Mickey Mantle (October 20, 1931- August 13, 1995) was one of the greatest baseball players ever, and arguably the finest raw talent ever to play the game. Born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, and raised on a farm, Mantle revolutionized the game by hitting for power from both sides of the plate as a switch-hitter. That enabled him to hit well off both right-handed and left-handed pitchers. Mantle was also perhaps the fastest runner in the game at the time.
In 1951, Mantle replaced Joe DiMaggio on the New York Yankees, and then led the New York Yankees to a record 12 World Series appearances in 14 years. Mantle himself received many awards during his career, including three MVPs, the Triple Crown, and induction into the Hall of Fame.
Like his father, Mantle was an alcoholic and as a result contracted liver cancer that killed him before he reached his 64th birthday. There was a controversy about how quickly he received an organ while on the supposedly neutral transplant list, a transplant that failed to save his life.
Mantle's rookie baseball cards are among the most valuable memorabilia in sports today.
Mantle suffered a horrific knee injury during the 1951 World Series, when his foot got caught in an outfield drainpipe. That and numerous other injuries were thought to have kept Mantle from becoming the greatest player ever.
His name "Mickey" was after Mickey Cochrane, the greatest catcher as of that time. Mickey's father had been a semi-pro baseball player and trained his son Mickey to be a switch-hitter from an early age, hoping that he would become a phenomenal baseball player as he did.