the rest of the World Series on TV from a hospital bed. Some have speculated that Mantle may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament
Anterior cruciate ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament is a cruciate ligament which is one of the four major ligaments of the human knee. In the quadruped stifle , based on its anatomical position, it is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament.The ACL originates from deep within the notch of the distal femur...

 (ACL) during the incident and played the rest of his career without having it properly treated since ACLs could not be repaired with the surgical techniques available in that era. Still, Mantle was known as the "fastest man to first base" and won the American League triple crown after these injuries. With the Korean War raging, he was drafted by the US Army but failed the physical exam and was rejected as unfit for service.

During the 1957 World Series
1957 World Series
The 1957 World Series featured the defending champions, the New York Yankees , playing against the Milwaukee Braves . After finishing just one game behind the N.L. Champion Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, the Braves came back in 1957 to win their first pennant since moving from Boston in 1953...

, Milwaukee Braves
1957 Milwaukee Braves season
The Milwaukee Braves season was the year that the team won its first and only World Series championship while based in Milwaukee. The Braves won 95 games and lost 59 to win the National League pennant by eight games over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals....

 second baseman Red Schoendienst
Red Schoendienst
Albert Fred "Red" Schoendienst is an American Major League Baseball coach, former player and manager, and 10-time All-star. After a 19-year playing career with the St...

 fell on Mantle's left shoulder in a collision at second base. Over the next decade, Mantle would experience increasing difficulty hitting from his left side.

Appearances outside of baseball


Mantle made a (talking) cameo appearance in Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer was an American pop singer whose style incorporated elements of country, jazz, R&B, musicals and novelty songs. She was one of the most prolific and popular female singers of the 1950s, recording nearly 600 songs. Born Theresa Breuer in Toledo, Ohio, Brewer died of a neuromuscular...

's 1956 song "I Love Mickey," which extolled Mantle's power hitting. The song was included in one of the Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits is the name of two different CD collections of songs and other recordings connected with baseball, released in the early 1990s....

CDs.

In 1962, Mantle and Maris starred in Safe at Home!
Safe at Home!
Safe at Home! is a 1962 sports comedy film starring Major League Baseball players Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the New York Yankees. The film also stars William Frawley and Don Collier. There is also appearances from New York Yankees Whitey Ford and Ralph Houk....

.

Post-playing career



Mantle served as a part-time color commentator
Color commentator
A color commentator is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the...

 on NBC's baseball coverage in 1969, teaming with Curt Gowdy
Curt Gowdy
Curtis Edward "Curt" Gowdy was an American sportscaster, well known as the longtime "voice" of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally-televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s.-Early years:The son of a manager for the Union Pacific railroad,...

 and Tony Kubek
Tony Kubek
Anthony Christopher "Tony" Kubek is a retired American professional baseball player and television broadcaster....

 to call some Game of the Week
Major League Baseball Game of the Week
The Major League Baseball Game of the Week is the de facto title for over-the-air, nationally televised coverage of regular season Major League Baseball games...

telecasts as well as that year's All-Star Game
1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 40th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 23, 1969 at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, DC. The game resulted...

. In 1972 he was a part-time TV commentator for the Montreal Expos
Montreal Expos
The Montreal Expos were a Major League Baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec from 1969 through 2004, holding the first MLB franchise awarded outside the United States. After the 2004 season, MLB moved the Expos to Washington, D.C. and renamed them the Nationals.Named after the Expo 67 World's...

.

Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, having made several bad investments. His lifestyle would be restored to one of luxury, and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA, beginning in the 1980s. Mantle was a prized guest at any baseball card show, commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autograph
Autograph
An autograph is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature...

s. This popularity continues long after his death, as Mantle-related items far outsell those of any other player except possibly Babe Ruth, whose items, due to the distance of years, now exist in far smaller quantities. Mantle insisted that the promoters of baseball card shows always include one of the lesser-known Yankees of his era, such as Moose Skowron or Hank Bauer
Hank Bauer
Henry Albert "Hank" Bauer was an American right fielder and manager in Major League Baseball. He played with the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics ; he batted and threw right-handed...

 so that they could earn some money from the event.

Despite the failure of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' restaurants in the early 1970s, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988. It became one of New York's most popular restaurants, and his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance. Mantle let others run the business operations, but made frequent appearances.

In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a greeter and community representative. Most of his activities were representing the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events. But Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner
Baseball Commissioner
The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball and its associated minor leagues. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts...

 Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kent Kuhn was an American lawyer and sports administrator who served as the fifth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from February 4, , to September 30,...

 on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling were grounds for being placed on the "permanently ineligible" list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would have to place him on the list if Mantle went to work there. Hall of Famer Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

, who had also taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him. Mantle accepted the position, regardless, as he felt the rule was "stupid." He was placed on the list, but reinstated on March 18, 1985 by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
Peter Victor Ueberroth is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He was recently the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee; he was replaced by Larry Probst in October 2008....

.

In 1992, Mantle wrote My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956 is a book by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle....

about his 1956 season.

Personal life


On December 23, 1951, Mantle married Merlyn Johnson
Merlyn Mantle
Merlyn Mantle was an American author and widow of New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle.-Early life:...

 in Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

; they had four sons. In an autobiography, Mantle said he married Merlyn not out of love, but because he was told to by his domineering father. While his drinking became public knowledge during his lifetime, the press (per established practice at the time) kept quiet about his many marital infidelities. Mantle was not entirely discreet about them, and when he went to his retirement ceremony in 1969, he brought his mistress along with his wife. In 1980, Mickey and Merlyn separated for 15 years, but neither filed for divorce. During this time, Mantle lived with his agent, Greer Johnson.

The couple's four sons were Mickey Jr. (1953–2000), David (b. 1955), Billy (1957–94), whom Mickey named for Billy Martin
Billy Martin
Alfred Manuel "Billy" Martin, Jr. was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. He is best known as the manager of the New York Yankees, a position he held five different times...

, his best friend among his Yankee teammates, and Danny (b. 1960). Like Mickey, Merlyn and their sons all became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin's disease, as had several previous men in Mantle's family.

During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a luxury condominium on Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee is a reservoir in central Georgia on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton. It was created in 1979 when Georgia Power completed the construction of the Wallace Dam on the Oconee River. Lake Oconee is the second largest lake in the state of Georgia...

 near Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro is a town in Greene County, Georgia, United States. Its population was 3,238 at the time of the 2000 U.S. census. This town is the county seat of Greene County.-Geography:Greensboro is located at .According to the U.S...

, near Greer Johnson's home, and frequently stayed there for months at a time. He occasionally attended the local Methodist church, and sometimes ate Sunday dinner with members of the congregation. He was well liked by the citizens of Greensboro, and seemed to like them in return. This was probably because the town respected Mantle's privacy, refusing either to talk about their famous neighbor to outsiders or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mickey stated that the people of Greensboro had "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I've found something there I haven't enjoyed since I was a kid."

Mantle's off-field behavior is the subject of the book The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, written in 2010 by sports journalist Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy is an award-winning American former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post. She is the author of the critically acclaimed 1990 comic novel Squeeze Play, which was called "the best novel ever written about baseball" by Entertainment Weekly. She also wrote a best-selling...

. The book was based on interviews she had with Mantle. Excerpts from the book have been published in Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

.

Illness and death


Well before he finally sought treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to die young as well. His father had died in 1952 of Hodgkin's disease, and his grandfather had also died young of the same disease. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. Mantle did not know at the time that most of the men in his family had inhaled lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 dust in the mines, which contribute to Hodgkins' and other cancers. As the years passed, and he had outlived all the men in his family by several years, he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne
Robert Lawrence "Bobby" Layne was an American football quarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 1950–1958, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1958–1962...

, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle's who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."

Mantle's wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism, and told him he needed to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994 after being told by a doctor that his liver "looked like a doorstop" and was so badly damaged that "your next drink could be your last." Also helping Mantle to make the decision to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was sportscaster Pat Summerall
Pat Summerall
George Allen "Pat" Summerall is a former American football player and television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN.Summerall is best known for his work with John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox.-High school:...

, who had played for the New York Giants
New York Giants
The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 football team while they played at Yankee Stadium, by then a recovering alcoholic and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle; Summerall himself had been treated at the clinic in 1992.

Shortly after completing treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, 1994 at age 36 of heart problems brought on by years of substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

. Despite the fears of those who knew him that this tragedy would send him back to drinking, he remained sober. Mickey Jr. later died of liver cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Most cases of HCC are secondary to either a viral hepatitide infection or cirrhosis .Compared to other cancers, HCC is quite a rare tumor in the United States...

 on December 20, 2000 at age 47. Danny later battled prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

.

Mantle spoke with great remorse of his drinking in a 1994 Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

cover story. He said that he was telling the same old stories, and realizing how many of them involved himself and others being drunk - including at least one drunk-driving accident - he decided they were not funny anymore. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends, and fans because of his alcoholism, and sought to make amends. He became a born-again Christian because of his former teammate Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson
Robert Clinton "Bobby" Richardson is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees from through . Batting and throwing right-handed, he was a superb defensive infielder, as well as something of a clutch hitter, who played no small role in the Yankee baseball...

, an ordained Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 minister who shared his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

 on April 19, 1995, he joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee Bobby Murcer
Bobby Murcer
Bobby Ray Murcer was an American Major League Baseball outfielder who played for 17 seasons between 1965 and 1983, mostly with the New York Yankees, whom he later rejoined as a longtime broadcaster...

 to raise money for the victims.

Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is a faith-based, not-for-profit hospital. In 1903, the hospital opened with 25 beds; today it is a patient care, teaching and research center for the Southwest. Baylor Dallas has 1025 licensed beds and serves as the flagship hospital of Baylor Health...

 in Dallas, on June 8, 1995. His liver was severely damaged by alcohol-induced cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

, as well as hepatitis C
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus . The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years...

. Prior to the operation doctors also discovered he had inoperable liver cancer known as an undifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, further facilitating the need for a transplant. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," a frail Mantle said. He also established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Soon, he was back in the hospital, where it was found that his cancer was rapidly spreading
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 throughout his body.

Though he was very popular, Mantle's liver transplant was a source of some controversy. Some felt that his fame had permitted him to receive a donor liver in just one day, bypassing other patients who had been waiting for much longer. Mantle's doctors insisted that the decision was based solely on medical criteria, but acknowledged that the very short wait created the appearance of favoritism. While he was recovering, Mantle made peace with his estranged wife, Merlyn, and repeated a request he made decades before for Bobby Richardson to read a poem at Mantle's funeral if he died.

Mantle died on August 13, 1995 at Baylor University Medical Center with his wife at his side. The Yankees played Cleveland that day and honored him with a tribute. Eddie Layton
Eddie Layton
Edward M. "Eddie" Layton played the organ at old Yankee Stadium for 31 seasons, earning him membership in the New York Sports Hall of Fame.-Career:...

 played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the Hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a small number 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 7405 West Northwest Highway in north Dallas, Texas . Among the notable persons interred here are:*Sawnie Robertson Aldredge , mayor of Dallas, Texas...

 in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas
Bob Costas
Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas is an American sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.-Early life:...

 described him as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas added: "In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it." Richardson did oblige in reading the poem at Mantle's funeral, something he described as being extremely difficult.

After Mantle's death, Greer Johnson was taken to federal court in November 1997 by the Mantle family to stop her from auctioning many of Mantle's personal items, including a lock of hair, a neck brace, and expired credit cards. Eventually, the two sides reached a settlement, ensuring the sale of some of Mickey Mantle's belongings for approximately $500,000.

Honors



On Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, in addition to the retirement of his uniform Number 7, Mantle was given a plaque that would hang on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium, near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins
Miller Huggins
Miller James Huggins , nicknamed "Mighty Mite", was a baseball player and manager. He managed the powerhouse New York Yankee teams of the 1920s and won six American League pennants and three World Series championships....

. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "Joe DiMaggio's [plaque] deserves to be higher." DiMaggio's plaque was hung one inch higher than Mantle's. When Yankee Stadium was reopened in 1976 following its renovation, the plaques and monuments were moved to Monument Park
Monument Park (Yankee Stadium)
Monument Park is an open-air museum located at the new Yankee Stadium containing a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the New York Yankees....

, behind the left-center field fence.

Shortly before his death, Mantle videotaped a message to be played on Old-Timers' Day, which he was too ill to attend. He said, "When I die, I wanted on my tombstone, 'A great teammate.' But I didn't think it would be this soon." The words were indeed carved on the plaque marking his resting place at the family mausoleum in Dallas. On August 25, 1996, about a year after his death, Mantle's Monument Park plaque was replaced with a monument, bearing the words "A great teammate" and keeping a phrase that had been included on the original plaque: "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage." Mantle's original plaque, along with DiMaggio's, are now on display at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, with the DiMaggio plaque still hung a few inches higher than Mantle's.

Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

 were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974, Mantle's first year of eligibility, Ford's second.

Beginning in 1997, the Topps
Topps
The Topps Company, Inc., manufactures chewing gum, candy and collectibles. Based in New York, New York, Topps is best known as a leading producer of baseball cards, football cards, basketball cards, hockey cards and other sports and non-sports themed trading cards.-Company history:Topps itself was...

 Baseball Card
Baseball card
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on some type of paper stock or card stock. A card will usually feature one or more baseball players or other baseball-related sports figures...

 company retired the card #7 in its base sets in tribute to Mantle, whose career was taking off just as Topps began producing baseball cards. Mantle's cards, especially his 1952 Topps card, are extremely popular and valuable among card collectors. Though Topps un-retired the #7 in 2006, the number is reserved for cards of Mantle, remade with each year's design.

In 1998, "The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

" placed Mantle at 17th on its list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". That same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

, and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team's outfielders. ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

's SportsCentury series that ran in 1999 ranked him No. 37 on its "50 Greatest Athletes" series.

In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

. The stamp is one of a series of four honoring baseball sluggers, the others being Mel Ott
Mel Ott
Melvin Thomas Ott , nicknamed "Master Melvin", was a Major League Baseball right fielder. He played his entire career for the New York Giants . Ott was born in Gretna, Louisiana. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed...

, Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella , nicknamed "Campy", was an American baseball player, primarily at the position of catcher, in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball...

, and Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

.

RedHawks Field at Bricktown, the home stadium of the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks, is located at 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

. A statue of Mantle is located at the Mickey Mantle Plaza at the stadium.

Depictions


In 2001, the movie 61*, produced by Yankee fan Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
William Edward "Billy" Crystal is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian and film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes...

, chronicled Mantle (played by Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane is an American actor known for his roles in the 1999 film Deep Blue Sea, the 2001 TV film 61*, the 2004 film The Punisher and the 2007 Stephen King adaptation The Mist...

) and Maris (played by Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

) chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Mickey's son, Danny, and grandson, Will, appeared briefly as a father and son watching as Mickey hit a home run.

In 2003, Tom Russell
Tom Russell
Thomas George "Tom" Russell is an American singer-songwriter. Although most strongly identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and the cowboy music of the American West. Many of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including...

's album Modern Art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

included the song "The Kid from Spavinaw", retelling the arc of Mantle's career.
Mantle also had multiple references in the sitcom Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

, specifically the episodes "The Visa" where Kramer
Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer, usually referred to as simply "Kramer", is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Michael Richards...

 punches him while at a baseball fantasy camp and "Seven" where George Costanza
George Costanza
George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man" , "Lord of the Idiots" , and as "the greatest sitcom character of all time"...

 wants to name his future baby as 'Seven' based on Mickey Mantle's uniform number.

Awards and achievements

Award/Honor # of Times Dates Refs
American League All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

20 1952
1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 19th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1952, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the home of...

, 1953
1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 20th playing of the mid-summer classic between the All-Stars teams of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 14, 1953 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of...

, 1954
1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 21st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1955
1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 22nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1956
1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C...

, 1957
1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 24th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1957 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis,...

, 1958
1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 25th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1958, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland the home of...

, 1959

Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995) was an
American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 professional
Professional baseball
Baseball is a team sport which is played by several professional leagues throughout the world. In these leagues, and associated farm teams, players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system....

 baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 player. Mantle is regarded by many to be the greatest switch hitter
Switch hitter
In baseball, a switch-hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed.-Baseball:Usually, right-handed batters hit better against left-handed pitchers and vice-versa. Most curveballs break away from batters hitting from the same side as the opposing pitcher. Such pitches are often...

 of all time, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 in 1974
Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1974
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1974 followed the system in place since 1971.The Baseball Writers Association of America voted by mail to select from recent major league players andelected two, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle....

.

Mantle was noted for his hitting ability, both for average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 and for power.{{citation needed|date=October 2011}} He won the Triple Crown in 1956, leading the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 in batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s, and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

.

Mantle played his entire 18-year Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 career for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 as an outfielder
Outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 and first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. He won three American League MVP titles and played in twenty All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

 games. Mantle appeared in 12 World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

, winning 7 of them. He still holds the records for most World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123). He is also the career leader in walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

s, with a combined thirteen: twelve in the regular season and one in the postseason
Major League Baseball postseason
The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series...

.

Youth


Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 563 at the 2000 census. The town is best known as the birthplace of baseball player Mickey Mantle.-Geography:Spavinaw is located at ....

, the son of Elvin Charles Mantle, a coal miner known as "Mutt," and Lovell (née Richardson) Mantle. Mutt named his son in honor of Mickey Cochrane
Mickey Cochrane
Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane was a professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers...

, the Hall of Fame catcher. Later in his life, Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane's true first name, as he would have hated to be named Gordon. Mantle spoke warmly of his father, and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. Mickey would use his natural right-handed swing against his left-handed father and then turn around and bat left-handed against his right-handed grandfather. His father died of Hodgkin's disease in 1952 at the age of 39, just as his son was starting his career.

When Mantle was four years old, the family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, where his father worked in lead and zinc mines. As a teenager, Mantle rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

. Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, playing basketball as well as football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

) in addition to his first love, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

 with osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

, enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin
Penicillin
Penicillin is a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi. They include penicillin G, procaine penicillin, benzathine penicillin, and penicillin V....

, saving his leg from amputation
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

. Additionally, Mantle's osteomyelitic
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

 condition exempted him from military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

, which caused him to become very unpopular with fans early on, who doubtless reasoned that a person who was physically fit to play baseball was sufficiently fit to serve in the military, particularly when it was observed that he was selected as an All-Star in the same year that his "medical exemption" had been given.{{Citation needed|date=March 2011}}

Minor league baseball (1948-1950)


Mantle began his professional career with the semi-professional Baxter Springs
Baxter Springs, Kansas
Baxter Springs is a town situated along the Spring River in the extreme southeastern part of Cherokee County, located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,238...

 Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game, Mantle hit three home runs. Greenwade returned in 1949, after Mantle's high school graduation, to sign Mantle to a minor league contract. Mantle signed for $140 per month (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|140|1949|r=0}}}} today) with a $1,500 (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|1500|1949|r=0}}}} today) signing bonus.

Mantle was assigned to the Yankees' Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop
Shortstop
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the...

. During a slump, Mantle called his father to tell him he wanted to quit baseball. Mutt drove to Independence and convinced Mantle to keep playing baseball. Mantle hit .313 for the Independence Yankees.

In 1950, Mantle was promoted to the Class-C Joplin Miners
Joplin Miners
The Joplin Miners were a baseball team that lasted on and off from 1902 to 1953. They played in Joplin, Missouri. Initially, the team was known as the Colts before changing to Miners during the first season of play....

 of the Western Association
Western Association
The Western Association was the name of five different leagues in American minor league baseball during the 19th and 20th centuries.The oldest league, originally established as the Northwestern League in 1883, was refounded as the Western Association on October 28, 1887...

. Mantle won the Western Association batting title, with a .383 average. He also hit 26 home runs and recorded 136 runs batted in. However, Mantle struggled defensively at shortstop.

Rookie season: 1951


Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season. After an impressive spring training, Yankees manager Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel
Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel , nicknamed "The Old Perfessor", was an American Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in ....

 decided to promote Mantle to the majors as a right fielder
Right fielder
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

 instead of sending him to the minors.

{{Quote box
|quote = "He's the greatest prospect I've seen in my time, and I go back quite a ways. I'll swear I expect to see that boy just take off and fly any time."
|source = —Bill Dickey on Mickey Mantle
|width = 33%
|align = right}}
Mantle was assigned uniform #6, signifying the expectation that he would become the next Yankees star, following Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 (#3), Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig , nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American Major League Baseball first baseman. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees . Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slams...

 (#4) and Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

 (#5). Stengel, speaking to SPORT
Sport (magazine)
Sport is a free French and London-based weekly sports magazine. It specialises in football, rugby, and tennis, together with handball in France and cricket in London...

, stated "He's got more natural power from both sides than anybody I ever saw." Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey
William Malcolm Dickey was a Major League Baseball catcher and manager.He played his entire 19-year baseball career with the New York Yankees . During Dickey's playing career, the Yankees went to the World Series nine times, winning eight championships...

 called Mantle "the greatest prospect [he's] seen in [his] time."

After a brief slump, Mantle was sent down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues
Kansas City Blues (American Association)
The Kansas City Blues are a former minor league baseball team located in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Midwestern United States. The team was one of the eight founding members of the American Association....

. However, he was not able to find the power he once had in the lower minors. Out of frustration, he called his father one day and told him, "I don't think I can play baseball anymore." Mutt drove up to Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 that day. When he arrived, he started packing his son's clothes and (in Mickey's memory) said, "I thought I raised a man. I see I raised a coward instead. You can come back to Oklahoma and work the mines with me." Mantle immediately broke out of his slump, going on to hit .311 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs during his stay in Kansas City.

Mantle was called up to the Yankees after 40 games with Kansas City, this time wearing uniform #7. He hit .267 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 96 games. He only appeared in two games of the 1951 World Series
1951 World Series
The 1951 World Series matched the two-time defending champion New York Yankees against the New York Giants, who had won the National League pennant in a thrilling three-game playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers on the legendary home run by Bobby Thomson .In the Series, the Yankees showed some power of...

.

Stardom: 1952–1964



Mantle moved to center field in 1952
1952 Major League Baseball season
The Braves were playing their final season in Boston, before the team relocated to Milwaukee the following year, thus, ending fifty seasons without any MLB team changing addresses.-Awards and honors:*Most Valuable Player...

, replacing DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season. Mantle played center field full-time until 1965, when he was moved to left field. His final two seasons were spent at first base
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. Among his many accomplishments are all-time World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 records for home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s (18), runs scored (42), and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 (40).

In 1956
1956 Major League Baseball season
-Regular season standings:-World series:-Awards and honors:-Statistical leaders:-All-Star game:- Triple Crown:*Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees - Mantle won the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in batting average , home runs , and runs batted in...

, Mantle won the Hickok Belt
Hickok Belt
The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, known as the Hickok Belt, was a trophy awarded for 27 years to the top professional athlete of the year in the United States...

 as top professional athlete of the year. This was his "favorite summer," a year that saw him win the Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

, leading the majors with a .353 batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, 52 home runs, and 130 runs batted in, and his first of three MVP awards. Mantle remains the most recent player to win the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in all three categories. He is also the last player to win a single league Triple Crown as a switch hitter.

Mantle won his second consecutive MVP award in 1957. Mantle led the league in runs and walks, and batted a career-high .365 (second in the league to Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

' .388), and hitting into a league-low five double plays. Mantle reached base more times than he made outs (319 to 312), one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|75000|1961|r=0}}}} today) contract. DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

, and Ted Williams, who had just retired, had been paid over $100,000 in a season, and Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000. Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time.
Mantle's relationship with the New York press was not always friendly. During the 1961 season
1961 Major League Baseball season
The New York Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games in the World Series. The season is most well known for Yankee teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle's pursuit of Babe Ruth's prestigious 34-year-old single-season home run record of 60...

, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris
Roger Maris
Roger Eugene Maris was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During the 1961 season, he hit a record 61 home runs for the New York Yankees, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs...

, known as the M&M Boys
M&M Boys
"The M&M Boys" was the nickname given to the New York Yankees' early-1960s slugging tandem of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. The nickname gained provenance during the 1961 season, when Maris and Mantle, batting 3-4 in the Yankee lineup, both challenged Babe Ruth's 34-year old single-season record...

, chased Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

's single-season home run record. Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had challenged Ruth's record for most of the season, and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury-prone, was a "true hick" from Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

, a native of New York's Borough of Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press. This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper-Midwesterner, was never willing or able to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees. So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team," and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider," and said to be "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by an abscessed hip late in the season, leaving Maris to break the record (he finished with 61). Mantle finished with 54 while leading the league in runs scored and walks.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series
1964 World Series
The 1964 World Series pitted the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals against the American League champion New York Yankees, with the Cardinals prevailing in seven games. St...

 against the St. Louis Cardinals
1964 St. Louis Cardinals season
The St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 83rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 73rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 93-69 during the season and finished first in the National League, edging the co-runner-ups Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies by one game each on...

, Mickey Mantle blasted Barney Schultz
Barney Schultz
George Warren "Barney" Schultz , was a professional baseball player. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. He was a pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1955-1965. He would play for the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs...

's first pitch into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium, which won the game for the Yankees
1964 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 62nd season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 99-63, winning their 29th pennant, finishing 1 game ahead of the Chicago White Sox. New York was managed by Yogi Berra. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they were defeated...

 2–1. However, the Cardinals would ultimately walk away with the World Series title.

Decline: 1965–1968


Injuries slowed Mantle and the Yankees during the 1965 season
1965 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 63rd season for the Yankees in New York and their 65th overall. The team finished with a record of 77-85, finishing 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins. New York was managed by Johnny Keane. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.This season marked the beginning...

, and they finished in 6th, 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

. Mantle hit .255 that season with only 19 home runs. After the 1966 season, he was moved to first base with Joe Pepitone
Joe Pepitone
Joseph "Joe" Anthony Pepitone is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder who played the bulk of his career for the New York Yankees. He also played several seasons with the Chicago Cubs and had short stints with the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves...

 taking over his place in the outfield. Mantle batted .237 in 1968.

Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969. When he retired, Mantle was third on the all-time home run list with 536. At the time of his retirement, Mantle was the Yankees all-time leader in games played
Games played
Games played is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated ; the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested.-Baseball:In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game,...

 with 2,401, which was broken by Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter
Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American baseball shortstop who has played 17 years in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. A twelve-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Jeter's clubhouse presence, on-field leadership, hitting ability, and baserunning have made him a central...

 on August 29, 2011.

Power hitting


Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball left-handed that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, based on where it was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m). Another Mantle homer, hit right-handed off Chuck Stobbs
Chuck Stobbs
Charles Klein Stobbs was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox , Chicago White Sox , Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and St...

 at Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium was a sports stadium that stood in Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1965, between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street, and between W Street and Florida Avenue, NW. An earlier wooden baseball park had been built on the same site in 1891...

 in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1953, was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson (hence the term "tape-measure home run") to have traveled 565 feet (172 m). Though it is apparent that they are actually the distances where the balls ended up after bouncing several times, there is no doubt that they both landed more than 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. Mantle twice hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium, nearly becoming the only player (along with Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson
Josh Gibson
Joshua Gibson was an American catcher in baseball's Negro leagues. He played for the Homestead Grays from 1930 to 1931, moved to the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936, and returned to the Grays from 1937 to 1939 and 1942 to 1946...

, though Gibson's home run has never been conclusively verified) to hit a fair ball out of the stadium during a game. On May 22, 1963, against Kansas City's Bill Fischer
Bill Fischer (baseball)
William Charles Fischer is a former American Major League Baseball pitcher for five American League teams in his nine-year career . He later was a longtime pitching coach for three MLB clubs...

, Mantle hit a ball that fellow players and fans claimed was still rising when it hit the 110 feet (33.5 m) high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field. It was later estimated by some that the ball could have traveled 620 feet (189 m) had it not been blocked by the ornate and distinctive facade. While physicists might question those estimates, on August 12, 1964, he hit one whose distance was undoubted: a center field drive that cleared the 22 feet (6.7 m) batter's eye
Batter's eye
The batter's eye or batter's eye screen is a solid-colored, usually dark area beyond the center field wall of a baseball stadium, that is the visual backdrop directly in the line of sight of a baseball batter, while facing the pitcher and awaiting a pitch. This dark surface allows the batter to see...

 screen, beyond the 461 feet (140.5 m) marker at the Stadium.

Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter even though he had more home runs from the left side of the plate: 372 left-handed, 164 right-handed. That was due to Mantle having batted left-handed much more often, as the large majority of pitchers are right-handed. In addition, many of his left-handed home runs were hit in Yankee Stadium, a park much friendlier to left-handed hitters than to right-handed hitters. When Mantle played for the Yankees, the distance to the right-field foul pole stood at a mere 296 feet (90 m), with markers in the power alleys of 344 and 407, while the left-field power alley ranged from 402 to 457 feet (139 m) from the plate.

Injuries


Mickey Mantle's career was plagued with injuries. Beginning in high school, he accumulated both acute and chronic injuries to bones and cartilage in his legs. Applying thick wraps to both of his knees became a pre-game ritual, and by the end of his career, simply swinging a bat caused him to fall to one knee in pain. Baseball scholars often ponder "what if" had he not been injured, and he was able to lead a healthy career.

As a 19-year-old rookie in his first World Series, Mantle tore the cartilage in his right knee on a fly ball by Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

 while playing right field. Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, in the last year of his career, was playing center field. Mays' fly was hit to deep right center, and as both Mantle and DiMaggio converged to make the catch, DiMaggio called for it at the last second, causing Mantle to suddenly stop short as his cleats caught a drainage cover in the outfield grass. His knee twisted awkwardly and he instantly fell. Witnesses say it looked "like he had been shot." He was carried off the field on a stretcher and watched the rest of the World Series on TV from a hospital bed. Some{{who|date=October 2011}} have speculated that Mantle may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament
Anterior cruciate ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament is a cruciate ligament which is one of the four major ligaments of the human knee. In the quadruped stifle , based on its anatomical position, it is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament.The ACL originates from deep within the notch of the distal femur...

 (ACL) during the incident and played the rest of his career without having it properly treated since ACLs could not be repaired with the surgical techniques available in that era. Still, Mantle was known as the "fastest man to first base" and won the American League triple crown after these injuries. With the Korean War raging, he was drafted by the US Army but failed the physical exam and was rejected as unfit for service.

During the 1957 World Series
1957 World Series
The 1957 World Series featured the defending champions, the New York Yankees , playing against the Milwaukee Braves . After finishing just one game behind the N.L. Champion Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, the Braves came back in 1957 to win their first pennant since moving from Boston in 1953...

, Milwaukee Braves
1957 Milwaukee Braves season
The Milwaukee Braves season was the year that the team won its first and only World Series championship while based in Milwaukee. The Braves won 95 games and lost 59 to win the National League pennant by eight games over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals....

 second baseman Red Schoendienst
Red Schoendienst
Albert Fred "Red" Schoendienst is an American Major League Baseball coach, former player and manager, and 10-time All-star. After a 19-year playing career with the St...

 fell on Mantle's left shoulder in a collision at second base. Over the next decade, Mantle would experience increasing difficulty hitting from his left side.

Appearances outside of baseball


Mantle made a (talking) cameo appearance in Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer was an American pop singer whose style incorporated elements of country, jazz, R&B, musicals and novelty songs. She was one of the most prolific and popular female singers of the 1950s, recording nearly 600 songs. Born Theresa Breuer in Toledo, Ohio, Brewer died of a neuromuscular...

's 1956 song "I Love Mickey," which extolled Mantle's power hitting. The song was included in one of the Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits is the name of two different CD collections of songs and other recordings connected with baseball, released in the early 1990s....

CDs.

In 1962, Mantle and Maris starred in Safe at Home!
Safe at Home!
Safe at Home! is a 1962 sports comedy film starring Major League Baseball players Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the New York Yankees. The film also stars William Frawley and Don Collier. There is also appearances from New York Yankees Whitey Ford and Ralph Houk....

.

Post-playing career



Mantle served as a part-time color commentator
Color commentator
A color commentator is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the...

 on NBC's baseball coverage in 1969, teaming with Curt Gowdy
Curt Gowdy
Curtis Edward "Curt" Gowdy was an American sportscaster, well known as the longtime "voice" of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally-televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s.-Early years:The son of a manager for the Union Pacific railroad,...

 and Tony Kubek
Tony Kubek
Anthony Christopher "Tony" Kubek is a retired American professional baseball player and television broadcaster....

 to call some Game of the Week
Major League Baseball Game of the Week
The Major League Baseball Game of the Week is the de facto title for over-the-air, nationally televised coverage of regular season Major League Baseball games...

telecasts as well as that year's All-Star Game
1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 40th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 23, 1969 at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, DC. The game resulted...

. In 1972 he was a part-time TV commentator for the Montreal Expos
Montreal Expos
The Montreal Expos were a Major League Baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec from 1969 through 2004, holding the first MLB franchise awarded outside the United States. After the 2004 season, MLB moved the Expos to Washington, D.C. and renamed them the Nationals.Named after the Expo 67 World's...

.

Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, having made several bad investments. His lifestyle would be restored to one of luxury, and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA, beginning in the 1980s. Mantle was a prized guest at any baseball card show, commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autograph
Autograph
An autograph is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature...

s. This popularity continues long after his death, as Mantle-related items far outsell those of any other player except possibly Babe Ruth, whose items, due to the distance of years, now exist in far smaller quantities. Mantle insisted that the promoters of baseball card shows always include one of the lesser-known Yankees of his era, such as Moose Skowron or Hank Bauer
Hank Bauer
Henry Albert "Hank" Bauer was an American right fielder and manager in Major League Baseball. He played with the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics ; he batted and threw right-handed...

 so that they could earn some money from the event.

Despite the failure of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' restaurants in the early 1970s, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988. It became one of New York's most popular restaurants, and his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance. Mantle let others run the business operations, but made frequent appearances.

In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a greeter and community representative. Most of his activities were representing the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events. But Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner
Baseball Commissioner
The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball and its associated minor leagues. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts...

 Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kent Kuhn was an American lawyer and sports administrator who served as the fifth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from February 4, , to September 30,...

 on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling were grounds for being placed on the "permanently ineligible" list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would have to place him on the list if Mantle went to work there. Hall of Famer Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

, who had also taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him. Mantle accepted the position, regardless, as he felt the rule was "stupid." He was placed on the list, but reinstated on March 18, 1985 by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
Peter Victor Ueberroth is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He was recently the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee; he was replaced by Larry Probst in October 2008....

.

In 1992, Mantle wrote My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956 is a book by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle....

about his 1956 season.

Personal life


On December 23, 1951, Mantle married Merlyn Johnson
Merlyn Mantle
Merlyn Mantle was an American author and widow of New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle.-Early life:...

 in Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

; they had four sons. In an autobiography, Mantle said he married Merlyn not out of love, but because he was told to by his domineering father. While his drinking became public knowledge during his lifetime, the press (per established practice at the time) kept quiet about his many marital infidelities. Mantle was not entirely discreet about them, and when he went to his retirement ceremony in 1969, he brought his mistress along with his wife. In 1980, Mickey and Merlyn separated for 15 years, but neither filed for divorce. During this time, Mantle lived with his agent, Greer Johnson.

The couple's four sons were Mickey Jr. (1953–2000), David (b. 1955), Billy (1957–94), whom Mickey named for Billy Martin
Billy Martin
Alfred Manuel "Billy" Martin, Jr. was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. He is best known as the manager of the New York Yankees, a position he held five different times...

, his best friend among his Yankee teammates, and Danny (b. 1960). Like Mickey, Merlyn and their sons all became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin's disease, as had several previous men in Mantle's family.

During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a luxury condominium on Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee is a reservoir in central Georgia on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton. It was created in 1979 when Georgia Power completed the construction of the Wallace Dam on the Oconee River. Lake Oconee is the second largest lake in the state of Georgia...

 near Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro is a town in Greene County, Georgia, United States. Its population was 3,238 at the time of the 2000 U.S. census. This town is the county seat of Greene County.-Geography:Greensboro is located at .According to the U.S...

, near Greer Johnson's home, and frequently stayed there for months at a time. He occasionally attended the local Methodist church, and sometimes ate Sunday dinner with members of the congregation. He was well liked by the citizens of Greensboro, and seemed to like them in return. This was probably because the town respected Mantle's privacy, refusing either to talk about their famous neighbor to outsiders or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mickey stated that the people of Greensboro had "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I've found something there I haven't enjoyed since I was a kid."

Mantle's off-field behavior is the subject of the book The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, written in 2010 by sports journalist Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy is an award-winning American former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post. She is the author of the critically acclaimed 1990 comic novel Squeeze Play, which was called "the best novel ever written about baseball" by Entertainment Weekly. She also wrote a best-selling...

. The book was based on interviews she had with Mantle. Excerpts from the book have been published in Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

.

Illness and death


Well before he finally sought treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to die young as well. His father had died in 1952 of Hodgkin's disease, and his grandfather had also died young of the same disease. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. Mantle did not know at the time that most of the men in his family had inhaled lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 dust in the mines, which contribute to Hodgkins' and other cancers. As the years passed, and he had outlived all the men in his family by several years, he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne
Robert Lawrence "Bobby" Layne was an American football quarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 1950–1958, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1958–1962...

, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle's who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."

Mantle's wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism, and told him he needed to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994 after being told by a doctor that his liver "looked like a doorstop" and was so badly damaged that "your next drink could be your last." Also helping Mantle to make the decision to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was sportscaster Pat Summerall
Pat Summerall
George Allen "Pat" Summerall is a former American football player and television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN.Summerall is best known for his work with John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox.-High school:...

, who had played for the New York Giants
New York Giants
The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 football team while they played at Yankee Stadium, by then a recovering alcoholic and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle; Summerall himself had been treated at the clinic in 1992.

Shortly after completing treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, 1994 at age 36 of heart problems brought on by years of substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

. Despite the fears of those who knew him that this tragedy would send him back to drinking, he remained sober. Mickey Jr. later died of liver cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Most cases of HCC are secondary to either a viral hepatitide infection or cirrhosis .Compared to other cancers, HCC is quite a rare tumor in the United States...

 on December 20, 2000 at age 47. Danny later battled prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

.

Mantle spoke with great remorse of his drinking in a 1994 Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

cover story. He said that he was telling the same old stories, and realizing how many of them involved himself and others being drunk - including at least one drunk-driving accident - he decided they were not funny anymore. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends, and fans because of his alcoholism, and sought to make amends. He became a born-again Christian because of his former teammate Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson
Robert Clinton "Bobby" Richardson is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees from through . Batting and throwing right-handed, he was a superb defensive infielder, as well as something of a clutch hitter, who played no small role in the Yankee baseball...

, an ordained Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 minister who shared his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

 on April 19, 1995, he joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee Bobby Murcer
Bobby Murcer
Bobby Ray Murcer was an American Major League Baseball outfielder who played for 17 seasons between 1965 and 1983, mostly with the New York Yankees, whom he later rejoined as a longtime broadcaster...

 to raise money for the victims.{{citation needed|date=October 2011}}

Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is a faith-based, not-for-profit hospital. In 1903, the hospital opened with 25 beds; today it is a patient care, teaching and research center for the Southwest. Baylor Dallas has 1025 licensed beds and serves as the flagship hospital of Baylor Health...

 in Dallas, on June 8, 1995. His liver was severely damaged by alcohol-induced cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

, as well as hepatitis C
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus . The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years...

. Prior to the operation doctors also discovered he had inoperable liver cancer known as an undifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, further facilitating the need for a transplant. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," a frail Mantle said. He also established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Soon, he was back in the hospital, where it was found that his cancer was rapidly spreading
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 throughout his body.

Though he was very popular, Mantle's liver transplant was a source of some controversy. Some felt that his fame had permitted him to receive a donor liver in just one day, bypassing other patients who had been waiting for much longer. Mantle's doctors insisted that the decision was based solely on medical criteria, but acknowledged that the very short wait created the appearance of favoritism. While he was recovering, Mantle made peace with his estranged wife, Merlyn, and repeated a request he made decades before for Bobby Richardson to read a poem at Mantle's funeral if he died.

Mantle died on August 13, 1995 at Baylor University Medical Center with his wife at his side. The Yankees played Cleveland that day and honored him with a tribute. Eddie Layton
Eddie Layton
Edward M. "Eddie" Layton played the organ at old Yankee Stadium for 31 seasons, earning him membership in the New York Sports Hall of Fame.-Career:...

 played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the Hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a small number 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 7405 West Northwest Highway in north Dallas, Texas . Among the notable persons interred here are:*Sawnie Robertson Aldredge , mayor of Dallas, Texas...

 in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas
Bob Costas
Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas is an American sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.-Early life:...

 described him as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas added: "In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it." Richardson did oblige in reading the poem at Mantle's funeral, something he described as being extremely difficult.

After Mantle's death, Greer Johnson was taken to federal court in November 1997 by the Mantle family to stop her from auctioning many of Mantle's personal items, including a lock of hair, a neck brace, and expired credit cards. Eventually, the two sides reached a settlement, ensuring the sale of some of Mickey Mantle's belongings for approximately $500,000.

Honors


{{MLBBioRet
|Image = YankeesRetired7.svg
|Name = Mickey Mantle
|Number = 7
|Team = New York Yankees
|Year = 1969
|}}
On Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, in addition to the retirement of his uniform Number 7, Mantle was given a plaque that would hang on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium, near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins
Miller Huggins
Miller James Huggins , nicknamed "Mighty Mite", was a baseball player and manager. He managed the powerhouse New York Yankee teams of the 1920s and won six American League pennants and three World Series championships....

. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "Joe DiMaggio's [plaque] deserves to be higher." DiMaggio's plaque was hung one inch higher than Mantle's. When Yankee Stadium was reopened in 1976 following its renovation, the plaques and monuments were moved to Monument Park
Monument Park (Yankee Stadium)
Monument Park is an open-air museum located at the new Yankee Stadium containing a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the New York Yankees....

, behind the left-center field fence.

Shortly before his death, Mantle videotaped a message to be played on Old-Timers' Day, which he was too ill to attend. He said, "When I die, I wanted on my tombstone, 'A great teammate.' But I didn't think it would be this soon." The words were indeed carved on the plaque marking his resting place at the family mausoleum in Dallas. On August 25, 1996, about a year after his death, Mantle's Monument Park plaque was replaced with a monument, bearing the words "A great teammate" and keeping a phrase that had been included on the original plaque: "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage." Mantle's original plaque, along with DiMaggio's, are now on display at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, with the DiMaggio plaque still hung a few inches higher than Mantle's.

Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

 were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974, Mantle's first year of eligibility, Ford's second.

Beginning in 1997, the Topps
Topps
The Topps Company, Inc., manufactures chewing gum, candy and collectibles. Based in New York, New York, Topps is best known as a leading producer of baseball cards, football cards, basketball cards, hockey cards and other sports and non-sports themed trading cards.-Company history:Topps itself was...

 Baseball Card
Baseball card
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on some type of paper stock or card stock. A card will usually feature one or more baseball players or other baseball-related sports figures...

 company retired the card #7 in its base sets in tribute to Mantle, whose career was taking off just as Topps began producing baseball cards. Mantle's cards, especially his 1952 Topps card, are extremely popular and valuable among card collectors. Though Topps un-retired the #7 in 2006, the number is reserved for cards of Mantle, remade with each year's design.

In 1998, "The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

" placed Mantle at 17th on its list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". That same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

, and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team's outfielders. ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

's SportsCentury series that ran in 1999 ranked him No. 37 on its "50 Greatest Athletes" series.

In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

. The stamp is one of a series of four honoring baseball sluggers, the others being Mel Ott
Mel Ott
Melvin Thomas Ott , nicknamed "Master Melvin", was a Major League Baseball right fielder. He played his entire career for the New York Giants . Ott was born in Gretna, Louisiana. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed...

, Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella , nicknamed "Campy", was an American baseball player, primarily at the position of catcher, in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball...

, and Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

.

RedHawks Field at Bricktown, the home stadium of the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks, is located at 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

. A statue of Mantle is located at the Mickey Mantle Plaza at the stadium.

Depictions


In 2001, the movie 61*, produced by Yankee fan Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
William Edward "Billy" Crystal is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian and film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes...

, chronicled Mantle (played by Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane is an American actor known for his roles in the 1999 film Deep Blue Sea, the 2001 TV film 61*, the 2004 film The Punisher and the 2007 Stephen King adaptation The Mist...

) and Maris (played by Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

) chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Mickey's son, Danny, and grandson, Will, appeared briefly as a father and son watching as Mickey hit a home run.{{Citation needed|date=April 2011}}

In 2003, Tom Russell
Tom Russell
Thomas George "Tom" Russell is an American singer-songwriter. Although most strongly identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and the cowboy music of the American West. Many of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including...

's album Modern Art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

included the song "The Kid from Spavinaw", retelling the arc of Mantle's career.
Mantle also had multiple references in the sitcom Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

, specifically the episodes "The Visa" where Kramer
Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer, usually referred to as simply "Kramer", is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Michael Richards...

 punches him while at a baseball fantasy camp and "Seven" where George Costanza
George Costanza
George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man" , "Lord of the Idiots" , and as "the greatest sitcom character of all time"...

 wants to name his future baby as 'Seven' based on Mickey Mantle's uniform number.

Awards and achievements

Award/Honor # of Times Dates Refs
American League All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

20 1952
1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 19th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1952, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the home of...

, 1953
1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 20th playing of the mid-summer classic between the All-Stars teams of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 14, 1953 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of...

, 1954
1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 21st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1955
1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 22nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1956
1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C...

, 1957
1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 24th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1957 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis,...

, 1958
1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 25th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1958, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland the home of...

, 1959

Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995) was an
American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 professional
Professional baseball
Baseball is a team sport which is played by several professional leagues throughout the world. In these leagues, and associated farm teams, players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system....

 baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 player. Mantle is regarded by many to be the greatest switch hitter
Switch hitter
In baseball, a switch-hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed.-Baseball:Usually, right-handed batters hit better against left-handed pitchers and vice-versa. Most curveballs break away from batters hitting from the same side as the opposing pitcher. Such pitches are often...

 of all time, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 in 1974
Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1974
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1974 followed the system in place since 1971.The Baseball Writers Association of America voted by mail to select from recent major league players andelected two, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle....

.

Mantle was noted for his hitting ability, both for average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 and for power.{{citation needed|date=October 2011}} He won the Triple Crown in 1956, leading the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 in batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s, and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

.

Mantle played his entire 18-year Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 career for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 as an outfielder
Outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 and first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. He won three American League MVP titles and played in twenty All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

 games. Mantle appeared in 12 World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

, winning 7 of them. He still holds the records for most World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123). He is also the career leader in walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

s, with a combined thirteen: twelve in the regular season and one in the postseason
Major League Baseball postseason
The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series...

.

Youth


Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 563 at the 2000 census. The town is best known as the birthplace of baseball player Mickey Mantle.-Geography:Spavinaw is located at ....

, the son of Elvin Charles Mantle, a coal miner known as "Mutt," and Lovell (née Richardson) Mantle. Mutt named his son in honor of Mickey Cochrane
Mickey Cochrane
Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane was a professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers...

, the Hall of Fame catcher. Later in his life, Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane's true first name, as he would have hated to be named Gordon. Mantle spoke warmly of his father, and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. Mickey would use his natural right-handed swing against his left-handed father and then turn around and bat left-handed against his right-handed grandfather. His father died of Hodgkin's disease in 1952 at the age of 39, just as his son was starting his career.

When Mantle was four years old, the family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, where his father worked in lead and zinc mines. As a teenager, Mantle rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

. Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

, playing basketball as well as football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

) in addition to his first love, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

 with osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

, enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin
Penicillin
Penicillin is a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi. They include penicillin G, procaine penicillin, benzathine penicillin, and penicillin V....

, saving his leg from amputation
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

. Additionally, Mantle's osteomyelitic
Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow...

 condition exempted him from military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

, which caused him to become very unpopular with fans early on, who doubtless reasoned that a person who was physically fit to play baseball was sufficiently fit to serve in the military, particularly when it was observed that he was selected as an All-Star in the same year that his "medical exemption" had been given.{{Citation needed|date=March 2011}}

Minor league baseball (1948-1950)


Mantle began his professional career with the semi-professional Baxter Springs
Baxter Springs, Kansas
Baxter Springs is a town situated along the Spring River in the extreme southeastern part of Cherokee County, located in southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,238...

 Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game, Mantle hit three home runs. Greenwade returned in 1949, after Mantle's high school graduation, to sign Mantle to a minor league contract. Mantle signed for $140 per month (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|140|1949|r=0}}}} today) with a $1,500 (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|1500|1949|r=0}}}} today) signing bonus.

Mantle was assigned to the Yankees' Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop
Shortstop
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the...

. During a slump, Mantle called his father to tell him he wanted to quit baseball. Mutt drove to Independence and convinced Mantle to keep playing baseball. Mantle hit .313 for the Independence Yankees.

In 1950, Mantle was promoted to the Class-C Joplin Miners
Joplin Miners
The Joplin Miners were a baseball team that lasted on and off from 1902 to 1953. They played in Joplin, Missouri. Initially, the team was known as the Colts before changing to Miners during the first season of play....

 of the Western Association
Western Association
The Western Association was the name of five different leagues in American minor league baseball during the 19th and 20th centuries.The oldest league, originally established as the Northwestern League in 1883, was refounded as the Western Association on October 28, 1887...

. Mantle won the Western Association batting title, with a .383 average. He also hit 26 home runs and recorded 136 runs batted in. However, Mantle struggled defensively at shortstop.

Rookie season: 1951


Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season. After an impressive spring training, Yankees manager Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel
Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel , nicknamed "The Old Perfessor", was an American Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in ....

 decided to promote Mantle to the majors as a right fielder
Right fielder
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

 instead of sending him to the minors.

{{Quote box
|quote = "He's the greatest prospect I've seen in my time, and I go back quite a ways. I'll swear I expect to see that boy just take off and fly any time."
|source = —Bill Dickey on Mickey Mantle
|width = 33%
|align = right}}
Mantle was assigned uniform #6, signifying the expectation that he would become the next Yankees star, following Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 (#3), Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig , nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American Major League Baseball first baseman. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees . Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slams...

 (#4) and Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

 (#5). Stengel, speaking to SPORT
Sport (magazine)
Sport is a free French and London-based weekly sports magazine. It specialises in football, rugby, and tennis, together with handball in France and cricket in London...

, stated "He's got more natural power from both sides than anybody I ever saw." Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey
William Malcolm Dickey was a Major League Baseball catcher and manager.He played his entire 19-year baseball career with the New York Yankees . During Dickey's playing career, the Yankees went to the World Series nine times, winning eight championships...

 called Mantle "the greatest prospect [he's] seen in [his] time."

After a brief slump, Mantle was sent down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues
Kansas City Blues (American Association)
The Kansas City Blues are a former minor league baseball team located in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Midwestern United States. The team was one of the eight founding members of the American Association....

. However, he was not able to find the power he once had in the lower minors. Out of frustration, he called his father one day and told him, "I don't think I can play baseball anymore." Mutt drove up to Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 that day. When he arrived, he started packing his son's clothes and (in Mickey's memory) said, "I thought I raised a man. I see I raised a coward instead. You can come back to Oklahoma and work the mines with me." Mantle immediately broke out of his slump, going on to hit .311 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs during his stay in Kansas City.

Mantle was called up to the Yankees after 40 games with Kansas City, this time wearing uniform #7. He hit .267 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 96 games. He only appeared in two games of the 1951 World Series
1951 World Series
The 1951 World Series matched the two-time defending champion New York Yankees against the New York Giants, who had won the National League pennant in a thrilling three-game playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers on the legendary home run by Bobby Thomson .In the Series, the Yankees showed some power of...

.

Stardom: 1952–1964



Mantle moved to center field in 1952
1952 Major League Baseball season
The Braves were playing their final season in Boston, before the team relocated to Milwaukee the following year, thus, ending fifty seasons without any MLB team changing addresses.-Awards and honors:*Most Valuable Player...

, replacing DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season. Mantle played center field full-time until 1965, when he was moved to left field. His final two seasons were spent at first base
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. Among his many accomplishments are all-time World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 records for home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s (18), runs scored (42), and runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 (40).

In 1956
1956 Major League Baseball season
-Regular season standings:-World series:-Awards and honors:-Statistical leaders:-All-Star game:- Triple Crown:*Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees - Mantle won the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in batting average , home runs , and runs batted in...

, Mantle won the Hickok Belt
Hickok Belt
The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, known as the Hickok Belt, was a trophy awarded for 27 years to the top professional athlete of the year in the United States...

 as top professional athlete of the year. This was his "favorite summer," a year that saw him win the Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

, leading the majors with a .353 batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, 52 home runs, and 130 runs batted in, and his first of three MVP awards. Mantle remains the most recent player to win the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in all three categories. He is also the last player to win a single league Triple Crown as a switch hitter.

Mantle won his second consecutive MVP award in 1957. Mantle led the league in runs and walks, and batted a career-high .365 (second in the league to Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

' .388), and hitting into a league-low five double plays. Mantle reached base more times than he made outs (319 to 312), one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 (${{formatnum:{{Inflation|US|75000|1961|r=0}}}} today) contract. DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

, and Ted Williams, who had just retired, had been paid over $100,000 in a season, and Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000. Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time.
Mantle's relationship with the New York press was not always friendly. During the 1961 season
1961 Major League Baseball season
The New York Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games in the World Series. The season is most well known for Yankee teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle's pursuit of Babe Ruth's prestigious 34-year-old single-season home run record of 60...

, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris
Roger Maris
Roger Eugene Maris was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During the 1961 season, he hit a record 61 home runs for the New York Yankees, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs...

, known as the M&M Boys
M&M Boys
"The M&M Boys" was the nickname given to the New York Yankees' early-1960s slugging tandem of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. The nickname gained provenance during the 1961 season, when Maris and Mantle, batting 3-4 in the Yankee lineup, both challenged Babe Ruth's 34-year old single-season record...

, chased Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

's single-season home run record. Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had challenged Ruth's record for most of the season, and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury-prone, was a "true hick" from Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

, a native of New York's Borough of Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press. This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper-Midwesterner, was never willing or able to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees. So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team," and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider," and said to be "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by an abscessed hip late in the season, leaving Maris to break the record (he finished with 61). Mantle finished with 54 while leading the league in runs scored and walks.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series
1964 World Series
The 1964 World Series pitted the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals against the American League champion New York Yankees, with the Cardinals prevailing in seven games. St...

 against the St. Louis Cardinals
1964 St. Louis Cardinals season
The St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 83rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 73rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 93-69 during the season and finished first in the National League, edging the co-runner-ups Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies by one game each on...

, Mickey Mantle blasted Barney Schultz
Barney Schultz
George Warren "Barney" Schultz , was a professional baseball player. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. He was a pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1955-1965. He would play for the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs...

's first pitch into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium, which won the game for the Yankees
1964 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 62nd season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 99-63, winning their 29th pennant, finishing 1 game ahead of the Chicago White Sox. New York was managed by Yogi Berra. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they were defeated...

 2–1. However, the Cardinals would ultimately walk away with the World Series title.

Decline: 1965–1968


Injuries slowed Mantle and the Yankees during the 1965 season
1965 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was the 63rd season for the Yankees in New York and their 65th overall. The team finished with a record of 77-85, finishing 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins. New York was managed by Johnny Keane. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.This season marked the beginning...

, and they finished in 6th, 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

. Mantle hit .255 that season with only 19 home runs. After the 1966 season, he was moved to first base with Joe Pepitone
Joe Pepitone
Joseph "Joe" Anthony Pepitone is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder who played the bulk of his career for the New York Yankees. He also played several seasons with the Chicago Cubs and had short stints with the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves...

 taking over his place in the outfield. Mantle batted .237 in 1968.

Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969. When he retired, Mantle was third on the all-time home run list with 536. At the time of his retirement, Mantle was the Yankees all-time leader in games played
Games played
Games played is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated ; the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested.-Baseball:In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game,...

 with 2,401, which was broken by Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter
Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American baseball shortstop who has played 17 years in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. A twelve-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Jeter's clubhouse presence, on-field leadership, hitting ability, and baserunning have made him a central...

 on August 29, 2011.

Power hitting


Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball left-handed that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, based on where it was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m). Another Mantle homer, hit right-handed off Chuck Stobbs
Chuck Stobbs
Charles Klein Stobbs was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox , Chicago White Sox , Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and St...

 at Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium
Griffith Stadium was a sports stadium that stood in Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1965, between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street, and between W Street and Florida Avenue, NW. An earlier wooden baseball park had been built on the same site in 1891...

 in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1953, was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson (hence the term "tape-measure home run") to have traveled 565 feet (172 m). Though it is apparent that they are actually the distances where the balls ended up after bouncing several times, there is no doubt that they both landed more than 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. Mantle twice hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium, nearly becoming the only player (along with Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson
Josh Gibson
Joshua Gibson was an American catcher in baseball's Negro leagues. He played for the Homestead Grays from 1930 to 1931, moved to the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936, and returned to the Grays from 1937 to 1939 and 1942 to 1946...

, though Gibson's home run has never been conclusively verified) to hit a fair ball out of the stadium during a game. On May 22, 1963, against Kansas City's Bill Fischer
Bill Fischer (baseball)
William Charles Fischer is a former American Major League Baseball pitcher for five American League teams in his nine-year career . He later was a longtime pitching coach for three MLB clubs...

, Mantle hit a ball that fellow players and fans claimed was still rising when it hit the 110 feet (33.5 m) high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field. It was later estimated by some that the ball could have traveled 620 feet (189 m) had it not been blocked by the ornate and distinctive facade. While physicists might question those estimates, on August 12, 1964, he hit one whose distance was undoubted: a center field drive that cleared the 22 feet (6.7 m) batter's eye
Batter's eye
The batter's eye or batter's eye screen is a solid-colored, usually dark area beyond the center field wall of a baseball stadium, that is the visual backdrop directly in the line of sight of a baseball batter, while facing the pitcher and awaiting a pitch. This dark surface allows the batter to see...

 screen, beyond the 461 feet (140.5 m) marker at the Stadium.

Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter even though he had more home runs from the left side of the plate: 372 left-handed, 164 right-handed. That was due to Mantle having batted left-handed much more often, as the large majority of pitchers are right-handed. In addition, many of his left-handed home runs were hit in Yankee Stadium, a park much friendlier to left-handed hitters than to right-handed hitters. When Mantle played for the Yankees, the distance to the right-field foul pole stood at a mere 296 feet (90 m), with markers in the power alleys of 344 and 407, while the left-field power alley ranged from 402 to 457 feet (139 m) from the plate.

Injuries


Mickey Mantle's career was plagued with injuries. Beginning in high school, he accumulated both acute and chronic injuries to bones and cartilage in his legs. Applying thick wraps to both of his knees became a pre-game ritual, and by the end of his career, simply swinging a bat caused him to fall to one knee in pain. Baseball scholars often ponder "what if" had he not been injured, and he was able to lead a healthy career.

As a 19-year-old rookie in his first World Series, Mantle tore the cartilage in his right knee on a fly ball by Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

 while playing right field. Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, in the last year of his career, was playing center field. Mays' fly was hit to deep right center, and as both Mantle and DiMaggio converged to make the catch, DiMaggio called for it at the last second, causing Mantle to suddenly stop short as his cleats caught a drainage cover in the outfield grass. His knee twisted awkwardly and he instantly fell. Witnesses say it looked "like he had been shot." He was carried off the field on a stretcher and watched the rest of the World Series on TV from a hospital bed. Some{{who|date=October 2011}} have speculated that Mantle may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament
Anterior cruciate ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament is a cruciate ligament which is one of the four major ligaments of the human knee. In the quadruped stifle , based on its anatomical position, it is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament.The ACL originates from deep within the notch of the distal femur...

 (ACL) during the incident and played the rest of his career without having it properly treated since ACLs could not be repaired with the surgical techniques available in that era. Still, Mantle was known as the "fastest man to first base" and won the American League triple crown after these injuries. With the Korean War raging, he was drafted by the US Army but failed the physical exam and was rejected as unfit for service.

During the 1957 World Series
1957 World Series
The 1957 World Series featured the defending champions, the New York Yankees , playing against the Milwaukee Braves . After finishing just one game behind the N.L. Champion Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, the Braves came back in 1957 to win their first pennant since moving from Boston in 1953...

, Milwaukee Braves
1957 Milwaukee Braves season
The Milwaukee Braves season was the year that the team won its first and only World Series championship while based in Milwaukee. The Braves won 95 games and lost 59 to win the National League pennant by eight games over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals....

 second baseman Red Schoendienst
Red Schoendienst
Albert Fred "Red" Schoendienst is an American Major League Baseball coach, former player and manager, and 10-time All-star. After a 19-year playing career with the St...

 fell on Mantle's left shoulder in a collision at second base. Over the next decade, Mantle would experience increasing difficulty hitting from his left side.

Appearances outside of baseball


Mantle made a (talking) cameo appearance in Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer
Teresa Brewer was an American pop singer whose style incorporated elements of country, jazz, R&B, musicals and novelty songs. She was one of the most prolific and popular female singers of the 1950s, recording nearly 600 songs. Born Theresa Breuer in Toledo, Ohio, Brewer died of a neuromuscular...

's 1956 song "I Love Mickey," which extolled Mantle's power hitting. The song was included in one of the Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits
Baseball's Greatest Hits is the name of two different CD collections of songs and other recordings connected with baseball, released in the early 1990s....

CDs.

In 1962, Mantle and Maris starred in Safe at Home!
Safe at Home!
Safe at Home! is a 1962 sports comedy film starring Major League Baseball players Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the New York Yankees. The film also stars William Frawley and Don Collier. There is also appearances from New York Yankees Whitey Ford and Ralph Houk....

.

Post-playing career



Mantle served as a part-time color commentator
Color commentator
A color commentator is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the...

 on NBC's baseball coverage in 1969, teaming with Curt Gowdy
Curt Gowdy
Curtis Edward "Curt" Gowdy was an American sportscaster, well known as the longtime "voice" of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally-televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s.-Early years:The son of a manager for the Union Pacific railroad,...

 and Tony Kubek
Tony Kubek
Anthony Christopher "Tony" Kubek is a retired American professional baseball player and television broadcaster....

 to call some Game of the Week
Major League Baseball Game of the Week
The Major League Baseball Game of the Week is the de facto title for over-the-air, nationally televised coverage of regular season Major League Baseball games...

telecasts as well as that year's All-Star Game
1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1969 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 40th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 23, 1969 at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, DC. The game resulted...

. In 1972 he was a part-time TV commentator for the Montreal Expos
Montreal Expos
The Montreal Expos were a Major League Baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec from 1969 through 2004, holding the first MLB franchise awarded outside the United States. After the 2004 season, MLB moved the Expos to Washington, D.C. and renamed them the Nationals.Named after the Expo 67 World's...

.

Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, having made several bad investments. His lifestyle would be restored to one of luxury, and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA, beginning in the 1980s. Mantle was a prized guest at any baseball card show, commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autograph
Autograph
An autograph is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature...

s. This popularity continues long after his death, as Mantle-related items far outsell those of any other player except possibly Babe Ruth, whose items, due to the distance of years, now exist in far smaller quantities. Mantle insisted that the promoters of baseball card shows always include one of the lesser-known Yankees of his era, such as Moose Skowron or Hank Bauer
Hank Bauer
Henry Albert "Hank" Bauer was an American right fielder and manager in Major League Baseball. He played with the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics ; he batted and threw right-handed...

 so that they could earn some money from the event.

Despite the failure of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' restaurants in the early 1970s, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988. It became one of New York's most popular restaurants, and his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance. Mantle let others run the business operations, but made frequent appearances.

In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a greeter and community representative. Most of his activities were representing the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events. But Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner
Baseball Commissioner
The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball and its associated minor leagues. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts...

 Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kent Kuhn was an American lawyer and sports administrator who served as the fifth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from February 4, , to September 30,...

 on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling were grounds for being placed on the "permanently ineligible" list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would have to place him on the list if Mantle went to work there. Hall of Famer Willie Mays
Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. is a retired American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his...

, who had also taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him. Mantle accepted the position, regardless, as he felt the rule was "stupid." He was placed on the list, but reinstated on March 18, 1985 by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth
Peter Ueberroth
Peter Victor Ueberroth is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He was recently the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee; he was replaced by Larry Probst in October 2008....

.

In 1992, Mantle wrote My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956
My Favorite Summer 1956 is a book by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle....

about his 1956 season.

Personal life


On December 23, 1951, Mantle married Merlyn Johnson
Merlyn Mantle
Merlyn Mantle was an American author and widow of New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle.-Early life:...

 in Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce, Oklahoma
Commerce is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,645 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Commerce is located at ....

; they had four sons. In an autobiography, Mantle said he married Merlyn not out of love, but because he was told to by his domineering father. While his drinking became public knowledge during his lifetime, the press (per established practice at the time) kept quiet about his many marital infidelities. Mantle was not entirely discreet about them, and when he went to his retirement ceremony in 1969, he brought his mistress along with his wife. In 1980, Mickey and Merlyn separated for 15 years, but neither filed for divorce. During this time, Mantle lived with his agent, Greer Johnson.

The couple's four sons were Mickey Jr. (1953–2000), David (b. 1955), Billy (1957–94), whom Mickey named for Billy Martin
Billy Martin
Alfred Manuel "Billy" Martin, Jr. was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. He is best known as the manager of the New York Yankees, a position he held five different times...

, his best friend among his Yankee teammates, and Danny (b. 1960). Like Mickey, Merlyn and their sons all became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin's disease, as had several previous men in Mantle's family.

During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a luxury condominium on Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee is a reservoir in central Georgia on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton. It was created in 1979 when Georgia Power completed the construction of the Wallace Dam on the Oconee River. Lake Oconee is the second largest lake in the state of Georgia...

 near Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro, Georgia
Greensboro is a town in Greene County, Georgia, United States. Its population was 3,238 at the time of the 2000 U.S. census. This town is the county seat of Greene County.-Geography:Greensboro is located at .According to the U.S...

, near Greer Johnson's home, and frequently stayed there for months at a time. He occasionally attended the local Methodist church, and sometimes ate Sunday dinner with members of the congregation. He was well liked by the citizens of Greensboro, and seemed to like them in return. This was probably because the town respected Mantle's privacy, refusing either to talk about their famous neighbor to outsiders or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mickey stated that the people of Greensboro had "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I've found something there I haven't enjoyed since I was a kid."

Mantle's off-field behavior is the subject of the book The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, written in 2010 by sports journalist Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy is an award-winning American former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post. She is the author of the critically acclaimed 1990 comic novel Squeeze Play, which was called "the best novel ever written about baseball" by Entertainment Weekly. She also wrote a best-selling...

. The book was based on interviews she had with Mantle. Excerpts from the book have been published in Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

.

Illness and death


Well before he finally sought treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to die young as well. His father had died in 1952 of Hodgkin's disease, and his grandfather had also died young of the same disease. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. Mantle did not know at the time that most of the men in his family had inhaled lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 dust in the mines, which contribute to Hodgkins' and other cancers. As the years passed, and he had outlived all the men in his family by several years, he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne
Robert Lawrence "Bobby" Layne was an American football quarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 1950–1958, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1958–1962...

, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle's who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."

Mantle's wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism, and told him he needed to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994 after being told by a doctor that his liver "looked like a doorstop" and was so badly damaged that "your next drink could be your last." Also helping Mantle to make the decision to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was sportscaster Pat Summerall
Pat Summerall
George Allen "Pat" Summerall is a former American football player and television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN.Summerall is best known for his work with John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox.-High school:...

, who had played for the New York Giants
New York Giants
The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 football team while they played at Yankee Stadium, by then a recovering alcoholic and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle; Summerall himself had been treated at the clinic in 1992.

Shortly after completing treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, 1994 at age 36 of heart problems brought on by years of substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

. Despite the fears of those who knew him that this tragedy would send him back to drinking, he remained sober. Mickey Jr. later died of liver cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Most cases of HCC are secondary to either a viral hepatitide infection or cirrhosis .Compared to other cancers, HCC is quite a rare tumor in the United States...

 on December 20, 2000 at age 47. Danny later battled prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

.

Mantle spoke with great remorse of his drinking in a 1994 Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

cover story. He said that he was telling the same old stories, and realizing how many of them involved himself and others being drunk - including at least one drunk-driving accident - he decided they were not funny anymore. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends, and fans because of his alcoholism, and sought to make amends. He became a born-again Christian because of his former teammate Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson
Robert Clinton "Bobby" Richardson is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees from through . Batting and throwing right-handed, he was a superb defensive infielder, as well as something of a clutch hitter, who played no small role in the Yankee baseball...

, an ordained Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 minister who shared his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

 on April 19, 1995, he joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee Bobby Murcer
Bobby Murcer
Bobby Ray Murcer was an American Major League Baseball outfielder who played for 17 seasons between 1965 and 1983, mostly with the New York Yankees, whom he later rejoined as a longtime broadcaster...

 to raise money for the victims.{{citation needed|date=October 2011}}

Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is a faith-based, not-for-profit hospital. In 1903, the hospital opened with 25 beds; today it is a patient care, teaching and research center for the Southwest. Baylor Dallas has 1025 licensed beds and serves as the flagship hospital of Baylor Health...

 in Dallas, on June 8, 1995. His liver was severely damaged by alcohol-induced cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

, as well as hepatitis C
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus . The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years...

. Prior to the operation doctors also discovered he had inoperable liver cancer known as an undifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, further facilitating the need for a transplant. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," a frail Mantle said. He also established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Soon, he was back in the hospital, where it was found that his cancer was rapidly spreading
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 throughout his body.

Though he was very popular, Mantle's liver transplant was a source of some controversy. Some felt that his fame had permitted him to receive a donor liver in just one day, bypassing other patients who had been waiting for much longer. Mantle's doctors insisted that the decision was based solely on medical criteria, but acknowledged that the very short wait created the appearance of favoritism. While he was recovering, Mantle made peace with his estranged wife, Merlyn, and repeated a request he made decades before for Bobby Richardson to read a poem at Mantle's funeral if he died.

Mantle died on August 13, 1995 at Baylor University Medical Center with his wife at his side. The Yankees played Cleveland that day and honored him with a tribute. Eddie Layton
Eddie Layton
Edward M. "Eddie" Layton played the organ at old Yankee Stadium for 31 seasons, earning him membership in the New York Sports Hall of Fame.-Career:...

 played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the Hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a small number 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 7405 West Northwest Highway in north Dallas, Texas . Among the notable persons interred here are:*Sawnie Robertson Aldredge , mayor of Dallas, Texas...

 in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas
Bob Costas
Robert Quinlan "Bob" Costas is an American sportscaster, on the air for the NBC network since the early 1980s.-Early life:...

 described him as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas added: "In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it." Richardson did oblige in reading the poem at Mantle's funeral, something he described as being extremely difficult.

After Mantle's death, Greer Johnson was taken to federal court in November 1997 by the Mantle family to stop her from auctioning many of Mantle's personal items, including a lock of hair, a neck brace, and expired credit cards. Eventually, the two sides reached a settlement, ensuring the sale of some of Mickey Mantle's belongings for approximately $500,000.

Honors


{{MLBBioRet
|Image = YankeesRetired7.svg
|Name = Mickey Mantle
|Number = 7
|Team = New York Yankees
|Year = 1969
|}}
On Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, in addition to the retirement of his uniform Number 7, Mantle was given a plaque that would hang on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium, near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins
Miller Huggins
Miller James Huggins , nicknamed "Mighty Mite", was a baseball player and manager. He managed the powerhouse New York Yankee teams of the 1920s and won six American League pennants and three World Series championships....

. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "Joe DiMaggio's [plaque] deserves to be higher." DiMaggio's plaque was hung one inch higher than Mantle's. When Yankee Stadium was reopened in 1976 following its renovation, the plaques and monuments were moved to Monument Park
Monument Park (Yankee Stadium)
Monument Park is an open-air museum located at the new Yankee Stadium containing a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the New York Yankees....

, behind the left-center field fence.

Shortly before his death, Mantle videotaped a message to be played on Old-Timers' Day, which he was too ill to attend. He said, "When I die, I wanted on my tombstone, 'A great teammate.' But I didn't think it would be this soon." The words were indeed carved on the plaque marking his resting place at the family mausoleum in Dallas. On August 25, 1996, about a year after his death, Mantle's Monument Park plaque was replaced with a monument, bearing the words "A great teammate" and keeping a phrase that had been included on the original plaque: "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage." Mantle's original plaque, along with DiMaggio's, are now on display at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, with the DiMaggio plaque still hung a few inches higher than Mantle's.

Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who spent his entire 18-year career with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.-Early life and career:...

 were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974, Mantle's first year of eligibility, Ford's second.

Beginning in 1997, the Topps
Topps
The Topps Company, Inc., manufactures chewing gum, candy and collectibles. Based in New York, New York, Topps is best known as a leading producer of baseball cards, football cards, basketball cards, hockey cards and other sports and non-sports themed trading cards.-Company history:Topps itself was...

 Baseball Card
Baseball card
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on some type of paper stock or card stock. A card will usually feature one or more baseball players or other baseball-related sports figures...

 company retired the card #7 in its base sets in tribute to Mantle, whose career was taking off just as Topps began producing baseball cards. Mantle's cards, especially his 1952 Topps card, are extremely popular and valuable among card collectors. Though Topps un-retired the #7 in 2006, the number is reserved for cards of Mantle, remade with each year's design.

In 1998, "The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

" placed Mantle at 17th on its list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". That same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

, and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team's outfielders. ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

's SportsCentury series that ran in 1999 ranked him No. 37 on its "50 Greatest Athletes" series.

In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

. The stamp is one of a series of four honoring baseball sluggers, the others being Mel Ott
Mel Ott
Melvin Thomas Ott , nicknamed "Master Melvin", was a Major League Baseball right fielder. He played his entire career for the New York Giants . Ott was born in Gretna, Louisiana. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed...

, Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella , nicknamed "Campy", was an American baseball player, primarily at the position of catcher, in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball...

, and Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

.

RedHawks Field at Bricktown, the home stadium of the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks, is located at 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

. A statue of Mantle is located at the Mickey Mantle Plaza at the stadium.

Depictions


In 2001, the movie 61*, produced by Yankee fan Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
William Edward "Billy" Crystal is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian and film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes...

, chronicled Mantle (played by Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane
Thomas Jane is an American actor known for his roles in the 1999 film Deep Blue Sea, the 2001 TV film 61*, the 2004 film The Punisher and the 2007 Stephen King adaptation The Mist...

) and Maris (played by Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

) chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Mickey's son, Danny, and grandson, Will, appeared briefly as a father and son watching as Mickey hit a home run.{{Citation needed|date=April 2011}}

In 2003, Tom Russell
Tom Russell
Thomas George "Tom" Russell is an American singer-songwriter. Although most strongly identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and the cowboy music of the American West. Many of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including...

's album Modern Art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

included the song "The Kid from Spavinaw", retelling the arc of Mantle's career.
Mantle also had multiple references in the sitcom Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

, specifically the episodes "The Visa" where Kramer
Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer, usually referred to as simply "Kramer", is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Michael Richards...

 punches him while at a baseball fantasy camp and "Seven" where George Costanza
George Costanza
George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man" , "Lord of the Idiots" , and as "the greatest sitcom character of all time"...

 wants to name his future baby as 'Seven' based on Mickey Mantle's uniform number.

Awards and achievements

Award/Honor # of Times Dates Refs
American League All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

20 1952
1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 19th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1952, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the home of...

, 1953
1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1953 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 20th playing of the mid-summer classic between the All-Stars teams of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 14, 1953 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of...

, 1954
1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 21st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1955
1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 22nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

, 1956
1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C...

, 1957
1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 24th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1957 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis,...

, 1958
1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 25th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1958, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland the home of...

, 1959{{sup
1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)
The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 26th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 7, 1959 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of...

, 1959{{sup
1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game may refer to:*The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was a 5-4 victory for the National League over the American League...

, 1960{{sup
1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)
The 1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 28th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1960, at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri the home...

, 1960{{sup
1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)
The second 1960 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 29th playing of Major League Baseball's annual midsummer exhibition game. The game took place at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York, home of the American League's New York Yankees. The National League won the game by a score of 6-0...

, 1961{{sup
1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)
The first 1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Candlestick Park in San Francisco on July 11, 1961. The National League scored two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning to win 5–4. Stu Miller was the winning pitcher and Hoyt Wilhelm was charged with the loss.-References:...

, 1961{{sup
1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)
The second 1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Fenway Park in Boston on July 31, 1961. The game ended as a tie when the game was called due to rain after nine innings with the score 1–1....

, 1962{{sup
1962 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)
The first 1962 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 32nd playing of Major League Baseball's annual midsummer exhibition game between the American League and National League. President John F. Kennedy was the second president to attend the event and threw out the first pitch. A highlight of...

, 1962{{sup
1962 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (second game)
The second 1962 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 33rd playing of Major League Baseball's annual midsummer exhibition game. The game took place at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, home of the National League's Chicago Cubs. The American League emerged triumphant as they finally broke...

, 1963
1963 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1963 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 31st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held in Cleveland, Ohio, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, home of the American...

, 1964
1964 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1964 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 35th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 7, 1964 at Shea Stadium in New York City, New York, home of the New...

, 1965
1965 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1965 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 36th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 13, 1965 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota...

, 1967
1967 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1967 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 38th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 11, 1967 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. The game resulted...

, 1968
1968 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1968 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 39th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League and National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball...

American League batting champion 1 1956
1956 Major League Baseball season
-Regular season standings:-World series:-Awards and honors:-Statistical leaders:-All-Star game:- Triple Crown:*Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees - Mantle won the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in batting average , home runs , and runs batted in...

American League home run champion 4 1955
1955 Major League Baseball season
For the third consecutive season, a franchise changed homes as the Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City, MO and played their home games at Municipal Stadium.-Statistical leaders:-External links:*...

, 1956, 1958
1958 Major League Baseball season
The Major League Baseball season of 1958 was the first season of play in California for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants...

, 1960
1960 Major League Baseball season
The 1960 Major League Baseball season was held between the American and National Leagues. It was also the final season that a 154-game schedule was played in both the AL and the NL, before the AL began using the 162-game schedule the following season, with the NL following suit in .-Awards and...

American League MVP Award 3 1956, 1957
1957 Major League Baseball season
The 1957 Major League Baseball season involved the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants playing their final seasons as New York-based franchises before their moves to California for the following season, leaving New York without a National League team until the birth of the Mets in...

, 1962
1962 Major League Baseball season
This was the first 162-game schedule for the National League, as they added the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets to their lineup, as the NL returned to New York City, after a four-year absence...

American League Gold Glove Award
Rawlings Gold Glove Award
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League and the American League , as voted by the...

 winner
1 1962
1962 Major League Baseball season
This was the first 162-game schedule for the National League, as they added the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets to their lineup, as the NL returned to New York City, after a four-year absence...

American League Triple Crown 1 1956
Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 1 1956
1956 in sports
1956's events in world sport.-Alpine skiing:* The men's Olympic Gold Medal:** Downhill: Toni Sailer, Austria** Slalom: Toni Sailer, Austria** Giant Slalom: Toni Sailer, Austria* The women's Olympic Gold Medal:** Downhill: Madeleine Berthod, Switzerland...

Hickok Belt
Hickok Belt
The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, known as the Hickok Belt, was a trophy awarded for 27 years to the top professional athlete of the year in the United States...

1 1956
Hutch Award
Hutch Award
The Hutch Award is given annually to an active Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson...

1 1965
1965 Major League Baseball season
The 1965 Major League Baseball season was held between the American and National Leagues. The Houston Colt .45s became the Astros, as they moved from Colts Stadium to the new Astrodome, becoming the first team to play their home games indoors, rather than outdoors. It was also the final season...

World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 champion
7 1951
1951 World Series
The 1951 World Series matched the two-time defending champion New York Yankees against the New York Giants, who had won the National League pennant in a thrilling three-game playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers on the legendary home run by Bobby Thomson .In the Series, the Yankees showed some power of...

, 1952
1952 World Series
The 1952 World Series featured the three-time defending champion New York Yankees beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. The Yankees won their fourth straight title—tying the mark they set between 1936 and 1939 under manager Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel became the second manager in Major...

, 1953
1953 World Series
The 1953 World Series matched the four-time defending champion New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a rematch of the 1952 Series. The Yankees won in six games for their fifth straight title—a mark which has not been equalled—and their sixteenth overall...

, 1956
1956 World Series
The 1956 World Series of Major League Baseball was played between the New York Yankees and the defending champion Brooklyn Dodgers during the month of October 1956. The Series was a rematch of the 1955 World Series...

, 1958
1958 World Series
The 1958 World Series was a rematch of the 1957 Series, with the New York Yankees beating the defending champion Milwaukee Braves in seven games for their eighteenth title, and their seventh in ten years...

, 1961
1961 World Series
The 1961 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Cincinnati Reds , with the Yankees winning in five games to earn their 19th championship in 39 seasons. This World Series was surrounded by Cold War political puns pitting the "Reds" against the "Yanks"...

, 1962
1962 World Series
The 1962 World Series matched the defending American League and World Series champions New York Yankees against the National League champion San Francisco Giants, who had won their first NL pennant since 1954 and first since moving from New York in 1958, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a...


See also


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External links


{{Baseballstats|br=m/mantlmi01|fangraphs=1008082|cube=Mickey-Mantle}}

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{{Succession box| before = Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

 | title = American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

| years = 1956 | after = Frank Robinson
Frank Robinson
Frank Robinson , is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He played from 1956–1976, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. He is the only player to win league MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues...

}}
{{S-end}}

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{{New York Yankees}}

{{Use mdy dates|date=August 2010}}
{{Persondata
|NAME = Mantle, Mickey Charles
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
|SHORT DESCRIPTION = Professional baseball player
|DATE OF BIRTH = October 20, 1931
|PLACE OF BIRTH = Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Spavinaw is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 563 at the 2000 census. The town is best known as the birthplace of baseball player Mickey Mantle.-Geography:Spavinaw is located at ....


|DATE OF DEATH = August 13, 1995
|PLACE OF DEATH = Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...


}}
{{DEFAULTSORT:Mantle, Mickey}}