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  • Mantle's drinking

    After I saw Mantle winning third great home run winner at these forums, I decided to start a new topic about Mantle's drinking. I know everyone knows this already, but if Mantle was able to control his drinking like the Babe did then he could of been one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.

    Everyone knows that Babe was a big drinker, but he was able to control it when it came to play baseball. But Mickie not so much, which really hurt him.

    Do you guys agree with me when I say that Mantle would of been one of the greatest maybe the greatest if he stayed away from alcohol?

    I know it's hard to determine, but I just thought this could be an interesting topic.

  • #2
    Anything's possible. Sure, Mantle could have been among the top five greatest ever, IMO, had he stayed away from drinking, but the injury he sustained in the 1951 WS was the more devastating than his drinking was, IMO. At least on a more immediate level. He had all the tools, and then some, to be one of the greatest ever. Some will argue that he WAS one of the greatest ever. I'm not in that school of thought, but what could have been a career worthy of Gods was merely a great career. Done in by injuries and demon rum.
    Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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    • #3
      After 1961, Mantle starts breaking down. I dont think that can be contributed simply to alcohol. In the broad sweep of history, it is quite common for players to be great in their 20s and injury plagued in their 30s. I cant blame his bad knees on John Barleycorn.
      http://soundbounder.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected with osteomyelitis, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight ride to Tulsa, Oklahoma, enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin, saving his leg from amputation. He suffered from the effects of the disease for the rest of his life, and it probably led to many other injuries that hampered his accomplishments.
        Throw in the bad knees and drinking and I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did.

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        • #5
          One could agrue that Mantle carried on to a level of effectiveness until age 36. Jimmie Foxx on the other hand took a complete dive after age 33.

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          • #6
            Mantle defended his hard-living as wanting to live every day to its' fullest, since many males in his family (including his father) died before age 40. Mick expected that the trend would continue with him, so you could see where he wanted to really enjoy life. Towards the end of his life, he called it "stupid", and said that it affected his personal and family life much more than his professional career.

            I read a (tongue-in-cheek) quote from him last night in "Mantle Remembered" where he said, "Had I known I would have lived this long I would have taken better care of myself".
            There are only two seasons - winter and baseball. (Bill Veeck)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PhilaPhanDave View Post
              I read a (tongue-in-cheek) quote from him last night in "Mantle Remembered" where he said, "Had I known I would have lived this long I would have taken better care of myself".
              George Burns said the exact same thing when he was in his early to mid 90's. Wonder who said it first...
              Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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              • #8
                Mantle faced his end with a great deal of bravery, and he warned kids to not make the same mistake and live their lives like him. I was shocked and angry that he was able to get a liver transplant so quickly after a lifetime of alcoholism, but then found that his liver damage was probably not due to drinking (hep C from a bad transfusion during knee surgery) and all proper procedures were followed, so my emotions had jumped the gun.
                Still, I wish that people who live their lives the right way and "live long and prosper" as a result (like my bigger hero, Stan Musial) got 1/100th the attention of people who mess up and say they were wrong near the end.

                As for Foxx...I wonder if he might have had a worse drinking problem than Mantle. I guess I'm not aware of him having serious medical issues later in life, though (died young from choking).
                "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hellborn View Post
                  Mantle faced his end with a great deal of bravery, and he warned kids to not make the same mistake and live their lives like him. I was shocked and angry that he was able to get a liver transplant so quickly after a lifetime of alcoholism, but then found that his liver damage was probably not due to drinking (hep C from a bad transfusion during knee surgery) and all proper procedures were followed, so my emotions had jumped the gun.
                  Still, I wish that people who live their lives the right way and "live long and prosper" as a result (like my bigger hero, Stan Musial) got 1/100th the attention of people who mess up and say they were wrong near the end.

                  As for Foxx...I wonder if he might have had a worse drinking problem than Mantle. I guess I'm not aware of him having serious medical issues later in life, though (died young from choking).


                  I didn't know this and had felt the same way. Thanks! Now I can tell my dad who was really PO'd about the liver transplant.

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                  • #10
                    i remember as a kid reading a 'biography' on Mantle that had no mention of his drinking. Even now there is a romanticized version of Mantle that the ESPN's and Billy Crystal's of the world have of the ultimate 'All-American Boy.' This angers me when a current athlete gets in trouble for drinking and driving (which I do not support) or a bar fight and all of the sudden we hear how athletes are so much worse today.
                    "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                    -Bill James

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                    • #11
                      I think Mickey's leg injuries had more to do with 'holding him back' than did his drinking. True, the drinking may well have afected him to some degree but it was his injuries mostly.

                      Mickey is one the very few great players who it can be said that despite all he accomplished in his career he never really realized all his potential.

                      Yankees Fan Since 1957

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                      • #12
                        I can't remember who it was, but one of Mantle's ex-teammates tells the story of how Mickey got roaring drunk with some buddies one night prior to a day game and come game time, he was nursing a monster hangover. Casey didn't start him that game but, sure enough, there came a situation when Stengel needed a pinch-hitter and, of course, instructed Mantle to go up and hit. The teammate said that Mantle, who had to be roused from his stupor, never said a word, he just hauled himself up, grabbed a bat, staggered to the plate and (of course) hit a moon-shot home run. The teammate said Mickey could barely run around the bases and he didn't know how in the world Mantle could even hold a bat, much less hit a ball that far. I don't know if that's just another 'baseball story', but if it's true, it may show that the drinking didn't effect Mantle as much as it would most players.

                        If anyone else knows the story and can correct me in places, feel free to do so, but I believe that's the gist of it.
                        Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dodgerfan1 View Post
                          I can't remember who it was, but one of Mantle's ex-teammates tells the story of how Mickey got roaring drunk with some buddies one night prior to a day game and come game time, he was nursing a monster hangover. Casey didn't start him that game but, sure enough, there came a situation when Stengel needed a pinch-hitter and, of course, instructed Mantle to go up and hit. The teammate said that Mantle, who had to be roused from his stupor, never said a word, he just hauled himself up, grabbed a bat, staggered to the plate and (of course) hit a moon-shot home run. The teammate said Mickey could barely run around the bases and he didn't know how in the world Mantle could even hold a bat, much less hit a ball that far. I don't know if that's just another 'baseball story', but if it's true, it may show that the drinking didn't effect Mantle as much as it would most players.

                          If anyone else knows the story and can correct me in places, feel free to do so, but I believe that's the gist of it.
                          I think I saw that game on television, and it was in July of 1963. I read in an "autobiography" type of book by Mantle that he was hung over something awful when Ralph Houk had him pinch-hit, and he hit a giant blast!

                          I don't know if the carousing or the bad underpinnings were more harmful to Mickey's career, but he had several megatons of physical talent!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by THE OX View Post
                            I think I saw that game on television, and it was in July of 1963. I read in an "autobiography" type of book by Mantle that he was hung over something awful when Ralph Houk had him pinch-hit, and he hit a giant blast!

                            I don't know if the carousing or the bad underpinnings were more harmful to Mickey's career, but he had several megatons of physical talent!
                            You guys are right, in fact, Mantle later said he saw two balls coming at him from the pitcher, swung at one of them, and hit that homer!

                            His drinking was because he thought he was going to die young like the rest of his family, what a shame.
                            I AM SO THANKFUL FOR BEING BORN IN NEW YORK AND FOR BEING A FAN OF ALL NEW YORK SPORTS TEAMS

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                            • #15
                              I'm sorry to say it but:

                              Living life to the fullest because there's a history of early death in your family as manifested as hard drinking and other self-destructive behavior is not an explanation of the roots of one's behavior, it's a contrived rationalization of the continuance of a pathology.

                              That is my opinion, as somebody who has used (and still uses) this very line of defense for various behaviors I enjoy, but are likely against by best interest. Truthfully, I know enough to know I'm blowing smoke when I say it, and I believe that Mickey was blowing smoke when he said it too!
                              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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