In light of a new book that was just released, we felt compelled to make this public statement. Was dad an alcoholic? Yes, he could be unruly sometimes and say rude things but alcohol does that to people. It makes a person say and do things that they normally wouldn’t do and say. When he acted rude towards people, he later deeply regretted it. So for these writers and other people to keep bringing up this issue is actually good because it points out why he got help in the first place. Was he a bad father? No. He never left his family and always made sure we were well taken care of. He had a heart of gold, always thinking of others. After his father passed, with dad at the young age of 21, he assumed the high pressure role of family provider and took care of everybody including his mother, brothers, sister, and his in-laws.
We are so proud to call him our dad. From the time he co-wrote his original biography “The Mick” in 1985 until his final days when he said “I am not a role model”, he was completely honest and open about his life. While in the Betty Ford Clinic, he received tens of thousands of cards and letters of support and thanks. His actions became an inspiration to others with the same problem which meant a lot to dad. He has no idea how many people have come up to us and expressed their sincere appreciation for the example he set in seeking help for his alcoholism.
Not only was dad loved and respected by his family and friends, he was equally loved and respected by his team mates and many of his opponents. More than anything, dad wanted to be known as a great team mate. That was everything to him. That’s all he wanted to be known for. Not the long homers, World Series records or his Hall of Fame career. He was a fierce competitor on the field and a great friend off the field to his team mates. Those he played with and against, as well as his true fans, knew dad far better than the writers of today who base their stories on one interview with him or never even met him at all.
All we can say is that dad was not perfect. None of us are. But, he wasn’t a bad person either. We know the world is a different place today looking for sensationalism, but to write someone’s life story using only half truths and not focus equally on the good as well as the bad is disappointing to us that loved him. Dad has been gone for over 15 years now. Many of his friends and team mates are gone too. Every new book that is released about him has to rely on more and more third party accounts and less on eye witness accounts and stories. We know that we can’t change the things that are written in these books but his true fans know his career, his courage, his competitive spirit, what he accomplished and what he meant to a generation of baseball fans. That will never change. That’s why we feel that we must address this to let the fans know because you were so important to him. So, thanks to the people that loved and respected him all these years. You mean the world to him and the Mantle family.
Danny and David Mantle