Essential Books on Mickey Mantle
There are countless books on Mickey Mantle, and it comes with good reason, he was an athlete whose historic career in Major League Baseball earned him universal recognition as one of the greatest players and sluggers of all time.
“A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide,” he remarked.
In order to get to the bottom of what inspired one of America’s most famous cultural icons to the height of his craft, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best books on Mickey Mantle.
The Last Boy by Jane Leavy
The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer’s reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Jane Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why Mickey Mantle remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.
Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son by Tony Castro
Historian and best-selling author Tony Castro explores the life of the great cultural icon and baseball slugger against a 20th-century backdrop of America’s romance with boldness, celebration of muscle, and comfort in power during a time when might did make right. But if Mantle symbolized the great expectations of America in the 1950s, then his story also epitomized the dashed dreams of a troubled generation in the 1960s and its unrealistic hopes for achievement.
This hallmark among books on Mickey Mantle is both an explosive biography of one of the world’s most fascinating and enduring sports heroes and a telling look at the American society of his time. During six years of research, Tony Castro interviewed more than 500 friends, teammates, lovers, acquaintances, and drinking buddies of one of America’s most famous sports heroes.
A Season in the Sun by Randy Roberts
Mickey Mantle was the ideal batter for the atomic age, capable of hitting a baseball harder and farther than any other player in history. He was also the perfect idol for postwar America, a wholesome hero from the heartland.
In A Season in the Sun, acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith recount the defining moment of Mantle’s legendary career: 1956, when he overcame a host of injuries and critics to become the most celebrated athlete of his time. Taking us from the action on the diamond to Mantle’s off-the-field exploits, Roberts and Smith depict Mantle not as an ideal role model or a bitter alcoholic, but a complex man whose faults were smoothed over by sportswriters eager to keep the truth about sports heroes at bay.
The New York Yankees of the 1950s by David Fischer
The 1950s marked a transformative period in postwar American history. In baseball, one dynasty was the story during the decade. The New York Yankees played in eight World Series from 1950 to 1959, winning six of them. Yankees icon Joe DiMaggio retired following the 1951 season, but a new superstar, Mickey Mantle, took over in Yankee Stadium’s center field in 1952.
Mantle, the powerful switch-hitter who blasted tape-measure home runs and was often tortured by leg ailments, became the number one box office draw in baseball. He was the American League’s most valuable player in 1956 and 1957, putting together a triple crown season in 1956. Mantle came into baseball when television was just catching on, and with the Yankees reaching the World Series and appearing on national TV seemingly every season, he became the face of the game during the decade.
The author of several books on the Yankees, David Fischer brings expertise and a knack for great story-telling to the saga of the most dominant decade in the annals of sport, set during a defining moment in U.S. history.
A Hero All His Life by Merlyn Mantle
Mickey Mantle’s wife and sons chronicle the life and times of the great baseball hero, offering a personal and candid portrait of his career, the effects of fame on the family, his alcoholism and infidelities, and his final battle with cancer.
Mickey and Willie by Allen Barra
Culturally, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were light-years apart. Yet they were nearly the same age and almost the same size, and they came to New York at the same time. They possessed virtually the same talents and played the same position. They were both products of generations of baseball-playing families, for whom the game was the only escape from a lifetime of brutal manual labor.
Both were nearly crushed by the weight of the outsized expectations placed on them, first by their families and later by America. Both lived secret lives far different from those their fans knew. What their fans also didn’t know was that the two men shared a close personal friendship – and that each was the only man who could truly understand the other’s experience.
My Favorite Summer 1956 by Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle, the hayseed kid from Spavinaw, Oklahoma, was in his sixth year with the Yankees. He was already America’s homerun king. He was about to become a national hero. 1956 would be a record-breaking season: the golden summer fans would remember forever. Now Mickey Mantle brings it all back just the way it happened – spectacular playing on field, crazy hijinks with Whitey Ford and Billy Martin off. There never was a time like it before in baseball. There never will be again. It was magic.
Mantle: The Best There Ever Was by Tony Castro
In Mantle: The Best There Ever Was, former Harvard classics scholar Tony Castro delivers a bold retelling of the Greek mythological hero Achilles from The Iliad in the powerful but doomed legendary baseball slugger who came to symbolize post-World War II American might in the 20th century.
Castro offers illuminating new insight into Mantle’s extraordinary career, including the head-turning conclusion based on the evolution of analytics that the beloved Yankee switch-hitter may ultimately win acclaim as having fulfilled the weighty expectations once placed on him: of being greater than even Babe Ruth.
7: The Mickey Mantle Novel by Peter Golenbock
Bestselling sportswriter Peter Golenbock knew Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Jim Bouton, Joe Pepitone, and many of Mantle’s friends, family, and teammates. While Mickey was a good person at heart, he had a dark side that went far beyond his well-known alcoholism and infidelities.
In this fictional portrait, Mickey – now in heaven – realizes that he’s carrying a huge weight on his shoulders, as he did throughout his life. He needs to unburden himself of all the horrible things he did and understand for himself why he did them. He wants to make amends to the people he hurt, especially those dear to him; the fans he ignored and alienated; and the public who made him into a hero. Mickey never felt he deserved the adulation, could never live up to it, and tried his damnedest to prove it to everyone. The fact that he was human made the public love him that much more.
Through the recounting of his exploits on and off the field, some of them side-splittingly hilarious, some disturbing, and others that will make your head shake in sympathy, Mickey comes clean in this novel in the way he never could in real life. 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel puts you inside the locker room and bedroom with an American Icon every bit as flawed and human as we are.
The Mick by Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle – arguably the greatest Yankee ever – tells all, from his childhood in Oklahoma to the bright lights of Yankee Stadium.
If you enjoyed this guide to essential books on Mickey Mantle, check out our list of The 10 Best Books on Babe Ruth!