Growing up in West Texas during the 1950’s, baseball was the “King of Sports” not football…..and there was no bigger name in the game of baseball than Mickey Mantle…..for he was “The Anointed One” whose name was on the lips of dang near every kid out in “God’s Country”….which is better known as West Texas. The truth be known, Mantle was just one of a handful of really great MLB players during the decade of the 1950’s…..which included Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Warren Spahn, Duke Snyder, Early Wynn, Whitey Ford, Ernie Banks et al….. but he was hand’s down the most popular and beloved player that the game had seen since the Immortal Babe, Babe Ruth….and out under West Texas skies at night….which was a place where you could see the nighttime sky completely speckled with billions and billions of stars almost every night…..as a place where West Texas boys would regularly lay on the grass and stare up at vast universe as it presented its nightly show on a “starry starry night”…..while listing to a major league ballgame on their transistor radio. The truth be known, it is simply amazing how many MLB games those hand-held transistor radios could pick up from airways in the vast skies of West Texas…..with the Cardinals, Cubs and Yankees being part of the nightly MLB menu available throughout the West Texas airways. I have really fond memories of laying on the cool grass of our front yard with my two brothers and neighborhood friends Rocky and Meathead…..which was after evening dinner, nightly chores like washing the dishes and taking out the trash and doing our homework was completed….. as that was when we got to go out to the front yard and lay beneath the stars with a long stem of bermuda grass in our mouths…..when we dialed up the Yankee game and began rooting for The Mick, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Scooter Rizzuto…..for those were the days….or should I say, those were the nights. The energy level would increase significantly during each and every Yankee game that we were able to listen to when Mickey Mantle would come to bat…..for he was unquestionably the “biggest hero” of all those youngsters who followed baseball in the 1950’s in West Texas…..as well as around the rest of America…..cuz The Mick was a superstar of seismic proportions. He wasn’t just good….heck, he made you feel good just watching….for he had a “raw presence” that was just mesmerizing….cuz he was dashing, handsome and graceful…..with a boyish look and great smile…. you just saw Mickey Mantle and you liked him….plus, as an athlete, he was naturally ripped…..who simply re-stretched those pinstripes on his upper body. Everybody, especially boys of the 1950’s and 1960’s. wanted to be connected to him, to be a part of him….as he was the absolute hero. I remember just how many boys on the playground at school and baseball diamond, along with myself, had painted # 7 on our t-shirts and baseball jerseys….and most of us has his “lefty” and his “righty” batting stance and swing down …..and we all tried to run like Mickey….shoot, we could even limp the way that Mickey limped. Typical adoration of The Mick is evidenced in a poem that Actor Ed Harris wrote when he was 10 years old as follows:
From a pinstriped shirt his arms do come Like massive stones they appear to some For these are arms that compare with few And a normal man one is made two
The truth be known, when you say Mickey Mantle, you say baseball…..for Mickey Mantle was bigger than life in the minds of young boys and girls during the 1950’s…..and since we here at ImaSportsphile were products of that West Texas generation…..we are absolutely overjoyed to present this tribute to the one and only Mickey Mantle.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Special – Yankeeography Documentary – Mickey Mantle
Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995), nicknamed The Commerce Comet and The Mick, was an American professional baseball player. Mantle played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career (1951–1968) with the New York Yankees as a center fielder, right fielder and first baseman. Mantle was one of the best players and sluggers…..and is regarded by many as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974…..and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Special – Athlete Mini Biography – New York Yankees Mickey Mantle
Mantle was one of the greatest offensive threats of any center fielder in baseball history…..as he has the 2nd highest career OPS+ among center fielders, (behind only Mike Trout)…..and he had the highest stolen base percentage in history at the time of his retirement. In addition, compared to the other four center fielders on the All-Century team, he had the lowest career rate of grounding into double plays…..and he had the highest World Series on-base percentage and World Series slugging percentage…..plus he also had an excellent .984 fielding percentage when playing center field. Mantle was able to hit for both average and power…..while especially tape measure home runs…..which was a term that had its origin in a play-by-play caller reacting to one of Mantle’s 1953 home runs. He hit 536 MLB career home runs…..while hitting .300 or more ten times…..and is still today the career leader (tied with Jim Thome) in walk-off home runs with 13…..with 12 in the regular season and one in the postseason…..plus, he is the only player in history to hit 150 home runs from both sides of the plate.
MLB – 2020 – Sirius XM Special Interview With Billy Crystal – As He Reveals How Anxious Mickey Mantle Was About Entering The Hall Of Fame
Mantle is 16th all-time in home runs per at bats…..while being 17th in on-base percentage…..plus being safe three out of four times he attempted to steal a base. He won the MVP Award three times….while coming in second three times…..and came within nine votes of winning five times.
MLB – 2016 – Special – Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life Excerpt – As Mickey Tells The Story of The Fight At The Copacabana Nightclub
Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956…..when he led the major leagues in batting average (.353)…..home runs (52)……and runs batted in (RBI) (130). He later wrote a book titles “My Favorite Summer 1956″…..which was about his best year in baseball. He was an All-Star for 16 seasons….while playing in 16 of the 20 All-Star Games that were played during his career. He was an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times….and a Gold Glove winner once. Mantle appeared in 12 World Series including seven championships…..and he holds World Series records for the most home runs (18)…..RBIs (40)…..extra-base hits (26)…..runs (42)…..walks (43)…..and total bases (123)…..so, to say that The Mick performed best when it counted the most would be a huge understatement.
MLB – 1999 – Special Documentary – ESPN’s SportsCentury – Mickey Mantle
Despite his accolades on the field, Mantle’s private life was plagued with tumult and tragedy….which included a well-publicized bout with alcoholism that led to his death from liver cancer.
MLB – 2017 – Special Interview With Dodger Legend Tommy Lasorda – As He Talks About Facing Mickey Mantle As A Pitcher
Mantle was born on October 20, 1931, in Spavinaw, Oklahoma….as the son of Lovell Mantle and Elvin Charles “Mutt” Mantle. He was of at least partial English ancestry; his great-grandfather, George Mantle, left Brierley Hill, in England’s Black Country, in 1848. Mutt named his son in honor of Mickey Cochrane, a Hall of Fame catcher. Later in his life, The Mick expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane’s true first name because 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. Mantle batted left-handed against his father when his father pitched to him right-handed…..and he batted right-handed against his grandfather, Charles Mantle, when his grandfather pitched to him left-handed. His grandfather died at the age of 60 in 1944, and his father died of Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 40 on May 7, 1952.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – ESPN Special – SportsCentury’s 50 Greatest Athletes Of All Time With Host Dan Patrick – Mickey Mantle: # 37
When Mantle was four years old, his family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma…..where his father worked in lead and zinc mines. As a teenager, Mantle rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals. In addition to his 1st love, baseball, Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School, playing basketball….as well as football…..when he played halfback and the University of Oklahoma offered him a football scholarship…..as his football playing nearly ended his athletic career…..when in his sophomore year, he was kicked on the left shin during a practice game…..and he developed osteomyelitis in his left ankle…..which was a crippling disease that was incurable just a few years earlier. Mantle’s parents drove him at midnight to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma…..where he was treated at the children’s hospital with the newly available penicillin…..which reduced the infection and saved his leg from amputation.
MLB – 1931 To 1950 – Special – Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story – “The Early Years”
Mantle began his professional baseball career in Kansas with the semi-professional Baxter Springs Whiz Kids…..when in 1948, Yankees scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle’s teammate, 3rd baseman Willard “Billy” Johnson…..when during the game, Mantle hit three home runs…..and Greenwade returned in 1949, after Mantle’s high school graduation, to sign Mantle to a minor league contract. Mantle signed for $140 per month (equivalent to $1,600 in 2021) with a $1,500 signing bonus (equivalent to $17,100 in 2021). Mantle was assigned to the Yankees’ Class-D Independence Yankees of the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League, where he played shortstop…..when during a slump, Mantle called his father to tell him he wanted to quit baseball…..so, Mutt drove to Independence, Kansas, and convinced Mantle to keep playing…..after which Mantle hit .313 for the Independence Yankees that season. Shulthis Stadium, the baseball stadium in Independence where Mantle played, had been the site of the 1st night game of organized baseball in 1930. Mantle hit his first professional home run on June 30, 1949, at Shulthis Stadium. The ball went over the center field fence, which was 460 feet from home plate.
MLB – 2019 – Jordan The Lion Travel Vlog – Commerce, Oklahoma: The Childhood Home Of Yankees HOF Mickey Mantle
In 1950 Mantle was promoted to the Class-C Joplin Miners of the Western Association…..where Mantle won the Western Association batting title with a .383 average….and also hit 26 home runs and recorded 136 runs batted in. However, Mantle struggled defensively at shortstop.
MLB – 2018 – Brigandi Collectibles Presents – 1950 Mickey Mantle Joplin Miners Original Type 1 Photo + More Mantle Memorabilia
Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 seaseon…..when Yankees manager Casey Stengel decided to promote Mantle to the majors as a right fielder instead of sending him back to the minors after an impressive spring training…..as Mickey Mantle’s salary for the 1951 season was $7,500. Bill Dickey said of Mantle at this time….”He is 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 now“. Mantle was assigned uniform #6….which signified the expectation that he would become the next Yankees star…..thus following Babe Ruth (#3), Lou Gehrig (#4) and Joe DiMaggio (#5). Stengel, speaking to SPORT, stated “He’s got more natural power from both sides than anybody I ever saw.”
MLB – April 20, 1951 – CBS Radio Special – NY Yankees Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle Talking At Penn Rail Station Prior To Boarding To Play 1st Game Of The 1951 Season – As Dimaggio Gives Advice About The Mick’s 1st At Bat In MLB
MLB – 1950 To 1968 – Special Documentary – “Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life”
After a brief slump, Mantle was sent down to the Yankees’ top farm team, the Kansas City Blues. 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 that day. When he arrived, he started packing his son’s clothes and, according to Mantle’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…..and went on to hit .361 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs during his stay in Kansas City.
MLB – 2015 – “Around Kansas” Special – Review Of Mickey Mantle In 1951 With The Kansas City Blues
Mantle was called up to the Yankees after 40 games with Kansas City….but this time he was wearing uniform #7…..when he hit .267 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 96 games. In the 2nd game of the 1951 World Series, New York Giants rookie Willie Mays hit a fly ball to right-center field…..as Mantle, playing right field, raced for the ball together with center fielder Joe DiMaggio….who called for the ball and made the catch. In getting out of DiMaggio’s way, Mantle tripped over an exposed drain pipe and severely injured his right knee. This was the first of numerous injuries that plagued his 18-year career with the Yankees. He played the rest of his career with a torn ACL.
MLB – 1951 To 1969 – Special – Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story – “The Yankee Years”
Joe DiMaggio retired from baseball following the 1951 World Series. The following year, Mantle moved to center field…..when he was selected as an “All-Star” for the 1st time…..and made the AL team…..but did not play in the 5-inning All-Star game that had Boston Red Sox Dom DiMaggio at center field. In his 1st complete World Series in 1952, Mantle was the Yankees hitting star….with an on-base percentage above .400…..and a slugging percentage above .600…..when he homered for the 3rd Yankee run in a 3–2 Game 6 win…..and he knocked in the winning runs in the 4–2 Game 7 win…. with a homer in the 6th inning…..and an RBI single in the 7th inning. Mantle played center field full-time for the Yankees until 1965….when he was moved to left field. He spent his final two seasons at 1st base. Among his many accomplishments are all-time World Series records for home runs with 18….. runs scored with 42…..and runs batted in with 40….which still stand today, some 65 years later.
MLB – 1951 – Chicago Film Studios Presents – 1951 World Series Highlights – New York Giants Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Yanks Rookie RF Mickey Mantle Blowing Out His Knee – Narrated By Lew Fonseca
MLB – 1951 – “Legends” With Host Paul Hornig – With Mickey Mantle On His Rookie Year Knee Injury In 1951 World Series Against The Giants
MLB – 1951 – New York Yankees Special – “A Championship Legacy: 1951 Yankees” – As Yanks Beat Giants In World Series
The osteomyelitic condition of Mantle’s left leg had exempted him from being drafted for military service since he was 18 in 1949….but his emergence as a star enter fielder in MLB during the Korean War in 1952 led baseball fans to question his 4-F military deferment…..so, two Armed Forces physicals were ordered….which included a highly publicized exam on November 4, 1952…..which was brought on by his All-Star selection….but all the speculation and concerns ended with his final rejection from the military physical exam….for his legs were simply that bad….yet The Mick performed as an MLB superstar for the next 17 years. Can you imagine what kind of records Mickey Mantle would have set had he played on “two good legs”!?!
MLB – 1952 – New York Yankees Special – “A Championship Legacy: 1951 Yankees” – As Mickey Mantle Takes Over Centerfield After Joe Dimaggio Retires in 1951 And Leads The Yankees To Win His 1st of 7 World Series Championships
MLB – 1952 – Chicago Film Studios Presents 1953 World Series Highlights – Brooklyn Dodgers Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Yanks Billy Martin + Mickey Mantle – Narrated By Lew Fonseca
MLB – 1952 – NY Yankees Tribute Production Presents – “Mickey Mantle’s World Series Game 7 Home Run”
Mantle had high hopes that 1953 would be a breakout year…..but his momentum was stopped by an injury…..when he missed several weeks….so his numbers were modest but respectable, especially with 92 RBIs.
MLB – 1953 – Chicago Film Studios Presents 1953 World Series Highlights – Brooklyn Dodgers Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Yanks Johnny Mize + Mickey Mantle + Yogi Berra – Narrated By Lew Fonseca
Mantle had his first 100 plus RBI year in 1954….which was a full season….and he regained his .300 batting average status.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – MLB Films Special – “The Great Mickey Mantle”
The next was arguably his 1st great year…..as he concluded with 37 home runs and a .306 batting average…..for with 37 homers, he was now a home run hitter, not just an all-around player with tremendous power.
MLB – 1955 – Chicago Film Studios Presents 1953 World Series Highlights – Brooklyn Dodgers Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Yanks Elston Howard + Mickey Mantle + Billy Martin – Narrated By Lew Fonseca
Mantle had his breakout season in 1956 after showing progressive improvement each of his 1st five years. Described by him as his “favorite summer”, his major league-leading .353 batting average…..along with his 52 home runs…..and 130 runs batted in brought home both the Triple Crown…. and his 1st of three Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Awards. He also hit his 2nd All-Star Game home run that season…..then during Game 5 of the 1956 World Series…..which was Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers…..that’s when Mantle kept the perfect game alive by making a running catch of a deep fly ball off the bat of Gil Hodges…..and he provided the 1st of the two runs the Yankees would score with a 4th inning home run off Brooklyn starter Sal Maglie. Mantle’s overall performance in 1956 was so exceptional that he was bestowed the Hickok Belt…..as the top American professional athlete of the year by a unanimous vote. The Mick is the only player to win a league Triple Crown as a switch hitter.
MLB – 1956 – Special – NBCs Bob Costas Salutes Yankees Mickey Mantle MVP + Triple Crown + World Series Championship Year
MLB – 1956 – Chicago Film Studios Presents 1956 World Series Highlights – Brooklyn Dodgers Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Yanks Mickey Mantle + Yogi Berra + Don Larsen’s Perfect Game – Narrated By Lew Fonseca
MLB – 1956 – All Star Game Highlights – Ted Williams + Mickey Mantle Go Back To Back Home Runs Off Warren Spahn
MLB – 1956 – NBC Special – Sportscaster Len Morton Interviews Mickey Mantle After MVP + Triple Crown + World Series Championship
MLB – August 4, 1956 – Special Film Highlights – NY Yankees Vs Detroit Tigers – Filmed on 8MM Kodak Film By Alphonse Capurso + Jack Capurso + Eric Monacelli – Featuring Yanks Mickey Mantle + Tigers Al Kaline
MLB + TV Ad – 1956 – Mickey Mantle For Karo Syrup
Mantle won his 2nd consecutive MVP in 1957…..after having led the AL in runs and walks…..while having a career-high .365 batting average….which was 2nd to Ted Williams’ .388…..and hitting into a league-low five double plays. His batting average in mid-season had climbed as high as .392….while his on-base percentage at one point had reached .537…..plus Mantle reached base more times than he made outs by a margin of 319 to 312…..which is one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.
MLB – 1957 – All Star Games (2) Highlights – With NL Winning Game 1 and AL Winning Game 2 – Featuring Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra et al
MLB – 1957 – Special – Highlights Of Mickey Mantle’s 2nd American League MVP Season
MLB – 1957 – World Series Highlights – Milwaukee Braves Vs New York Yankees – Featuring Braves Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn & Yankees Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer
The 1958 season started slowly for Mantle…..when the 1st half saw him at the .274 mark…..as a shoulder injury from a collision with Braves’ Red Schoendienst in the 1957 World Series left him with permanent struggles in his upper cut from the left side…..and although his injury affected his upper cut, it still can be said he was not injured in 1958. He regained his status by hitting .330 in the second half of 1958….. and leading his team back to the Series.
MLB – 1958 – World Series Highlights – Milwaukee Braves Vs New York Yankees – Yanks Win In 7 Games – Featuring Hank Bauer + Gil McDougal + Yogi Berra + Mickey Mantle
MLB – 1958 Thru 1961 – MLB.Com Special – Mickey Mantle Highlights – Part 1
The 1959 season was another frustrating year…..with the 1st half of his season being good and his 2nd half being comparatively bad….plus, the season was bad for the Yankees, too…..as they finished 3rd. It was also in 1959 that he was timed running from home plate to first base in 3.1 seconds…..which was considered outstanding for a heavy hitter. ‘59 was the first of four consecutive seasons that two All-Star games were played….of which Mantle played in seven of these games…..as he made the AL All-Star team as a reserve player in 1959…..when his numbers had tailed off from previous seasons…..and he was used as a pinch runner for Baltimore Orioles catcher Gus Triandos…..plus replacement right fielder for Cleveland Indians Rocky Colavito in the 1st game with Detroit Tigers Al Kaline playing the center field position. Mantle was then the starting center fielder in the 2nd All-Star Game’s lineup….while getting a single and a walk in four at bats. 1959 is said to be his only “off season “ in his prime…..and historians point to 75 runs batted in as particularly low for him…..but as the team slumped overall, he was still the team leader in several departments such as base stealing with 23….along with runs scored having 104…..plus on-base average /percentage at .399…..and with fielding at .995.
TV Ads & MLB – 1959 – New York Yankees All-Star Mickey Mantle Stars in Florida Oranges Commercial
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – MLB.Com Special – Mickey Mantle Highlights – Part 2
In 1960 Mantle started in both All-Star games…..while getting two walks in the 1st…..and a single in the 2nd game. Mantle had another “off year” by his standards…..as in the 1st week of June saw his batting average slump to .228…..but by mid-August, he was back in his prime…..while leading the team to another World Series…..and although his batting average was his lowest since his rookie year at .275…..but he led the league with 40 home runs and 94 runs batted in…..which saw him come in a close 2nd to Roger Maris’ MVP award…..when his on-base percentage was .400 for the year. In the 1960 season, he hit what is still believed to be the longest home run in history…..as he hit one over the right center field roof at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium…..which is said to have traveled 643 feet.
MLB – September 10, 1960 – This Day In Baseball History Special – Mickey Mantle Hits Longest Home Run In Baseball History 562 Ft
MLB – 1960 – World Series Highlights – NY Yankees Vs Pittsburg Pirates – With Pirates Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski + Smokey Burgess & Yanks Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle + Yogi Berra
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Sports Illustrated Special – This Week in Baseball History: “Mickey Mantle’s Longest Home Run”
On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid active player in baseball by signing a $75,000 contract…..as Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, and Ted Williams (who had just retired) had been paid over $100,000 in a season…..while Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000…..when Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time. The Mick‘s top salary was $100,000…..which he reached for the 1963 season…..and having reached that pinnacle in his 13th season, he never asked for another raise. During the 1961 season, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris, known as the “M&M Boys’, chased Babe Ruth’s 1927 single-season home run record…..but the New York press was extremely protective of The Babe’s record at that time….as they had been five years earlier, in 1956…..when Mantle had challenged Ruth’s record for most of the season. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 54, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. For that matter, the New York press had never been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team…..when in their opinion, he struck out frequently……was injury-prone…..while being a “true hick” from Oklahoma…..and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio.
MLB – 1961 – Baseball’s Greatest Hits Special – Yanks Mickey Mantle + Roger Maris Home Run Assault On 1927 Yanks Lou Gehrig + Babe Ruth Record – With Maris Breaking Ruth’s Single Season Record of Home Run Record
MLB – 1961 – Yankees Special – “Pinstripe Power: The Story of The 1961 New York Yankees”
MLB – 2009 – Mickey Mantle Interview Special – on The 1961 Home Run Record Chase By Roger Maris And Him
MLB – 1961 – Record Breaking Highlight – Yanks OF Roger Maris Hits His 61st HR To Break Babe Ruth’s Record of 60 HR’s In a Season – With Red Barber On The Call
Over the course of time, however, Mantle…..with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford, a native of New York’s Borough of Queens…..had gotten better at “schmoozing” with the New York media…..and had gained the favor of the press…..but Maris on the other hand, was a blunt upper-Midwesterner…..who never did the same…..and 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…..however, Mantle was unexpectedly hospitalized by an abscessed hip he got from a flu shot late in the season….. thus leaving Maris to break the record….as he finished with 61….which was one more than The Bambino”…..and Mantle finished with 54 home runs….. while leading the American league in runs scored and walks. For the 2nd year in a row, he narrowly missed winning his 3rd MVP award…..while finishing four points behind repeat winner, Roger Maris.
MLB – 1960 – Wonderful World of Sports Presents – Home Run Derby – Giants Willie Mays Vs Yankees Mickey Mantle
MLB – 1960 – Wonderful World of Sports Presents – Home Run Derby – Cubs Ernie Banks Vs Yankees Mickey Mantle
MLB – 1960 – Wonderful World of Sports Presents – Home Run Derby – Red Sox Jackie Jensen Vs Yankees Mickey Mantle
MLB – 1960 – Wonderful World of Sports Presents – Home Run Derby – Twins Harmon Killebrew Vs Yankees Mickey Mantle
In 1962 Mantle batted .321 in 121 games…..and was selected an All-Star for the 11th consecutive season…..while playing in the 1st game….but due to an old injury acting up, he did not play in the 2nd All-Star game. Despite missing 41 games, he was selected as MVP for the 3rd time…..while beating out teammate Bobby Richardson in the voting.
MLB – 1962 – Retro Seasons Production Presents – 1962 All Star Games (2) Highlights – Featuring NL’s Willie Mays + Roberto Clemente & AL’s Roger Maris + Mickey Mantle Plus US President John F. Kennedy
MLB – 1962 – MLB Productions Presents – 1962 World Series Highlights – San Francisco Giants Vs New York Yankees – With Narrator HOF Broadcaster Mel Allen
MLB – 1962 – Special Hand Held Film – Baltimore Orioles And New York Yankees Batting Practice
In 1963 he batted .314 in 65 games…..then on June 5 he tried to prevent a home run by Brooks Robinson in Baltimore….and got his shoe spikes caught in the center field chain link fence as he leaped against the fence for the ball …..and while coming down, he broke his foot…..and did not play again until August 4…..when he hit a pinch-hit home run against the Baltimore Orioles in Yankee Stadium…..and returned to the center field position on September 2. The 1963 season featured two amazing feats by Mantle…..with one being a line drive home run off the third tier facade at Yankee Stadium…..which was hit off Kansas City’s Pedro Ramos…..as it was the closest any hitter came to hitting a fair ball out of the park at Yankee Stadium…..and the home run followed the long rehabilitation of his foot…..then on June 29, he had been selected an All-Star as a starting center fielder…..but for the 1st time in his storied career, he didn’t make the 25-player team due to the foot injury.
MLB – 1963 – MLB Productions Presents – 1963 World Series Highlighs – New York Yankees Vs Los Angeles Dodgers – Featuring Dodgers Sandy Koufax + Bill Skowron + Don Drysdale + Frank Howard & Yankees Mickey Mantle + Tom Tresh + Phil Linz
In 1964 Mantle hit .303 with 35 home runs and 111 RBIs, and played center field in the All-Star game. In the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Mantle hit Barney Schultz’s first pitch into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium…..which won the game for the Yankees 2–1…..as the homer was his 16th World Series home run…..which broke the World Series record of 15 set by Babe Ruth. It also was perhaps his only “called shot”…..as he told on deck hitter Elston Howard, “he might as well return to the dugout …this game is over!” The Mick hit two more homers in the series to set the World Series record of 18 home runs….. which still exists today in 2022. The Cardinals ultimately won the World Series in 7 games. Mantle finished in 2nd place in MVP voting for 1964…. as Baltimore Oriole Brooks Robinson won the award. In that 1964 season, he also hit another major “tape-measure home run”…..which was a midsummer blast at Yankee Stadium traveling well past the 461-foot sign on the center field fence that landed in the left-center field bleachers…..and was reported to have traveled 502 feet.
MLB – 1964 – MLB Productions Presents – 1964 World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs Los Angeles Dodgers – Featuring Mickey Mantle Hitting 3 Home Runs To Give Him An MLB Record Of 18 World Series HR’s That Still Stands Today
The Yankees and Mantle were slowed down by injuries during the 1965 season…..as they finished in 6th place….while being 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins. He hit .255 with 19 home runs and 46 RBIs in 361 plate appearances. Mantle was again selected as an AL All-Star as a reserve player…..but did not make the 28-man roster for the 2nd time and last time due to an injury…..as he was replaced by Tony Oliva. To inaugurate the Astrodome…..which was the world’s 1st multi-purpose domed sports stadium…..that’s when the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees played an exhibition game on April 9, 1965…..and Mickey Mantle hit the park’s 1st home run.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Special Documentary – “Mickey Mantle: The American Dream Comes To Life”
In the 1966 season, Mantle’s batting average rose to .288…..while hitting 23 home runs….and 56 RBIs in 333 at bats….which was largely due to a very strong June and July…..when he returned to his 1964 form until he was sidelined by another injury.
Music & MLB – 1981 – Terry Cashman Special – “Talkin’ Baseball: With Willie, Mickey and the Duke”
MLB – 1985 – Special Mickey Mantle Story – “The Billy Martin Cow Story”
After the 1966 season, he was moved to 1st base….with Joe Pepitone taking over his place in the outfield…..and on May 14, 1967, Mickey Mantle became the 6th member of the “500 Home Run Club”..
MLB – May 14, 1967 – Special Highlights – Yankees OF Mickey Mantle Hits His 500th Home Run – “Becoming 6th Member Of The 500 Club”
Mantle hit .237 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI during his final season in 1968. The low batting average caused lifetime average to dip below .300….. which caused him anguish the next year as he worked with a statistician to review all his at bats since 1951…..while hoping to find enough hits to get him to .2995…..but he had to stay at .298. He was selected an AL All-Star and pinch hit at the All-Star Game on July 11…..as Mantle was selected an All-Star every season during his eighteen-year career except 1951 and 1966…..and did not play in the 1952, 1963, and 1965 seasons.
MLB – 1968 – All Star Game – Special – Mickey Mantle’s Last At Bat In 20 All Star Selections – With HOF Tom Seaver Pitching
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Special – Yankees Mickey Mantle Career Highlights
Mantle announced his retirement at the age of 37 on March 1, 1969. He gave a “farewell” speech on “Mickey Mantle Day”, June 8, 1969, in Yankee Stadium…..Mantle’s wife, mother and mother-in-law were in attendance….when they received recognition at the ceremony held in honor of him. When he retired, Mantle was 3rd on the all-time home run list with 536…..and he was the Yankees all-time leader in games played with 2,401….. which was broken by Derek Jeter on August 29, 2011.
MLB – 1969 – Yankee Stadium Special – “Mickey Mantle Day”
Mantle hit some of the longest home runs in Major League history…..when 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 the ball was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m)…..while another Mantle homer that was hit right-handed off Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1953 was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson…..who coined the phrase “tape-measure home run”…..was determined to have traveled 565 feet (172 m)…..so, deducting for bounces, there is no doubt that both landed well over 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. Mantle two times hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium….while nearly becoming the only player to hit a fair ball out of the stadium during a game. On May 22, 1963, against Kansas City’s Bill Fischer, Mantle hit a ball that fellow players and fans claimed was still rising when it hit the 110-foot (34 m) high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field…..as it was later estimated by some that the ball could have traveled 504 feet (154 m) had it not been blocked by the ornate and distinctive facade. On August 12, 1964, he hit one whose distance was undoubted….which was a center field drive that cleared the 22-foot (6.7 m) batter’s eye screen, some 75′ beyond the 461-foot (141 m) marker at the Stadium….as The Daily News reported it as a 502-foot homer.
MLB – 1956 To 1963 – Sports Illustrated Special – “This Week in Baseball History: Mickey Mantle’s Longest Home Run”
MLB – 1962 – MLB Special – Yankees Mickey Mantle Describes The Hardest Ball He Ever Hit – Against Kansas City On May 22, 1963 – Which Hit The Top Of Yankee Stadium’s Highest Facade On A Line Shot
Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate and hit more home runs batting left-handed than right, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter…..which is evidenced by the fact that in roughly 25% of his total at-bats he hit .330 right-handed to .281 left….as his 372 to-164 home run disparity was due to Mantle having batted left-handed much more often…..since the large majority of pitchers are right-handed, even still today in 2022. In spite of short foul pole dimension of 296 feet (90 m) to left and 301 feet (92 m) to right in original Yankee Stadium, Mantle gained no advantage there as his stroke both left and right-handed drove balls there to power alleys of 344′ to 407′ and 402′ to 457′ feet (139 m) from the plate. Overall, he hit slightly more home runs away (270) than home (266).
Movie & MLB – 2001 – HBO Movie – “61* – Starring Barry Pepper as Roger Maris and Thomas Jane as Mickey Mantle – Written by Hank Steinberg and directed by Billy Crystal
Movie & MLB – 2001 – SNY Like We Never Left Special – Reuniting Billy Crystal And The Stars Who Made The Movie “61*” – – With Hank Steinberg (Writer) + Billy Crystal (Director) + Barry Pepper (Roger Maris) + Thomas Jane (Mickey Mantle) + Host Sweeney Murti
Movie & MLB – 2001 – The Making of the HBO Movie “61*” – Behind The Scenes With Director Billy Crystal
Mantle was also one of the best bunters for base hits of all time. He is in 10th place in number of bases-empty bunt singles for his career, with 80 in only 148 at-bats.
MLB – 1956 – Special Frame By Frame Video – Mickey Mantle Drag Bunt To 1st Base In 3.2 Seconds – “Nothing But Incredible”
MLB – 1975 – Special Video – Mickey Mantle Takes A Minute To Teach How He Could Drag Bunt And Make It To 1st In 3.1 Seconds!
Mantle’s career was plagued with injuries…..which began in high school….as he suffered both acute and chronic injuries to bones and cartilage in his legs …..while 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 and really anyone who knows baseball like those of us at ImaSportsphile, often ponder “what if” had he not been injured……and had been able to lead a healthy career. As a 19-year-old rookie playing right field in his first World Series, Mantle tore the cartilage in his right knee on a fly ball hit by Willie Mays…..when Joe DiMaggio was playing center field…..as Mays’ fly was hit to shallow center…..and as Mantle came over to back up DiMaggio, his spikes caught a drainage cover in the outfield grass…..and his knee twisted awkwardly causing him to instantly fall. 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. Dr. Stephen Haas, medical director for the National Football League Players Association, has speculated that Mantle may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament (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 in 1956. In 1949 he received a draft-examine notice and was about to be drafted by the US Army…..but failed the physical exam…..and was rejected as unqualified due to having such “bad stems”….and was given a 4-F military deferment for any service.
MLB – 1969 – The Ed Sullivan Show – With Mickey Mantle’s Retirement The Topic Of Conversation
During the 1957 World Series, Milwaukee Braves second baseman Red Schoendienst fell on Mantle’s left shoulder in a collision at second base. Over the next decade, Mantle experienced increasing difficulty hitting from his left side.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Mr Baseball Presents – “Mickey Mantle # 7 Power And Pain”
Mantle desired to be remembered as a stellar teammate. Joe Collins, who played with him from 1951 through 1957, recalled that “Mickey was the type of guy who cared about you as a person. As a teammate, he never complained about his injuries and always tried to lead by example. He always had that country boy attitude that made you feel at ease. He was a huge star, but he never treated you like he was better than you.” Also displaying a sense of humor, he enjoyed playing practical jokes on his teammates…..as he’d frequently dump ice water on those who were taking hot showers…..and other times, he would leave fake snakes, bugs or frogs around for Phil Rizzuto to find. Once, he put a live snake in Marshall Bridges’s uniform….and another time he released a live mongoose into the visitors clubhouse at Tiger Stadium.
MLB – 1969 – Yankees Special – Mickey Mantle Retirement Plaque Day With Joe DiMaggio As Presenter Followed By The Mick’s Speech
Mantle served as a part-time color commentator on NBC in 1969….while teaming up with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek to call some Game of the Week telecasts….as well as that year’s All-Star Game….then in 1972, he was a part-time commentator for the Montreal Expos.
MLB – 1983 – Special – Sportscaster Warner Wolf Interviews Mickey Mantle
In 1973, at the Old-Timers Game, at Yankee Stadium, Mantle, batting right handed, faced old buddy Whitey Ford…..when after fouling a few off, he belted a towering home run over the 402 foot sign by the bullpen…..which is now called “his last home run at Yankee Stadium”.
MLB – 1973 – Old Timer’s Game – Mickey Mantle Hits His Last Home Run In Yankee Stadium Off His Good Friend P Whitey Ford – With Yankees Sportscasting Legend Mel Allen On The Call
Although he was among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman and did not invest well…..however, his lifestyle was restored to its former luxury by his leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the US beginning in the 1980’s…..as The Mick was a prized guest at baseball card shows…..while commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autographs. 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….so that they could earn some money from the event.
MLB – 2014 – Collector’s World Special – MLB Dodgers/Senators Great OF/1B Frank Howard Discussing Mickey Mantle Going 5 for 5 On May 30, 1968 vs Senators
After the failure of Mickey Mantle’s Country Cookin’ restaurants in the early 1970’s….that is when Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988….and it became one of New York’s more popular restaurants…..where his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance…..as Mantle let others run the business….but made frequent appearances.
MLB – 1994 – Special – Mickey Mantle Tells The Story Of His 535th Home Run Off Tigers P Denny McClain – “Denny Served It Up To Me”
Mantle served as a customer relations representative for the Dallas Reserve Life Insurance Company. In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a greeter and community relations rep. Mostly he represented the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events….but Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling was grounds for being placed on the “permanently ineligible” list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would be placed on the list if he went to work there…..while Hall of Famer Willie Mays….who had taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him…..nevertheless, Mantle accepted the position because he felt the rule was “stupid.” Mantle was reinstated on March 18, 1985, by Kuhn’s successor Peter Ueberroth. In 1992, Mantle wrote My Favorite Summer 1956 about his 1956 season.
MLB – 1986 – Special Video – “Mickey, Whitey and Me” – The Story of the First Mickey Mantle – Whitey Ford Fantasy Baseball Camp
On December 23, 1951, Mantle married Merlyn Johnson in Picher, Oklahoma….and 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 kept quiet about his many marital infidelities…..as Mantle was not entirely discreet about them…..which was evidenced by the fact that at his retirement ceremony in 1969, he brought his mistress along with his wife. In 1980 Mickey and Merlyn separated…..while living apart for the rest of Mickey’s life…..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 (born 1955), Billy (1957–1994), whom Mickey named for Billy Martin, his best friend among his Yankee teammates, and Danny (born 1960). Like Mickey, Merlyn and three of their sons became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin’s disease, as had several previous men in Mantle’s family.
MLB – 1985 – The Warner Wolf Show – With Guests Mickey Mantle, Duke Snyder And Willie Mays – Only Time The Three Ever Appeared On Television Together
Mantle made an appearance in the music video for “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon in 1988…..when he batted left-handed hitting while Paul Simon pitches left-handed.
Music & MLB – 1988 – Paul Simon Music Video – “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard” – Featuring NBA Great Spud Webb & MLB HOF Mickey Mantle
MLB – 1999 – Special Interview – Billy Crystal – On Yankees Baseball + Mickey Mantle
During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a condominium on Lake Oconee near Greensboro, Georgia…..which was 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…..as the town respected Mantle’s privacy…..while refusing either to talk about him to outsiders…..or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mantle 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.”
MLB – 2021 – Special Film By Ken Burns – “Baseball: 1950’s, Yankees And A Sport On The Move”
Mantle allegedly had his first drink of alcohol at age 19…..when teammate Hank Bauer gave him a beer that he “chugged as if it were soda pop”, according to baseball historian Frank Russo. Before Mantle sought treatment for alcoholism, he admitted that 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 died of Hodgkin’s disease at age 40 in 1952…..and his grandfather also died young of the same disease. “I’m not gonna be cheated,” he would say. At the time, Mantle did not know that most of the men in his family had inhaled lead and zinc dust in the mines…..which contribute to Hodgkin’s and other cancers….. as he outlived all the men in his family by several years. As the years passed, Mantle frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle’s…..who also died in part due to alcohol abuse by saying “If I’d known I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken a lot better care of myself.”
MLB – 1931 To 1995 – Special – Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story – “The Fear Of Dying Before He Was 40”
Mantle’s wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism and told him he needed to do the same…..so, he checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994…..which was after being told by a doctor that his liver was so badly damaged from almost 40 years of drinking that it “looked like a doorstop”…..as the doctor bluntly told Mantle that the damage to his system was so severe that “your next drink could be your last.” Also helping Mantle decide to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was sportscaster Pat Summerall…..who had played for the New York Giants football team at Yankee Stadium…..when by then was a recovering alcoholic…..and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle….as Summerall himself had been treated at the clinic in 1992. Shortly after Mantle completed treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, 1994, at age 36 of heart problems brought on by years of substance abuse…..and 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 in December of 2000, at age 47…..while Danny later battled prostate cancer. Mantle spoke with remorse about his drinking in a 1994 Sports Illustrated cover story…..when he said that he was telling the same old stories…..and realized how many of them involved himself and others being drunk….which included at least one drunk-driving accident…..so, he decided they were not funny any more. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends, and fans because of his alcoholism….and sought to make amends….. and shortly thereafter, that is when Mantle became a Christian…..when his former teammate Bobby Richardson, a Baptist, shared his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, Mantle joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee Bobby Murcer to raise money for the victims.
MLB – 1968 To 1995 – Special – Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story – “Alcoholism, The Betty Ford Center, Liver Replacement And Cancer”
Early in 1995, doctors discovered that Mantle’s liver had been severely damaged by both alcohol-induced cirrhosis and hepatitis C. They also discovered that he had an inoperable liver cancer known as undifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma…..which further necessitated a liver transplant. Mantle received the transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor…..and addressed fans that had looked to him as a role model. “This is a role model: Don’t be like me,” a frail Mantle said. He established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Mantle returned to the hospital in late July, and the cancer was found to have spread throughout his body…..as doctors found it to be one of the most aggressive cancers they had ever seen….while attributing the antirejection drugs Mantle was taking for his liver transplant for helping the cancer spread so quickly. Mantle’s popularity led to controversy over his liver transplant…..as some felt that his fame had permitted him to receive a donor liver in just one day….thus bypassing patients who had been waiting much longer…..but Mantle’s doctors insisted that the transplant was based solely on medical criteria….and acknowledged that the very short wait created the appearance of favoritism.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – Peyton Procell DK Video Special – “A Compilation Of Mickey Mantle Home Runs Throughout His Career”
During Mantle’s recovery he made peace with his estranged wife, Merlyn, and repeated a request he made decades before for Bobby Richardson to read a poem at his funeral. Mantle died at 2:10 A.M. on August 13, 1995, at Baylor University Medical Center with his wife at his side…..which was five months after his mother had died at age 91. His son David was also present. The Yankees played the Indians that day…..and honored him with a tribute. At Mantle’s funeral, Eddie Layton played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the Hammond organ because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. Roy Clark sang and played “Yesterday, When I Was Young.” The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a # 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Mantle Family Mausoleum, located in the St. Matthew Section of the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas described him as “a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic.” Costas continued: “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 obliged in reading the poem at Mantle’s funeral, which he described as being extremely difficult. The same poem (God’s Hall of Fame), which was written by a baseball fan, was recited by Richardson for Roger Maris during Maris’ funeral…..and goes as follows:
God’s Hall of Fame
Your name may not appear down here
In this world’s Hall of Fame.
In fact, you may be so unknown
That no one knows your name;
The headlines here may pass you by,
The neon lights of blue,
But if you love and serve the Lord,
Then I have news for you.
This Hall of Fame is only good
As long as time shall be;
But keep in mind, God’s Hall of Fame
Is for eternity.
This crowd on earth they soon forget
The heroes of the past.
They cheer like mad until you fail
and that’s how long you last.
But in God’s Hall of Fame
By just believing on His Son
Inscribed you’ll find your name.
I tell you, friend, I wouldn’t trade
My name, however small,
That’s written there beyond the stars
In that Celestial Hall,
For any famous name on earth,
Or glory that it shares;
I’d rather be an unknown here
And have my name up there.
MLB – 1995 – Special – Bob Costas Gives Eulogy For Mickey Mantle At His Funeral Service
MLB – 1995 – ESPN Sunday Sportsday Special Coverage Of Mickey Mantle’s Death – With Jack Edwards + Dick Schaap
After Mantle’s death, his family pursued a federal lawsuit against Greer Johnson, his agent and live-in aide during the last decade of his life, 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.
MLB – 2020 – Mike Pinto Presents – Danny & David Mantle – “A Conversation About Their Dad Mickey Mantle”
Talk Show & MLB – 2022 – In Depth With Graham Benzinger – With Guest Bob Costas As He Tells About The Night That Mickey Mantle Let His Guard Down
Mantle was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1964. On Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium, June 8, 1969, Mantle’s #7 was retired and he was a given a bronze plaque to be hung on the center field wall near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins. The plaque was officially presented to Mantle by Joe DiMaggio. Mantle afterwards, gave a similar plaque to DiMaggio, telling the huge crowd in Yankee Stadium, “Joe DiMaggio’s deserves to be higher.” In response, 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 a newly created Monument Park behind the left-center field fence…..which has since been replaced by a new Monument Park at the current Yankee Stadium….. which opened in 2009.
MLB – June 8, 1969 – Live At Yankee Stadium – Mickey Mantle Day – As The Mick Receives His Placque And Speaks To An Adoring Standing Room Only Yankee Stadium
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 monument now stands at the current Monument Park…..while 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 higher than Mantle’s. Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974…..which was Mantle’s 1st year of eligibility and Ford’s 2nd.
MLB – 1987 – Rogers Photo Archive Special – George Michael Sits Down With Mickey Mantle – As The Mick Clears Any Dust That Might Have Been Left Behind From His Early Career
Beginning in 1997, the Topps Baseball Card company retired card #7 in its baseball flagship sets in tribute to Mantle…..whose career was taking off just as Topps began producing them. Mantle’s cards, especially his 1952 Topps, are extremely popular and valuable among card collectors…..as one example of the 1952 card sold for $5.2 million in January 2021. Topps un-retired the #7 in 2006 to use exclusively for cards of Mantle in the current year’s design. In 2017, Topps began including #7 cards in its main sets again…..with Yanks catcher Gary Sanchez being the 1st player other than Mickey Mantle to appear in the #7 slot since 1995…..then in 2018, the #7 card was issued to Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier…..and in 2019, the #7 card was issued to Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres…..when in 2020, the #7 card was issued to Yankees right fielder, Aaron Judge. The first main series #7 card not issued to Mantle or a Yankee was to Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia in 2021.
MLB – 1974 – Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony Special – “Mickey Mantle’s Speech”
Music & MLB – September 22, 1956 – Music Special – Teresa Brewer + Mickey Mantle Sing – “I Love Mickey”
In 1998 The Sporting News placed Mantle at 17th on its list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players”…..and that same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team…..and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team’s outfielders. ESPN’s SportsCentury series that ran in 1999 ranked him #37 on its “50 Greatest Athletes” series. In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp, one of a series of four including fellow baseball legends Mel Ott, Roy Campanella, and Hank Greenberg. A statue of Mantle is located at Mickey Mantle Plaza at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the home stadium of the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive in Oklahoma City.
MLB – 1951 To 1968 – MLB Vault Special – “Generational Icon: Mickey Mantle”
As I come to the end of the story of one of this Sportsphile’s all-time favorite athletes…..as evidenced by the Mickey Mantle memorabilia collection that is currently showcased in our ImaSportsphile Memorabilia and Video Library for sale…..for here was a ballplayer that was perfect for the time period in which he played. The Mick was larger than life….he was life. On the ballfield there was something very dignified and heroic about the way he carried himself. the was something dramatic about him coming out of the on-deck circle and walking toward home plate…..cuz no matter what you were doing during those times of Mickey Mantle approaching home plate….whether you were laying on the grass looking up at the stars, sitting in front of the television set or at an MLB ballpark watching a Yankee game…..that is when the intensity would build as Mickey Mantle prepared to hit…..for he had this fury when he hit….as he put his heart and soul into every swing….and the ball exploded of his bat…..with a sound like you had never heard before…. when he brought a wildness to the plate….where his at bats were explosions. There was something about Mickey Mantle that screamed out “The Natural” ….as he was a “God-made” baseball player that stirred the imagination….and no other athlete in the history of sport has ever fit a team, a town and a time more perfectly than The Mick. He was humble and often shy…..as attention made him uncomfortable….but he could not escape it. He was a true American icon….while being fair haired, innocent and indestructible…..but up close, he was blemished and vulnerable…..yet still, he was an almost mythical character…..for there was a tremendous dynamo about Mantle…..cuz he was like a runaway mustang. He played at a time when television brought baseball into the American living room…..and Mickey Mantle was the star of stars. He was such a team leader, as teammate John Blanchard said, “He had the ability to pick you up as a teammate. You knew you could never be on his level….but buddy you broke your fanny trying to be as good as him. He wasn’t just good….but he made you feel good just watching him play.” As a young kid, he inherited fear….which was an inherited death sentence…. as he believed he would die before he was 40, like his father and grandfather had done…..and this fear drove him to despair….thus driving him to the bottle…..which resulted in an attitude of “who gives a shit, I’m a dead man” …..so, he lived the rest of his life with emotional and physical pain. It was hard to understand how he played at all….when you consider that he had 15 bone fractures over the course of his career…..while playing with every possible injury an athlete could have…..as he played hurt his entire career…. and the fans never knew it until late in his career….when he’d take a big swing and go down on one knee….cuz that is when you could feel the pain. After his career ended, Mickey was a lost child without baseball….as those who knew always saw a sadness about him…..plus, he really didn’t understand why he was so beloved….why grown men would cry when they met him, almost like a revelation much like a religious experience….for he just didn’t get it….while saying, “I just play fricking baseball”….as he didn’t aspire to be viewed that way….and in his mind, he didn’t pretend to be any more than just a kid from Commerce, Oklahoma…..so, he did everything in his power to undo the way people revered him. When he went to the Betty Ford Institute for rehabilitation as an alcoholic at the lowest point in his life in 1994….that is when he received more cards and letters than any other person who had gone there, up to 1994 and since to the present…..and for the 1st time in his life, he realized what he meant to people. After his liver transplant in 1995, he made a public statement that had more impact and was more memorable than any of his mammoth home runs….when a beat-up lame Mickey Mantle wanted to send a message “I would like to say to all the kids out there to take a good look at me…..you talk about a role model….this is not a role model….don’t be like me, you know….I mean, God gave me a body and an ability to play baseball….which is what I wanted to do…..and I just wasted it….I was given so much….and I blew it. I did things wrong and made mistakes. I want to start giving something back….cuz all I did was just take.” Mickey Mantle was a stronger and bigger man when he knew he was dying than ever was during the rest of his life. He faced his mistakes with more strength than he thought he ever had….when he was at his frailest….for it was his greatest hour…..as he told the world that he helped himself too little too late….but his message had an affect on possibly millions of people to not let their lives get out of control with alcohol. His last public statement was his greatest when he said, “If you want to do something really great….be an organ donor.” I will close by saying this…..every boy of the 1950’s and 1960’s built a shrine to some baseball hero…..and before that shrine a candle always burned….cuz for a large portion of my generation, Mickey Mantle was that hero. It is said that the truth is never pure and rarely simple….for the emotional truths of childhood have a power that transcends objective fact….which stays with us through all the years. They say you never forget your 1st love…..and for me, it was baseball and Mickey Mantle…..and there is a part of Mickey Mantle in my heart and mind that has never gone away. None of us ever want to be held accountable for every moment of our lives ….and there are very few of us that can ever say that the best of our moments are a magnificent as The Mick‘s…..for there is a mystic about Mickey Mantle that will go on forever. I just know that God had a place for Mickey where he could run again….and smile that boyish smile….for God knows that nobody is perfect…..while He knows there is something special about heroes.
MLB – 1994 – Special Bob Costas Interview With Mickey Mantle – The Last In Depth Interview Prior To His Death – As Nothing Come Close To Matching The Depth Of This Touching And Revealing Interview
MLB – 1950 To 1969 – Jimsvt’s Special Video – “In Memory Of Mickey Mantle” – With Collection Of Photos, Depicting His Life, In And Out Of Baseball, In Honor Of The MICK!
I can remember May 15, 1956 as if it was yesterday…..when I rode my Schwinn bicycle down Louisiana St. one block…..then made a right turn on Indiana St. to Hank’s Grocery, our neighborhood store…..for I had my 50 cent monthly allowance from my Dad for doing chores around the house…..and I spent it all on 5 packs of Topps baseball cards. By that time, I was 9 years old and had just made the Yankees Major Little League team as one of only 3 youngsters that made the major little league at 9 years old in 1956. I played centerfield and wore # 7…..and was already a diehard NY Yankees fan….. whose hero was Mickey Mantle…..for he was already my idol. I remember getting up early to get the sports page from the daily newspaper, just to see what The Mick had done at bat. It was on the 5th and final pack of baseball cards that I bought and opened on May 15,1956 that I “struck gold”…..as there it was, a Topps 1956 NY Yankees Mickey Mantle card…..and still today, that was one of the happiest day’s of my life. Over the course of the next 10 years, I bought hundreds of packs of baseball cards…..while having no interest in any other cards than New York Yankees players. Heck, I must have traded at least a three dozen Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and many other great players cards to friends who had Yankees cards in their collection…..as truth be known, I also traded my favorite and most beautiful agate marble…..which had won me so many prize marbles from highly contested marble games…..for a 1956 Mickey Mantle MVP + Triple Crown card…..which I have cherished to this day. A friend of mine, Chris Murphy and I, sent Mickey Mantle a baseball to sign in 1956…. which Chris got the autograph ball in return mail…..but I never received mine ……so, I was able to buy his ball for $25 just before Chris left Midland for college in 1965. Needless to say, he was not a big Yankee fan, or for that matter a big sports fan….and he needed money for school….so, I put another jewel into my crown of Mickey Mantle memorabilia. As is readily seen, I have had a 70 year affection for The Mick …..for he was my first sports hero …..which is a position that he still holds today in April 2022….as evidenced by this collection seen below.
NOTE: My entire NY Yankee collection (memorabilia & video library) is for sale and can be seen by going to our ImaSportsphile home page and clicking on the tab Imasportsphile Memorabilia and Video Library For Sale Click Here.