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Mickey Mantle

"The Mick"

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Mickey Charles Mantle, probably the most highly-decorated athlete in Oklahoma's modern era, was born in Spavinaw (Mayes County) in 1931. He moved with his family to Commerce (near the borders with Kansas and Missouri) at the age of three.

Noted as an exceptional 3-sport athlete, Mantle built up arm strength by working in the area's lead mines as a "screen ape"--a job swinging sledgehammers--while still in grammar school. He played for a semi-professional team when he was only 16 and drew the attention of a New York Yankee scout who wanted to sign him to a contract right then. Unfortunately, the scout had to wait two more years.

A switch-hitter, Mantle is credited with some of the longest home runs in the history of the game, blasting a 656-foot home run during spring training in 1951.

The Hall-of-Famer still holds the record for the most home runs by a switch-hitter (536) and 18 homers, 42 runs scored, 40 RBI and 43 bases on balls in the World Series (career) are still records.