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Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995), nicknamed "The Commerce Comet" or "The Mick", was an American

professional baseball player. He was a Major League Baseball (MLB) centerfielder and first baseman for theNew York Yankees for 18 seasons, from [1] 1951 through 1968. Mantle is regarded by many to be the greatest switch hitter of all time, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall [2] of Fame in1974 and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Mantle was noted for his hitting ability, both for average and for power. He won the Triple Crown in [4] 1956, leading MLB in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI). He was an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and All-Star sixteen times, playing in 19 of the [5] 20 All-Star games that he appeared in (MLB had two All-Star games a year from 1959 to 1962 ). Mantle appeared in 12 World Series, his team winning 7 of them. He holds the records for most World Series home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total [6] bases (123). He is also the career leader (tied with Jim Thome) in walk-off home runs, with a combined thirteen, twelve in the regular season and one in the postseason.
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Early life[edit source | editbeta]
Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, the son of Elvin Charles Mantle (1912-1952), a [7] lead miner known as "Mutt," and Lovell (née Richardson) Mantle (1904-1995). He was of at least partial English ancestry; his great-grandfather, George Mantle, left Brierley Hill, in England's Black [8] Country, in 1848. Mutt named his son in honor of Mickey Cochrane, a Hall of Fame catcher. Later in his life, Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane's true first name, as he would have hated [9] to be named Gordon. Mantle spoke warmly of his father, and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. Mantle batted left handed against his father when he practiced pitching to him right-handed and he would bat right-handed against his grandfather, Charles Mantle, when he practiced throwing to him left-handed. His grandfather died at [10] the age of 60, in 1944 and his father died of Hodgkin's disease at the age of 40, on May 7, 1952.
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Commerce, Oklahoma[edit source | editbeta]
When Mickey was four years old, his family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma, [7] where his father worked in lead and zinc mines. As a teenager, Mantle rooted for the St. Louis [11] Cardinals. Mantle was an all-around athlete atCommerce High School, playing basketball as well as football (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma) in addition to his first love, baseball. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the left shin during a practice game during his sophomore year, Mantle's left ankle soon became infected withosteomyelitis, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma enabled him to be treated with newly [7] available penicillin, saving his swollen left leg from amputation.

Draft deferment[edit source | editbeta]
(Korean War, 1950-1953)[edit source | editbeta]
Mantle's osteomyelitic condition of his left leg and later a right knee injury while playing in the World Series in 1951, exempted him from being drafted for military service beginning in

1949. Publicity after he got into the major league during the Korean Conflict over his 4-F deferment caused him to get unpopular with baseball fans. It also caused him to get two more Armed Forces physical exams. They reasoned that if he was physically fit to play baseball, he was fit enough to serve in the military, particularly during the 1952 season when it was observed that he [14] was selected as an All-Star (reserve player, did not bat or play on July 8, 1952) which was before [13] his third and final military service rejection had been given for his knee injury on November 4th.

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