Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13, 1995: Mickey Mantle's last "at bat" was great!

We remember that Mickey Mantle died August 13, 1995.  

Where did the years go?  

The Mick was the best Yankee in those Charlie Stengel teams that dominated baseball from 1949-64.  They won the AL pennant 14 times and The World Series 9 times during that run.

As every baby boomer kid remembers, Mick used to hit long homeruns, make outstanding plays in center-field and slide without fear:

"Mantle made his debut for the Yankees in 1951 at age 19, playing right field alongside aging center fielder Joe DiMaggio. That year, in Game 2 of the World Series, Willie Mays of the New York Giants hit a pop fly to short center, and Mantle sprinted toward the ball. DiMaggio called him off, and while slowing down, Mantle’s right shoe caught the rubber cover of a sprinkler head. 
"There was a sound like a tire blowing out, and my right knee collapsed," Mantle remembered in his memoir, All My OctobersMantle returned the next season, but by then his blazing speed had begun to deteriorate, and he ran the bases with a limp for the rest of his career.Still, Mantle dominated the American League for more than a decade. In 1956, he won the Triple Crown, leading his league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. His output was so great that he led both leagues in 1956, hitting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 runs batted in. He was also voted American League MVP that year, and again in 1957 and 1962. After years of brilliance, Mantle’s career began to decline by 1967, and he was forced to move to first base. The next season would be his last. Mantle was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 in his first year of eligibility."
I never saw him play but I enjoy watching every Mantle video that I can get my hands on.

Mickey's "last at bat" was how he handled his cancer.  He spoke candidly about the reckless behavior that contributed to his disease.  Mickey's candor  humanized Mick, specially for so many of us who thought that he was superhuman.

Long live Mick!


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