The Late Great Mickey Mantle Besmirched By ‘TELL-ALL’ Book

//The Late Great Mickey Mantle Besmirched By ‘TELL-ALL’ Book

The Late Great Mickey Mantle Besmirched By ‘TELL-ALL’ Book

by Mark Skousen

Many consider Mickey Mantle the greatest baseball player ever, next to Babe Ruth, and he is certainly the greatest switch-hitter in baseball history. Mantle-related items like signed baseballs and bats command the highest prices of any ball player, past or present, with the exception of Ruth. He had a magnetic personality that fans couldn’t get enough of.

He played his entire storied 18-year major-league career for the New York Yankees, wearing the famous number 7 (now retired). He was named Most Valuable Player three times, and some experts think he had nine straight MVP years. He won the coveted Triple Crown in 1956 (leading the league in homers, runs batted in, and batting average).

And as the World Series is about to begin, you should know that Mantle holds the record for most World Series home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26) and total bases (123). It is doubtful that anyone will surpass him in these categories.

He was the consummate team player, and the Yankees won seven World Series rings with him batting clean-up. Not surprisingly, his name includes the words “key man”: MicKEY MANtle.

mantle1-299x240I saw Mickey play only once in the late 1950s as a youngster, but I will never forget the mammoth home-runs and the power of his swing. Nobody swung the bat with such grit as Mickey Mantle.

Now comes a new “tell all” biography, “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood” by veteran sports writer Jane Leavy, author of a biography of Sandy Koufax, the great Dodger pitcher.

There’s an old saying, “A sculptor never leaves behind all his shavings.” If Jane Leavy really loved Mickey Mantle, as she claims, she would have done the same in writing her biography of the boy wonder, and left out the lurid details about Mantle’s “bad boy” image. Instead, she has become the Kitty Kelly of sports writing, and made us all into peeping toms. I must admit that I could not finish reading her book, which is full of obsessive personal details of a famous man. I couldn’t get past all the gutter language and crass stories.

Sports Illustrated had to censor her excerpt in SI. Thank goodness there’s still some dignity left in the sports profession. There was a time years ago when sports writers ignored the peccadillos of their heroes, just as political writers kept silent about their favorite politicians. But that is a by-gone era. The Age of Innocence is long gone.

I don’t really understand the purpose of the public vetting of a great player’s foibles other than pure titillation, which I find to be a lazy endeavor without value.

The “tell all” biographers have done it to the Babe, Joe DiMaggio, George Steinbrenner, and now Mantle.

Years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting my childhood hero at a ball signing, but having heard of his “bad boy” image, I decided against it. A collector went for me, and got an autographed baseball, “To Dr. S, Mickey Mantle,” which I will always cherish. Mantle was a man, not a boy, in my book, and that’s how I would like to remember him.

I don’t want to remember him as a womanizer and teller of dirty jokes, but as the man who would go out of his way to help a team mate or a friend.

I don’t want to remember Mickey Mantle as a drunk who came to the plate and hit a home run. I want to remember him as a great hitter who came limping to the plate in pain and hit a home run, and as he crossed the plate, saw blood ooze from his leg.

That’s my kind of hero.

Mark Skousen is a professional economist, university professor, and author of over 25 books.
He is the editor of Forecasts & Strategies, and producer of FreedomFest (freedomfest.com).
The Daily Caller Article.
He is a lifetime Yankee fan.

2016-12-12T11:30:34+00:00 October 7th, 2010|Insights|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Annie December 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    what a great writer you are and a the great respect you have for Mantle’s love of team and love of the game is wonderfully refreshing. I, too, was very disappointed in the book “The Last Boy”. Thank you for your opinion. I am always a Yankee fan!

  2. Jim Blackwell January 31, 2019 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Mickey Mantle was my childhood hero. He had more talent than anyone I have ever saw play the game. Great outfielder, could outrun a deer, had more power than anyone I have ever seen, a great hitter and loved by everyone. A true Yankee. I remember when I was a child sitting in my grandfathers car a 1948 green Chev. with no air conditioner sweating heavy on Saturday and Sundays listening to all of the Yankee games. My grandfather sat and listened to the games with me. What a memory. I couldn’t get enough of the Yankees and Mickey Mantle. I had a chance to see him play a number of times in Washington and Balitmore. I saw him play a exbitition game in Richmond Va. against their farm team back in 1968 it was near the end of his career. He hit a home run over the center field fence, drag bunted for a hit and stole second base. Then they took him out of the game with a standing ovation from the crowd. Their will never be another another Mickey Mantle.

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