| Mickey Charles
Mantle, born October 20, 1931, in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. Named by his Father "Mutt" Mantle after Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane. When Mickey was four years old, his family moved to the nearby town of Commerce,
Mickey Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School, playing basketball, football, and baseball.
It was football playing that nearly ended his athletic career, and
his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected with osteomyelitis, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight ride to Tulsa enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin, saving his leg from amputation. He would suffer from the effects of the disease for the rest of his life, and it would lead to many other injuries that hampered his accomplishments.
In 1948 playing semi-pro Ball as a shortstop in Baxter Springs (KS) Yankees' scout
Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mickey's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game
Mickey Mantle hit two homers, one right handed, and one
left handed into a river well past the ballpark's fences. Greenwade wanted to sign Mickey on the spot but, upon finding out that he was only sixteen and still in high school, told him he would come back to sign him with the Yankees on his graduation day in 1949. Good to his word, Greenwade was there right on schedule, signing Mickey Mantle to a minor league contract with the Yankees Class D team in Independence.
April 17, 1951 the 19 year old Mickey Mantle broke into the big leagues with the New York Yankees wearing uniform number 6. After a bad start Mickey was sent down to the
minors. He told his dad he was going to quit, and his father told him to pack his bags to come home. After a second thought to try again Mickey was then called up again to the
Yankees, and was then issued number 7 for good. Mickey became the regular right fielder playing only a few games at shortstop and third base between 1952 to 1955. He moved to center field in 1952, replacing
Joe DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season.
During the 1951 World Series Mickey tripped on a water drain in the outfield, a serious injury that affected his playing for the rest of his career.
"On two legs, Mickey Mantle would have been the greatest ballplayer who ever lived."
- Nellie Fox
Greatest switch hitter of all time Mickey Mantle led the American League in home runs four
times, was named the most valuable player in the American League three times. including 1956 when he
won the Triple crown. That Year Mickey batted .356
hit 52 Home Runs, and knocked in 130 RBIs. Mickey Mantle
was a 16 time All-star, played on 12 pennant winning teams,
and owns 7 World Series Rings. Mantle still hold many post
season records including a record 18 World Series Home runs.
"If that guy were healthy, he'd hit eighty home runs." -
Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit that was estimated years after to have traveled 643 feet. Another
Mickey Mantle homer at Griffith Stadium in Washington on April 17, 1953, was measured to have traveled 565 feet. One of his most famous home runs came inches away from clearing the Yankee Stadium facade to be the only hitter to hit the ball out of Yankee Stadium. The Ball was still traveling up when it hit.
On January 16, 1961,
Mickey Mantle became the highest-paid active baseball player by signing a $75,000 contract.
Years after he retired Mantle was asked with the High salaries
ball players are getting paid today. How much did he think he
would make. He Smiled, and said he would walk into George Steinbrenner's
office and say "Hello Partner"
years of Playing in pain due to all the leg injuries, Mickey
called it quits after the 1968 season. When Mickey Mantle retired he
was third on the all time list for Home runs with 536 behind
Babe Ruth 714, and Willie Mays 583.
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. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "His should be just a little bit higher than mine."
in Mickey's family lived short lives. Mickey's Father died at
the age of 39, and Mantle thought his faith would be as such.
Later in his life Mickey was quoted as saying that if he knew
he would live this long he would have taken better care of
himself. After years of alcohol abuse Mickey Mantle was
diagnosed with liver cancer in 1994. In June of 1995 Mickey
received a liver transplant. At a press conference Mickey
noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model; "This
is a role model: Don't be like me". Before he died in
August 1995 at the age of 63 of liver cancer He established the Mickey Mantle Foundation
to raise awareness for organ
donations. He was very proud of this.
occurs to me as we're all sitting here thinking of Mickey, he's probably somewhere getting an earful from Casey Stengel, and no doubt quite confused by now"
From Bob Costas' Eulogy for Mickey Mantle