The title is: “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood”, by Jane Leavy.
Unlike many sports books I’ve read, this one is heavily researched. The passage on Mantle’s first tape-measure home run tried my patience, frankly. But the extensive interviews with Mantle’s friends and family give a rare insight into one of the greatest sports heroes in our nation’s history.
The author shares her own experience interviewing Mantle in 1983, when he made a pass at her and then passed out in her lap in a hotel bar. There is a great deal about the Yankee star’s injuries and about his constant drinking and womanizing.
His long-time manager Casey Stengel could never get over the way Mantle wasted his awesome talent by simply not taking care of his body.
Still, the Commerce, Oklahoma native is admired as a great athlete … a switch-hitter who could run like the wind before he was injured … and hit home runs further than anyone else.
Leavy found the “boy” beneath the surface of the squandered talents and broken man. It’s a good read.
Our thought for today is from Mickey Mantle:
“If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”