Why We Love #7: Homage to Mickey Mantle
One of the greatest hitters of all time was Mickey Mantle and at M^Powered are proud to include his number seven in many of our product numbers. His natural ability to hit balls farther than any other baseball player is the inspiration behind our business. As new generations of baseball players learn about this great game, we thought it would be worth sharing what made Mickey Mantle such a legendary player.
Mickey the Boy
Mickey Mantle was born in a small town in Oklahoma where he grew up with a father who loved the game of baseball. Mickey was named after his father’s favorite baseball player, Mickey Cochrane. Mantle’s father, Mutt Mantle, spent significant time working with Mickey to ensure that his son could become a top athlete. Mutt made sure that his son could bat left and right, which we all know paid off in his career with the Yankees.
Troubles with his Legs
Throughout his career, Mantle was plagued by troubles with his legs. As a high school student, he developed osteomyelitis which is an inflammation of the bone marrow. He almost lost his leg, but doctors were able to treat him with penicillin. He would continue to have troubles with his leg throughout his baseball career, but he still managed to set records with his ability.
Time in the Minors
In 1948, Mantle began a short career in the minor leagues. He played in Oklahoma for two years where he played shortstop and eventually he won a batting title for his .383 average. His first contract was for $140 per month. During his minor league stint, he almost quit playing when he fell into a slump, but his father would not have it. In his final year of minor league ball, he recorded 26 home runs and 136 RBIs. While he dominated the plate, he did not enjoy playing shortstop.
Moving to the Big Show
In 1951, Casey Stengel, the New York Yankee’s manager, noticed Mantle’s ability in spring training and invited him to the big show. Instead of putting him at shortstop, he thought Mantle would be better in right field. His salary was $7,500 for the season. The clubhouse manager gave Mantle the #6 jersey, thinking he would follow in the footsteps of the other greats, like Babe Ruth who was #3, Lou Gehrig who wore #4, and the current star, Joe DiMaggio who wore #5. Unfortunately for Mantle, his first season was not his best and was sent to the minor leagues for a little extra work. When he returned to the Yankees, he was given the iconic #7 jersey. Once he put on #7, he hit 13 home runs, 65 RBIs, and .267 in 96 games. He was on his way.
Unfortunately, during his first season when the Yankees were playing in the 1951 World Series, Mantle had another accident with his legs. He was playing right field to Joe DiMaggio who was in center field. Willie Mays hit a fly to right-center and the two legends went after it. DiMaggio called it and Mantle got out of his way. As he shifted to get out of the way of his hero, Mantle tripped and injured his right knee. During his 18 years, he played with serious knee trouble, including a torn ACL.
Despite his physical ailments, Mickey Mantle built up impressive numbers. Along with his partner, Roger Maris, the “M & M Boys” chased Babe Ruth’s home run numbers. (Maris ended up with the record). However, Mantle has gone down in history for hitting the longest home runs ever recorded. His legendary at-bats include a home run at Tiger Stadium that went over 640 feet, another at Griffith Stadium that traveled 565 feet, and several off the third deck at Yankee Stadium. He hit 372 left-handed home runs and 164 right-handed home runs.
Honoring a Legend One Bat at a Time
As a home run hitter, Mickey Mantle was one of the best that ever was. He truly loved the game and put his all into every at-bat. We are so proud to honor this legend with every M^Powered bat that we make.
If you would like to know more about Mickey Mantle’s bat, take a look at HOF Vintage Bats - HOF Series - "The MICK".