The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
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Award-winning sports writer Jane Leavy follows her New York Times runaway bestseller Sandy Koufax with the definitive biography of baseball icon Mickey Mantle. The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer's reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why The Mick remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.
from Tampa to St. Pete, he saw a man lying on the railroad tracks. Hey, bussie, stop! The driver pulled over. “Mantle got off and gave him a hundred dollars,” Kubek said. Years later, Kubek was greeted by a homeless man as he left his New York hotel: “Hey, Tony, Mickey just walked by an hour ago and gave me a hundred dollars.” “He always did it in the dark so no one knew,” Kubek said. “I gave him twenty dollars.” Mantle gave away so much—including his first uniform, at a birthday party—Merlyn
be haunted by the disease. Mickey Mantle, Jr., entered the Betty Ford Center in October 1995. A patient who had been in treatment with The Mick told him that his father had expressed the hope that Little Mick would come and get sober. Mickey Elven Mantle died of cancer in December 2000 at age forty-seven, telling his brothers, “Can you believe I sobered up for this?” Danny relapsed after Little Mick’s death, then reclaimed his hard-won sobriety. Merlyn Mantle won custody of Mickey Jr.’s
when he came out of knee surgery in November 1953. He remained in the hospital for eleven days, the first of which he spent in groggy sedation due to severe pain. He wasn’t allowed out of bed for five days (at which point he was permitted to swing his leg while seated on the edge of the bed) and did not leave his room until he was discharged. Today, professional athletes who have arthroscopic knee surgery— using the thin tool that requires only tiny incisions—routinely return to the playing
Kicking the damp sand back into place, he said, “This’ d be a good job for Billy. He could get a lot of practice here.” He meant Martin, of course, whose managerial afterlife required kicking a lot of sand at home plate and in sand traps. Mickey played a lot of golf, too, chiefly at the swank Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas. Now he was getting paid to do what he did every day. Every morning he checked the box score the way he always did and waited for a game the way he always did. “Get up at
Times columnist Arthur Daley deplored the mob mentality and defended Mantle’s right to protect himself. The Yankees formed the “Suicide Squad,” a flying wedge of beefy ushers who formed up on the lip of the infield grass in the bottom of the ninth inning to escort Mantle off the field. Six weeks later, on the afternoon of July 19, while reading fan mail in the visitors’ locker room at Cleveland Memorial Stadium, Mantle opened an envelope postmarked July 16, 8:30 A.M., at Tonawanda, New York. The