The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
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.
autograph for her eight-year-old son, whom she had named Mickey. Naturally, Mantle was his hero. He scribbled his name, and Lois shoved him through the revolving door onto Fifth Avenue. By the time Lois got done making amends—she kept the $100—Mantle was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared into the rush hour dusk. Raw as it was, Lois was schvitzing: “Oh, my God, I’ve lost Mickey Mantle.” Frantic, he surveyed the pedestrian bustle. It didn’t occur to him to look down. Mantle was lying in a
many of her daily duties. (Roy True was the executor of the contract.) Ed Nelson, her pastor in Greensboro, thought he had noticed an increasing distance between Mantle and Johnson. He wasn’t alone in that observation. Kathleen Hampton, Roy True’s assistant and office manager, thought he didn’t want to be married to anyone. Ron and Barbara Wolf had concluded that he was quite content with his two separate lives. When Nelson tried gently to allude to the possibility “that Mickey was on his way
Mickey’s crew on winter afternoons, when they ran wild in small quarters. But she had no tolerance for anyone who messed with her boys. Mutt refused to sit with her at Mickey’s ball games. Her bellowed motherly support would have made her deacon father wince. Nor did she shy away from occasional fisticuffs. At one Friday-night barn dance, Commerce men took umbrage at the attention lavished on their women by some out-of-town dandies. “Daddy stepped up, said, ‘Ain’t no women for you to pick up.
thrown very much. Shoulder stiffness had limited his innings during spring training. Mantle wasn’t feeling up to par either—he had pulled a muscle in his left leg the day before, one of those early-season injuries that would plague him throughout his career. Charley horse was the official diagnosis. He stepped to the plate, as he often did, with a borrowed bat, a 34-ounce, 34½-inch Louisville Slugger belonging to teammate Loren Babe, who hit a total of two home runs in his major league career.
daily newspapers (not to mention the Brooklyn Eagle, La Prensa, El Diario, and the Jewish Daily Forward ). Baseball men argued between, during, and after helpings of rubber chicken on the winter banquet circuit, with Leo “The Lip” leading the way. “Leo Durocher needed about ten seconds after the final 1954 statistics were posted to realize the publicity potential in the feud,” SPORT magazine reported. “ ‘Snider is wonderful,’ he said. ‘But my boy Willie just happens to be the greatest there ever