Famous Okies: Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle
Posted at 10:01 AM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:18:27-04

Mickey Mantle was an American professional baseball player and he was a famous Okie!

Born on October 20, 1931, as Mickey Charles Mantle, he was raised in Spavinaw. Mantle was named in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher, Mickey Cochrane.

When Mantle was four, his family would move to Commerce, a nearby town, so his father could work in the mines. Mantle would grow up to love baseball fiercely and play it on teams.

Mantle began his professional baseball career in Kansas with the semi-professional Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. He would spend several years at the minor league team before being picked up by the New York Yankees.

He played his entire Major League Baseball career that spanned 17 years with the Yankees. Mantle played multiple positions, including a center fielder, right fielder, and first baseman. Mantle was considered to be one of the greatest offensive threats of any center fielder in baseball history.

Over his career, Mantle was an All-Star for 16 seasons. He was an American League Most Valuable Player 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, RBIs, extra-base hits, runs, walks, and total bases.

He would eventually retire from baseball when he was 37 in 1969. Mantle would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

After baseball, Mantle briefly was a part-time commentator for NBC's baseball coverage. He would attempt to invest in several businesses and try to open various restaurants, but most would fail. However, Mantle was back in popular demand once a sports memorabilia craze swept the 1980s.

Mantle's personal life was filled with a lot of challenges. Mantle believed he would die young due to his father dying young to Hodgkin's Disease. This led to his battle with alcoholism that lasted through most of his life.

Mantle would eventually seek rehab treatment in 1994. He acknowledged in his later years that his alcoholism led him to be cruel to most people in his life, including his family and fans. The abuse of alcohol caused him to have liver cancer and receive a liver transplant in his old age.

Soon after the transplant, Mantle died at the age of 63. The Yankees played the Cleveland Indians that day and honored him with a tribute for his contribution to the game of baseball.

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