Mantle, Mickey (Mickey Charles Mantle), 1931–95, American baseball player, b. Spavinaw, Okla. In 1951, he joined the New York Yankees of the American League; eventually he replaced Joe DiMaggio in center field. A powerful and speedy switch-hitter, Mantle had a total of 536 regular-season home runs, and a lifetime batting average of .298. His 18 home runs in World Series play remains a record. He was voted the league's Most Valuable Player in 1956 (when he won the triple crown, leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in), in 1957 (when he hit a career-high .365), and in 1962. In 1961 he and teammate Roger Maris both threatened Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs; Mantle, slowed by an injury, finished with 54, while Maris hit 61. Retiring in 1968, Mantle entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. His career was hampered by osteomyelitis of his left leg and by various injuries. Another problem, his alcoholism, contributed to his death from liver cancer. In the last months of his life he received a liver transplant, and spurred efforts to increase public awareness of transplant therapy.
See biographies by T. Castro (2002) and J. Leavy (2010); A. Barra, Mickey and Willie (2013).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.