Friday, March 2, 2012
New season coming, but the players are not like they use to be.............
Many baseball scouts called the young Mickey Mantle the most talented prospect they’d ever seen, and he justified their confidence in his myriad abilities on the field and at the plate by reaching the big leagues in 1951 at the tender age of 19. The next season, at 20, he replaced Joe DiMaggio as the Yankees’ center fielder and finished third in MVP voting.
The rise and fall of Mickey Mantle — from gullible country boy to big city superstar to faded, injury-ravaged icon playing out his last games as a shadow of his former, prodigious self — has been told countless times. Here, LIFE presents a quick tour through The Mick’s life, on the field and off, hoping to provide a glimpse into why one player won the hearts of so many fans across so many years … and what the arc of a star athlete’s life can look like when the stands empty and the fans go home.