By Kelly Eisenhauer
In this edition of “The Complete Mickey Mantle Collectibles Guide,” I’ll be highlighting an additional several dozen of the Mickey Mantle biographies known to exist. I’ll also be including books that were written about Mickey by himself or with the help of others. Books that include him on the cover by name or with his picture will also be included. This is a mammoth undertaking that has more than 140 entries and SCD space limitations will require that it be done in multiple sections, likely to be in four total parts. This is the second installment of the books section; the first appeared in the March 5 issue of SCD.
27. Baseball’s Unforgettables by Mac Davis – 1966, Bantam Books, soft paperback
Despite the fact that Mantle and Mays grace the front cover, the paperback includes only a two-page story on Willie, and unless I missed it, doesn’t even mention Mantle. So why include it in this list? Well, the front cover features an illustrated view of the two famous center fielders that is worthy of any collection. Filled with great stories of famous players and not-so-famous players, the book offers some great and often not published anecdotes that the average baseball fan may not have heard. It’s filled with amazing stories and ultimately it’s a great book, even though Mick is only on the front cover. (Photo No. 960)
28. Mickey Mantle Classic Sports Shots – Collectors Book 6 – by Bill Morgan – 1993, Scholastic Inc., softcover
Part of a series of specially designed educational, collectors books, this 44-page paperback features four chapters about Mickey’s life. Starting with Mick’s childhood, the book tells about his high school days in Commerce, his accomplishments in the minor and major leagues and concludes with a page of career highlights. The miniature-sized book measures 4½-by-31/4 inches and contains 14 pictures of Mickey, all in black-and-white. (Photo No. 961)
29. The Official Baseball Hall of Fame Story of Mickey Mantle by Lonnie Wheeler – 1990, Little Simon, softcover
This book traces Mantle’s beginning days in Commerce all the way up to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Only 95 pages, Wheeler writes Mickey’s biography for a fast-paced read complete with many “common” black-and-white photographs. (Photo No. 962)
30. The Ultimate Mickey Mantle Trivia Book by Tom Burkard – 1997, Citadel Press, softcover
This is the ultimate Mickey Mantle trivia book. It has 536 questions that will test the most knowledgeable Mantle fans. Filled with true and false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions, Burkard really tests us with questions like, “Who was Mickey’s least favorite umpire? What kind of car did Mickey’s dad own in 1947? What brand of pancake mix did Mickey endorse in 1956? And who was the groundskeeper who drove Mickey around Yankee Stadium in 1969 during Mickey Mantle Day? And the questions go on and on. If you’re into Mickey Mantle trivia, this book has all the questions and answers. (Photo No. 963)
31. Sports Heroes and Legends: Mickey Mantle by John Marlin – 2004, Barnes and Noble, softcover
This softcover biography is just another quick-read book that offers nothing that we haven’t heard before. Starting with Mick’s early days at home and being taught how to switch-hit, the book is just a basic biography that does include a complete history of Mantle’s batting and fielding statistics. Just over 100 pages in length, Marlin’s book does include eight pages of fairly common Mantle photos. (Photo No. 964)
32. Mickey Mantle Slugs It Out by Julian May – 1972, Crestwood House, hard and softcover
Even though Mantle’s life story has been told over and over again, Julian May makes this young adult’s book worthy of a place in the bookshelf. Using 45 large photos in a book that is only 48 pages, May blends his writing with great quality photographs. In fact, several photos from 1951 with Mickey wearing No. 6 are shown. The hardbound book comes in two different variations. The first uses a reddish-orange front cover, while the second variation features a blue or turquoise background. A softcover edition of the book also exists. It is virtually the same in every aspect as the hardbound editions.
(Photo Nos. 965, 966)
33. Where Have You Gone Mickey Mantle? by Robert Kravetz – 1996, GK Creations, softcover
Customizing the famous line in the song, “Mrs. Robinson” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, author Robert Kravetz, asks not “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio,” but instead, “Where have you gone Mickey Mantle?”
Kravetz says in the book’s preface that since the retirement of Mantle there has been a withering of the great American pastime. Mantle represented the last breed of a true superstar.
Stories of Mickey and what he meant to the author make up a large part of the book, as well as other stories about the great American pastime. (Photo No. 967)
34. Season of Glory by Ralph Houk and Robert W. Creamer – 1988, Pocket Books, softcover
Quoting the Houston Post, Season of Glory is possibly the best account ever written of the 1961 New York Yankees. Written by Robert Creamer, with detailed accounts from the Yankees’ newly appointed skipper, Ralph Houk, it provides stories and commentary about one of the best Yankee teams of all time. Also covered in detail is the famous home run race of Mickey and Roger as they both flirted with Babe’s record of 60. Quotes from Mickey about Roger’s sudden rise to fame are all a part of Chapter 29. As Mickey said, “One of the hardest things for Roger was the recognition he started getting. Everyone was asking for autographs. It got to a point where we couldn’t go out to eat, or even go downstairs in the hotel’s lobby without being mobbed. Roger didn’t like that. He was a private kind of guy.” It’s a great read by one of sports’ greatest writers: Robert Creamer. (Photo No. 968)
35. The Mick by Mantle with Herb Gluck – 1985, Doubleday and Co., hard and softcover
Herb Gluck has written one of the two best Mickey Mantle biographies ever written. I say one of the two best because Tony Castro’s book, America’s Prodigal Son , has to be right at the top as well. The Mick, is Mantle’s true story in his own words. Starting with his early days in Commerce and his intense love of his mother and father and ending with Mantle’s reflection of his two biggest thrills: having his No. 7 retired on Mickey Mantle Day and being inducted into the Hall of Fame with teammate Whitey Ford, Mantle tells his about his beginning days with Merlyn, and how he felt when he got the word from his mother that his father had died at the age of 39.
There are funny times as well. Mantle tells about when he and Billy Martin went duck hunting and almost got arrested by the Oklahoma Game Commission. Stories of Mantle’s drinking and going on benders that lasted, in some cases, nearly two days, are also told. He also admits to how he mentally abused his wife by not letting Merlyn know his whereabouts and “whoabouts.” In fact, the book is dedicated to Meryln, who put up with him for 33 years (as of publication date.)
Another story tells how he finagled a day off from practice by telling Casey Stengel that he had a shoulder injury. Unbeknown to Casey of what Mickey was planning, he excused Mickey only to find that he and Whitey Ford had planned a day on the golf course. The story didn’t stop there, however. General Manager George Weiss found out about the plot and caught the two in the act. Asking Mick how the shoulder was, Mick replied by telling Weiss, “It doesn’t hurt when I’m swinging the golf club, but I can’t get my arm up over my head.”
And while Mickey was telling Weiss his situation, he was caught with his arms over his head. After seeing what Mickey had done, Weiss slammed the golf pin into the hole and stormed off the course. It’s a great book that definitely should be in every Mantle collection. The book was published in hard cover, and has two different variations of the paperback edition.
(Photo Nos. 969, 970)
36. The Quality of Courage by Mickey Mantle and Robert Creamer – 1964, Doubleday and Co., hard bound and softcover
Quality of Courage is a book that tells youngsters one of the traits that Mickey admires the most in a human being. Citing stories from the lives of players such as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Roy Campanella, Ralph Houk, Whitey Ford, Willie Mays, etc., Mantle tells their heroic stories and acts of bravery that made an impact on the teams for which they played.
When he talked about Whitey, Mantle was impressed with the cool and calm manner that he always seemed to possess. With Roy Campanella, it was how he overcame that horrific automobile accident, which led to his life in a wheelchair and being paralyzed from the neck down. With Mays, it was the way he played the game, always giving it his all. And for Mickey, it was playing day in and day out with all those injuries. There was a lesson to be learned after reading this book. The message was simply use the power of courage to guide yourself through life.
The hardbound version features a colorful left-handed action shot of Mantle batting. The softbound cover shows a colorful illustration of Mantle in his road Yankee uniform.
In 1999, the book was reprinted and featured Robert Creamer’s name as a co-author for the first time. Creamer actually started working on this book with Mantle in 1963 and was never given a byline by the publisher. Creamer tells us that the idea for the book dates back to John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, which had been a success a few years earlier.
Creamer’s reprint features a very dark photo of a two-seamed fastball grip on a baseball.
(Photo Nos. 971, 972, 973)
37. Grand Slam by Jim Bunning, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays –1965, The Viking Press Inc., hardcover
Grand Slam is a book that features four Hall of Fame authors. The book offers their expertise on what they feel are the essentials in the developing of a solid ballplayer. Jim Bunning offers his commentary on pitching along with Whitey Ford. Willie and Mickey offer two different approaches on the topic of hitting. With Mays being the better pure hitter and emphasizing the importance of running as well, Mantle focused purely on “power” hitting. The Mick pays homage to his father for teaching how to switch hit and also thanks teammate Bob Turley for all of his help in telling Mickey when to expect a fastball while batting. Mantle also discusses the importance of how to drag bunt and how to “square around” properly when attempting to sacrifice bunt. The book is filled will lots of great advice for young fans that still is applicable today.
(Photo No. 974)
38. Memories of The Mick by Maury Allen and Photography by Bob Olen – 1997, Taylor Publishing Co., hardcover
A tip of the Yankee hat to Allen and Olen on this one. Using vintage and not-so-common photographs of Mantle is what makes this book a winner. Starting with Mantle’s locker room photo of him boning his bat with his Rawlings glove on his left knee, the author and photographer include many fresh shots of Mickey that were very rarely used in any publications.
Allen begins his book with a Mantle interview from the 1995 New York Writers Dinner, where the three famous outfielders of Gotham assembled for the first time in their “Dapper Dan” tuxedos. With camera flashes lighting the room for nearly15 minutes, the threesome would never be together again. In fact, it would also be Mickey’s last visit to New York.
Allen tells of a young Mantle filling out his first rookie questionnaire for New York Herald Tribune sportswriter Harold Rosenthal. That letter, which would be worth tens of thousands of dollars, now resides in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Stories of Mantle being signed by Tom Greenwade and his first spring camp in Phoenix, Ariz., fill us in about Mickey’s background.
From there, stories of Mantle fill the book, most of which have become etched in our minds. One advantage that Allen utilizes is the fact that he covered the Yankees and reveals a lot of things that he observed firsthand, which makes the book worthwhile reading. Allen also shares stories of how Mickey and Billy Martin would love to play jokes on teammate Phil Rizzuto by filling Scooter’s glove, locker, or pants with everything from caterpillars, dead mice, fake snakes to half-eaten hotdogs.
One other story that caught this author’s attention was the July 8, 1958, testimony of Casey Stengel at the United States Senate subcommittee hearings, when the “Ol’Perfessor” was asked his views on antitrust legislation. Stengel proceeded to fill the courtroom with non-stop laughter after filling the air with his patented “Stengelese,” which made him a hero on the evening news. The story didn’t end there, however. When Mantle was asked for his views, he quickly retorted that his views were just about the same as Casey’s. It’s a great book with lots of great, large formatted black-and-white photos of Mantle.
(Photo No. 975)
39. Tales From the Yankee Dugout by Ken McMillan, 2001, Sports Publishing Inc., softcover
McMillian’s book has a great cover. It shows a photo of Mickey, Yogi, Whitey, Joe D. and Casey wearing their home Yankee pinstripes in the Yankee dugout. The book is filled with funny stories and anecdotes from Yankee stars of the past, including Mantle, Ruth, Munson, Maris, Mattingly and others. The book also features 20-plus caricatures, including Mickey, by sports illustrator Robert Jackson.
One such story involving Mantle was when he received a very strange autograph request. Back in 1962 while on the way to the All-Star Game in a cab, a fan noticed Mantle and asked if he would autograph his trophy cabinet. Mick got out of the taxi and signed the guy’s trophy cabinet. Yes, a trophy cabinet. Few can brag about having one of these. (Photo No. 976)
40. The Baseball Life of Mickey Mantle by John Devaney – 1969, Scholastic Book Services, softcover
This made-for junior high and high school students book covers the basics of Mantle’s storied baseball career with the Yankees. Starting with his days at home, Devaney writes about how Mickey was raised to play baseball by his father Mutt and Uncle Charlie. From there it becomes the typical Mantle biography that covers his odyssey from Joplin, Mo., to the big club in 1951. Devaney adds a few not-so-well-known stories of Mantle, as well. One of the more humorous anecdotes was when Yogi Berrra’s son, Timmy, lightly tapped Mickey on his knee. After getting Mick’s attention, a very young Timmy says to Mickey, “You stink.” Mickey broke out into laughter. (Photo No. 977)
41. Mickey Mantle – The Indespensable Yankee by Dick Schaap – 1961, Bartholomew House Inc., softcover
What’s a typical day like in spring training for Mickey Mantle? Dick Schaap takes us back to 1961, when the Yankees were honing their skills in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Mantle was the Yanks’ biggest star. Schaap also writes about how Mantle in 1951 was the most publicized rookie in baseball history and how every step of Mickey’s was described on radio and how every accomplishment was reported in the morning tabloids.
Schaap tells how difficult it was writing about Mantle on a daily basis because most of the superlative adjectives used to describe Mick’s play were used up in a few short weeks. Schaap’s writing is smooth and gives us added dimensions on just how good Mickey was. With the book being written in 1961, Schaap’s last sentence of the book asks his readers to look into the future: “How good will Mantle be is totally up to him.” (Photo No. 978)
42. Triple Crown Winners by Howard Liss – 1969, Julian Messner, A Division of Simon and
Will professional baseball ever have another Triple Crown winner again? That’s a good question to ponder. With Carl Yastrzemski being the last of the big-time hitters to capture the prestigious award in 1967, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira gave it the old college try in 2009. For Pujols, it was a season that saw him finish first in homers, second in batting average at .327, and third in RBI with 135. Teixeira had a 2009 that saw him tied for the lead in home runs with 39, first in RBI with 122, and placing 31st in the American League with a .292 batting average. For both of these players, it was oh, so close, but no cigar.
Howard Liss writes about the six players, who captured the coveted award that represents the epitome of excellence in batting. The six players are Lou Gehrig, Ducky Medwick, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Yaz.
As for Mickey, his magical year was 1956. Liss starts his Mantle entry with the importance of switch-hitting as taught by Mickey’s dad and Uncle Charlie and writes about how the “tape-measure” home run became part of Mickey’s trademark. The front cover shows six illustrations of all the Triple Crown winners. (Photo No. 979)
43. Mickey Mantle Day in Amsterdam by Jim Labate – 1999, Mohawk River Press, soft bound
This fictional narrative represents a dream that all Mickey Mantle fans would love to experience. The year was 1963 when the author, a 12-year-old boy, and his dad happened to be driving by and decided to give a motorist a helping hand. The motorist happened to be Mickey Mantle. With Mickey’s car in need of help, the boy’s father told Mickey that the car needed to be towed to the local garage and that his friend would have it repaired first thing in the morning. The next problem was where was Mickey going to spend the night? Needing a place to stay, the boy and father asked Mickey if wanted to stay the night at their house and Mickey accepted. From that point on Mickey’s adventure begins in Amsterdam, N.Y. The book has no pictures, but does have a handful of black-and-white illustrations, which are exceptionally well done. It also contains a homily for Mickey by former teammate Bobby Richardson. (Photo No. 980)
44. The Illustrated History of Mickey Mantle by Gene Schoor – 1996, Carroll and Graf Publishers, hardbound.
By now, all Mantle biographies pretty much look the same. The all seem to have the same stories, the same pictures and the same everything. Schoor’s book is different. First of all, the book is filled with nearly 200-plus black-and-white and color photographs, some of which are used for the first time in print. Secondly, the quality of the photography is very evident as Schoor and his producers went to great lengths to do this project right.
Yes, the book does start, as do most biographies, with Mickey’s childhood and how he was born to play baseball. Yes, Tom Greenwade is also mentioned as the scout who signed Mantle the moment he graduated from Commerce High School.
Schoor goes a bit further by telling the reader some of the inside stories of what Mantle experienced when he first came to New York in 1951. Mickey also tells firsthand stories as they really happened. He talks about how fortunate he was to have Hank Bauer and Johnny Hopp as his roommates and how he looked at Bauer as his second dad.
In fact, it was Bauer who taught Mickey how to dress, what clothes to buy, where to shop, and even advised him to discard the famous cardboard suitcase that made the trip with Mickey from Commerce to New York City.
Other stories include some of Mantle’s business ventures, his contract negotiations with George Weiss, all those nagging injuries, and the storied home run derby season of 1961. The season of 1966 is also dissected, as it marked the first time since 1912 that the Yankees finished dead last.
Schoor ends his book with Mick’s last moments with Merlyn by his side and a last-day visit from Mick’s teammates Whitey Ford, Johnny Blanchard, Bobby Richardson, Moose Skowron and Bauer. This book is a keeper. (Photo No. 981)
45. Mays, Mantle, Snider – A Celebration by Donald Honig – 1987, MacMillan Publishing, hard bound
In the 1950s, the most prestigious baseball position in New York was center field. It was a time like no other and the Empire State had three of the all-time greats patrolling the No. 8 position in Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider. These three greats all gave their fans bragging rights as to who was the best.
For the Brooklyn Dodgers fans, it was Snider. For New York Giant fans, it was definitely Willie Mays and for the Bronx Bombers, it was definitely The Mick. It was a special and electrifying era, when all three had many moments of glory sharing the headlines in the tabloids of New York.
Baseball historian and author Donald Honig thoroughly examines the history and background of the three Hall of Famers. In his smooth writing style, Honig confesses that baseball history has been kinder to Mantle and Mays than it was to Snider. Even though the debates on the street corners and bar rooms are long over, there are some fans that still like to reminisce, even today. They were three great outfielders and three unique individuals and I guess a case could be made for any one of them. Honig also supplements his writing with many unique photographs of the threesome. (Photo No. 982)
46. October 1964 by David Halberstam – 1994,
Villard Books, hard bound
For some reason, the 1964 World Series was special to me. As an 8-year-old, I guess it is the first Series that I can fully remember. I can remember running home from elementary school on those October afternoons in record-setting time. These games were played in the afternoon – and during the regular season they even played doubleheaders on Sunday afternoons. This World Series was being billed as the “Battle of the Boyer Brothers.” Ken played third base for the Cardinals, while his younger brother Clete played third for the Yanks.
I can remember Mantle hitting his home run against Barney Schultz in Game 3. That home run would break Babe Ruth’s record for most World Series homers. I can also remember Mantle hitting two other World Series homers in Games 6 and 7. I can remember the stern look of Hall of Famer pitcher Bob Gibson and thinking how intimidating this guy was. And finally, I can remember the Yanks not winning the World Series. They would lose in seven games and it would be the last time the Yanks would make the big stage until 1976.
This is where David Halberstam comes in. The author dissects the Fall Classic of 1964 with a scalpel. October 1964 gives us the behind-the-scenes dope on the 1964 Yankees and Cardinals teams, the managerial changes that would take place after the season was over, and how the Yankee dynasty was beginning to crumble. In fact, that crumble might have already started back in 1963, when the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Yanks in four games. The Yanks were getting old, while the Cardinals were young and built for speed. Could this really be the end of the line for the Yanks? As time would tell, it would be.
Even though the book is about the 1964 World Series, its players, and its managers, Mantle is its main character.
(Photo No. 983)
47. Minnie and The Mick by Bob Vanderberg – 1996, Diamond Communications, hard bound
Before the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox rivalry, there was a rivalry between the Yankees and another team. That team happened to be the Sox of a different color: the Chicago White Sox. For the Yankees, it was Mantle, Berra, Allie Reynolds, Moose Skowron and Roger Maris; for the White Sox it was Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Early Wynn, Hoyt Wilhelm, Nellie Fox, and others.
Vanderburg looks at the games of the fabled Yankee teams versus the White Sox teams from 1951-64. As the White Sox general manager said, “Anytime we’d beat the Yankees one game, it was like beating somebody else three.” During these 14 years, the Yankees would win 12 pennants and seven World Series while the White Sox would win one pennant in 1959.
With a double entendre title like this, it’s a “gotta have it” book. (Photo No. 984)
48. How to Star in Baseball by Herman Masin – 1960, Scholastic Books Inc. Tab Books, soft bound
With a picture of Mantle batting left-handed on the front cover, this Little League-approved booklet offers helpful tips that are guaranteed to improve your game. Written for Little Leaguers, the scholastic book offer tips on catching, batting, running, playing the infield, playing the outfield and team defense. Loaded with small photos that stress positioning and techniques, the booklet offers no tips from The Mick. (Photo No. 985)
49. Mickey Mantle by Sam Hasegawa –
1974, Creative Education, hard bound
Filled with colorful illustrations of Mantle by artist Harold Henriksen, this 31-page book was written as part of the Superstars Series. The “short” story of Mickey starts with Mickey playing baseball in the dustbowls of Commerce, Okla., and continuing his climb through the minor leagues. In the spring of 1951, it was on to Phoenix, Ariz., and then on to join Casey and the Yankees.
While in New York, Hasegawa talks about all the pressure that was on Mantle as the press was heralding him as the next successor to Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio.
The book tells of Mantle’s frustration as he was striking out quite frequently and then follows his rise to stardom as he captured the MVP and Triple Crown in 1956. The author talks about Mantle’s love for manager Ralph Houk and how Mick said,” He was the best thing that ever happened to me as a ballplayer.”
Color illustrations show Mantle with Roger Maris in 1961, and Joe DiMaggio at Mickey Mantle Day in 1968. The book is very basic, but gives the younger people an idea of just how good Mickey Mantle was. (Photo No. 986)
50. Beckett Great Sports Heroes: Mickey Mantle
by Dr. James Beckett – 1995, hard bound
Written as a tribute to Mickey Mantle, hobby icon Dr. Beckett traces Mickey’s career from the beginning to the end. Filled with a compilation of stories from noted authors such as Maury Allen, Harold Rosenthal, and others, it starts with a reflection of The Mick’s mythic persona that captured generations of fans both young and old.
Loaded with black-and-white and color photographs, the book shows pictures of Mickey wearing No. 6, playing the infield in a Yankees uniform, posing with Casey in 1951, in the Yankees’ locker room, and standing on the porch of his house with his father “Mutt.”
Other pictures show Mickey with Ted Williams and posing with Casey and Whitey Ford on Aug. 12, 1974, the day he was inducted into The Hall of Fame. Also pictured are some of Mickey’s most valuable baseball cards, along with a comprehensive card checklist and price guide.
As an added supplement, Beckett includes some of the best sports art that showcases Mickey. At least 15 different drawings are included near the end of the book. A comic section of Mickey’s career is also included called “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Finally, a special chapter includes all the Beckett Card Monthly covers and artwork that featured stories of Mickey inside or on the front cover. Noted sports artist Jerry Hersh’s work appears many times throughout this section. It’s a must-have for Mantle collectors. (Photo No. 987)
In the final two installments of this section, the remaining books that have Mantle on the cover in the form of picture or by name will be listed. This list will be close to 50 in number. Also included will be a special entry that shows the various comic books on which Mantle appeared.