Today (1995) marks a sad anniversary in the world of baseball. One of the greatest players of our time, New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle died of liver cancer at the young age of 63.
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.
[Learn more about Mickey by viewing his Footprint]
“There was a sound like a tire blowing out, and my right knee collapsed,” Mantle remembered in his memoir (All My Octobers). Mantle 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.
Yet Mantle’s perseverance 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.
Mickey Mantle will undoubtedly continue to thrive as one of the greatest baseball legends in American history. And it’s up to US to never let his legacy fade. R.I.P.
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