Mickey Mantle with Herb Gluck
Wiss mutters, “I think he’s too young.”
“I dont care if he’s in diapers,” says Casey. “If he’s good enough to play for us on a regular basis, I want him.” (1) - This quotation is what started Micky’s whole career.
The Mick by Mickey Mantle is an autobiography about his life from when he was a young boy until his retirement. He was one of the greatest baseball players of all time as a center fielder for the Yankees. His most impressive skill was not his fielding, but his batting. He hit a career 536 home runs and 2,415 hits. He did this over 16 seasons and he started playing at the age of 19. He is also known as the greatest switch hitter of all time.
Mickey was raised in a small mining community in Oklahoma. His dad was a miner and they were lower class citizens. He always worried about his dad especially as Mickey got older and understood the negative effects working in the mines has on a person. Most miners died at the age of 40 and plus his dad was a heavy smoker. Mickey’s first product he endorsed was Camel cigarettes. Camel would send him a pack every week and Mickey would send them back home to his dad every time. Growing Mickey had a great relationship with his dad and grandpa. His dad was his biggest supporter and best friend. He loved his dad more than baseball itself and this is why he was so worried about his dads health. He knew his dad was going to die at a young age because he worked eight hours a day in the mine where he breathed in dust all day. Along with being a heavy smoker his lungs were not going to last long.
Mickey practiced becoming a switch hitter at a young age. This is a very difficult skill to have but it is useful if you can hit both ways. His dad would throw to him right handed while Mickey hit left handed and then his grandpa would throw to him lefty while he hit right handed. This is a useful skill because you can see the ball for a split second longer and this often makes the difference between getting a hit or not. I can relate to Mickey because I also started playing baseball at a very young age. My dad would play catch and throw batting practice to me. I also played baseball all summer just like Mickey did. He would play at the local field with a bunch of kids and they would have games every weekend against other close towns. Because he lived in a small town there would be kids between the ages of 12 to 18 playing. They drew huge crowds and it was a common thing for all the families to bring a picnic lunch and sit along the fence to watch baseball every weekend. This is easy for me to picture because I have been in situations similar to this before. When I was younger we would go to tournaments all day and we would need to bring food and we would sit in the grass and watch other people play. We also had many other people do this when we were playing.The book then goes into his early career in the MLB. He was drafted right out of high school to the minor leagues so he had no college experience. Despite his lack of experience he fit in well and instantly made an impact on the Yankees minor league team. Within a year he was brought up to the real Yankees team. It is crazy to me than anyone can skip college ball and go straight to the pros in any sport. I would personally be scared to go to the pros out of high school because I would want an extra few years to develop my skills, but I guess if you are good enough it would be hard to pass up the professional sport paycheck. I enjoyed the first half of the book because in this part of the book I could relate to Mickey with playing baseball from a young age but in the second half I will not be able to relate as much because it is all about his professional career.