25 Color Photographs of Mickey Mantle In The 1950’s & 60’s
The name Mickey Mantle still evokes strong emotions for baseball fans of a certain age.
For if you ever saw Mickey Mantle play, you would never forget it. If you never had the pleasure, I’ll try and describe it.
Mantle swung the bat literally as hard as anyone who ever played the game. You would see his forearms and biceps bulge as he whipped the bat through the strike zone on a slight incline. Watching Mantle swing you could literally see that every muscle in his six foot frame was converging to pulverize the baseball.
When Mantle connected cleanly with the ball, the sound was unique. There was a sharp crack that resonated through the entire ballpark and that ferocious swing would drive countless baseballs deep into the gaps or frequently farther, with balls settling in the outfield stands or bleachers for a home run. There was no home run, like a Mickey Mantle home run.
In his prime there were few fielders like Mickey Mantle, who could come out of seemingly nowhere to snag a drive hit in the gap, that when first hit, was thought to be uncatchable. Mantle’s arm could throw bullets, so runners had to think twice about taking an extra base or tagging up when the ball was hit to Mickey.
Mantle played hard breaking up double plays and stealing bases when necessary, even though he was playing on notoriously bad legs which would hamper his entire career.
Legendary sports photographer Marvin E. Newman who worked for many magazines including Sports Illustrated, Life and Look captured hundreds of images of Mantle throughout his career. The following photographs are from Mantle’s heyday from 1954 – 1964 and the Yankees appeared in nine World Series out of eleven years. (click on any photo to enlarge.)
Mickey’s off field carousing and drinking did not add to his game. Because Mantle’s father and grandfather had both died young, Mickey was not going to be cheated, so he lived each day off the field as hard as he played on the field. He admitted later in life that he probably cost himself many points in his batting average and several home runs by partying too hard. As he reflected back on his playing days he said if he knew he was going to live a full life he would have taken better care of himself. One can only imagine what sort of career numbers Mickey Mantle would have ended up with had he made wiser life choices and was not plagued by injuries.