Birthday: October 20, 1931
Died At Age: 63
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Mickey Charles Mantle
Born in: Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Famous as: Baseball Player
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Merlyn Mantle
father: Elvin Charles Mantle
mother: Lovell Mantle
children: Billy Mantle, Danny Mantle, David Mantle, Mickey Mantle Jr.
Died on: August 13, 1995
place of death: Dallas
Cause of Death: Alcoholism
U.S. State: Oklahoma
education: University of Oklahoma
awards: Rawlings Gold Glove Award
Who was Mickey Mantle?
Mickey Mantle was a renowned American professional baseball player, who was also known as “The Mick” and “The Commerce Comet.” He played for the ‘New York Yankees’ in ‘Major League Baseball’ (MLB) as their first baseman and center fielder. He was one of the greatest switch-hitters and sluggers in the history of the tournament. His inclusion in the ‘Baseball Hall of Fame’ in 1974 and in the ‘MLB All-Century’ team in 1999 further proved his worth in the American professional baseball scene. Born and raised in Oklahoma, he was the son of a miner. After playing baseball throughout his school days, he was picked up by the ‘New York Yankees’ in 1951. The next season saw Mickey achieving greater stardom. 1956 was the golden year of Mickey’s career, as it brought him a ‘Triple Crown’ win and several other honors. He was named an ‘All-Star’ 16 times in his career. He finally bid farewell to the game in 1969, after a significantly successful run.
Childhood & Early Life
Mickey Mantle was born on October 20, 1931, in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, to a lead miner, Elvin Charles Mantle, and his wife, Lovell Mantle. The family was from England and had moved to the US in the late 19th century.
Elvin loved baseball and was an ardent fan of Mickey Cochrane, who was included in the ‘Hall of Fame.’ This made him name his son after Cochrane. Mickey was very close to his father and later claimed in his interviews that his father was the bravest man he had ever known and that no son had ever loved his father more than he did. His father had introduced him to baseball, and the father-son duo would often be found playing in their backyard.
Mickey’s grandfather too was also a major baseball fan. All three of them would play and practice all day. He batted left-handed if his father pitched him with his right hand and vice versa, as Mickey found it harder to play an opposite-handed pitcher and this technique further trained him better.
Mickey’s grandfather died in 1944 at the age of 60, and just a few years later, his father too passed away. Mickey studied at ‘Commerce High School’ and played a lot of sports, including baseball and football. However, he preferred baseball more than any other sport.
Football had once threatened to end his athletic career. While in his sophomore year in school, he developed a very bad bone infection in his ankle, known as osteomyelitis, which was incurable till a few years prior to the incident. He was driven to Oklahoma City to be treated, and that saved his leg from being amputated. Within a few weeks, he was ready to play baseball again.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
In 1949, Mickey made his professional baseball debut with the ‘New York Yankees’ minor team and played his first few matches as a shortstop in Independence, Kansas. Following his stellar performances in the minor-league matches, he was asked to participate in the major team’s training camps in 1951, and in the same year, he made his ‘MLB’ debut with the same team.
Mickey was made a part of the roster and this had the media going crazy about him. However, he did not perform according to the audience’s expectations. The death of his father too had affected his mental and physical health. Thus, he was sent back to the minor leagues for some time for him to get trained.
The 1952 season saw him playing for the ‘Yankees’ for the first time, with all his form. By the end of the league, he had averaged .311, which included 23 home runs and 87 RBIs. His exceptional performance as a newcomer immediately got him the attention that he deserved. During his match against the ‘Washington Senators,’ he hit a home run so hard that it went out of the ‘Griffith Stadium’ and was said to have traveled about 565 feet. This is still known to be one of the longest hits in the history of ‘MLB.’
During Mantle’s first three seasons with the team, his team won all three titles in the ‘World Series.’ Mantle hit two home runs in each of the 1952 and 1953 seasons, with a batting average of .345 and .208, respectively. This was against the strongest team, the ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ and was a great start for a young man who lacked experience.
Throughout the 50s, the ‘New York Yankees’ performed greatly and dominated the 4 ‘American League’ titles and two ‘World Series.’ In 1956, the golden year of Mickey’s career, he won the ‘Triple Crown,’ hit 52 home runs, scored 130 RBIs, and averaged .353. He was also named the league’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) and retained the title the following year, averaging .365.
The ‘Yankees’ continued with their winning streak through the 60s too. Mantle ended the 1961 season with 54 home runs, his all-time high score. In the 1962 season, Mantle was named the ‘MVP’ for the third time in his career. He continued performing well despite the pain in his leg, caused by an infection that he had had in high school.
As his pain intensified, his team too started performing poorly, and by the mid-60s, it seemed that the golden run of the ‘Yankees’ was about to come to an end. After a very bad season in 1965, Mantle stated that he felt like he was already 40, while he was just 33 at that time. In an attempt to get his lost form back, Mantle continued playing until 1968, and once the season ended, he announced his retirement from the game.
Achievements & Later Career
Mickey Mantle retired from the game tragically early. In his career, he hit 536 home runs in total, and became the ‘MVP’ thrice. He was also one of the very few players in the history of ‘MLB’ to have won a ‘Triple Crown.’ He was a part of seven ‘World Series’-winning teams and twelve ‘pennant-winning teams.
Mantle held the all-time record of the most home runs in a ‘World Series’ game (18 home runs) among other records. His short, yet glorious career earned him a place in the ‘National Baseball Hall of Fame’ in 1974.
After his retirement from baseball, Mantle had opened a restaurant and had also worked as for a casino in Atlantic City. He had also appeared in TV commercials and had done small roles in films.
Mickey Mantle struggled with alcoholism all his life. The problem worsened after his father’s demise in 1952, as he was extremely attached to his father. Years of alcohol abuse had him suffering from liver cancer, and he died on August 13, 1995.
In December 1951, Mickey married Merlyn Johnson. The couple had four sons. However, Mickey’s autobiography claimed that he had married Merlyn only because of his father’s wishes. Mickey had extra-marital relations with many women. Mickey and Merlyn stayed apart for 15 years from 1980, but they never divorced. Merlyn and her three sons too struggled with alcoholism.